Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Elected Royalty

It seems I must join the legion of Obama sycophants, praising everything he does and acknowledging that he is perfection in the White House, lest I be accused and convicted of racism by Jimmy Carter, Keith Olbermann and Lawrence O’Donnell. In the previous administration, to criticize the president was to be accused of being un-American, in this one it is to be accused of being a racist. According to O’Donnell, it is incumbent upon anyone criticizing Obama to prove that their motive is not racial.

O’Donnell compared the criticism of the Clinton health care reform to criticism today of Obama’s plan, but he omitted to mention that the Clinton plan was not accompanied by ~10% unemployment, the stock market crashing, a stimulus bill and several trillion in handouts to Wall Street. It didn’t happen after 5000 deaths and billions spent in eight years of endless war, regardless of who started those wars. Context matters.

According to Jimmy Carter, an “overwhelming portion” of the demonstration against the policies advocated by Obama are based on the color of his skin. I have admired Mr. Carter for many years based on the tireless work he has done in pursuit of peace in the Middle East and advocating for fair elections throughout the world, but with this pronouncement I believe he is doing this country both injustice and harm.

Certainly there are people campaigning against Obama for reason of race. They are many and they are a disgrace to this nation, to decency and to humanity. But I do not see evidence that they are an “overwhelming portion.”

Mr. Carter’s statement that racism has raised it’s head is true to the extent that it is being advanced with impunity on right wing radio talk shows. It is incumbent upon people of decency to counter that vile utterance, but not to attempt to stifle it. There is a line from a movie, I have long since forgotten the source, to the effect of, “I despise everything that you have to say, but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it.”

One defeats evil not by shutting it down, but by advocating good; by making the voice of good so loud that it drowns out the voice of evil.

Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews each spent almost their entire hour yesterday on the subject of racism, labeling virtually every critic of Barack Obama racist, and making every criticism of him a racial slur regardless of the actual content of that criticism. Upon seeing one racial sign in a crowd, they labeled the entire crowd a “racist crowd.”

There was one rifleman at Dealy Plaza in 1963; does that mean that the crowd of people in Dallas that day was a “crowd of shooters?”

Freedom of speech is not just a law that must be followed by government. Freedom of speech means that people must be free to speak without intimidation by authority or power of any stripe; be it government, corporate, media or military.

We do not elect royalty of whom none may speak ill.


  1. I never and would not have voted for Jimmy Carter. I think he is a decent man with many sterling humanitarian qualities, but (still?) misguided or naive in many ways. An elder statesman he may be, buthe realy nneds to watch what he says and the effests it has on others. One-who-can-do-no-wrong he is not.

    Most (if not all) the right wing jackasses are braying out loud and creating trouble for the genuine, decent conservative politicians and citizens out there that have legitimate concerns about what is happening politically and economically. And, yes, there are a lot of them, and they deserve to be heard and respected, not denigrated and be called names like racist, when many are not. Yes there are a few, of course.

    I agree, one sign in a crowd does not the whole crowd make. The media and the public thrives on sensationalism. Use your heads, people!!!

    Freedom of speech is a precious commodity that we enjoy and many other couuntries do not. That means we should be able to speak well or ill of any entity. The corollary to that of course is to have some responsiblity in what you say and how you say it. With priveledge come responsibility.

  2. Curator8:07 AM

    According to Jimmy Carter, an “overwhelming portion” of the demonstration against the policies advocated by Obama are based on the color of his skin.

    With all due respect this is poor paraphrasing Jayhawk.

    You think this "intensely demonstrated animosity" we see at the Tea Parties, and hear from the Limbaugh/Hannity/Beck/ crowd is because of Obama's policies?

    Read what Carter said: "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man."

    ..yet you want to paraphrase it as just "demonstrations against his policies," as if these were some moderate middle American citizens. Moderates such as you an I can question our government as much as we feel necessary, as is our right to do so, but it won't come close to the "intensely demonstrated animosity" we see and here on TV and the right-wing radio.

    "According to O’Donnell, it is incumbent upon anyone criticizing Obama to prove that their motive is not racial."

    I'm sorry exactly where did O'Donnell say this? I watched this episode and O'Donnell didn't say anything of the sort, nor did he imply it

  3. I stand corrected on the paraphrase, but even if limited to "vigorous expressions" I do not see an "overwhelming portion" that is definitively based on Obama's race. While the nature of the discussion is cause for concern, it is not worthy of the hype and hyperbole that Matthews and Olbermann are giving it, and it is my belief that former president Carter overstates the case.

    There is nothing in Joe Wilson's statement, as ill considered and rude as it was, that justified the accusation of racism, and O'Donnell and Olbermann spent the last minute of that clip agreeing that Wilson needed to come out and "prove to us" that his remark was not racist and that he would have "made the same remark to President Hillary Clinton."

    If someone makes an accusation, the burden of proof is on the accuser, not on the person accused.