Democrats Are Always Black Presidents

Barack ObamaFor a long time, I’ve puzzled over something. Why has the conservative treatment of Obama been almost exactly the same as the treatment of Bill Clinton. Yes, there have been little differences. For example, no one ever claimed that Clinton wasn’t qualified to be president because he wasn’t born in America. And that is a bit of overt racism that should have embarrassed the conservative movement far more than it did. I think the reason that it didn’t cause more of a stir was that the media are loath to admit anything quite so disturbing as the fact that one of the major political parties in the United States owes most of its appeal to racism. And the white majority mostly wants to compartmentalize racism as nothing more than people who use the n-word. But other than this bit of clearly racist behavior, Obama and Clinton were treated the same.

Bill ClintonWhat I mean by this is that both men were treated as though they were treated as though they were invalid. And conservatives seem to believe that either men are capable of anything. There are stories about how Obama is secretly gay married and of course who can forget that Bill Clinton murdered Vince Foster. What’s more, during both presidencies, the conservatives have kept going with supposed scandals that not only don’t come to anything, but don’t even seem to be about anything. What was Whitewater about? What is Benghazi! about? It isn’t just that I don’t know. The people pushing these scandals don’t seem to know either.

But leave it to Ta-Nehisi Coates to straighten out my thinking on this issue, Bill Clinton Was Racialized, Too. He pointed out that the issue isn’t so much who is leading the Democratic Party. The issue is that to the racists, the Democratic Party itself is the black party. It’s the part that looks after the interests of “those people.” He explained it:

Even Bill Clinton did not exist in a bubble of neutralized racism. He was a product of American politics in the post-civil-rights era, and thus had to cope with all the requisite forces. Racism does not merely concern itself with individual enmity, but with group interests. The men who killed [white civil rights activist] Andrew Goodman did not merely hate him individually, they hated what he represented. By the time Bill Clinton came to prominence, his party was closely associated with black interests.

Then he linked this to the very long history of white Americans seeing black Americans as invalid—not “real” Americans. I was especially amazed to read that people argued that Frederick Douglass didn’t actually write Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass because he was just an ignorant black man. This goes right along with claims that Obama didn’t write Dreams from My Father. How far we’ve come! But the point is that anyone but white Europeans are not just The Other, but are beings who just can’t be anything but unworthy outsiders.

So any Democratic president is going to be treated as an interloper. It doesn’t matter if they get 90% of the vote. And as we saw after the 2008 election, a certain segment of the conservative movement doesn’t accept voting. This is why ACORN was such a prime target for them. These people will never believe that the nation is changing. Instead, we get “black presidents” because ACORN and other nefarious groups are stealing elections. This is also why conservatives have embraced voter-identification laws. It isn’t about winning future elections (for the base). It is about making sure that elections are honest because they just know that real America (white America) could never have a president who cared about those non-white aliens.

Update (12 May 2014 7:42 pm)

As if on cue, The Blaze published, Texas Gun Shop’s “Funny” Sign Is Sure to Rile Up the Left: “I Like My Guns Like Obama Likes…”

Gun Shop Sign: Undocumented

I don’t see the need for the scare quotes. It is funny if you accept the premise. I bring it up because it works perfectly with what I just wrote about: conservatives’ belief that Obama is an interloper because he wasn’t really elected. It was all those non-citizens who illegally voted for him. So it’s a racist sign, but I don’t think that’s going to rile up a lot of liberals. It’s just SOP from conservatives. It wouldn’t even cause much of a stir if it had been displayed on a church’s sign.

Abortion Is Not About Babies

Emily LettsEmily Letts is a young abortion counselor who decided to made a video of her own abortion to show that it wasn’t some scary thing. I don’t know exactly what she was thinking, but it seems to me that a lot of people in the anti-choice movement think that abortion involves doctors going inside the vagina with scalpels to cut full growth babies to pieces like something out of a slasher horror film. Given the size of fetuses during early term abortions, the procedures is more like hair electrolysis.

Amanda Marcotte over at RH Reality Check summed up the typical anti-choice reaction, Anti-Choicers Desperately Insist You See Things That Are Clearly Not There. Mostly, it is like Breitbart‘s William Bigelow who noted, “Of course, it wasn’t so pain-free and safe for the baby, but there is no mention of the baby in the entire article—or, for that matter, his or her father.” That one’s delicious! Not only does he (It’s always a he!) focus on it being a “baby” but he’s also concerned that the father’s rights are somehow being denied. That’s the first thing that I think about when a woman decides to have an abortion, “Is this okay with the father?!”

I don’t know how far along Letts’ pregnancy is. But I do know it is well within the first trimester. I also know that it is only in the fifth week that the brain starts to develop. It is not until well into the third trimester that what we think of as an actual human brain begins to develop. Pain is something that we experiment because of our brains. The nerve impulses are not themselves pain.

I have to admit, though: abortion does bother me. I don’t like it when things are killed. I try to get house flies to leave my room rather than kill them. Just the same, if they don’t, I have no problem killing them. I place my comfort above the life of a house fly. I am not a Jain. (Although I greatly respect them!) Of course, I’m not suggesting that a house fly is a fetus. Just the same, the annoyance of a fly buzzing me is not the same as a fetus growing inside me that might kill me. And note: women die during childbirth at a much greater rate in the United States than they do in other advanced countries. But I don’t hear anyone in the Breitbart empire upset about that.

Don’t misunderstand, I know that the real reason that people are against abortion is because they claim that the fetus has a soul. How do they know that? No one knows. It’s just a commonly held opinion in the religious community. But it’s funny how when these people, who supposedly only care about the souls of fetuses, start talking about killing “babies” when they are trying to make a political argument. And that’s especially interesting because, as I noted above, they don’t seem to care about mothers dying as a result of childbirth. And they don’t much seem to care about the babies dying after they’re born. Get ’em born; get ’em baptized; and let ’em die!

But Emily Letts shows in her short, not at all graphic video, first trimester abortions are simple, painless, and quick medical procedures. There are no babies involved. And if you ask Thomas Aquinas, there are no souls involved either.

Julius Rosenberg and Politics of Fear

Julius RosenbergI’ve never been a good team player. If the side I’m pulling for commits a foul, I call it. Affinity doesn’t mean a great deal to me. That’s why people tend to see me as a political radical. I don’t see any reason to accept our political Overton Window. Indeed, if the Republican Party were not totally insane and divorced from reality, I wouldn’t be a Democrat. But that doesn’t much matter, given that I’m also not much of a partisan except in the sense that the Republicans basically never have any good ideas and the Democrats do.

I wasn’t born this way, of course. But like most people (I think), I was born not liking to be lied to. And all through grammar school, I was lied to. I used to be a true believer in what America stands for. But my disappointment came not because things were more complicated than young minds could understand. My disappointment came about because those in power don’t even try to live up to our ideals. It doesn’t matter if you look at Nazi Germany or Stalin Russia or 1984, the power elites are interested in one thing and one thing only: power and power and more power. I accept that. But no country’s power elite has ever made such a big show of only being interested in the ordinary folk.

Since we are nominally a democracy, it’s important to keep the people focused off what is actually keeping them down and focused on something else. Usually these things are real, just not that important. We saw just such a thing last week where 60 Minutes got the nation to weep for BP because a couple of unscrupulous small businesses conned them out of a couple of bucks. And of course, the Republicans have Benghazi! for all their followers. But the general approach is just to keep the people afraid.

And that brings us to Julius Rosenberg was was born on this day in 1918. As I said, the things were are supposed to be afraid of usually are bad things. In Rosenberg’s case, he really was a spy for the Soviet Union. The information he leaked caused the Soviet Union get get the atomic bomb anywhere from one year to not at all faster than it would otherwise have. My guess is “not at all.” This was from a period where people in the United States thought the Russians were a bunch of idiots. That was a widely held view until Sputnik.

But Rosenberg was a spy. Why did we kill him? And even more: why did we kill his wife, Ethel? There were lots of people involved in the plot, including the guy who actual stole the documents, David Greenglass. And none of them were killed. Why did we kill the Rosenbergs? Certainly, part of the reason that we killed Ethel was they were trying to use death as leverage to roll over on other people. But it doesn’t appear that there were any other people to roll over on. I think it was all panem et circenses. Killing the married couple—the Jewish married couple—was a great show! It was like a magic trick: look at the commie infiltration in my right hand while I take away your union rights with my left!

I doubt Ethel Rosenberg had anything to do with this plot other than knowing about it. Julius Rosenberg strikes me as a naive man at least as far as what he thought about the Soviet Union. But he was clear-eyed as he waited to die. He wrote:

This death sentence is not surprising. It had to be. There had to be a Rosenberg case, because there had to be an intensification of the hysteria in America to make the Korean War acceptable to the American people. There had to be hysteria and a fear sent through America in order to get increased war budgets. And there had to be a dagger thrust in the heart of the left to tell them that you are no longer gonna get five years for a Smith Act prosecution or one year for contempt of court, but we’re gonna kill ya!”

He was 35 yeras old.

Happy birthday Julius Rosenberg!