Monday, August 1, 2011

Politics as Usual

Y'know, it only takes a drive through the Inland Empire listening to local AM radio to remind me how very different life is on the coast compared to the rest of the country. I'm so used to taking for granted the diversity of ideas, thoughts, people, and experiences that I often forget how others rarely, if ever, engage in such things. In fact, I doubt many are even encouraged to do so.

In this way I am brought face to face with the sad reality that this is a country which has begun to disconnect from itself, one bigoted mind at a time.

While listening to a radio broadcast as I drove through Fresno county, I found myself agreeing with a lot of the sentiments of this particular host. He talked about Veteran's Issues, talked about the budget, talked about politicians living up to their promises, talked about what's wrong with America these days, and all the while I'm nodding my head in honest agreement.

At least, I was until he started talking, well... like a Birther nutjob. He replayed a recent speech given by Rep. Sheila Jackson regarding the treatment of Barack Obama as our president, and I'm sad to say even Jon Stewart believes Rep. Jackson was playing "The Race Card". The funny thing to me is, the only people I ever see playing any kind of "race card" are people who want to use it to pass Go, collect 200 hundred dollars.. and say some racist shit.

In this case, the radio host seemingly endorsed Birther conspiracies by saying that Obama did not adequately answer the problems people have with his proof of citizenship -- I'm sorry, but since when is a valid birth certificate not legitimate proof of citizenship? -- AND then he proceeded to brush off the racist signs, racist protest images, and racist tone of his detractors playing off the president being a Black man (which is funny, since he could just as easily be called a White man, technically). How does he brush this off? By saying that every president goes through something like this...

Oh ye of such ignorance! Bush was compared to a monkey, but President Bush isn't Black, and so doesn't need to worry about the historical context of comparing Black people to primates in this country. The only other president in the history of the United States, Chester A Arthur, was ever questioned about his citizenship (or should I say, slandered over it via liar's gossip) yet he was never required to "show his papers" in such a manner that is reminiscent of the way free Black men were treated in this country prior to the Civil Rights Movement -- and in South Africa.

And this is where so many people fail. They just don't understand context. Or racism. Or most Isms. It's a sad, but true reality.

And it's never more salient than driving down the 5 freeway listening to the local radio station.


1 footnotes:

Mira said...

Well, even the people who seem ok surprise us in bad ways. And then you feel bad for agreeing with them on other topics.