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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Tis the season for sending race cards

It took only a few days after Barack Obama formally announced his candidacy for president before racism began seeping through the Internet and puddling up on blogs and discussion boards. The first message I received was from one of those members of the Aberdeen intelligentsia for whom the word liberal and the n-word are synonyms. Race is not the only basis for prejudice, intolerance, and those pathologies of personality that stem from a need to hate. People can turn any aspect of human identity into an occasion for vilification and great out-pourings of malevolence. Humans are good at it. Some are better than others.

Obama's offense is not only that he is a black man. He is also an Ivy Leaguer. He graduated from Columbia and obtained his law degree from Harvard. That combination can make a red neck combust into Harvard-crimson flames. In our neck of the woods,an identification with the East Coast is sure to make hatred come bustin' out all over. The accusation of identifications with East Coast culture is a major trick in the South Dakota Republican bag of defamations. And it works.

I was made aware of Obama and his successes in Illinois by the late Sen. Paul Simon. Paul Simon, a real journalist and effective politician, generated interest and helped make
Obama a national figure. Like Simon, Obama was strongly supported in Illinois by the Lincoln Republicans, who were almost like a third party in Illinois. In a state where the Democratic machine and the corporate fascists dominated party politics, a line of Republicans that could be traced to the time of Lincoln comprised a significant faction of swing voters, particularly in the northern part of the state. Simon had their support, and when he retired from the Senate, he used his influence to transfer that support to Obama. That is a reason Obama was successful in Illinois, and the traits that Paul Simon lauded are the ones that have carried the young Senator into presidential politics.

His racial identity, then, is not the only factor for which Obama can be vilified by the regressives. He has that East Coast element in his background, but worst of all he evinces a superior intelligence. He is knowledgeable and articulate and personable, and what more evidence does a red neck provincial need for hating him? The quintessential, uppity you-know-what.

And so the race cards have been laid on the table. Or mailed out to greet the season of war on earth and ill will toward some people. One form is the racist accusations that need no decoding. One of the cards I received warns against Obama because he belongs to a black church whose clergy concern themselves with racial justice. By god, that is reason enough to send him right back to Kenya. Or Massachusetts, Or wherever his kind come from.

Another form that the race card takes is in accusing people of being racist. The press loves to foment these accusations. Regressive bloggers like making these accusations because it induces orgasm in them. It has emerged in this campaign as the Bradley effect. To the regressives, it is like opening up a centerfold of Penthouse. Ooooh, ooooh, ooooh, what a little racism can do for you.

The Bradley effect derives its name from when Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley drew very high poll numbers but lost in the voting booth.Analysts say that people supported him in the polls because thley didn't want to come off as racist when talking to poll takers, but they voted their true feelings in the voting booth MSNBC's Chris Matthews says that explains why Obama got such high poll numbers in New Hampshire but H8llary beat him in primary. .Pat Buchanan suggests the Bradley effect may have come into play, but in any event the primary was an occasion to play race cards. Or honkey-woman-whose-husband-got-blow-jobs-from-chubby-intern cards. The hate cards are all based upon the need to malign and feel superior to some one. Whatever, your brand of prejudice and hatred, just keep them cards a-coming. 'Tis the season.

The press and blogs have been using the cards to fan the flames of racism and racist-accusation by turning some differences in perspective between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton into major comflicts. They use the exchanges as evidence of the racial disarray within the Democratic Party.
Obama and Clinton seem to resist getting drawn into the demented little card game, but others involved in the campaigns do not seem astute enough to avoid the pitfall being dug for them.

As long as we are playing hate cards, let us deal South Dakota's hand. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin graduated from Georgetown University. She actually talks to some of them Eastern Liberals in the House. She did not endorse Obama or Clinton, which must belie some combination of racist misogyny. And the joker in this deck is that she married a Texan. There are your cards, South Dakota Republicans. Play your game.

But deal me out.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States