They’re not even trying to hide it anymore.
I thought it was bad when I dredged through the birth certificate crap, but then came the Muslim comments and the alleged terrorist ties and the welfare queen stories. With elections right around the corner I’m thinking back on the first half of this year, remembering that I’ve sat and watched speech after speech of these rich white people talking about how President Obama is the worst thing since sliced bread, has single-handedly ruined our country, and needs to be removed from office at once or we’re all going to hell.
To be fair, I haven’t been at all satisfied with our foreign policy affairs and military actions during this presidency, but I understand the reality of the situation and that it would be ridiculous to blame President Obama – who took office in 2008 – for something that happened under President G. W. Bush for eight years. That would be like blaming Bush for DADT (it just doesn’t make sense). I don’t like that we’re still in Afghanistan and I think our tough guy approach to securing overseas assets is ruining our reputation with the world (although, some would argue that we have no reputation to ruin other than our overt use of military force). The money spend on the enforcement of marijuana laws would be better spent toward state medical and education programs. When it comes to my pacifistic priorities over the past four years, President Obama has not delivered.
That being said, there have been efforts toward making the middle class more viable and positive social strides for women’s rights, but when it comes down to who gets what and who really benefits from the past four years, nothing has had a positive impact on my personal social advancement for one reason and one reason alone: I’m a white-skinned male.
Hear me out: The Lilly Ledbetter Act did nothing for me, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell didn’t make my days in the Marines any easier, the POTUS endorsing same-sex marriage and increasing minority access to business startup-capital did nothing for me, I didn’t benefit from the additional funding for the Violence Against Women Act, the Matthew Shepard Act doesn’t make me feel any safer, and birth control and abortions have nothing to do with me. Out of all of the strides of social advancement under President Obama, I get something from zero percent of them.
The only way to explain it is reverse sexism. After all, I’m the one expected to raise my children, I’m the one whose insights are instantly dismissed when my sex is revealed, and I’m the one who is subjected to harsh sexual objectification in every facet of my life. So where’s my help from the people who underpay me, who under-appreciate me, who pay me less because subconsciously they feel it is their biological duty to dominate me?
Or maybe it is reverse sexual discrimination. I mean, I’m the one who is afraid to be myself in public because others like me were victims of violent hate crimes and are now dead. I’m the one who is in a committed relationship just like yours but mine is not legally recognized, and I’m the one who is considered wrong, disgusting, and immoral. So where’s my help from people who want to hurt me for the color of my skin and for my choices in sexual partners, from dated legal systems that don’t recognize the relationship between me and the person I love, and where’s my president’s endorsement of my choices?
No, no, it’s reverse racism. I’m the one who can’t get loans because banks literally draw circles around my neighborhood and declare me “non-investable.” I’m the one who gets told that I’m “well spoken” whenever I can form a complete sentence but still regarded as a lazy child-producing welfare queen, and I’m the one who is still suffering from the cultural fallout of a make-believe emancipation that may have legally freed me but left society still looking down on me. So where’s my help from companies who don’t want to lend me money, from people who treat me like I’m less than human, and from a culture of businesspeople who consider me and everyone like me incapable of comprehending such refined concepts?
Oh that’s right: I’m not a woman. I’m not gay. I’m not a racial minority. I understand that. I understand that me not being someone else means that I have no idea what they feel and what they go through. I understand that I can do things and get away with it solely because of my gender and color of my skin because this country was founded by white men who built their riches on the backs of slaves and docile, submissive women. I understand that gay people are afraid of dying when they go out to parts of town that are known to be “socially conservative.” I understand that I can do things and go places and not have the music stop playing or people stopping to look at me just because I have white skin. I understand that I have the privilege of not having to worry about someone else having grown up thinking that I was not as equally important to this life as he or she is.
These weren’t things that were taught to me; I was born with these privileges and if I wanted to, I could just pretend they didn’t exist and life would go on just fine and dandy. For me, that is. For women, for gay people, for racial minorities, not so much.
So when I look out onto a wealthy white presidential candidate’s crowd and all I see are a bunch of white people, I start to realize what people are voting for in this election. Mitt Romney represents the old ways, the conservative, Grand Ol’ American spirit, when you could hit your woman and call a Black man a n****r and fill up your pickup truck all before lunch. Just who in the hell is “Us” in that picture above? It’s obvious: white people who hate black people.
For the other racial minority groups, I understand that my talk of Blacks and whites erases all other people, but the conservative mindset calls for nothing more. It’s impossible to speak in terms of multiple groups because the very nature of their arguments is founded solely on the idea of good versus evil. Using religion as warrant for the argument against civil liberties, sexual and reproductive rights, and immigration, they have propelled the nation into a state of bipolar discourse for every possible minority group imagined. When it comes to people with brown skin, you’re either a terrorist or an illegal immigrant from Mexico. If you’re Black, you’re a welfare queen. If you wear anything other than a hat with an American flag on your head you’re a Muslim. There is no logic behind it other than a simple, reductionist one: you’re either good or evil, black or white, terrorist/illegal or American.
One thing all baseless and illogical arguments have in common is that they radically bisect the positions on the table so that the proponent of the argument is always right and the opponent is always wrong. If you’ve ever argued with a bigot then you know exactly what I am talking about. In the case of Romney’s voter bloc, the only logical explanation for support from middle-class Americans is a rampant and incognito bigotry toward people who are different – and that includes women (remember when Republicans fiercely opposed reauthorizing the VAWA earlier this year?), racial minorities, gay people, and the economically disenfranchised (although much of the middle class is economically disenfranchised, to which I say that America has a rabid case of cognitive dissonance).
It makes me sick to my stomach to look at pictures of Romney’s crowds and see a trove a white people all excited to get the Black man out of office. Anyone who is willing to support the disempowerment of women over their own bodies, the proliferation of military forces, and the defunding of education and social programs while simultaneously wanting tougher borders, anti-abortion constitution amendments, and a federal ban on gay marriage is not just a hypocrite, they’re also completely oblivious to the fact that voting against your best interests purely because your candidate of choice isn’t Obama only says one thing about you.
Both Democrats and Republicans profit off of this perpetual state of left vs right, and it’s surely not going away anytime soon. The only thing you can do is trust the facts and believe in the power of asking questions. If we all started questioning the things that we believe to be true and really understood why and how we started believing something in the first place, we might just realize that our sources were only trying to make a buck.
I’m sick of people profiting (economically and politically) off of sexism and racism, aren’t you?
Image courtesy of ChimpPlanet.