Friday, February 3, 2012

Anti-Obama Hatred is Racially Healing

If the right hadn't despised Bill Clinton so brutally and viscerally, and so far beyond any sane justification, America would now be embroiled in the most savage race conflicts of its history. Because without the precedent of Bill Clinton, the right's vicious disparagement of Barrack Obama would have been seen as flagrantly and exclusively racist.

While some anti-Obama hatred does likely stem from racism, recent history of ferocious white-on-white hatred re: Clinton (and, for that matter, Bush) makes it reasonable to chalk much of it up to politics. And having working class Americans detest a black man for his party affiliation is really quite a wonderful thing, unimaginable just a couple of decades ago. It's comparatively easy to elect a charming, brilliant African-American president. But to have him despised for his politics - now that's transformation!

But, again, it weren't for anti-Clintonism, anti-Obamaism would register as a pure and relentless torrent of racism. Outrage in the black community would have erupted, and that's where the real harm would start. Because in reaction to such outrage, white Obama haters - including those against him purely for being on the wrong political team - would have accepted the gauntlet and escalated the conflict. It's what we humans do. We respond to side-taking by taking sides and escalating conflict.

Thank heavens for Clinton and his insane blow job impeachment trap, etc.. As a result, hatred of Obama, even with its occasional innuendos, is the most racially healing phenomenon in America's recent history. The country sees conservative blacks who are rabidly anti-Obama, and liberal and moderate whites who are avidly pro-Obama. We see an African-American man under widespread attack for reasons largely unrelated to race. A shift has occurred, swiftly redrawing the lines of "us" and "them", and, as a result, racial side-taking no longer has a place at the table among the grown-ups. This has got to confuse the bejesus out of those who still see the world in terms of old conflicts and polarizations.


Anonymous said...

The only problem with this analysis is it seems to forget one of the bigger reason behind Clinton hatred - he was a race traitor.

Yup. Read The Hunting of the President, by Joe Conason. Hatred of him in Arkansas started back when he took the side of the not-racist candidate in some election. And the same people continued to dog him for his entire political career. They hated him as president because he didn't hate blacks. They even went after him the same way they often went after blacks - for sex.

Another issue is that people who hated Bush at least had reasonable reasons for doing so - I mean, he lied us into a war after lying to get elected (remember "By far, *by far*, the vast majority of my tax cut goes to the lower and middle class). So the two hatreds are not equivalent.

The truth is that Dems are seen as wanting to take rich white people's money and give it to lazy, poor, inner-city (read: black) people, and that is why they hate the Dems, and Clinton and Obama, so much. Get over it.

Jim Leff said...

For your point to be relevant to this discussion, one would have to presume that this particular strand of Clinton-hating was the main component. And I don't think you'll find many people who'd agree with that presumption.

" people who hated Bush at least had reasonable reasons for doing the two hatreds are not equivalent"

I'm certainly not going to be able to persuade you from this sort of thinking. So I'll simply urge you to examine it. Not the particular data of a given case, which, per human nature, you will unconsciously cherry-pick and view through a gauzy lens of confirmation bias, tribalism, and emotion. But, rather, examine the structure itself of the perspective, which is quite generic: "You and I appear to be in symmetrical conflict, but the asymmetry is that I happen to be right and you happen to be wrong."

If you earnestly and dispassionately ponder the omnipresence of this perspective throughout history, you'll realize it's always been the fuel which escalates simple conflict (which is, in and of itself, finite and useful) into the sort of acrimony and barbarism humans do so very well and so frequently....even though they always view its results with grieving despair and vow never to fall into the trap again.

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