Usually, when I get to the NY Times op-ed page whether in print or online and see Maureen Dowd, I prepare for disappointment. Her columns tend to start out with promise. A catchy headline, a decent opening, and then she goes off into some strange land that I can't figure out and by the end, I'm pretty sure she's lost a piece of her mind.
Not for this column. This time, Ms. Dowd has nailed it. This is in tomorrow's New York Times.
Big Orange Jump Ahead
We all know when we see that photo of Joe Wilson screaming at last week's Joint Session of Congress, surrounded by similarly pale, near death, mostly balding white men, that it wasn't just the Democratic president speaking that got him all riled up, it was the black guy up there at the podium.
Well, Ms. Dowd saw the same picture:
Surrounded by middle-aged white guys — a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men’s club — Joe Wilson yelled "You lie!" at a president who didn’t.
But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!
As she also says, and I think a lot of us would agree, we don't like seeing race as the base reason for such outbursts and the rest of the idiocy we've seen this past summer, but it is hard to deny when we see the source of it.
I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.
I tended to agree with some Obama advisers that Democratic presidents typically have provoked a frothing response from paranoids — from Father Coughlin against F.D.R. to Joe McCarthy against Truman to the John Birchers against J.F.K. and the vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.
But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted "liar" at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.
But this goes a lot deeper than Joe Wilson. It would seem to get deep into the entire culture of South Carolina.
Dowd cites former Democratic Party chief Don Fowler, who teaches politics at the University of South Carolina. "A good many people in South Carolina really reject the notion that we’re part of the union." I guess that explains nullification in 1828, secession back in 1860, and the insanity of 2009.
According to Dowd they have always feared two things down south- blacks and the Feds...and the President is both.
It all makes too much sense to be wrong. It's also incredibly sad that race plays so much of part of this story almost a 145 years after the Civil War ended.
UPDATE: Wow... I can't believe the response this has gotten. Thanks for the support. I was just lucky to catch MoDo on one of her relatively rare good days.
Just a couple of additional thoughts after going through the comments.
There is no doubt that the entire white population of the south is NOT racists. Those feelings just seem to heavily concentrated in that part of the country. Just the same, there ARE some deep pockets of racism in other areas as well. I'm in NYC, and in my little corner, there is a surprising amount of prejudice against not just the President, but of anyone who isn't white and who's ancestors didn't arrive here before World War II. Even moreso, in my neighborhood these people see illegal immigrants as the cause for simply everything that they do not like. If they stub their toe in the morning, they'd blame the Mexican or Pakistani (legal or not) who probably did their gardening.
Dowd's column and my diary even provoked some hate mail to be found this morning:
you sound like some skinny white whiny pussy in a schoolyard who just had his ass kicked. you people really need to stop playing that ole race card, it has lost its meaning. boring indeed. people know damn well, we oppose the communist in office. btw.. if you hate white people so much, maybe you could paint your face white. Reid. Clinton, Kerry,Schumer. Dodd. Barney and the rest of the semi bald fat white haired men from the left. get a life schmuck
I wish I was skinny. If I lost about 15 pounds, then I would be. Clinton, Kerry, Dodd... bald?!! Wow.
Ignorant post. If President Obama was white his policies would be just as bad for the country. Get over it and defend you beliefs with something other than race........Your pethetic
Why do these people have such "pethetic" spelling?