Yesterday, I admitted that I wasn’t comfortable writing about racism because being a female Caucasian, I don’t have a real point of reference. That is most certainly the case in my day-to-day experience, but being a voter and having the presidential elections coming up next year, racism and how our candidates respond to it, has an impact on my view of their politics and leadership. I am speaking, of course, of President Obama and now a new stronger opponent emerging from the GOP, Herman Cain.
I voted for President Obama in 2008 and I will vote for him in 2012. I have to say that he is a powerful orator, he has followed an extensive democratic agenda and he still has a lot of work to do and finish. He has had a disproportionate amount of opposition and I have often wondered if it is a latent form of racism. The root of this reasoning is a reflection of how President Clinton was treated during his time in office as opposed to how President Obama is treated and for everything that President Obama has achieved, the left and the right go after him like no one’s business.
I know that the right were after President Clinton in a big way but there was the incident in the Oval Office and President Clinton wasn’t completely innocent in that situation, so there was a basis there. The left stood by President Clinton even after he passed a welfare program with Newt Gingrich that made life for the poor much harder and didn’t change the outcomes for those families. He also signed the bill that effectively repealed the Glass-Steagal Act issuing the era of financial deregulation that led up to the financial crisis.
President Obama on the other hand passed the Health Care Insurance Bill, the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulation Bill, repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, signed the Women equal pay bill, increased the standards for fuel efficiency and the list goes on. Yet the left, especially the professional left go after him big time , all the while saying that it is not racism, he ran as a progressive and he is not being progressive enough. I see it as he has done so much with critics completely surrounding him and he still carries himself with grace and class. I am proud of the man.
Herman Cain, today, said that President Obama hasn’t lived the “black experience”. I am not sure what he means by that because according to his book, which he is promoting at the same time that he his running for President, (Spoiler Alert, at the end of his book, he is President of the United States.) he stood by the sidelines during the civil rights uprisings. He stayed out of the fray and stayed out of trouble. He also believes in social Darwinism, that is, in the social and economic habitat, it is survival of the fittest. He recently stated that the “OccupyWallStreet” movement is anti-American and anti-capitalist. If you are out of a job and poor, it is only your fault. Don’t blame the rich, the big banks and Wall Street. I would argue differently, in this country, if you are born poor, the odds of you getting out of poverty are stacked so highly against you that you will probably be hit by lightning before ever getting out of your lot in life. The records and figures support that sad fact. Europe is now more socially fluid than this country. Another point that is interesting in Herman Cain’s campaign for Presidency is that, when he said that the fact that one of his opponents had a rock with the epithet “niggerhead ranch” designating his ranch was offensive, his conservative compatriots were critical of Cain for being offended. I don’t understand how Herman Cain can be okay with that, but it is not my place to criticize.
You can see and feel that our struggles with racism haven’t disappeared, in a way it is more insidious because if the President acknowledges it, it almost negates his triumph of being elected as President and ours for electing him. Herman Cain, apparently in public, doesn’t believe that racism is a factor in the race except that the President hasn’t really lived the “black experience”. In my mind that sounds like racism, not the usual type but racism nonetheless. I am left with, I don’t know if I made any sense or if I communicated my ill at ease feeling writing this post. If I did either than I was successful writing this evening.