We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

Racism in our American political culture?

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John Eyster
Friday, October 26, 2012

Racism in our American political culture?

I was DISappointed to read the Washington Post’s report that there is a widening racial gap in our American presidential contest. Are WE THE PEOPLE of the US really RACIST? What do YOU think?

First, I urge you to read the feature by Jon Cohen and Rosalind SA. Helderman with contribution by Scott Clement, “Poll shows widening racial gap in presidential contest” published by the Washington Post yesterday.

BOTTOM-LINE: Obama has a deficit of 23 percentage points, trailing Republican Mitt Romney with 60% to 37% among whites according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News national tracking poll. This is in contrast to the report that at this stage in 2008, Obama trailed Republican John McCain by only 7 percentage points. The report cited the fact that exit polls reported that Obama lost to McCain by 12 percentage points on white votes.


For me, this increasing racial gap is VERY worrisome as one evaluates our American culture. I see this as REGRESSION. What do YOU think?

The article notes, “The slippage among whites is something of a setback for Obama, who campaigned on bridging the racial divide in his election and has sought to minimize rifts that have arisen in his presidency. Although Democrats typically win minorities and fare worse among white voters than their Republican rivals, Obama outpaced previous losing Democratic candidates with both groups.”

Adding, “Less than two weeks before the election, the evidence suggests that a much more sharply divided country will head to the polls.”

What’s going on?!

In our increasingly diverse society, I find it dysfunctional that the article reports, “Fully 91 percent of Romney’s support comes from white voters.” What do YOU think?

I want to underscore the articles clear warning, “There is no way to tell from these findings what role, if any, racial prejudice may play on either side of the racial gap. But the data suggest that concern about the economy is amplifying the division, as Obama’s decline in support among white voters appears to be closely linked to views of his handling of the economy. And yet minorities have suffered severe unemployment and housing foreclosures in the current economy as well.”

Additionally, “The national polling data do mask important regional differences,” so we must read carefully evaluating the REAL meanings! Forewarned is forearmed!

At the same time, one must consider, “In a rapidly diversifying country, the percentage of the nation’s population that is white drops 2 percent every four years, said David Bositis, a senior research associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. And even among white voters, Republicans perform best among older voters, who will age out of the voting rolls in coming years.”

Consider the historical perspective reported in this article, “In 1988, the last time there was such a prominent racial gap, white voters sided with George H.W. Bush over Michael Dukakis by 59 percent to 40 percent, with nonwhites breaking 78 percent to 20 percent for the Democrat. Were Obama to slip into the 30s among white voters this year, it would be the first time for a Democrat in a two-way race since Walter Mondale did so in 1984, losing white voters to President Ronald Reagan by 64 percent to 35 percent.”

My own concern was DRAMATICALLY INCREASED when I read Daniel Bice’s report in his poignant OpEd column on Sunday, October 14, 2012, “Tommy Thompson's son calls for sending Obama back 'to Kenya'”!

YOU can watch the video of Jason Thompson’s “birther remark.” Here is the link, “Tommy Thompson’s Son Makes Birther Remark.”

The quote from Jason Thompson is, “"We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago - or Kenya.” REALLY?!

Where did this attitude come from? I assert that this is a FREUDIAN STATEMENT! What does it mean?

The column reports that on the same Sunday (October 14) at an evening news conference in Wauwatosa, TOMMY THOMPSON initially deflected a question from No Quarter about the video, stating, "I don't know what you're talking about.”

Bice then reports, “About an hour later, however, Thompson's staff sent an email addressing the controversy. "The Governor has addressed this with his son, just like any father would do. Jason Thompson said something he should not have, and he apologizes."

Of course what he said should NOT have been said aloud. We know the US Supreme Court has held that one may THINK anything one wishes, but the CRUNCH comes when one articulates the thought! Forewarned is forearmed!

In fact, additional perspective is gained reading the rest of the Bice “No Quarter” column of Monday, October 15, 2012, “During the same Sunday (October 14) news conference, Thompson had his own slip of the tongue when talking about Baldwin.

“A reporter asked Thompson about Baldwin's statements Sunday at the Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee, responding to allegations that she has flip-flopped on sanctioning Iran.

“Thompson called Baldwin's explanation ‘the lamest excuse I've ever heard.’ He then went on to call her ‘anti-Jewish.’

“Only later did he backtrack when the same reporter asked him if he meant what he said.

"’She's anti-Israel,’ he clarified.

“Back in 2007, Thompson had to apologize for telling a Jewish group that earning money was ‘part of the Jewish tradition.’ He made the remark to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism while running for president.”

Do these words come from persons who are sincerely and really OPEN to the DIVERSITY of our American culture? What do YOU think?

Jason did “apologized." Bice reported that articulation in his "No Quarter" column on Monday, October 15, 2012. YOU can read that column using this link, “Thompson's son apologizes for 'back to Kenya' remark.”

What a SURPRISE! I note that the report is that he apologized to HIS COLLEAGUES at Michael Best & Friedrich law firm where he works. NO BRAINER?!

Be sure to note Bice’s report of the statement issued by Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, Madison public relations firm for Michael Best & Fredrich, "Over the weekend, one of our attorneys and the son of Senatorial candidate Tommy Thompson made a regrettable comment at a campaign event for his father. We want to make it clear that the comment made at the campaign event in no way reflects the views, beliefs or values of Michael Best & Friedrich." OF COURSE NOT!

The last report I’ve read is, “Thompson campaign staffers have not said whether Jason Thompson will continue to represent his father's campaign at political events.” If you have seen a follow-up report, I hope you will post as a comment. I will be reading comments.

Are we moving to fulfilling MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR’s dream, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”? What do YOU think?

I encourage you to read again that historic speech of August 28, 1963 in our American history at The Lincoln Memorial in our American history. You can access it online via the ABC News website, “Martin Luther King’s Speech: ‘I Have a Dream’ – The Full Text.”

I have a dream today. Martin Luther King, Jr. articulated that dream for me. It is grounded in my growing up in our American culture and the Christian faith. Do YOU have a dream today?

Here we go…

Mr. E.

Last updated: 10:32 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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