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The reasons are subtle, troubling and insidious; and they are not related to his politics.

Politics in America can be mean, crude, nasty, and in many ways irrational.  This is historic too, going back at least to the 1804 Burr/Hamilton duel which did in poor Alexander.

But in many ways, the vitriol being waged against Barack Obama is making history as well – because much of it is beyond the pale, and even unprecedented in its viciousness. This is especially incongruous since Obama is a lame duck, has expressed no political ambitions, has not really involved himself in the 2016 presidential election, and has not inserted himself into the 2014 mid term elections. So attacking him would appear to be an action without any useful return on the effort.

Yet, it is virtually unrelenting. Conservatives have made a concerted effort to trace any and all negative events in the country back to the White House. Fox News still raises the Benghazi tragedy, the IRS fiasco, more recently Obama’s actions regarding Syria (although the critics have no coherent alternatives to the way this complex issue should have been handled). Even the “birthers” won’t concede defeat, although their voices are now muted. Then there is their constant raving about the evils of the Affordable Care Act, deridingly called “Obamacare” and recent spurious attempts to scuttle it.

While his politics, policies, performance and race appear to be the apparent reasons for the excessive hostility to our first Black president -- there are other more subtle forces in play and worthy of exploring. Topping the “apparent” list would be the contention that he is a radical liberal, a tax and spend left wing Democrat, or something on the edge of a Socialist.  While this charge is easy to make, it really is not supported by the facts. Indeed, progressive Democrats criticize him for just the opposite.  In fact he has mostly conceded the Bush tax cuts; he opted out of single payer and/or even the public option in the Affordable Care Act debate; he kept Guantanamo open; he commenced offshore drilling; and the stock market has tacitly approved of his handling of the economy. In short, his entire administration has been more centrist than left, but that has not stopped the supposed portrayal of his liberal ways. At any rate, criticism of his politics is mostly cover for other reasons to vilify him.

If not his policies, what of his color? That too would be an apparent reason, but while sheer bigotry may play a role, I do not believe that is the ultimate reason; and it would be too blatant to gain favor. But, it is related to the real reason.  And what would that be?

In my opinion it is the xenophobic fear many (mostly white) Americans have as our country changes from a largely white/European nation to one of color. Barack Obama is a metaphor, a symbol, a foreshadowing of that change. And to many white Americans that is unsettling, unpleasant, and frankly…scary! They hope, and believe that damaging Obama will somehow stem that trend, and as they say “take back our country”! These are telling words. Take back our country. To whom, from whom?

Moreover, Obama is not just our first black president, he has that funny name. American presidents, of the historic past have had “solid European names” like Jefferson, Jackson, and more recently Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Bush.  Not “Obama or Hussein”. That’s not the way is should be according to conservative Americans.  Additionally, Michelle Obama does not “look” like an American First Lady should. They were staid, “knew their place”…and white!

Fueling the change in American society was the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which abolished the national-origin quotas and opened the way for a surge in non-European immigration.  Non-Hispanic whites made up 85% of the population in 1960.  Non-Hispanic whites are projected to no longer make up the majority of the population by 2042, according to the Census Bureau. In 2050 they will compose just 46.3% of the population. Already U.S. population growth between 2000 and 2010 was driven almost exclusively by racial and ethnic minorities. And even worse news for those who fear this change, it is projected that 82% of the increase in population from 2005 to 2050 will be due to immigration.

No, the animus, the hostility, the enmity many now have against Obama is not legitimately based on his policies, politics, or agenda.  It is based on something far deeper -- a gut wrenching fear of change in our nation – especially change in the color and ethnicity of American society.  The foreshadowing of an America we have not yet seen…but is relentlessly approaching just over the horizon. Frankly, that is exceedingly frightening to a great many people; Barack Obama is simply the first and most successful one they can see coming over that hill. It really won’t change things, never the less, they desperately want him vilified, damaged and weakened in the futile hope that somehow, someway they can “take back our country”!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Every time in history that minorities (14+ / 0-)

    have made gains in their rights there has been a resurgent white supremist backlash. Everytime.

    "Republicans are the party that says that government doesn't work, then they get elected and prove it."-- PJ O'Rourke

    by nocynicism on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 08:12:29 AM PDT

  •  And now, the Republicans, aided and abetted by (9+ / 0-)

    the media, will now attempt to place the blame for the shutdown and default on the President.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 08:21:47 AM PDT

  •  I saw "The Butler" last night. (7+ / 0-)

    What a great movie. I enthusiastically recommend that everyone see it to get a historical perspective on the roots of American bigotry towards people of color, and of the ongoing extremely slow but sure progress over time.

    We still have a long way to go!

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 08:23:41 AM PDT

  •  I Recommend a Followup On This Diary When (if) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv, limpidglass, Catte Nappe, zinger99

    there is another Democratic President.

    Not to disagree with any of the facts you present.

    Remembering the birth of rightwing media such as Limbaugh and its ceaseless tirades about former President Carter ("history's worst monster" as a Simpsons character shrieked upon seeing a Carter statue), followed by 8 years of then-unprecedented harassment of President Clinton, including years of investigations and his impeachment over a non germane statement in a trial that technically wasn't even untrue, and a warning from one southern politician that he should avoid military bases because his safety as Commander-in-Chief couldn't be assured in such places, I'm convinced that the campaign against Obama is totally about his politics.

    His race determines the methods and messages used against him, and gives extra populist resonance to the orchestrated attacks. No doubt about that, but it doesn't cause the attacks and Republican intransigence, and it's not related to their core purpose.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 08:58:49 AM PDT

    •  Disagree.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries, ronnied

      As I state in my diary, I cannot find anything in his politics that are radical or could create such a strong hatred of Obama (and I use the word "hatred" with much thougth).

      •  I think the Obama derangement is about his (0+ / 0-)

        politics--but not "totally about his politics."  The combination of skin hue/background + the skill to steer Affordable Health Care into law is the radical rights' nightmare.  

        The right of the women of this State to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches shall not be violated by the State legislature.

        by Mayfly on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:33:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is very well written. (5+ / 0-)

    I hadn't thought of the larger demographic shift being the main reason for the opposition to the President, and I don't know if I agree with that...

    I will say that it has to be on the minds of the soi-disant "intellectual" wing of the R's represented by think tanks...after all making that scary was the thesis of Pat Buchanan's scare-tome "The Decline of the West."...and some small portion of the base too.

    But the Republicans I speak to who are  the base base base...for them it is all hair on fire CT's based on "There's a BLACK man in the White House!  Stock up on guns and/or run for your lives!....AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!.

    Dear budget cutting GOP'ers: Public transit is my “car.” And frankly, I’d like it back.

    by imfunnytoo on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 09:27:16 AM PDT

    •  Demographic shift is not an excuse (0+ / 0-)

      for bigotry (and really, not a threat to anyone) but it can stoke it. You can see the same thing in Europe. Many European countries have substantial ethnic minorities now, where formerly they did not. And there is a backlash there too: for example, the rise of the National Front in France.

  •  In other words (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimbeaux, Fireshadow

    In other words.... Because he is Black.  OK because he is not white.  Still racism.

  •  Barack Obama vs Hillary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zinger99, Nowhere Man, Kimbeaux, Mayfly

     during the 2008 I was torn between their two candidacies, both on isses and on personality.  I could have happily supported either but ultimatly went with Obama because I had lived through the blind hatred of the Clintons by the right wing and I thought that he at least, would not be facing that.  I see now that I was wrong, their hatred for him was just as intense and since he has not provided him with 'scandals', they have invented other causes.  

      While I partly agree with what you are saying, I believe that if Hillary had been elected we would be going through the same anguish but just with different words and names being used.

    sometimes the dragon wins

    by kathy in ga on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 10:33:16 AM PDT

  •  It's still bigotry. It may well be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, Fireshadow

    driven by a xenophobic fear, but it is bigotry.  

    And decent people don't want to be bigots.

    If not his policies, what of his color? That too would be an apparent reason, but while sheer bigotry may play a role, I do not believe that is the ultimate reason; and it would be too blatant to gain favor. But, it is related to the real reason.  And what would that be?

    In my opinion it is the xenophobic fear many (mostly white) Americans have as our country changes from a largely white/European nation to one of color. Barack Obama is a metaphor, a symbol, a foreshadowing of that change. And to many white Americans that is unsettling, unpleasant, and frankly…scary! They hope, and believe that damaging Obama will somehow stem that trend, and as they say “take back our country”! These are telling words. Take back our country. To whom, from whom?

    Socialist? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    by Kimbeaux on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 11:44:59 AM PDT

  •  "Fill in the blank" hate speech. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, Mayfly

    No doubt you're right.
    I once infiltrated a 9/12 meeting (long story). The featured speaker made a lot of vague statements about America changing. "You won't recognize America anymore!"
    They're careful these days not to say anything overtly racist. But, the audience knew what it was about. They could fill in the blank and apply it to whatever group they're prejudiced against. That's how it's done these days.

    •  Right on (0+ / 0-)

      There are numerous code words -- mostly harping about the "change" in America; and they are understood to mean the changes I describe in my diary. And yes, xenophobic fear is bigotry -- the word "xeno" is Greek for "stranger".

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