Sorry, It’s About Racism

Politics
(I apologize for the political kick I’ve had lately. The D.C. crisis has just been too engrossing for me)

They’re so angry.

Watching the shutdown and debt ceiling fight unfold it seems to me that the hardest of the hardcore Tea Party members are getting white hot, more so than usual. One of two things is about to happen, either they’re not going to get what they want or they’re going to drag us into our first-ever default.

The first scenario will empower them. The second will be the end of them.

As I sit and absorb all of the political maneuvering and posturing, one question keeps sticking out in my mind. Why are these people so damn angry? Many of the Tea Party politicians and their supporters are more than willing to bankrupt this country and drive it into default rather than give an inch to Obama and his health care law. Why? How can setting up these exchanges, establishing a penalty, requiring people to buy health insurance, draw so much ire from these people? When you ask them why they’re against it, they don’t spout economic statistics or alternatives to dealing with rising health care costs. In fact, they don’t really provide an answer that remotely resembles anything to do with health insurance.

Instead you hear things like, “We’re losing our country” or “Obama’s destroying our freedoms” or “Obamacare’s a train wreck of a law.” But there’s never any specifics about what they don’t like or what they don’t want to change. They only offer a visceral repulsion.

The irony of their position about Obamacare ruining the economy is that in their ridiculous gambit to eliminate it, they will obliterate the economy with a credit default. It’s like telling a hostage-taker, “put down the gun or we’ll launch a nuclear weapon on the hostage.”
Their position reveals exactly what the problem is — they’d rather destroy the country than to give Obama something he already has. It’s about hatred of the president. Pure and simple.

I’m a southerner. I remember the days of Bill Clinton and all the rage he created among the conservatives down here. But even when he was in the middle of an impeachment process, that anger never equaled close to what I see now.

And being from the South, I can tell you that the only true explanation is racism. Are all of the Tea Party folk racist? No, I’m not saying that. But you can’t take away the racial underpinnings of their movement. Many of the things they rant about (unbalanced budget, rising deficit, the bailouts) started under George W. Bush, something that gets glossed over at the rallies I’ve been to. I’ve had to fight the urge several times to say out loud that the last president with a balanced budget was Bill Clinton. But I was afraid that I’d get tarred and feathered.

I’m sorry, it’s simply racism. White’s don’t like to hear the charge, but it’s true whether they want to believe it or not.

Obama represents the very thing that frightens many white Americans — if minorities can win the presidency, what’s to stop them from controlling everything? When he was reelected, that fear gave way to the answer — nothing can stop them, especially as time wears on. Minorities are on the winning side of statistics. Their numbers grow at a time when white numbers are dropping.

With all of this vehemence that you see from the Tea Party throughout the country and from the southerners, I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re not going to let things go so easily. As minorities begin to play a bigger role in national politics, white anger is only going to grow and intensify.

Watching the latest budget/default battle is unnerving because it shows how far some are willing to go to rail against the oncoming tide. If they don’t win this fight over the debt ceiling, they’ll pick a battle somewhere else with the same endgame—borderline anarchy. The anger will continue to boil until they finally achieve some sort of explosive victory, whatever that might be. They’re looking for anything. Like that Republican congressman said, “We have to get something out of this and I don’t know what that even is.”

Very telling.

It leaves me wondering who’s going to suffer more when they finally get the destruction they want, the angry whites or the rest of us.

 

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Minority Hostage

Politics

bound

I always like to start off with numbers.

Percentage of voters who opted for President Obama in November – 53 percent

Percentage of voters who identify themselves as Tea Party in January – 8 percent.

And yet, we are on the verge of a government shutdown because conservatives in the House are afraid of that 8 percent. Tea Party people are bullying those representatives by threatening them with a challenger in the upcoming primaries if the reps don’t vote how they like on the looming budget/Obamacare issue.

So the country’s economy and credit rating hangs in the balance because of a very slim sliver of the electorate. Hardly seems right. But don’t blame the Tea Party backers, they’ve figured out the primary process and it has worked, at least when it comes to picking candidates — not in the general election, i.e. Aiken, Mourdoch, etc.

The people who are to blame are the moderate voters. They can make a difference but they are often apathetic in the primaries. Why? Because many of them know they’ll vote Blue or Red in the general election regardless of the candidate. It’s that default setting which the Tea Party has preyed upon. Because they’re fired up and are willing to turn out for the primaries, Tea Partyers have the power.

The specter of a shutdown and credit default is, for the most part, theater. Cruz is going full-tilt boogie for the shutdown knowing damn good and well it won’t happen, or if it does it won’t be for long. He knows too that it if it has negative effects, it won’t come back on him. He gets to be the loud ideologue with no repercussions.

Yes, Obamacare is unpopular. Most people don’t want it. But most people, both moderates and zealots, voted for the President in 2012 knowing that he would never repeal his signature achievement. In other words, they want Congress to work together and stop with the non-productive grandstanding more than they want to get rid of government healthcare.

I’d like to think eventually that voters will get sick of the gridlock and push out some of the incumbents who are making it difficult for Washington to do its business. Sadly, that won’t happen. No president’s party has done well in a sixth-year, mid-term election in the past 100 years. No doubt Republicans will hold the House in 2014 and they have a good shot at winning the Senate.

So no change. We’ll get yet another two years of gridlock and inaction thanks to an obnoxious, obstinate minority who has no moral high ground.

To be fair though, it’s not like politicians have ever really cared what the general public thinks, at least not until November.