The lingering racism in the nation runs very very deep. It becomes clearer every day that President Obama is in the White House.
It pulsates largely in two bastions: the very white men on the right who never thought for a moment that a black man could or would win the presidency, and the rednecks who thought the same thing.
It’s hardly surprising that his second term has made it more virulent. That it happened once made them think that they took too much for granted. That it happened again was much worse news: they had lost control. So, what’s to be done to regain it?
Their game, it appears, is becoming a systematic campaign to erase the first black president from history. They are embarrassed and distraught that the president and the Democrats in Congress have enacted the Affordable Care Act, giving the people a door to the universal health care that every other power on the globe would not do without. Do they think the people haven’t noticed how comfortable their esteemed neighbors on the north are with universal health care?
The immediate focus of their game is to use the debt ceiling or the FY14 budget or any other lever available, even the extreme of closing down the government, to keep Obamacare unfunded. They fear that once people have it, they’ll like it. Will they go as far as shutting down the government or defaulting on the debt, because those are their only real options?
Their desperation is easy to grasp. They have to kill Obamacare, because if it pans out, then it makes his first term an important page of history. Their worst nightmare is that his second term could deliver the immigration reform that would bring more peace and progress to North America, and put him into the history books as the first important president of the 21st century.
They can’t sleep knowing that he and his illustrious and luminous wife are sleeping in the White House. It is the White House, dammit! It was never meant to be the home of any black person who wasn’t a servant.
Sleepless politicians behave even more oddly than their more rested colleagues. Why else would the new Republican majority in the House push mousy Speaker John Boehner into letting them drag the House to the floor 40 times solely to record a vote repealing the Affordable Care Act? Even the dimmest voters begin to fathom this waste of taxpayer money. The stacks of paper alone plowed into those 40 votes would erase a small forest.
After the first such vote, the next 39 could only be construed as a personal slap at the black president. It was an out-and-out show of Republican racism that the cable media tiptoe around in their usual haste to play down any news that could be unwelcome to their fat-cat sponsors.
The GOP is becoming more and more the dog wagged by its tail — the tail being the free-swinging Tea Party. The TeaPartiers are successfully working the Republican primaries with no unifying theme other than “something else.” They dream of simpler times with smaller government, and by something else they mean a first family that isn’t black. But what they get now, holding the balance of power in the House, is a string of symbolic votes that go nowhere.
Still, the Republicans can’t resist turning President Obama’s second term into open season in which they compete at slurs that will darken his name. The cheaper the shots the greater the fun. They turn his name into a game of inflections that sound foreign. An Obama in the Oval Office? Must be an oxymoron.
TeaPartiers are now talking loosely about impeachment. They won’t actually start it in their lap-dog Republican House. They know that even the dimmest wits who vote can see what an utter waste of legislative resources and public funds such an attempt would entail. But they talk freely about it because it casts another cloud over the black president.
Surely the people are beginning to see that the Republican deck of cards has too many deuces. Or is it a deck that’s all clubs and spades? Clearly no diamonds or hearts.
Frank Mensel — revised September 2013