But over the course of the Obama presidency I have become convinced that no single force exerts a greater pull on his presidency than white racism. Not white resentment. Not white populism. White racism. I don’t know how else to explain a health care denounced as reparations, the rather continuous disrespect, the sense that he is a Kenyan illegitimate or all of the attendant theories. I do not know how else to explain a state like West Virginia, arguably the most racist in the country, wheredelegates are now refusing to endorse the president.There will be more on this in the coming months. I don’t want to scoop myself. But my point is I can only stop talking about racism, when it ceases to be a significant force in our politics. When the mere act of being white gives Obama’s opponent “a home-state advantage nationally,” I can’t stop. It would be deeply wrong to stop.
What this man did yesterday is something new, to me wrong and unusual. I think it is probably the result of the growing incivility of the times, the competition among reporters and news organizations to be noticed not only for the work product but for the theatrics of the gathering…and there is one more factor, let’s face it: Many on the political right believe this president ought not to be there – they oppose him not for his polices and political view but for who he is, an African American! These people and perhaps even certain news organizations (certainly the right wing talkers like Limbaugh) encourage disrespect for this president. That is both regrettable and adds, in this case, to the general dislike of the press on the part of the general public.
Public Policy Polling last week surveyed blacks in North Carolina, where voters approved a same-sex marriage ban the day before Obama’s announcement. The poll found that their opposition, though a robust 59 percent, had dropped 11 points since the state ban passed.
On Thursday, NPR’s Eyder Peralta reported in the Two-Way blog that a Washington Post/ABC News poll found African-American support for same-sex marriage at 59 percent, compared with 41 percent before Obama’s announcement.
Instead of swing states, we are focusing on “elastic states,” ones that are relatively responsive to changes in political conditions, like a change in the national economic mood, and have a high percentage of swing voters.
With the news of a “super PAC” plan to resurrect the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. this election season, we’re right back to ridiculous descriptions and dirty politics.
No-fault divorce with remarriage rights divided the Protestant denominations for years: wasn’t this polygamy, and wouldn’t it lead quickly to legal incest and bestiality? (The Catholic church was against the divorce law changes; the Jews were largely for; only the Protestants were mixed.)
Is there a fundamental right to divorce and remarry? Not according to the definition of marriage that the Christian churches had promoted for centuries. But social attitudes changed, and so did the laws, eventually — even in the states of New York and South Carolina, the two notorious laggards — albeit with much pain for everyone involved.
If the non-white vote supports Obama to the extent it did in 2008, Romney will need to compensate by holding Obama to 38% of the white vote. In the modern political era, it has taken extraordinary circumstances for Democrats to do so poorly. The last Democratic candidate to fall so low was Walter Mondale, who only won 35% of the white vote in 1984. Even Michael Dukakis won 40% of the white vote in 1988. In 2010, House Democrats only won 37% of the white vote, demonstrating that Romney’s task is not unachievable, even if the House GOP benefited from a relatively friendly electorate.
Eyes of a certain curvature and a slight widow’s peak can help win an election.
It is just the work of democracy—a reminder that history does not march inevitably toward egalitarian ends. There is always circularity, retrenchment, resistance, halting progress, and struggle. While it is useful to eschew discouragement, it is worth asking why this menu of “social issues” has reemerged so forcefully during this political moment.
The real social gap is between the top 20 percent and the lower 30 percent. The liberal members of the upper tribe latch onto this top 1 percent narrative because it excuses them from the central role they themselves are playing in driving inequality and unfairness.
It’s wrong to describe an America in which the salt of the earth common people are preyed upon by this or that nefarious elite. It’s wrong to tell the familiar underdog morality tale in which the problems of the masses are caused by the elites.
A challenge to the status quo could be a good thing, of course. It is what animates both the Tea Party and the Occupy movement. And as a media observer, I find it exciting to watch the Republicans behaving so erratically. But I am more than a little concerned that no one seems to be steering the GOP ship anymore. Democratic loyalists may gleefully herald the Republican disarray, but they should be concerned that the populism of the right is coalescing around the race-baiting, divisive extremism of Newt Gingrich, which seems likely to prove more rabid than that of the existing elite. A new Southern Strategy, fueled by the multimillion-dollar weaponry of Citizens United, could be enough to make me yearn for the good ol’ days of the Republican establishment.
There was a time when the church was somewhat better at brokering those conversations. We appealed for people to listen to one another. We reminded them that the truth matters more than winning. We counseled them that the truth is always more complicated than we recognize at first. Based on our own inward journeys, we were prepared to acknowledge that we are more broken than we would like to admit. And, based on the experience of others on the journey, we learned that there is more good in others than we are willing, at first, to notice or acknowledge. Those are important gifts to give—particularly when times are hard.
What I see in front of my nose is a president whose character, record, and promise remain as grotesquely underappreciated now as they were absurdly hyped in 2008. And I feel confident that sooner rather than later, the American people will come to see his first term from the same calm, sane perspective. And decide to finish what they started.
These clergy were allies in a struggle to reform discriminatory laws against LGBT people several years before the more well-known Stonewall Riots.
This account is only one of countless stories that could be told about the supportive roles played by people of faith — some of them straight, and some of them gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender — who have actively worked for LGBT equality. Their claims to faith and to tradition, and their willingness to put their lives and bodies on the line for queer family values, has been usurped by anti-LGBT politicians and religious leaders who seem to see “religion” as their exclusive property.
I, for one, would like pro-LGBT advocates to reclaim “tradition.”
These principals may have the same principles, but they have a problem. They all back different candidates. The Presslers, good Texans, are Perry backers, while Wildmon likes Gingrich. Vander Plaats is hot for Santorum. Dobson has not publicly endorsed anyone, but in the 2010 Kentucky Senate Race, he withdrew his endorsement of Trey Grayson and switched to Rand Paul, which leaves many to speculate he might be a Ron Paul backer. No one has told Bauer whom he likes yet.
So they are being summoned. The “religious” ones. The ones who couch their bigotry in terms of God and faith. They have gathered with the mission of coalescing their support around one of the Right Wing candidates. Then, when that decision has been made, the group will bring pressure to bear on those not chosen to get out of the race. Sometime this week, we should know who won that battle.