Appearing in the news today are a number of articles talking about a comedian impersonating President Obama at a republican conference. Apparently this fellow made racist comments about the president and his family. To be fair, he made comments about republican politicians as well, but the people who hired him could not have been unaware of the nature of his impersonation.
This points to a deeper trend in conservative circles. Current efforts of the republican party (and tea party folk) are focusing more and more on racial issues: welfare, education, immigration. These are just some of the issues that are tied to minorities. Current legislation being passed in the states is designed to put pressure on illegal immigrants in order to dissuade them from coming to the various states. Such laws as that passed in Arizona, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, all require law enforcement to inquire about the citizenship of people they suspect of being illegal. Since the perception in many places is that an American is white, anybody could be a suspect and thus must be stopped to show their papers. It sort of sounds like an authoritarian regime doesn’t it? After all, these are some of the same people who fought a national ID on the grounds that it would violate their liberty, yet they want to implement systems that will violate a person’s liberty. It isn’t a far stretch to imagine law enforcement in this state reaching a point of inspecting everybody’s papers, out of fairness.
It is hard to claim that current immigration legislation is not being proposed and supported by racists. The sponsor of the Alabama bill was taped calling blacks ‘aborigines.’ Racist hate groups provided a great deal of support for the Arizona Immigration law. Plus many of the other states with immigration legislation on the table or already passed have large minority populations, such as Texas, Georgia, Utah, Mississippi.
It isn’t only immigration where these racist objectives are obvious. Look at education. Current republican budget reform efforts call for less funding for public education. In many places education is funded by federal funding and local property tax revenue. Poor communities have lower tax revenues and thus require to a greater extent on federal funding. Reducing or eliminating that will lower the quality of education available to those in poor neighborhoods. It is a well known fact that many of the poor neighborhoods in this country are full of minorities.
A number of high level GOP figures have been tied to racist associations. The TEA Party is frequently tied to conservative, racist groups. State republican parties are promoting a number of laws and actions with a distinct racist hue. And the talk going into the 2012 campaign season carries very little respect for our first half-white president. So the GOP heads are telling their people to focus on economic issues if they want to succeed in 2012. Yet, the republican base has not been able to stray from its race elitist roots for years now.
What will the future hold for the republican party? Though they try to court Hispanics and even suggest they are willing to compromise on federal immigration reform, they don’t do much on the local level to seem friendly to people with dark skin. What are the issues the GOP presidential candidate will run on? Will they continue to assault Medicare, Social Security, Public Services, etc while reducing taxes for the rich and maintaining subsidies for select industries? Probably. They will get quiet on immigration reform for a while, but they will continue to attack the president. They will continue to claim he’s a ‘Socialist’ (not much of one if he is), though democrat policies don’t differ much from the republican ones. They will continue to blame him for the economic collapse though that happened under Bush and the republicans wouldn’t have done much different if McCain were in the White House now. They may even continue to question his nationality though the TEA Partiers probably wouldn’t be doing that do McCain (he was born in Panama). No, they will continue to ride their platform of racism, because honestly, it has been a platform that has not failed them for decades.