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Old racial hate phrased a new way

May 11, 2008|By JONATHAN R. BURRS

What is all this nonsense about Senator Obama being an elitist? Why is the mainstream so fixated on trivial issues such as erroneous political rhetoric and propaganda? In fact, what exactly is an elitist and how in practical terms might this term apply to Obama - if applicable to him at all?

The firestorm of recent Obama criticism characterizing him as elitist when it comes to religion has no basis in fact and if anything, reveals ugly characteristics regarding the status of race relations in the United States. Both Senators Clinton and McCain have recently joined the ranks of critics belaboring a moot issue, suggesting Obama is an elitist when it comes to religion after Obama poorly worded symptoms of some small towns in the U.S. that continue to be plagued with the growth of domestic hate groups, where they exist and who they target. Since 2000, hate groups have increased by approximately 50 percent.

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Usually, when a politician is accused of something, critics can dismiss the manner in which he or she defends himself or herself as conviction born out of necessity and convenience. However, in Obama's case, he need not clarify his religious position nor entertain criticism born out of ignorance and racial intolerance.

Obama, unlike McCain and Clinton, expressed a personal and convincing explanation of his faith, his life and his political activities long before his critics began attempting to falsely depict his religious beliefs. He did this on June 28, 2006, in his talk "Call to Renewal," where he clearly explains his views regarding religion. At no point during that talk do the issues of small-town residents clinging to guns and or religions arise! Those interested in Obama the candidate need look no further than this dialogue to understand the recent criticism is born out of necessity, or should I say desperation of the opponents who cannot beat him in any fair fight, and their supporters.

However, the deceptive portrayal of Obama as an elitist and the mainstream's obsession with scrutinizing his every word and syllable are indicators of just how racially intolerant a large portion of the U.S. is toward minorities. Did anyone tell Obama he was not supposed to do this well in his bid to become the next U.S. president?

Surely if 1968 gubernatorial candidate Ronald Reagan had made comparable comments regarding the connection between poor and/or unstable economic conditions and the growth of white supremacy, those comments would more than likely have been accepted as a real problem that needed to be addressed, versus the games we see from political pundits today.

Similar to today, America in the 1960s and 1970s experienced the unpopular, open-ended war spurred by the government exploiting citizen's fears of the threat of communism spreading, skyrocketing fuel prices and increases in bank foreclosures sending quivers of fear across the country. Industrial areas declining from loss of lucrative union jobs increased the number of unemployment claims prompting the mobilization of soldiers in a racial movement called the Fifth Era.

The White Aryan Resistance rallied around Anglo unrest and before being dismantled by the FBI, managed to pull off several high profile bank robberies, finance several political campaigns, fund the creation of paramilitary training camps and murder Denver radio talk-show host Alan Berg, largely for speaking out against the ZOG or Zionist Occupation Government conspiracy theory.

In 2008, although some of the players in the hate game have changed, their tactics and underlying message of hate remains constant. Instead of calling Obama a Communist, as was the allegation against Dr. King, right-wing radicals fictitiously claim Obama is Muslim and may have ties to Islamic terror networks. Anti-Semitism has largely been replaced with anti-immigration. The U.S. is in an open-ended war incited by the government exploiting citizen's fears of nondomestic terrorism spreading, skyrocketing fuel prices, epidemic level bank foreclosures, lucrative job loss due to offshore outsourcing and poor policy such as the North American Free Trade Agreement - and the unemployment lines growing longer by the day.

The undeniable truth regarding race-relations, or better phrased, racism in America, continues to rear its ugly head throughout this election season. I think I read somewhere that a former Democratic vice presidential nominee and Clinton supporter said it right: If Obama were white, he would not be where he is today. I could not agree more. Using the standard set by a true elitist such as Al Gore, who consequently cannot spell, or George W. Bush, who for some reason believes "nucular" is a real word, I imagine if Obama looked like either of these men, at age 46 he would be at the end of his second term as president and not attempting to secure the Democratic presidential nomination! Obama for president.

Jonathan R. Burrs is a Hagerstown resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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