In the Chicago Sun-Times on October 29, Andrew Greeley said that Barack Obama simply cannot beat racism to become president of the United States. He's consumed by all the talk of racism during this campaign and he sees it everywhere he turns. Of course, Greeley is right. There is a lot of talk of racism. But he isn't right about where it's coming from. You see, Greeley is claiming that racism is the sole reason that anyone wouldn't support Obama and he worries that racist talk is coming in torrents from Obama's opponents. The truth is, though, that the only people talking about racism is Obama and his most earnest supporters. People like Greeley.
Greeley and Obama's other supporters claim that anyone that opposes Obama is a racist. But the reality is that Obama's opponents are not talking much of or worried about the fact that Barack Obama is a black man. Obama's supporters, however, are acting just like the worst example of a McCarthyite in the respect that they see "racists" under their bed at night, around every corner, and in every dark closet. Greeley and his ilk see racists lurking everywhere... whether they exist or not.
In fact, in his fevered imagination, Greeley thinks that racists fill both parties and that they had marked Obama for destruction at the very outset saying that, "his rivals perceived that they had to destroy him." He marks the early battleground as the "haters on the Internet" and then claims that the Democrat Party itself took up the anti-Obama bigotry.
The next assault came from his fellow Democrats. He was too quick, too disciplined, too well-organized to disappear as he should have. Therefore the litany of contempt began. He lacked experience. He was not ready to be commander in chief. No one knew how he would act in time of crisis. He needed more seasoning. Others had worked for similar causes in the heat of the day. They were entitled. All he had ever done was give one good talk.
But, do you notice something odd abut the anti-Obama arguments that Greeley lists as coming from his own Party? Did you notice that not one of those reasons are race-based complaints? Inexperience is not inherently a racist charge. Neither is the "unknown" of how Obama will "act in time of crisis." Neither is the charge that Obama jumped ahead of the line of people patiently waiting for the Democratic nod and that had been around longer than he.
Greeley also lists what he thinks were the Republican's reasons for being anti-Obama.
If his opponent was going to do him in, he would have to attack Sen. Obama's character, a favorite strategy of Republicans for the last 20 years. He was a celebrity, as shallow as the pop tarts. His eloquence was phony. He was an extreme liberal, he was a socialist, he was a terrorist. He was a threat to the American way of life, he was not like the rest of us. He was not a patriotic American. In a time of crisis the country needed a proven, patriotic American.
Yet, again, Greeley seems to insist that this is all because of racism. In fact, one finds that few of the many negatives that Greeley claims folks heaped upon Obama are examples of obvious racism.
Yet, strangely, every single substantive reason that anyone would use to oppose Obama is ascribed firmly to racist intent as far as Greeley is concerned. Here's how Greeley sums up what he feels is the real intent behind each of the reasons he presented:
In other words, he faced the same race card that President Nixon played in 1972, only the card had another name now -- "experienced, patriotic, American."
So, every single reason offered to oppose Obama by Whites, Republicans, Hispanics, Democrats, women, men... they are ALL really mere racist epithets in disguise?
This is astonishing for its utter lack of reasoned reflection. Certainly there was opposition to Obama inside and outside the Democrat Party and, as to be expected, from the GOP. But, it obviously wasn't insurmountable and it was never based on race. There has been no real out-cry about Obama's race in any venue, in any debate, in any advertisement, in any legitimate political opposition.
Still, Greeley sees racism everywhere. He is fixated on it, fascinated by it. He is consumed by it as brilliantly as the light of all the suns in the universe. There is a medical word that describes someone who sees things that aren't there. You know what that word is, I'm sure.
(Photo credit: PBS.org)