1sunfight’s Weblog

February 9, 2010

A Nation Divided

I live in a nation that has been bitterly divided since its inception.  There were the Federalists and the anti-Federalists, pro-Constitution (centralized federal government) vs. loose confederation of states, (the Articles of Confederation and what can be considered states rights).then there was the Jefferson/Adams feud that created the two party system, (no third party has ever succeeded, although many have tried) and the list goes on, but that is where it started. Today the struggle is strong as ever in this post Cold War nation, a war that seemed to shift our philosophical viewpoint that came from the Enlightenment to a post Cold War of left vs. right, communism vs. paranoid and delusional.  It is playing out loud and clear on center stage and more than ever since the instant Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election. 

I keep hearing that our country has never been this divided before.  I could not disagree more; there was the Civil War after all.  It just seems that it even louder this time.  I know it was loud under Clinton, very loud, especially when he tried to pass health care reform in his first year in office with the First Lady playing a major role.  It was loud under former president Bush, Jr. too, from both sides, the anti-war movement vs. the McCarthyists.  In my mind it is because we have our first black president. 

For those who hate President Obama, and I mean hate there is no strong dislike, it is hate, I would like to remind people that Jim Crowe and the Civil Rights movement was not all that long ago.  There are people alive today who were born during the Civil Rights movement and are not yet middle aged.  Our nation is not all that old and that we have not had time to completely change, or move on.  We may not make African Americans sit on the back of the bus, or openly deny them jobs any more, but it’s there, like the last vestiges of a violent storm, the smell of the rain still in the air, and the rumble of thunder far off in the distance.  Barack Obama reminds those that hate him of this time in our recent history when African Americans had to fight back hard at their dog biting tormentors.  There is more to it too.  Barack Obama’s father is not American, he is an atheist from a Muslim nation, and it is stirring up a lot of xenophobia and a lot of fear of the bogeyman.  In this day and age it is terrorists, a group of people who have perverted Islam to achieve their goal de jour.  But, the latter really speaks to the lunatic fringe in America and a lot of swaggering rednecks.  For Middle Americans who hate Obama it speaks more their Cold War past, their McCarthyism, and that a black man is stirring their fear of communism.  Rush Limbaugh put it very succinctly in an interview with Sean Hannity on FOX News. 

For Obama’s detractors he is threatening them.  He seems to threaten their Christian beliefs, even though they have nothing to fear.  He threatens their belief in what democracy means, even though they have nothing to fear.  He threatens their white skin privilege.  He threatens them because he is the president with black skin, a funny name, a foreign father, and centrist political stance.

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  1. Obama has been the most centrist President I can think of. Rush talks about tax cuts? Obama gave tax cuts to 95% of Americans. The stimulus was nothing more than a laundry-list of tax cuts. Bush’s welfare for the wealthy is still in place.
    So, I guess Rush is an Obama supporter these days…

    Comment by 152 — February 9, 2010 @ 11:45 pm

  2. I think the most divisive times are yet to come when things are going to get a lot, lot worse later in the year and all through 2011 when the adjustable rate mortgages are beginning to reset across the board and we’ll see government debt default (by the way, not for the first time in US history).

    Comment by crisismaven — February 10, 2010 @ 12:17 am

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