Commentary by Ron Miller
People schooled in good manners often advise us not to write online missives when we're angry for fear we'll regret it almost immediately after pressing the "send" button. Usually that's good advice, but in this instance, I'm going to ignore it. To all who think criticism of President Barack Obama is primarily or solely motivated by race, please tell me what alternate universe you're in so I don't stumble into it by accident.
Many friends of mine attended the tightly scripted and manipulated town hall meeting hosted last week by our congressman and House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer. As I predicted in a previous commentary on the impending event, Hoyer took steps to ensure he wasn't embarrassed or confronted by too many angry questioners.
For example, they opened the doors to the meeting venue earlier than expected and only a select few were aware of the earlier opening time. Inside, much of the front end of the session was a monologue led by Hoyer and selected panelists with the intent of dictating to his constituents rather than listening to them, and effectively limiting the time for questions. Unions and other organized supporters bused in from distant locales were using their question time to praise Hoyer at length and direct scripted chants by the audience, acting as yet another buffer between Hoyer and the people of his district, the ones who employ him.
Most opponents left the meeting frustrated that he had successfully orchestrated the event to squelch their voices. I warned them; our representatives work for us but behave as if they are potentates and we must bow to them.
One friend, however, saw something entirely different at this town hall meeting. The opposition to the health care bill had nothing to do with Hoyer or the bill itself. No, my friend declared, it's about subverting the first black President and trying to overturn the results of the last election. His critics are as racist as Mississippi in the 1960s and that, my friend said, is the main issue.
As the kids say today with undisguised incredulity in their voices, "Really?"
Barack Obama wouldn't be President today if it wasn't for the votes of white people, some of whom are now taken aback because the White House's own budget projections show he is on track to create more debt in the next ten years than all previous Presidents combined. And this is about race rather than math? Really?
He promised a dialogue and a "third way" on the volatile issues surrounding the sanctity of human life, and even persuaded many pro-life whites to vote for him. He then proceeded to unilaterally reverse policies that prevented U.S. funds from being used overseas for abortions or abortion advisory services, provided strong conscience protections for medical service providers opposed to violating their Hippocratic Oath by murdering unborn children, and forbade embryonic stem cell research in favor of adult stem cell research which has had real rather than imagined success and shows more promise every day. And it's race rather than respect for personhood that motivates the defenders of life? Really?
He said on Election Night, "I will listen to you, especially when we disagree," and we cheered because he spoke with words of conciliation rather than confrontation. Since he's been in office, he has been dismissive, condescending and insulting toward ordinary Americans who oppose him as if they're not allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights unless they're praising him. He has all but told us to shut up - "don't do a lot of talking." When our President mocks and shushes us, and we object to his petulance, we're bothered by his race and not his attitude? Really?
Sweeping, baseless accusations of racism like this one have reduced the word to a playground insult that few take seriously anymore, and that is harmful to people with legitimate claims of racial discrimination. You can only cry wolf so many times before people stop listening to you altogether.
Finley Peter Dunne once said, "Politics ain't beanbag." It's not a gentleman's sport and it's not for the thin-skinned or easily offended. I don't know if President Obama believes the attacks against him are primarily or solely racially motivated and, to my limited knowledge, he hasn't been asked. He's a successful product of Chicago politics, however, so I think he can handle criticism. I hope he isn't diminishing himself by encouraging his supporters to cry racism on his behalf so he can play the role of victim.
I've made this comparison before and I'm going to make it again; Al Gore and John Kerry and Barack Obama are essentially the same when it comes to the policies they advocate. If people were opposed to the two white men for their positions on the issues, why does it suddenly become all about race when they oppose him on the same grounds? Where's the logic in that?
What really makes my blood boil is that such myopia dishonors the historic step this nation took in electing Barack Obama. America may not be Shangri-La but it's not Selma, Alabama anymore. An inherently racist nation wouldn't elect a black man as President, and it hasn't happened in the United Kingdom, France, Germany or any of those other supposedly more enlightened and sophisticated nations on the other side of the pond.
It happened here - it was the United States of America, black, white and every shade in between, that made Barack Hussein Obama the most powerful leader in the free world. Class dismissed.
Ron Miller, of Huntingtown, is a conservative blogger and activist, former and future candidate for the Maryland Senate, and communications director for the Calvert County Republican Party. Ron is a regular contributor to
ProLifeUnity.com. You can also follow Ron
on his website TeamRonMiller.com, as
well as Twitter and