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Race in this Race

There are multiple dustups brewing in the national election scene as both presidential campaigns aren’t just testing out themes to appeal to voters, but also attacks and rebuttals as well.

There are multiple dustups brewing in the national election scene as both presidential campaigns aren’t just testing out themes to appeal to voters, but also attacks and rebuttals as well. It’s all about gaining political advantage for their side in the November elections.

That said, the theme that our president’s opponents most want to declare taboo is the issue of race. They seem the most indignant when it's suggested that race could even possibly be an issue in an election where Americans will be asked whether or not they want to re-elect the nation’s first African-American president.  

Journalist and former CBS anchorman Dan Rather drew a white-hot reaction from the rabid right for stating the obvious -- race will still be an issue in the 2012 presidential election. The reaction seems hottest by those who have been quickest to use race as an issue in the past, whether it was calling President Obama a "colonial Kenyan," reviving and reveling in Birther controversies, or never truly denying rumors that the president is secretly a Muslim.

The irony is the folks guiltiest of those tactics take the most umbrage at being called to task on it. Sometimes, it smacks of I-think-he-doth-protest-too-much doublespeak.

At the end of the 2008 election cycle, such questions about race did prove to be relevant. From accusations of President Barack Obama hating white America due to his association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the subtle insinuations that Birthers still level against him today, there was ample evidence that certain segments of America weren't ready for a black president. 

Posters of President Obama dressed as an African witch doctor, continuous “questions” about the man’s birth certificate, and other attempts to prove that he is "not one of us" are evidence that the issue is far from dead, especially with some of the radical’s in the Republican party. Yet, other right-wing activists, even if they don't believe such accusations, still seem willing to use the controversy to their political advantage.

So, Rather's comment that it would be an issue this year barely qualifies as news analysis in my opinion. The rage from those being called out for it is more evidence of how it’s true than any assurance it's not. Is Dan Rather correct? Yep.  The issue really is how much and how in-your-face race is going to be over the next few months

There are some ominous signs already. Jeremiah Wright's latest sermons are back on the playlist at Fox News and other right-leaning media outlets, despite the fact that President Obama hasn't had him as a pastor since 2008, cutting ties after the previous controversy. And, while it's harder to tell if birtherism is being pushed front and center again, since it's always been in the news, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's recent press conference on the results of his investigation into the president's birth certificate shows that there's a willingness out there to play upon those fears of a black President being from 'Somewhere Else.'

So, certainly there are people out there who are still ready to make those same sorts of arguments as before, though they are now unable to couch them in the terms of 'Are we ready for a black president?' After all, the results of the 2008 election showed that we were.

However, conversations about race and politics don't have to be considered automatically negative things. That's just our default assumption when racial differences are discussed in the media. Race could play a positive role in the 2012 presidential election. The problem is that all signs point to no for now. Skirmishes between the two campaigns have been economic or social, not racial, and only time can tell if it's going to come up in the future. The nation's imagination is going to be captured by the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman trial, but is that the right atmosphere in which we want to have a healthy conversation about race?

While this election is yet again another historic chance to have a significant conversation about race, it needs to be a conversation that is worthy of America. Otherwise, it's going to be considered an extension of our presidential election pageantry culture, instead of a sincere effort to talk about the real situations that America's melting pot faces today.

Reprinted from State Senator Curt Thompson's (D-5th) blog. Also, check the Senator out on Facebook and Twitter.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Floyd Akridge April 25, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Actually Greg you are incorrect...he did not release the original. But for me the birth certificate hasn't been much of an issue. If he's tossed we have President Biden who is such a fruit a nut and a flake he could be a box of grape nuts.
Floyd Akridge April 25, 2012 at 04:53 AM
David...none of what you post is true and I fully doubt you're being a republican. You need to keep current on polling data. The WSJ had a very good article on the male/female vote. It's not the female vote but rather the single female vote. Romney is leading Obama among married women. But here's the truth...Obama has had it all his way for months...no opponents...taking potshots at Republicans...and the best he can do is an approval rating in the low to mid 40's . He's going to plummet when he has to defend his record.
Ground Chuck April 27, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Well, one thing that is evident is Mr. Obama's plan to take control of carbon-based energy and wipe it out using regulation. The EPA under Obama's appointees and Czars have enacted hundreds of new regulations totaling $38 billion with another 219 set to go into effect. One of his lesser-intelligent appointees, Region 6 EPA Administrator Al Armendariz, spouted off about their hatred of the oil companies with the comment “I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said,” Mr. Armendariz said. “It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. … So, that’s our general philosophy.” In addition, here is a link to some of the irrational regulations that (as part of the bigger picture) prove that Obama has an agenda to destroy the fossil fuel industry BEFORE there is an alternative (China is laughing their a$$es off at us): Link: http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/18/news/economy/drilling-regulations/index.htm Sorry, can't blame this one on Republicans nor Fox News.
Ground Chuck April 27, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Grant, just like with the Dems, you can't categorize the entire party based on some of the crazies involved. Media loves to shine the light on controversy. Obama has a much worse agenda behind the scenes then Bush did. I'd vote for Clinton if he could run. The past 11 years have stunk as far as what has come out of the executive branch.
Ground Chuck April 27, 2012 at 02:36 AM
I really believe there are more people who are color-blind than the media and bloggers would have you believe. If you could profile someone's heart, you would find all types of prejudice, most based on fear. That is the root of most racism anyway, fear. I think what people are fed up with is the automatic stereotypes being thrown around. Labeling people something negative because of a political viewpoint of an issue is where the problem lies from the concept of today's political debates. On the other hand, voting for someone because of their color is also a sure sign of ignorance and racism. That is definitely not judging a man by his character!

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