As did many of us, I had the opportunity to hear the President speak several times this past weekend, on the Sunday morning news and editorial network broadcasts. What I was watching for was response to the recent remarks by former President Jimmy Carter, in which he said that many of the President’s political and media adversaries were more than slightly motivated by racism. That has been my contention for some time.
As to the multiple interviews, I found one particularly interesting. On This Week, in an interview with George Stephanopoulous, the two men seemed to be more clashing than might have been predicted. One might conclude that Stephanopoulous was trying to avoid being viewed as consistently liberal. Recently on that program, George Will has moved to a considerably more conservative point of view than he had previously maintained. I enjoyed the President's final statement on the ACORN Issue, in which he said words to the effect that that's not really one of the most pressing issues of the day. More accurately, “You know, if — frankly, it’s not really something I’ve followed closely.”
Getting back to the point of this article, former President Jimmy Carter had the courage recently to accuse the President’s critics of racism. Interviewed by NBC's Brian Williams on Tuesday, September 15, Carter said:
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. I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans. And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the 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.
I have suspected such motivation myself. Following an election which was defined by promises of reaching across the aisle, it seemed and still seems that the Republicans and many powerful persons in the media and business are defying reason with their utter lack of objectivity. It occurs to me that in this new era of transparency and accountability, some individuals and groups may be feeling a financial pinch. Such a pinch may be quite a motivator.
I have noticed too, a growing polarization of perspective in our 21st century American political parties. From the onset, the liberal Democrats favored the cause of the individual American citizens, working hard to enrich their lives and protect their freedoms.
The conservative Republican Party has favored the interests of big business, finance and industry. And in theory, these causes merge and overlap to make a "Great Society". But in recent years, there has been a movement to go beyond previous limits in favoring business and finance. The limits of self-serving legislation have expanded. The power of the special interest moguls has increased unnoticed beyond moral, or even legal, bounds.
Consider that in the past, profiteers have found some profit in illegal endeavors — drugs, weapons. And in places where sexual activities have been promoted, places such as the legal brothels in some regions, an affinity has emerged between the sordid operations and the politicians. Currently, we are hearing in the news of such ties between government agencies, and debased, corrupt, immoral scheming. This again suggests a widening of boundaries, widening into and beyond simple "conflict of interest"; a blurring of morality. So it shouldn't surprise us when a well-intended politician promotes accountability and transparency, their should be some resistance.We can only hope that the current charges emerging in the media are untrue, or exaggerated.
Many weeks ago, shortly before the Iranian elections, I wrote:
Is it my imagination, or are the Republicans getting just a little overzealous in their antagonism toward the new President of the United States? The latest development it would seem is the "wink-wink" agreement among themselves to say or do this or that. Last week Republicans agreed that Obama's would be a one-term presidency. This week they have decided that President Obama's passion to reach out and communicate with world leaders is somehow irresponsible; somehow likely to increase the domestic potential for terrorism. We can only hope that this unproductive lack of objectivity will soon transit to some more forward thinking American viewpoint.
Since the new president took office, world tensions have eased. The economy has improved; jobs, the markets. The DOW and NASDAQ are nearly back to acceptable ranges. Unemployment and housing issues are rapidly improving. Transparency and accountability is being daily encouraged, and increased. The President is unexcelled in speaking to the media, and to the Congress, carefully explaining his thinking and his plans. The objective world will applaud his new modernized missile technology in the East and in Europe. As the Republicans search for an adversarial view, with accusations of supplicating to Russia, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in Saturday’s New York Times, wrote:
I believe this is a very pragmatic proposal. I have found since taking this post that when it comes to missile defense, some hold a view bordering on theology that regards any change of plans or any cancellation of a program as abandonment or even breaking faith. We are strengthening – not scrapping – missile defense in Europe.
Gates further pointed out that the Bush missile defense plan would not even have been operational until 2017. And many thinking people recognize that the new approaches to health care are innovative, and will be effective. A deeply troubled economy will only respond to deeply constructed reparation.
Jimmy Carter suspects racism; he may be right. At no time over the weekend did I hear the president say that he may be being stereotyped. I learned years ago that such stereotyping was unacceptable. The President says that some good Americans are merely concerned that the Government won't be able to rise to the level of protection and security that they need. This is a statement which indeed echoes President Carter's words.