Monday, January 07, 2008

Let's all march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (figuratively)

With each day that passes it appears more likely that Barak Obama will be the Democratic candidate for president in 2008. It also is clear that, although the great majority of the American public is sufficiently non-racist to consider his candidacy in a color-blind manner, there are enough racists and other types of bigots out there to cause considerable trouble. Since these people are almost all among the 30% or so of the voting population who will never vote for a Democratic candidate under any circumstances and without whom a Democratic candidate can still achieve a land-slide victory their opposition to Barak Obama’s candidacy does not in itself pose any problem.

The problems would only be if they are successful in spreading lies, rumors and distortions which, like the Swift-Boat Veterans attacks on John Kerry in 2004, sway under-informed undecided swing voters. As we learned in 2004, considering obvious lies and smears as being unworthy of a response is not a winning strategy. People of good will need to immediately respond to racist and bigoted talk about Barak Obama whenever and wherever they encounter it. Even if you do not support Barak Obama’s candidacy decency demands that this is the time to stand up to bigotry and lies.

Mitt Romney had been talking on the campaign trail about how he remembered seeing his father marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for civil rights. When people who had researched the issue and had documentation proving that Governor George Romney, Mitt’s father, had never actually marched with Dr. King (although he apparently shared most of Dr. King’s views on racial matters) asked the Romney campaign about this they explained that Mitt had not meant to imply that his father had literally marched. He had figuratively marched alongside Dr. King.

Well, ok. Let’s all figuratively march with Dr. King. When you hear someone trying to imply something negative about Obama because his middle name is Hussein ask what someone’s name has to do with anything. When someone says that they have heard Barak attended a Muslim religious school as a youngster tell them that CNN and ABC investigated those charges and refuted them. When someone talks about “those” Obama supporters who may riot if he loses or may be or do this or that, ask them what Obama supporters they mean—Iowans?


Dennis Moran said...

That's a great thought, David, well worth contemplating for everyone.
Perhaps similarly, I've long welcomed the sight of prominent Republican African-Americans such as former congressman J.C. Watts and Condeleeza Rice. I may disagree with many of their views, but their very presence helps greatly in taking race out of the equation in politics, I believe.

Another thing their presence does, I think, is help keep Democrats from being smug and presumptous about having the votes of black people in the bag, or at having cornered the market on tolerance. I think that sort of thing has existed to some extent. Also, certainly not every Democrat I've ever known was free of racism.

Dave Barrett said...

You are correct that there are racist Democrats and many non-racist Republicans. However, the racial attacks on Barak Obama to which I am urging opposition have been and will be coming from the Republican variety of racist and also from partisan Republicans who may not be racists themselves but are playing the racial card for partisan political advantage.

josh curren said...

So now Obama is going to be untouchable, huh?

Anyone suggesting that Obama is grossly inexperienced (which he is), will be labeled a racist?

Any campaigning that criticizes him or his record (what little there is) in any way, will be labeled racist?


Dave Barrett said...

How do you get that from what I wrote? Judging Obama's candidacy on the basis of his experience, judgment and positions on the issues, as other candidates are evaluated, will not draw charges of racism from me or anyone else.
What will be opposed as racism are charges that are based on his racial identity that other (white) candidates are not subject to, such as Johan Goldberg charges at the National Review Online that if Obama loses his supporters will riot. That is a racist attack since there is no objective reason to think that Obama's supporters are any more likely to riot than anyone else and yet this is something only said of Barak Obama.
Other racist attacks that have already been leveled at Obama (this is not some smug presupposition of mine--these attacks are real and are aimed at Barak Obama alone of all the candidates) is that although he is a member of a United Church of Christ church in Chicago rumors are being spread that he is a secret Muslim. There is no more reason to think that Barak Obama is a secret Muslim than are any of the other candidates and yet only Obama is the subject of these rumors.

josh curren said...

I am sorry Dave, I did not take this from your comments, or mean to imply that you would tag the 'racist' label to anyone that criticizes Obama.

My comment is that it will happen when Obama gets attacked in the General Election (should he be the nominee). Because, as we all know, liberals are incapable of being racist, yet Republicans will be labeled racist should they say anything - it is the double standard that liberals put on Conservatives.

Dennis Moran said...

Josh, you say you just know this will happen, apparently based on a prejudice of what all liberals are like. ("It is the double standard that liberals put on Conservatives.") That's an awfully broad brush.

Dave, on the other hand, gave specific evidence to underscore his point, on instances of racist reactions to Obama. To me that's always more convincing in presenting an argument than just "you liberals are always like this" while presenting no examples.
I'm definitely a liberal, and yet in my post above I gave the Republican administration props for being color-blind in accepting people like Condi Rice to serve at the highest levels, even though I strongly disagree with many of her positions.

So I do try to judge these things on a case-by-case basis, appreciating when evidence is given either way, as Dave has given for his argument. That's when we can have a discussion or debate. But you, Josh, I've noticed in many posts, seem to want to lump all liberals into lock-step behaviors that you don't even offer examples for.

josh curren said...

Takes virually any word out of Jesse Jackson's mouth and you will find a racial double standard.

The same is true for Al Sharpton.

Bill Clinton (the first black President) had a far 'whiter' Cabinet than GW Bush - yet Bush still gets criticized, as do Republicans, about racism.

Dennis, if you think that there is a fair standard here, there is nothing that I can say to help you see reality. Come now, just look at the Jesse Jackson campaigns - if anyone looked at the man sideways the 'racist' card would be played. The man has extorted corporations, as a preacher had a child out of wedlock and will not come clean on his income or tax status - yet he gets off scott-free, because...if someone pursues it, he'll scream, "RACISM" as he always does.