Thursday, March 8, 2012

This is a RAID

The website founded by Andrew Breitbart claims to have found evidence (in a videotaped hug from 20 years ago, apparently) that President Obama is a dangerous Black Radical who wants to reduce White people to slavery, or something. I don't know. And frankly, I'm beyond caring. I just see the battle lines being drawn. Again.

Easily-spooked White conservatives are suddenly running around like frightened chickens, convinced that the comeuppance that they've been avoiding for centuries now is suddenly going to find them in their beds. This idea, that all that stands between the stability and prosperity of the United States of America and a bloody African Intifada is a single, well-placed, radical Black leader is as old as the hills. And despite the fact that African Americans aren't any more organized or of a single mind than any other group on the planet (including Whites) it never seems to go away.

On the other side, Liberals of all stripes who are quick to point to yet more proof of lingering Racism, not seeming to understand that this is basically a political issue. Sure, the President is Black, but he's also a Democrat. Given the number of people who actually seemed to think that Herman Cain would have made a competent President, which do you think is more important? No-one with a "D" in their party affiliation is acceptable, no matter what the color of their skin. And on the flip side, anyone who will vote to ban gay marriage and lower corporate taxes is more than welcome, regardless of their extraction.

And the real problems that the country has go un-dealt with. I know that it's fashionable to say that the President, the Congress or even God has the responsibility to take care of things, and magically restore us to a place of untouchable world preeminence, but it's not going to happen. This is our work. That's what a Republic (or Democracy, if you must) really means. Yet it seems that every time, we look at the scope of the problem and then look for someone to swoop in and rescue us. If we want to fix the United States, we're going to have to stop bickering over every pointless bit of minutiae that we stumble across, and start working - or fighting - things out. The real things. Not the petty bullshit that we've taken to occupying ourselves with while we wait for a miracle. Not the moronic sideshows that we put on for no better reason than to convince people that "we're one of them." And not the cultivation of Rage, Anxiety, Ignorance and Distrust, no matter how good it makes us feel about ourselves or how comforting it is to be able to blame the Disloyal Others for our self-inflicted woes.

The big-picture, life and death issues. We can't keep pretending that things will magically turn out all right if we just keep it together a little while longer and pick the right political faith to follow. The path that we're on isn't sustainable. Hoping that it lasts until the month after we die isn't a viable strategy, regardless of how well it may have worked for some people a couple of generations ago.

The expectation that we've cultivated, that we can save the future with little more effort than voting for the right people, is a pipe dream. It's time to wake up, be sober and realize that we aren't special (or "exceptional" if you insist) enough for history to give us a pass forever.

1 comment:

Keifus said...

Yeah, the political/racist story goes along the lines of the Republican party--Nixon--adopting racism as an electoral strategy back in the sixties. Famously, it turned a lot of previous Democrats to that party, from places where (at that time, certainly) institutional racism was indeed an integral part of the political world. I wouldn't write it off. Does the Southern Strategy linger? I'd argue that it does, and I think it's fair to say that it's the conservative party that still tries to bring in racists (Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas notwithstanding). [And if anti-gay bias is an admitted motivator despite the handful of gay Republicans, and as a major Republican candidate is angling hard to remove rights for women, I'd be really disinclined to dismiss serious racial bigotry in the party.]

I do agree with you that what really matters to the Republican powerful is tax cuts and "deregulation" and the bigotry is mostly pandering. Doesn't mean it isn't real.

I'm not sure how much we agree that those economic things aren't one of the big-picture problems, but we're probably on the same page with the rest of the list. I'm pretty sure that the country is going to go down wrongly fighting against the convenient Other though, while everything else burns around us.

[I really liked your post about your sister's roommate, btw.]