Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jimmy Carter's Comments of Race

Mr. Carter is absolutely right in pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. In my experience, the ones who shout loudest that they are not racists, or that racism is a thing of the past in America, are generally the most racist of the lot. I don't know how many times I have heard the phrase, "I'm not racist, but...."

President Obama has been in a tricky position ever since his campaign went into high gear a year and a half ago. The man is no fool and certainly recognizes racism when he encounters it. Yet any mention of it by him or his staff would receive an instant backlash. In fact, I hadn't thought of it in such terms before, but I'd bet that's a fervid hope by those orchestrating such things on the Right. Kind of like when Hillary identified a "vast rightwing conspiracy," and was soundly ridiculed for stating an obvious truth. Only the Right would make 100 times the hay with any admission on Obama's part that his administration is being attacked based on race.

The ultimate affront is that race is being used to incite hatred toward this administration, not necessarily because those behind this renewed vast rightwing conspiracy are themselves racist (though no doubt some are), but because it's a convenient means of tapping into the fears of a large segment of the population. It was the reason the Right went after Hillary more than they did Bill: they knew it would be easy to inflame millions of conservative voters who distrust women in pantsuits.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Open Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

You ran on a promise of affordable healthcare for all. This has been the goal of Democrats and progressives for nearly three quarters of a decade. A bill without a public option would be a boon to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and would serve to actually make our healthcare system more expensive for all. Please be true to the principles you campaigned on. Your legacy should not be a healthcare boondoggle that hangs like an albatross around your neck. Worse yet, the albatross would be unfairly hung around the necks of all progressives and Democrats, and would make a Republican Neo-Con resurgence almost inevitable. Teddy Kennedy would already be turning in his grave if he knew you were entertaining going forward without a public option. Prove you are carrying the torch he handed you when he endorsed your campaign. Be the man of the people you promised to be. You work for us Mr. President. You are accountable to us. Be true. Stand firm. We who supported you so steadfastly during your campaign will stand firm with you – but you above all must stand firm now. NO healthcare bill without the public option!

I wrote the above message on a petition I just signed through I would like to add to it here. A healthcare bill written without a public option will be a healthcare bill written, for all intents and purposes, by and for the Pharmaceutical and Insurance industries. Too long under the Bush administration, were bills written and signed, serving corporate interests at the expense of the public interest. Your campaign promise of change had, at its heart, this resounding distinction. You must shepherd a Congress with the public interest at heart. Only then will we know that change is happening. This is a critical moment Mr. President. It would be better to have fought and to have lost than to capitulate and lose faith with the American people. Undoing the public option is not compromise; it is a betrayal of principle.