When will bitter protests, hateful speech and political upheaval end?
(FinalCall.com) – Since President Barack Obama signed the landmark health reform bill, the split between Americans, extreme right wing opponents and supporters of the legislation and ideologues, has widened, but many say this division is rooted in racial hatred, rather than health reform.
Racist and hateful acts have been carried out by supporters and those whose ideology reflects the Tea Party Movement, considered to be anti-tax, anti-government and anti-Barack Obama.
“We’re in now a second phase of Reconstruction because Black governors now are being turned out. A Black president, they hope, will be a one-term president should he last four years and Black mayors, Black elected officials are being taken out of office. And when the cry comes up, they should be hounded out of town and out of office and hassle them, then the country is in for an explosion and all it needs is a spark and the people will arise and blood will be in the streets of the United States of America,” warned the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan during a live, web-streamed interview with Cliff Kelley on WVON on March 24.
One Tea Party protester called Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) n—-r multiple times and someone spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-KS) as the two men made their way through demonstrators to vote March 21 on a major health reform bill.
Several congressional offices were vandalized by brick throwers, and at least 10 members of the Democratic Party and their families have received death threats.
What people are witnessing, Min. Farrakhan said, is the beginning of the end of a civil society, because America is in the throes of Divine Judgment, according to the Bible and Quran. “From wars and rumors of wars, nations rising against nations, kingdoms against kingdoms, famine, pestilence, and earthquakes in diverse places, all of these judgments of God are coming down on America, not for her foreign policy and its wicked effect on the world, but because of her treatment of Black people in her midst,” Min. Farrakhan said.
Much of the hateful rhetoric against President Obama has been revved up by Republican lawmakers, and much is being driven by conservative radio and TV talk show hosts, like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and the like.
On March 27, Mr. Beck and some 8,000 fans, gathered in Orlando, Fla., for his American Revival, a daylong event aimed at taking back, or regaining America. Media Matters reported that Mr. Beck, who has been accused of “spewing such incendiary language,” urged followers to stock food and water for a coming showdown. “If we don’t face the truth right now, we’ll be dead in five years–this country can’t survive,” he said, Media Matters reported. Mr. Beck also promised to put forth a federal budget that would cut spending by 50 percent. “Clearly stung by a wave of accusations that right-wing radio and Fox News are ginning up death threats and potential violence against members of Congress and progressives, Beck also expanded on a new theme that resistance to what he claims is growing socialism in America must be non-violent–again invoking Gandhi as well as Martin Luther King,” said the watchdog group.
The day after Pres. Obama signed the bill, according to reports, Mr. Limbaugh told his audience, “We need to defeat these bastards. We need to wipe them out. We need to chase them out of town. … They must my friends, be hounded out of office …”
It is their influence on that rabid, racist side of the equation that ferments and forments potential violence in the country, Min. Farrakhan said.
According to Ronald Kessler, author of In the President’s Secret Service, since the first Black president took office, the rate of threats against Mr. Obama have increased 400 percent from the 3,000 a year under former President George W. Bush.
Like the Republican politicians, right wing religious extremists have fueled the flames over months.
Last September, protesters in Arizona confronted Baptist pastor Steven Anderson, who delivered a sermon called, “Why I Hate Barack Obama,” and then called on his parish to pray for the president’s death. The day after, ABC reported, one of his parishioners brought a loaded semiautomatic rifle and handgun to a rally where President Obama addressed a veteran’s group. Last June, Wiley Drake, a pastor in Buena Park, Calif., said he was praying an imprecatory prayer against President Obama, meaning he was praying for the president’s death.
The important challenge now, said Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, a professor at Columbia University, is to come together to think about ways to heal a nation that is deeply fractured by race, class, gender, and sexuality.
“People are using the health care debate as a kind of secret agent talk that they can use to actually smuggle in conversation about a deep disdain, deep disregard, for some of the most vulnerable citizens … it’s a sad moment,” Dr. Lamont Hill said.
“The irony is that health care reform is being challenged on the grounds that it’s anti-ethical to American values … and in the midst of doing that they are holding up signs about killing people. You have Sarah Palin putting gun cross-hairs on maps.”
Dr. David Horne, executive director of the California African American Political and Economic Institute, believes the climate is growing more explosive daily because:
-This is the first time in 80 years, that the Democratic Party has been able to get health reform legislation off the ground, despite the $250 million pharmaceutical and insurance companies, and their lobbyists spent to try to kill the effort.
-The Republican Party has been throwing rocks and trying to hide their hands, but because they have committed to undermining President Obama to make him fail, they have stirred up thugism and extremism, which they cannot rein in.
-Some people who do not read, are ignorant, and will not get any facts, actually believe that what opponents say about the president is correct.
“What has happened right now is the mean spirited, vicious racism that is the bedrock of this country has been given the opportunity to come out and show itself and they’re not even trying to disguise it or stop it. The Republican Party should come out publicly and say it doesn’t condone this activity, but it won’t come out and do that. They want it to continue,” Dr. Horne told The Final Call.
Although politicians have behaved badly toward each other, cursed each other out, and even had boxing matches while in session, their negative treatment of President Obama is a first, Dr. Horne said and the reason the Republicans have no problem with showing crude and uncivil behavior is because a Black man is the brunt of their insults.
Dr. Wilmer Leon, III., political analyst and XM Satellite radio show host, told The Final Call Tea Party protesters insulted every Black person in America when they insulted Rep. Cleaver and Rep. Lewis, a veteran of the civil rights movement. But the offenders were given a pass, by Reps. Lewis and Cleaver, and especially mainstream media, he continued.
“Can you imagine if at the Million Man March, we had been walking around strapped; if we had been walking around with signs with gun sights on them with Bill Clinton’s picture? They would have run Min. Farrakhan off the planet. They would have gone to every African American of note and pushed a microphone in their face and said, ‘Do you support this sentiment? Isn’t this racist?,’ ” Dr. Leon argued.
“The press would have even called track and field great Jesse Owens from the grave to get him to denounce it,” Dr. Leon added.
Dr. Leon argued the problem isn’t with free speech, but with statements going unchallenged. Plus, people must connect the dots between their so-called free speech and the vandalism and the death threats, he added.
“They don’t want to talk about domestic terrorism and that’s what this is. What? White folks can’t be terrorists all of a sudden?” Dr. Leon asked.
For example, he said, for two weeks, he could not get away from the face of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who allegedly killed 13 people and wounded 30 in a shooting rampage at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas last November. People labeled Maj. Hasan a Muslim terrorist and the media kept the story running for two weeks, yet, made every attempt within 24 hours to report that Joseph Stack, a software engineer who flew a plane into an IRS building in Texas, was not connected in any way to an act of terrorism.
Dr. Leon wondered why Tea Party members, who are upset over healthcare and consider themselves protectors of the Constitution, were conspicuously absent when former President George W. Bush and his vice president Dick Cheney were lying about the connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, 9-11, and when the Bush administration rushed the Patriot Act and wireless wiretapping through Congress.
“There is a direct link between White nationalism and Black public policy. Folks don’t want to talk about White nationalism, but that’s what this is … People don’t understand that because Whites are the dominant group in our democracy, they don’t have to say that race is their motivation. They couch it in terms of national interest,” Dr. Leon said.