Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why we should care what Jimmy Carter thinks….

Just when we thought the dialog on the Rep. Joe Wilson’s call-out on President Barack Obama, calling the President a liar, was finally beginning to simmer down, former President Jimmy Carter, arguably, the most discredited, ineffectual and naive man to occupy the office in recent history, decided to weigh in with his two cents worth. Once again defying the custom of former President’s maintaining silence on public issues, Mr. Carter has fanned the flames by suggesting that the white congressman from South Carolina had malice in his heart against a black President.

It is absurd to make this connection as there is no proof whatsoever that Rep. Wilson has any animosity against people of color.

Mr. Carter said in an interview with NBC News, “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American”. He further said, "That racism inclination still exists, and I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people -- not just in the South but around the country -- that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply.”

Mr. Carter, once again, has stirred the pot of animosity. He has made a statement that is terrifically divisive and unfair to the congressman from South Carolina. Has Mr. Carter some special, unique and omniscient knowledge of the hearts of the American people? What gives him the right to make such an egregious, universal statement? Has Mr. Carter not found enough to do in his dotage? Isn’t hob-knobbing with terrorist groups and dictators not enough for him, that he must now must slander the people of this nation, accusing us of being racists if we happen to think that Barack Obama is dead wrong, and that we question his ideology and his commitment to the improvement of the nation?

Mr. Carter could do us all a favor and go back to pounding nails for “Habitat for Humanity”, and leave politics, statecraft and race relations to those who have the with and the acumen to understand them.

He obviously doesn’t. His record on that score is infamous; he arguable had the most failed Presidency in the last half of the 20th century. Yes, perhaps he should go back to Georgia, and keep to the old tradition that former Presidents keep to themselves and manage their own affairs, and keep out of the public discourse.

How can we as a nation make things better for all people when people like Mr. Carter ascribe a racial component to legitimate opposition? This creates a resentment that would not necessarily have been present previously, had the conversation remained in the political and ideological realm. To suggest that opposition to policy is solely due to race is a disservice to the nation. It creates a “bunker mentality” to groups that are accused of being discriminatory, stifling real and useful discourse, and creates the air of “protected class” status for those who use that gambit against their political rivals. It can become a millstone around the neck to those who use the tactic by actually creating racism where it previously didn’t exist. Logic and human nature being what they are may see some reconsider racial tolerance and acceptance. After all, what good does it do to try and set aside the entire cultural and historical baggage associated with race relations in this country if we keep getting beaten down with it, or have past behavior thrown up into our collective faces at every turn? Why try to find common ground with those who look different, act different, or believe differently if the only pay-off is to be labeled a racist if we happen to disagree on some issue? It is true that there are some who don’t like the fact that a black man occupies the White House; it would be naïve to suggest otherwise, but to make the wholesale assertion that ALL opposition is race based, is absurd and creates race based animosity where none may have existed before.

There is also a small possibility that it may even hurt future candidates of color because some of the voting public will not like to see a repeat of this racial acrimony should other minorities attempt to seek office. Some voters may just decide that it isn’t worth it to them to vote for minorities candidates if it follows that disagreement equals racism. It would be easier to simply not to back minority candidacies and avoid future problems. This would be a huge tragedy for all Americans as We, the People could be denied the best and brightest men and women for office because it’s just easier to exclude, rather than deal with the potential slander.

Then again, maybe that’s what they Liberal Democrats want….

It would be a self-fulfilling prophecy and confirmation of the liberal world-view that America is an inherently racist country, beyond hope and redemption without the blessings and programs only liberalism provide.

It is also my belief that there is an industry that exists to profit from racial inequities whether real or imagined. Men like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have enriched themselves to the tune of millions of dollars and created empires based on reverse race baiting, accusing enterprises and individuals of discrimination and racism when no absolute proof exists, and then extort money or favors from the accused. It is a tremendously effective tool to mute opposition.

America has come so far in the 40+ years since the Civil Right Act was signed into law. Nobody with any intelligence would argue that we still have some work to do to ensure that progress continues toward a truly color blind society, free of base prejudices’ that have so divided us as a nation. I believe that the day will come when we will look back and wonder how all those who came before could have been so ignorant to look at people and measure intellect, competency and character by some superficial differences in color, appearance, or national origin.

I hope that that day comes soon.

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