Monday, March 26, 2012

Quick Thoughts on the Current Political Scene

On this blog, as opposed to my old one, I have striven to write long-form, essayistic pieces, and to avoid a running commentary on the political world. There are other people who do this a whole lot better than I can. You will find many of their sites in the blogroll column to the right. However, sometimes I can't resist the urge to throw my comments into the ring, so here it goes.

Joe Biden has a knack for getting down to brass tacks, and he has created a priceless meme to support president Obama's re-election bid: "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive."  That just about sums it up, doesn't it?

I would like to amend the meme to say "Bin Laden is dead, GM is alive, and gay Americans can serve openly in the military."  It touches on the president's foreign policy success where the GOP has failed, a domestic policy that is more beneficial than the rapacious pushed by the Republicans, and his commitment to backing up his more free and open social policies.

In a great ironic twist, the Republican surge to power in Congress and on the state level in 2010 will severely harm its prospects this year.  Why?  Because the GOP has let the mask drop and their true intentions come out by attacking collective bargaining rights, birth control, and Medicare.  The public at large likes these things, and did not think that a vote for a Republican candidate meant such extremism.  Conservatives have irreparably harmed their prospects with independents and moderates for this election.

The Republicans have been doubling down on stupid by making themselves, in effect, the White People's Party.  Don't believe me?  In this year's Republican primary in South Carolina, 98% of the voters were white in a state where a third of the population is not white.  That number reflects the villainization of Hispanic immigrants and naked attempts at suppressing the African American vote by conservatives.  Considering America's changing demographics, this is not the smartest strategy to secure the future, and a gift to Democrats.

The conservative psychosis in regards to race could not be more apparent than in the reaction to president Obama's muted and thoughtful comments about the murder of Trayvon Martin.  Republicans now label any effort to discuss racism "racist," as if racism simply means calling attention to the role of race in American society.  Republicans do this for much the same reason they scream "class warfare" whenever anyone dares to address the war on the working and middle classes by America's wealthy: doing so is the easiest way to divert attention from Republican policies that are increasingly inequality, both racial and socio-economic.

Regarding the president's comments, what he said made a lot of sense to me.  I have students who fit Martin's profile: young, black, earning good grades, and vulnerable to angry white men with guns finding them "threatening."  (Let's just say I've heard some interesting things about the NYPD from my students.) The murder itself is horrible, but thinking about what this means regarding the safety of many of my students is especially upsetting.  That the Republican presidential candidates didn't even bother to say anything about the Martin shooting except to pounce on president Obama's comments pretty much tells us all we need to know.

Well, two police cars just ran into each other in front of my apartment just now (no kidding), so I am going to gawk out my window for awhile and hope nobody got hurt.

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