Archive for category 2012 Presidential Election

Election 2012 post-mortem: The racial ignorance continues

Most of America has moved on from last week’s election, but the season of racial hatred and ignorance continues. Residents in nearly 40 states have filed petitions to secede from the country. Ole Miss is recovering from election night race riots. Republicans like Bill O’Reilly and Dennis Miller are yearning for the America they once knew. Even noted African-American progressive intellectual Cornel West has jumped headfirst into the fray, saying President Obama is a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface.”

Some believe West muddied up a worthy policy critique of the president with an offensive, racist insult because his ego still cannot accept exclusion from Obama’s circle of intellectual advisors.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are still making excuses for why they lost the minority vote so resoundingly.

Mitt Romney and others within the party attribute their loss to President Obama’s so-called “gifts” to minorities. If immigration reform, fair economic policy, jobs and a stronger feeling of inclusion and respect are gifts, then sign me up.

The election results speak for themselves. Let’s hope the Republicans get the lesson. If the split on immigration reform is any indication of what the future will bring, the group has a long way to go.

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What’s good enough for a Romney son is good enough for me

The abortion debate during this year’s national election cycle has given me a severe case of indigestion. How can we still be arguing about this issue almost 40 years after the Supreme Court’s decision? Like the Court’s 1954 decision on Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade should be settled law.

All the talk about the Paul Ryan-sponsored federal personhood bill, Mitt Romney’s plan to de-fund Planned Parenthood, Todd Akin’s “forcible rape” remark, and Joe Walsh’s statement that abortions are never medically necessary should have every woman in America up in arms. Never in my lifetime have I been this worried about preserving our access to reproductive health care.

If a pro-choice abortion clause can be included in a Romney son’s recent surrogacy agreement, why should women be asked to vote against their own self-interest and accept a double-standard?

No woman in her right mind is pro-abortion. But every woman I know, regardless of her political party, believes the procedure should be an accessible component of women’s reproductive health.

Even if we choose to ignore Romney’s so-called evolving position on this issue, the 2012 Republican Platform takes an extremely hard line that stops just short of Ryan’s proposed bill. Equally alarming is the fact that of all the main spokespeople for the Republican Party on this issue are men. When did women, who manage everything from their own families to Fortune 500 corporations, forfeit the option to make decisions about their own health care?

They haven’t. But Ann Romney has been effective in softening her husband’s stance. She has repeatedly said women are more concerned about the economy than social issues this year. That’s probably a true statement. However, the Romney campaign’s failure to link women’s reproductive health and the economy is shocking, especially since he wants to unseat an incumbent president.

According to a recent Bloomberg View op-ed, nearly 40% of women are now the main breadwinners in their households. Many analysts believe this number will continue to increase. Women now have to keep working, even when facing potentially dangerous reproductive health conditions like ectopic pregnancy (which can necessitate the need for an abortion), to financially support their families.

I pray both men and women keep this shifting economic landscape in mind as they vote.

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Never bet against the senior citizen

Vice President Biden did during his debate what President Obama couldn’t: take the Romney/Ryan ticket to task for their doublespeak and nonspecific policy proposals. As I said in my blog last week, “The first one always catches hell,” the president knew he had to walk a thin line so as not to come off the stereotypical angry black man. Some have taken issue with Biden’s aggressive stance, saying he interrupted Paul Ryan repeatedly and was unnecessarily rude, but the risk attached to his attacking the other side was much lower. Other than the vice president’s tap dancing around the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi situation, Biden showed mastery of the facts and a passion to fight on behalf of the American people.

The vice president will turn 70 next month. Biden, like the seniors I’ve worked with during my career, has an extraordinary wealth of knowledge in his chosen line of work that deserves to be admired and respected. He does get tongue-tied on occasion and has produced some cringe worthy gaffes, but he means well. New York Times Columnist David Brooks said today that the debate was “a generation war” and he compared Biden to Ed Norton from “The Honeymooners.” He’s right. As I’ve witnessed first-hand with my aging family members and friends, their B.S. filter disappears over time. They call things as they see them and don’t worry about making you feel good.

I think a generational and cultural shift in American politics is warranted based on the country’s changing demographics. But as Biden proved last night, you should never bet against the senior citizen. They’re a scrappy bunch who will fight to win.

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The first one always catches hell

By Tawana Jacobs

Add my name to the long list of people disappointed by President Obama’s performance in the first presidential debate. His answers to questions were too long and professorial. And the president’s defensive stance was too weak to stop Gov. Romney from owning the debate, despite Romney’s repeated misrepresentations of known Romney/Ryan campaign proposals. Obama knew this too— as exhibited by his downward glances, clenched jaw and tightly sealed lips—but had to keep it together so he wouldn’t come off as the “angry black man.”

I watched some debate clips again today just to reconfirm my opinion, and I talked to my mother, our family’s own civil rights activist and trailblazer, to make sure I wasn’t way off base. She was one of the first black head nurses at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, IN, and has faced numerous racially-tinged challenges in her 50 year career as she’s maneuvered hospital hierarchies around the country, so Mom was the go-to resource.

We agreed the timing of the 2007 video re-release featuring a then-senator Obama speaking at Hampton University was a set up. Its purposeful media push, on the eve of the first debate, was intended to do two things: remind wavering white voters that President Obama is truly black and help Romney’s team broaden the debate parameters for their candidate.

No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. But, there is no quicker way to neuter a black person than to portray them as being too radical to lead a team at a company, hospital or a nation. And the Romney team knows it. They kept their hands clean by encouraging the Drudge Report to run with the so-called story and video, which was featured on Sean Hannity’s FOX show, covered by The Daily Caller and begrudgingly picked up by other media outlets.

The president said nothing offensive in the speech. But he did talk to the nearly all-black crowd in a dialect meant for them. As actor Will Smith once said, black people are bidialectal—meaning they speak two versions of English. Any educated black professional knows this reality. So does any other person of color who speaks another language. Adam Server, a reporter for Mother Jones, widened that net even further on Twitter with this remark: “Cute that the folks who pushed a rich kid born in Connecticut talking like a cowboy from Texas pretend they don’t know about code-switching.”

Racial stereotypes and insults have been bandied about this election season by the conservative set in their continuing effort to delegitimize President Obama. Today, Romney surrogate and former New Hampshire governor John Sununu called him “lazy” and “disengaged.” Columnist George Will said the president is only being kept afloat because of “white guilt.” And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is responsible for the “food stamp president” smear.

If like me, you’ve ever been the “first” black person to integrate a neighborhood, school, company or any other exclusive enclave and have been unfairly denigrated or demonized; you know the insults will continue—especially as long as the presidential race remains close with Romney trying to catch up in the polls.

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