There is nothing new about partisan politics in our so-called democracy, but sometimes the “demo” gets absolutely “cracy,” and with a Black man in the White House, the GOP has made the political divide even wider.
A letter last week from 47 Republican senators to the government of Iran warned that country that any deal reached with the U.S. could be reversed by the next president. The letter, much like the recent visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the invitation of Speaker John Boehner to address a joint session of Congress without consulting the president, undermines President Barack Obama’s authority and is another signal of the growing indifference and division in this country.
Rebuking Obama, scorning every move he makes, has been a relentless pursuit of the right, whether judicial, congressional or merely from the brigade of toxic commentators on the airwaves.The president’s plan on immigration reform, his executive action to stop the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, was stifled by a judge in Brownsville, Texas, in February. Rabid GOP members hailed that decision, viewing it as a victory over a president exercising “reckless authority.”
Most of the nation is aware of the Republican Party’s opposition to Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, which is once again being challenged in the Supreme Court, and if partisan politics prevail this time, it will mean a setback not only for the president but also for millions of Americans who will be stripped of insurance coverage.
In our racist society, it is very difficult to separate Obama’s liberal politics from his race, although we agree with former President Jimmy Carter and what he said six years ago: “I think people who are guilty of that kind of personal attack against Obama have been influenced to a major degree by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African-American. It’s a racist attitude, and my hope is and my expectation is that in the future both Democratic leaders and Republican leaders will take the initiative in condemning that kind of unprecedented attack on the president of the United States.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Carter, your hopes have not been realized, and the situation, in many respects, is even worse as we enter Women’s History Month and an interminable wait for the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as the first African-American female attorney general.
And we believe it is not a far-fetched assumption that the spike in the shooting deaths of young unarmed Black men is not unrelated to the general insults and humiliation of the president. If the most powerful man in the world can be assailed with impunity, the lesser of his race are all the more vulnerable.
“Fear of a Black Planet” was a remarkable commentary and recording by the rap group Public Enemy years ago, and are we now led to conclude there is fear of a Black president? When white police officers—sometimes heavily militarized—report they felt endangered by the mere presence of an unarmed Black youth, or threatened even by a naked Black man, then we know Obama, although the leader of the nation, cannot by fiat claim a post-racial society.
And even if he could, there would be right-wing Republicans firmly in opposition and willing to show—as they are quite capable of doing—that America is as polluted with racism as ever.