Habituation is one of the simplest forms of learning and, when bad behavior is repeated regularly, it becomes unnoticed and the person exhibiting it has no need for self-analysis that may inform them their habit is harmful. For most of this country’s history, white supremacy was the unequivocal governing ideology, and despite the struggle for civil rights for all Americans and the election of the first African American President in 2008, anti-African American racism is still prevalent in the population and within the conservative movement. Subsequently, it drives most of the opposition to President Obama and by extension, the Democratic Party and sadly, the President’s wife Michelle Obama.
Recently, under cover of protesting so-called federal government meddling in people’s lives, Mrs. Obama’s effort to promote low-calorie school lunches incited a football coach in Alabama to deride the First Lady’s posterior and body shape. The coach in question said, “Those lunches you get, 600-calorie lunches – you know who’s behind that? Fat butt Michelle Obama and look … look at her. She looks like she weighs 185 or 190. She’s overweight.” Another voice says, “Big fat gorilla” to which the coach responded, “I’m serious. Y’all, our country is, is, is going in the wrong direction. It’s going straight to hell.” The criticism of the First Lady’s derriere was the subject of a Rush Limbaugh rant nearly a year ago when he referred to her as “Michelle ‘my butts’ Obama,” and last year a Wisconsin Republican criticized Mrs. Obama’s healthy eating initiative loudly at an airport complaining that, “She lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.”
In the Alabama coach’s case, the conversation quickly morphed from nutritional school lunches to the First Lady’s derriere to the country’s direction, and it is a sign that the real issue is not Mrs. Obama’s body shape, it is her presence as First Lady that challenges the historic view of a black woman’s, or any African American’s, place in a historically white supremacist culture. Instead of acceptance that America is moving away from a white supremacist society, growing racial resentment is driving extremist conservatism of right-wing Republicans, and plays a major role in their total rejection of President Obama and the Democratic Party regardless the American people support the President’s agenda. Habits, especially old habits, die hard and it explains Republican obstructionism in their attempt to cling to an America dominated by what Senator Lindsey Graham termed, “angry white males.”
In the last election, many Americans and politicians, and the press is implicit in this problem, focused their attention on the plight of white Americans despite their numbers, as a percentage of the population, are decreasing as Hispanics and African Americans are growing in a natural progression in a multi-cultural society. In fact, leading up to the 2012 election, the press was preoccupied with the white vote; the white working class, white women, and wealthy white people and how they would decide the election in favor of Willard Romney. However, Republicans lost part of the white vote because of their racial resentment and extremism that goes against the social conscience of mainstream Americans whose attitudes toward tolerance is becoming the norm and, like decent human beings, are more concerned with fairness and diversity instead of religious extremism and pandering to rich white Americans. America is not changing; it has changed, and as the Republican Party becomes more extreme, and racist, they will find themselves declining in popularity among decent Americans regardless of their race, social, or economic demographic.
Hardline conservatives do not necessarily have a problem with Michelle Obama’s body shape, or her husband’s policies, it is with their race after white supremacy has been the explicit governing ideology throughout this nation’s history. The dominant idea that guided the concept of democracy, and the role of government policy, centered on improving the lives of white people and limiting it for African Americans and Hispanics who were kept out of good schools, good jobs, and decent housing that has shifted among the population that demands equal opportunity for all Americans that President Obama so eloquently championed in his inaugural address.
Many on the left question whether Republicans are inherently racists, and it certainly appears that they are, but the better question is; does racism play any part in their opposition and obstruction to every policy, agenda, and proposal the President supports? The answer is decidedly yes because based on this nations’ long history of white supremacy and discrimination toward African Americans, any other conclusion is absurd and it is due in no small part to the despicably bad habit of governing solely for and by white Americans. When this President appoints Republicans to cabinet level positions, uses Republican ideas for healthcare reform, and leans far to the right on economic policy and still faces obstruction for the sake of obstruction, there is no other explanation other than racial resentment, and that includes mocking a highly popular First Lady because she is First Lady; not because of her derriere.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.