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Monday, February 22, 2016

Euphemisms of the Radical Right Hide the Blunt Truth

It’s time to expose those euphemisms used by certain Right-wing Republicans.  They are mostly racially biased utterances by politicians and their followers that are seemingly mild, indirect or vague but they act as substitutes for a harsh or blunt underlying meaning that usually serves to denigrate the target of the expression.

Obama is a Muslim’ – not a Christian; a divider not a uniter; he ‘leads from behind’, he is a ‘socialist.’  He was born in Kenya so he’s a foreigner; he’s on vacation again; another scandal; he should be impeached – or sued.
Strangely enough, this over-use of euphemisms has seemed to have less success in hiding meanings than in revealing the very worst of who some Republicans really are in essence.  Their attempts to hide bigotry, scapegoating, demonizing, or racial superiority have not worked as they thought they would because they haven’t been able to cease and desist, even when others encouraged them to do so.  Let’s have a closer look at this phenomenon.
In spite of a speech to a lawyer’s organization in which he granted Reagan the green light in making a nomination to SCOTUS in an election year, Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, (and most of the Republican presidential candidates) asserts that Obama must wait for a new President to be elected so that person can fill the SCOTUS vacancy with a voter mandate.  
In contrast to McConnell's partisan obstructionist dictum, presidents dating back to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson have made election-year Supreme Court nominations—a power bestowed upon the presidency by the very Constitution that America's founders wrote.  In total, 17 Supreme Court justices have been nominated during election years, though some received confirmations following November elections.  Most recently, Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on Nov. 30, 1987, in the midst of more than a dozen on-going presidential campaigns.  Kennedy assumed the bench on Feb. 22, 1988, just 10 days after that election year's Iowa caucuses. (material attributed to www.dailydot.com)
So here we are at a point where the Republicans have already established that Reagan could send an Associate Justice nomination to the Senate during an election year, but Obama should not.  What is the difference?    The same thing it has been since the beginning of Obama’s election: not birthplace, not religion, not inexperience, not socialism, not any of the other euphemisms bestowed upon this President.
It is again why every conceivable thing has been blamed on President Obama, why everything he does or proposes is suspect.  Why every budget of his was dead before it even got delivered to Congress.   Why every glitch is a scandal; why he is despised, hated, and vilified.  Anything good that he accomplishes has to be demeaned immediately.  It’s why most of his appointments have been delayed or over-interrogated.  It’s why he gets blamed for the economic problems produced by the Bush administration and why the Republicans blamed him before the 2010 election for the mess in Washington.  It’s why the Affordable Care Act  has been vilified and voted on for repeal over 50 times.  Sure, FDR’s New Deal programs still come in for criticism from the conservative Right, but mostly surrounding ideological issues not personal vilification; pretty much the same is true of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.  Unrelenting repeal votes on those programs are not in evidence. 
So, take another look.  This President alone of all Presidents is told to refrain from nomination of a Justice because an election is 10 months away (Reagan was 18 months away from an election when he made three tries and finally got an appointment through during an election year!).  It is finally time to stop the cover-up. The Radical Right should tell us the blunt truth for once.  Say right out loud that you hate this guy and all he stands for and all he tried to do because he is a man of color, and make clear in plain English your belief that no Black man deserves to go down in history as an outstanding President or even as an accomplished one.  Not one.  Just say it.
This fatal bias has been there in all its disguised ugliness for all eight years of the Obama administration.  In fact, it has been around from before the beginning of our Revolutionary War and throughout our history, becoming most evident in critical manifestations:  civil war over slavery, reconstruction of the South, Jim Crow legislation, segregation practices, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and now in a reactionary period following the election of our first African-American President. 
All this and more has bedeviled this country for its entire life and that bedevilment is not over.  The racial purists will continue their attacks even after Barack Obama leaves office.  They cannot allow themselves to stop, because just as they are now seeking to restrict the President as no other president has ever been restricted, they are planning what they can do to destroy this President’s legacy.  We know one thing from what they have already said and done: they will describe his presidency as the worst; as the most corrupt; as the ‘abominable legacy’ of a failed President.  Don’t believe it?  Wait and see.
We might want to remind ourselves that criticism of particular legislation, policy or program has happened before in our history.   But this particular vilification of President Obama, has been, and will continue to be, of a depth and character that reflects the worst of our human nature: the need to denigrate and degrade those who are different.  
The perpetrators of division and enmity are fools of course, but worse, they are destroyers, and fascist-like in their choice of a people to scapegoat and to annihilate, attempting to destroy one group in total favor of the inheritors of everything they believe to be exceptional and superior.  It is no accident that they use the word ‘exceptional’ to describe the perceived #1 status of this country and its (white) people.  Even when the U.S. ranks somewhere in the twenties or thirties among nations, they hide that failure and promote their "exceptionalism" which serves mainly to hide the bluntness of Aryan ‘superiority’ or ‘white supremacy.’
This is a pernicious flaw in the American experience.  And when racial bigotry comes out of the woodwork to once again bring this flaw into full force, it demeans us all.  This radical Republican emergence from the Tea Party Movement has also brought Fascist-like strategies and tactics to our country’s political process and it has not been pretty.  Strange that two strains run together: we have a sizeable group of white people supporting the election of our first Black President and another group openly promoting racism and bigotry that reacts in hate and denial to that very same election, and to the person who leads the free world.  
Now we have Republicans running for President who have allowed themselves the 'distinction' of sinking to the lowest levels of hypocrisy, xenophobia, and anti-democratic rantings, supported as always by the Screechers of Fox network.  It just so happens that even as the President took time from his recent vacation to acknowledge the passing of Justice Scalia, that a writer of dubious distinction could not restrain from a tirade of negativity regarding him, his demeanor and his appearance.  I put special emphasis on the key words of denigration just so you can be sure to recognize the not-so-veiled racist talk:
“President Obama’s official remarks Saturday on the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia have been derided as “a mess,” while one website reveals it followed hours of plotting to maximize the political opportunity Scalia’s death might provide the president. Kristinn Taylor, writing on The Gateway Pundit, called Obama’s announcement a “disrespectful presentation.” “When he did deign to interrupt his Washington’s Birthday holiday weekend vacation, Obama spoke to the nation from the press filing center in Rancho Mirage while not wearing a tie with his rumpled shirt collar open under a suit jacket,” she wrote. “Two-thirds through reading prepared remarks staged on the lectern, Obama placed both elbows on the lectern and finished the three-minute speech slouching on the lectern”

A lot of stumbling and bumbling by Obama through his obligatory remarks about Scalia. What a mess.
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) February 14, 2016

If you just read what I have bolded, italicized and underlined, you will have absorbed the distinct flavor of these bigoted and disrespectful remarks about the President of the United States.  He was clearly characterized as a sloppy mess with a plotting and disrespectful demeanor, just barely deigning to read prepared remarks that he stumbles and bumbles through in a mere three minutes while slouching on the lectern with elbows akimbo.  If you can’t understand the stereotypical profile being painted here of the stumbling bumbling, disrespectful, sloppy and slouching “darkie” characterized as the ‘fool’, then you will have missed the point entirely. It is a description teeming with salacious characterizations of black folk similar to the minstrel shows of old.
But perhaps more to the point is that bigots use such terms to indiscriminately characterize all ‘welfare queens,’ rappers, gang members, the jobless, homeless and felons, along with Black workers, families, churchgoers, teenagers and this particular President of the United States!  Stereotyping, profiling, discrimination, bigotry continue to fall upon all persons of color, and have by no means gone away. These forces are lurking everywhere in spite of the fact that President Obama was twice elected President by substantial margins.
Be sure to keep watch, Progressives.  While we herald the progressive accomplishments of President Obama, these Right-wing authoritarians (my euphemism for ‘Fascist’ or ‘Nazi’) will be hard at work attempting to destroy all they possibly can in relation to this two-term President. They will be relentless in their efforts to cast a slimy net over all the accomplishments of this administration.  They will desecrate and diminish even the following:
  • The undeniable fact that 18 million people who had no health insurance are now covered
  • The slowing of premium rate increases, the expansive use of Medicaid for coverage, the increase in consumer protection, and the elimination of private insurance scams such as total payment limits, the drug hole for seniors, the imposition of pre-existing conditions and the unequal treatment of women in terms of their health needs.
  • In his first year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and stimulated the economy 3.5%.  http://reut.rs/i46CEE
·         Obama completed the massive TARP financial and banking rescue plan, and recovered virtually all of its costs.   http://1.usa.gov/eA5jVS   http://bit.ly/eCNrD6
 
·         He created the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan.  http://1.usa.gov/goy6zl

·         Obama oversaw the creation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years, and has overseen an incredible streak of job creation, lowering of the unemployment rate and increase in manufacturing rates, including
·         a bailout of General Motors that saved at least 1.4 million jobs, and put pressure on the company to change its practices, resulting in GM returning to its place as the top car company in the world
 
·      Cutting the deficit by 2/3s since he came to office

  • The elimination of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military
  • The successful mission to eliminate the leader of Al Qaida, Osama bin Laden
  • The successful use of special ops forces to eliminate more than 30,000 members of terrorist forces, including many leaders of Al Qaida and of ISIS. (On December 7, 2015, the Washington Post reported that since 2001, in five theatres of the war (Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Somalia) that the total number of terrorists killed ranges from 65,800 to 8,600, with the Obama administration being responsible for between 30,000 and 33,000. [222 Wikipedia).
  •  Treaty with Iran to reduce their nuclear capability and the opening of trade with Cuba
  • The end of the original wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • The agreement on climate standards with 64 nations including China
  • Read much more at:  http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/02/15/a-long-list-of-president-obamas-accomplishments-with-citations/

  • The compiler of these accomplishments ( addictinginfo.org) has this to say to critics:
“If you’re one of those folks who thinks President Obama is a “disappointment,” you haven’t been paying attention the last few years. And those of you who try to draw comparisons with the Bush Administration should put away the hallucinogens and have your memory checked.  If you were in a coma for the eight Bush Years, I apologize and forgive you. But please join the real world. So far, this president has done most of what he said he would do if elected; imagine what he could have done by now if progressives had supported him and not given him a Congress that doesn’t look at him as if he’s the demon seed.”
“Not only is he NOT a ‘disappointment,’ he’s pretty much the opposite. And no, I don’t just say that because he took out Osama bin Laden, helped Libya determine their own destiny for the first time in a while, and because he seems able to handle international incidents without starting a new war. The guy does nearly everything we elect a president to do, and he doesn’t brag about it constantly.”
In stark contrast to what the denizens of the radical Right are declaring about the President (too often from a bigoted point of view), let us begin to proclaim the opposite: that Barack Obama is the epitome of an accomplished and multi-tested President who should have every opportunity to nominate Justices to the Supreme Court.  With 12 years of teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago (lacking in the backgrounds of most of his radical Republican critics), added to his substantial accomplishments, he should do it as speedily as he can.  After all, he has already wisely appointed the first Latina woman, Sonia Sotomayor, to the Supreme Court who had bi-partisan support when President George H.W. Bush appointed her in 1992 to the District Court for the Southern District of New York, and when President Clinton appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd District. 
 A writer for TruthDig.com brought forward the President’s experience in constitutional law as it applies to this situation:
“The president drew heavily upon his knowledge of America’s foundational text Tuesday as he attempted to school the opposition about what exactly the Constitution spells out for just this situation, as The New York Times reported:
‘The Constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now,’ Mr. Obama said during a news conference after a meeting in California with leaders of Southeast Asia. He said the Constitution demands that a president nominate someone for the court and the Senate either confirms or rejects.
‘There’s no unwritten law that says that it can only be done on off years,’ Mr. Obama said. ‘That’s not in the Constitutional text.’

Mr. Obama said he understood the political stakes of a nomination that could change the balance on the court. ‘I understand the pressure that Republican senators are now under,’ he said. ‘This would be a deciding vote.’
But the president said the Supreme Court ought to be above political gamesmanship. ‘This will be a test of whether rules, norms, and fair play can function at all in Washington,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Obama is doing his part to push a nominee through the inevitable roadblocks to the nation’s top court by carefully picking someone who, as he put it, is ‘indisputably qualified’ for the job.”
As for all of us who call ourselves Progressives, we should take this case to the public and keep the pressure on the Senate to do the right thing:  consider President Obama’s nominee on the merits of past decisions or votes, the outcomes of community and public involvement, and the judgment s/he displays.  While race, gender, or cultural background may be important in a nominee, they should not be deciding factors in whether or not to confirm.  Likewise, we must make the case that it is an entirely specious argument that we should wait for a Presidential election before anyone is nominated.  There is simply no constitutional, legal or even logical requirement for such a delay.  It is simply one more euphemistic production of the radical Right to demolish the legacy and legitimacy of this President.