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Monday, September 21, 2009

Political dissent doesn't equal racism

Civil rights attorney Keith Watters recently warned against playing the race card saying "We should not yell 'racism' unless there is direct evidence… Sane voices need to come on the media and say loud and clear that this is not about race." During the Bush administration, dissent equaled patriotism. According to some today, dissent under President Obama equals racism.

I know there are people out there who oppose President Obama simply because he is black. I, however, am not one of them and I take offense when Congressmen like Hank Johnson (D-GA) and James Clyburn (D-SC) use the race card in the debate over the president’s policies. A Fox News Poll dated September 15-19 found that 65 percent of those polled described their opposition toward President Obama as "honest disagreement" while 20 percent said their disagreement was based on race. Even the president isn't asserting racism into the debate. He recently told the host of ABC’s ‘This Week’ "there are some who are…more passionate about the idea of whether government can do anything right. And I think that that's probably the biggest driver of some of the vitriol."

What gets lost in the debate is just how far we've come. Are we done? No, but when 43percent of white voters vote a black man for president and the leaders of both national parties are black (Michael Steele for the GOP and President Obama for the Democrats), one has to admit "we've come along way, baby."

I was at the September 12 "March on Washington" and what I saw were a million plus Americans who love their country. I saw American flags, "Don't tread on me" flags, and state flags from Alaska to Florida and everywhere in between waving in the wind. Signs reflecting the mode of the country read "I'm not your ATM", "You work for us", "It’s time to party like its 1773", and "the US Constitution is not negotiable." Were some of the 20 percent who oppose the president because of the color of his skin there, yes but they were easily outnumbered.

Moms, dads, kids, grandparents, whites, blacks, and hispanics, all concerned with the direction this country is headed flocked to our nation’s capitol. It's not just the direction of the past 8 months but of the past 70 years that has us worried. Big government started in the 1930’s under FDR, slowed down under President Clinton and began a new rapid rate of growth under President George W. Bush. In the past few decades, we've seen out of control spending, a Congress that has become to powerful and unaccountable to the citizens who elect them, and a government that has become to close to Wall Street and the labor unions.

Simply put, Americans are fed up and they aren't going to take it anymore and the color of the president’s skin has nothing to do with it. Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod said the day after the march "I don't think it’s indicative of the nation’s mood . . . "You know, I don't think we ought to be distracted by that. My message to them is, they're wrong." With tea party protesters now numbering in the millions, the Obama administration is making a huge mistake. With remarks like this, the administration is showing us that they have their heads in the sand and this will hurt them in 2010.

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