With the election of President Barack Obama, the conventional wisdom was that with his election we were entering a post racial era. Whatever happened to that notion?
The world sat in amazement as we elected our first African-American President. It was the fulfillment of Martin Luther King’s dream. For every African-American child it was a marvelous moment, in a life affirming moment, each child could actually say that anything is possible in America.
The glow of election night, 2008, with the faces of a multi-racial society emblazoned on that November night, has faded, into racial stereotypical comments and actions that reflect the horrible nature of what we thought was a bygone era.
We have heard the President called a mongrel. Where was the repudiation from the Texas candidate for Governor and where is the Republican Party in all of this? We have seen mock lynchings of the President. What is truly amazing is the lack of leadership from the national Republican Party when the Birther movement came into fruition. Where is the courage to just simply say that these statements and actions are just plain wrong? There are always some people who seek to exploit our differences and our fears. And there are always those who are justifiably angry by current and past discrimination and are not shy about expressing their anger.
President Obama never promised to fix our racial divide.
Perhaps a film like,” 12 Years a Slave,” can be healing by allowing all of us to confront an ugly past.
The hope is that the hate that is being spewed is temporary coming from people who fear change and whose economic situation is threatened by circumstances beyond their control. Fear is like a disease, it can spread with vicious consequences.
Since ancient times, it has been recognized that an important function of government is to protect and provide for the less fortunate. Hammurabi, once said that we need, ” to protect the weak against the strong.”
We find the poor in the slums of cities and in rural areas where hard times have hit.
For those who are welfare, the word welfare itself has taken on an almost sinister connotation. There are some who would relegate the less fortunate among us to the poor house like in the days of Oliver Twist.
It is the tone of the discourse that is disturbing. There is a loud and vocal minority who are encouraging a racial and cultural divide by using code words that are increasing our societal tensions. By wanting to end assistance they would increase the chances of anarchy occurring.
What needs to be done is to continue to work on giving every American the opportunity to fulfil their dreams. We are a country where immigrants still seek our shores for the promise of opportunity. Let us tone down the rhetoric and realize that we are one nation, a multi-racial and multi-cultural society who have one thing in common, we are all Americans.