Sunday, October 4, 2009

To some, only racism can explain opposition

In less than a year, disagreeing with the president has gone from a patriotic act to pure racism.

At least, that's what I keep hearing.

This weekend on Real Time with Bill Maher, actress Janeane Garofalo was the latest left-wing speaker to claim that the populist anti-Obama movements marauding across the country are motivated by racism.

Originally I considered this such a weak argument that I didn't consider it worthy of my time and effort. But it's coming from so many angles I really can't ignore it.

Surely there's a lot of things that motivate people to feel and act certain ways, so why should racism be the biggest one?

Consider this: Political activism made a huge comeback in the W. Bush years. I believe a big part of that can be attributed to the Internet. The Internet was dominated by tech-savvy young people, who tend to be liberal. They had a very powerful way to share information, as well as build political organizations, and this came out at the same time as a pretty serious social conservative took office for eight years.

I think both sides experienced a polarizing effect. Instead of using more general-interest news sources like in the past, people were able to turn to more overtly biased news sources like MSNBC and Fox News, as well as blatantly one-sided Internet news sites. This is a recipe for a powerful protest movement.

Enter Obama, and people on the right say, "me too," and do the same thing. Advances in technology, as well as its osmosis into our daily lives, allows this older batch of protesters to use the Internet to organize as well. Sadly, they are following the same tone as the previous protest culture - perhaps they think what happened over the last eight years gives them permission.

In addition, the anti-Bush movement didn't disband, but morphed into an Obama fan club.

So what we have is a hostile political atmosphere, with both sides glaring at the other with distrust, and claiming to know exactly what's right for America.

But what do politically-horny celebrities chalk it up to? Something more complex and well-thought out? Nope, just racism.

This brings us back to what I wrote before about false positives. The argument for opposition to Obama as motivated by racism is: There's a mostly-white movement opposing a black president, so therefore one causes the other.

Please. Can there be anything more intellectually lazy?

1 comment:

  1. Wow this was written very well. I couldn't see any bias and it got the point across.