During last year’s midterm campaign season, many pundits on the left were asking why Americans would vote against their own self-interests on issues like Social Security and Medicare privatization. Even with revelations that corporations and the oil industry are receiving tax cuts and subsidies while social safety nets for poor and elderly citizens are being eliminated, there are elderly and poor Americans defending the GOP and their rich corporate benefactors.
Is it that conservatives are cognitively challenged and automatically support anything the Republican message machine tells them, or is there an underlying reason to vote for self-defeating policies? Since most Americans are literate enough to understand which policies are for their own good, there has to be another factor that drives intelligent people to vote against their own interests.
When Fox News pundits were fighting health care reform, their favorite derogatory term describing President Obama’s plan was that it was socialism, and they beat that drum unmercifully. Although opponents of the health law learned that police, fire, schools, and roads were socialistic, they still opposed anything Republicans called socialism; even if they benefited from it. Many of the Republican candidates in the 2010 midterm elections were straightforward in their promise to repeal the health care law as well as privatize Medicare and Social Security. So why did voters elect Republicans who promised to eliminate programs they depend on to exist? It is racism, pure and simple.
The birther movement is not about whether President Obama was born in America, but that he is not American because he is Black. When the teabags preach returning to the Founding Fathers’ intentions for the country, it is not because they are Constitutional ideologists, but because the Founders were white. There is a dysfunctional thought-process in many Americans that refuses to believe America is not a white Christian nation, and the thought of a Black man in the Oval Office is intolerable. Birther devotees are able to say Obama is not one of us because he is not American, but their real message is the he’s not American because of his race, and Republicans are using that race-hatred to their political advantage.
Donald Trump is riding the birther sentiment for all it’s worth because although the man is a carnival freak show, he knows that racism is alive and well in America. Trump has demanded to see President Obama’s birth certificate every time he opens his mouth regardless that it has been in the public record since before the 2008 elections. Trump’s response as of late is that the president is hiding something as if he is a criminal. The implication that President Obama is illegitimate or an alien who is sitting in a place he doesn’t belong is not lost on Americans who harbor racist sentiments, and Republicans are dancing around the birther issue to keep the racial divide intact.
Whether or not Republicans in Congress are racists, they know that President Obama is an American but they are complicit in keeping the birther movement alive. If they were decent Americans, they would put the issue to rest once and for all, but they desperately need a wedge between Obama and voters with racist tendencies. If Republicans let voters make decisions on the merits of the president’s policies, they would lose every battle. Most Americans need health care, but Republicans branded “Obamacare” as a foreign, socialist policy that originated from an alien man in the White House and they got the opposition they wanted. Republicans kept the issue alive for the midterm elections with promises to repeal the socialist takeover, and they won landslide victories. If a white president provided health care for 30 – 40 million people he would be lauded as a hero and have his image enshrined on Mount Rushmore. But it was a Black man, an alien, an interloper who provided health care to millions and that is too much for half of America.
President Obama is about as Centrist as any president could be, and he is a staunch defender of the military as well as business, and yet Republicans have made it their goal to limit him to one term. For two years Republicans obstructed and voted no to every proposal that benefited Americans and they still won big in the 2010 midterms. They campaigned on issues that would damage citizens and benefit big business and the wealthy, and voters supported them because Republicans opposed President Obama. There is no doubt that Republican supporters voted against their own self-interest because they were voting against Obama the Black president, and not his policies. However, it seems now that many Republican voters are looking past their racist tendencies at the real possibility that the candidates they supported are really going to steal their retirement and health care.
There has been talk that Republicans have overreached by attempting to privatize Medicare, and based on the reactions they are getting at town hall meetings to sell the privatization scheme, that may be an understatement. It may be that inadvertently, Republicans have dealt a serious blow to racism in America in their attempt at robbing seniors to pay corporations and the wealthy. President Obama stated categorically that he opposed the privatization scheme because it was un-American, and thus far, Americans overwhelmingly concur. President Obama has always had the American peoples’ interests at heart, and hopefully now the voters will see it for themselves; because a foreigner would never fight for the American people or their interests the way this president has.
Republican voters are also getting a glimpse into the real agenda the GOP is promoting and it is not beneficial for Americans. The real un-Americans are Republicans who are waging war on the people, and they are predominately white and rich. Hopefully, America has reached a crossroads and the people will look at a president, a senator, or a neighbor based on his merit and not his race. If Americans judged a political party or race by its actions in the political arena, they would have abject hatred for white Republican males. However, Americans should follow the lead of our Black president and not promote hate, but look for common ground to work for the good of the country. It is what a good American would say; regardless of race.