29 Mar Black Face (or, “Identity Politics Is For Suckers”) — Part 1
My friends, this is a blog that’s been a long time coming and a blog I never hoped to write. This is the one where I deal with the fact that the left has failed to stand on principle (as I see it) and mount a primary challenge against the President… and the right, after some kerfuffle and griping from the base, is similarly preparing to abandon its principles and coalesce around Mitt Romney, the most transparently self-serving, reversible man in politics today.
This is the blog where I try to make peace with my enormous disappointment that there are fewer Americans who cherish habeas corpus and due process than I ever would’ve imagined — and reconcile myself to the fact that the oligarchs, elite criminals, and neoconservatives have, against the odds, turned their 2006-08 Waterloo moment into a stunning victory (thanks to corporatist “Democrats” who, boiler-plate rhetoric aside, refused in 2009 to mount even a timid defense of liberalism — despite the fact that 30 years of trickle-down economics and eight years of appalling GOP leadership had discredited modern conservatism entirely).
After months of Obama-bashing and Ron Paul-boosting, this is also the blog where I try to clarify myself on matters concerning the intersection of RACE and POLITICS:
1) Despite my support for Ron Paul’s candidacy, I believe he still has much to answer for with regard to his past courting of racist “paleo-conservatives.” (That said, I maintain that Rep. Paul has gotten a bum rap in the media, whose disproportionate attention to this matter would seem to suggest that Paul’s controversial 1980s-90s newsletter was some kind of outlier — and that the Southern Strategy wasn’t enjoying its heyday at the time, with Republicans from Buchanan to Reagan pandering outright to racists.); and
2) While many who criticize the President are apparently motivated by prejudice, I do not believe that racial animus has anything to do with my critique of his policies (I didn’t like them when they were Bush’s policies; I don’t like them any better now).
I hope the preceding statement will not come off as the classic white-male-American denial: “I’m not a racist!” (For one thing, I couldn’t make such a sweeping declaration without adding a caveat or two… like admitting that there are racist stereotypes — and other useless and offensive junk — in my head; stuff I picked up when I was very young, for the most part, and have been working to eradicate ever since). If anything, I’m more inclined to support President Obama on account of his race (just as I would be more apt to back the first woman president or the first openly gay president; as a liberal, I celebrate the rare moments when the marginalized and downtrodden overcome the odds and prevail).
If you want the whole truth, I count myself among the millions (billions?) of human beings who found Obama’s election genuinely inspiring, and I will always remember where I was on the day he was inaugurated.
I was awfully happy on that day.
NEXT: Part 2 — Some Kind Words for the President!