Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Obama on "The Quite Riots" of racism and poverty

I encourage everyone to actually take the time to watch the whole video of President Obama's message at Hampton University. Yes, I know its a little more than 1/2 hour of your day - but I promise its worth your time. As is so often the case when the rightwing goes apoplectic, the real truth here is actually much more powerful than their attempts at hatemongering.

Unfortunately, the only complete recording I can find comes from The Daily Caller. So please ignore their over-the-top attempts to sell their diseased product and listen to Obama talk about our neglect of "the quiet riots" of racism and poverty that require healing in this country.

What you'll hear is someone who not only understands and articulates the wound inflicted on this country by our history of racism, but someone who calls on us to unite and work together towards that end he talked about a year later...a more perfect union.

P.S. If you'd rather read the speech, The Grio has published the transcript.


  1. I'm repeating what I "tweeted" earlier, but you have to hate Black people to think that this is not a humane speech. He's offering a very positive look to the future while maintaining a clear awareness of the very real wrongs of the past. Most white people, even those of fairly dim awareness, don't have a problem with the idea that Black people would be aware of past wrongs and hope for a better future through working for it. This will not hurt the president in the least.

    I do not think that all the contradictions inherent in the right at this point will come to full fruition before the election is over, but we are seeing them like we haven't yet. Much is made of the demographic problem: the appeal to white patriarchy when that demographic is declining proportionally in the electorate. Yet, this very fact necessitates the increased proportional turnout of that very demographic, which requires a rhetorical tack that alienates other demographics.

    Another major contradiction is the role of right-wing media. After Watergate, it became a goal to produce a media that would not use real reporting to take down an administration like it did Nixon. So on the one hand, Ailes creates Fox News, a truly alternate universe. Also, demand "equal time" on other networks and plant your people among them. We now have a generation of journalists for whom this is normal, viz. David Gregory.

    The interests of the right media do not at this point coincide with the interests of the political leadership. Media wants ratings, political leaders want electoral results. At one point the two went together, but now they're diverging. And, moreover, we get a split between the Fox News crew and the David Gregory types in the rhetoric. Each attempts to stimulate GOP turnout but the message is incoherent.

    I read a comment about all this to the effect that now it's "every man for himself" on the right. Very few people are working for Romney's election, and very many are working--like Drudge and Hannity--to shore up their position vis-a-vis their target audiences for after the election.

    1. You remind me of David Frum's infamous "Waterloo" column.

      I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

    2. Precisely! Frum has a rough time of it because he disagrees with the president's ideas but cannot argue meaningfully with the results. That, and because he's a pariah amongst his people. He's one who is betting the farm on a reconstruction of the GOP after failure in 2012. I think that's not likely, though, because the places they're strong, they're really strong. The GOP isn't losing in rural, white Alabama. To them, why change?

    3. And to not sound as bigoted as I just sounded, putting the ball in my own court: my own town, San Diego, in Blue California, is fairly certain to elect a truly awful GOP mayor who talks positively about Scott Walker. The Democrat is not a good candidate, though his politics are decent by Democratic standards. The GOP owns this town and nothing in this election is likely to change that or the GOP tack.