They Don’t Oppose Obamacare! They Oppose Obama!

The U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare as the law of the land, does not signal an end to Republican calls to repeal and replace Affordable Health Care. Their ‘stop Obamacare’ campaign continues, despite the SCOTUS decision that made clear that a future president cannot undo this law.

Republicans have been unanimous and vituperative in their negative response to the SCOTUS decision. Justice Scalia described the majority opinion as “jiggery pokery’. How articulate of the judge.

Why are they so ‘fierce’ in their opposition to Affordable Health Care? Particularly since they proposed a similar bill years ago. Particularly since one of their own helped establish Affordable Health Care in Massachusetts while Governor of that state.

One answer: These people don’t oppose Obamacare! They oppose Obama!

One of them announced, before President Obama was sworn into office as President, that they would see to it that he was a one-term President. Before he served a day in office. They swore to oppose everything that President Obama tried to do. In December 2010, the Senate Minority Leader announced that the top priority of the Republican Party over the next two years was to deny President Obama a second term. Their priority as a party had nothing to do with enacting legislation, or thinking about the people of the country they were elected to serve. Their priority was to stop President Obama. They promised to oppose anything and everything that he attempted to do!

Despite their best opposition, The Affordable Health Care Act, a top priority of President Obama, was enacted. The Affordable Health Care Act is one of the most significant pieces of legislation since the establishment of Social Security in 1935, and the establishment of Medicare in 1965. Many President’s have tried to enact affordable health care without success. Valiant but failed efforts were made during the Clinton administration. People said that it couldn’t be done. President Obama did it! He did what previous white Presidents couldn’t do.

How dare a Black man do what the white men before him tried to do and failed!

For this success, they aimed to make him pay.  They sought to destroy his signature legislation and his Presidency. They played the oldest game in the U.S. history game book. They brought the race card into play. They employed ‘race baiting’ and race based fear mongering.

How do you get white people who need health care and have no insurance, to oppose affordable health care?

Instead of calling it affordable health care, you employ the “Lee Atwater Strategy”, and name Affordable Health Care something that would frighten white folk. You associate it with a Black man and call it OBAMACARE. The Lee Atwater strategy is intended to elicit white folks unconscious (and conscious) fear of Black men. Using the Lee Atwater strategy, Affordable Health Care would no longer be about health care. It would become something to oppose because of it’s association with a Black man. Repeal Obamacare became a rallying cry of the ‘rightwing’.  Politicians with no other credentials got elected to Congress on the basis of a “stop Obamacare” campaign.

That duck is now dead in the water. Racism is not.

They will continue their campaign to repeal and replace Obamacare, even though they have not presented anything that they call a replacement. Even though the SCOTUS has declared Obamacare to be the law of the land.

Racism was never about what can be done to help anybody. Racism was always about what can be done to stop, hinder, tear down and harm.


Race Based Terrorism in Charleston: Interrupt Targeting the People of U.S. South

Black people have been killed recently by white police (and other white people) in New York City, Baltimore, Ferguson, Cleveland, Chicago, Utah, Los Angeles, and other places north, mid-USA and beyond.

These killings are different from the killings in Charleston in numbers only, not in intent or effect. All of those killings have terrorized people in the Black community, and made us fear for our safety, the safety of our families, and for the future of these United States. Many of us liken the atmosphere in the United States since the election of President Barack Obama and the rise of the tea party, with the fear engendered during the reconstruction era and the rise of the KKK.

I fear that the killings in Charleston provide new opportunity for white people in the north and other parts of the United States to point fingers at the people of the south of the U.S. as representing a special kind of racism.

That the confederate flag, symbol of rebellion, treason and racial hatred, flies over the state house in South Carolina, could lead some northern and other US’ers to point fingers at the South, and assume that racism in the south is different and special from racism in their own part of the United States.

As a Southern Black woman who has lived in the north of the United States for more than four decades, I want it understood that the racism of the north is not nicer, cleaner, better, or more tolerable than racism in other parts of the United States. White people of the North and other parts of the United States do not act out racism in a way that is more acceptable than racism acted out by white people in the South.

This is a good time to interrupt and heal the tendency or inclination to point fingers about racism at the people of the U.S. South.


A World Without Racism…

A World Without Racism, a country without racism, a community without racism….

We get to hope for such a world, we get to believe that such a world is possible, and we get to act to achieve a world without racism.

We get to heal the fear that has been installed on us to keep us from acting on our belief that such a world is possible.

We get to express and heal our grief and outrage about the terrorist killings in Charleston, South Carolina. We get to notice and discharge our rage and terror; that the conditions that allowed this to happen, indeed, the conditions that predicted such an event, the conditions that almost insisted that such a thing happen, have been created in this country (the United States).

We get to be outraged that in the face of this act of terrorism (what else could it be called?), rooted in racism, that so many public leaders equivocate and seek to explain it away, to shift the focus, and to construct and bolster barriers that hinder the people of this country from facing racism and its terrible consequences.

The South Carolina terrorist who killed nine Black people in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been shown draped in the confederate flag that, though long considered a symbol of racial hatred, is described by a Republican Presidential contender as “part of who we are”. This terrorist undoubtedly drew inspiration and courage from his state house that flies the confederate flag as mandated by South Carolina State law.

This terrorist undoubtedly draws inspiration and courage from a national conversation that allows and defends white people killing Black people (police and others) with impunity, if white people “feel fearful” of Black people. I imagine that this terrorist was emboldened by a national tolerance for public lynching threats directed toward the Black man who is President of the United States.

This terrorist is reported to have said that he wanted to start a race war. I say, let this act remind us of our humanness, our connection to each other, and our commitment to have a world without racism.

White People get to stand together, as white people, and heal the guilt, shame, outrage and fear, about the conditions that created or enabled this act of terrorism. White people get to speak up as white people and oppose racism. White people get to be visible in the world as white people in their call for ending racism, and their acting to create a world without racism.

Black People get to stand with all of our allies (People of the Global Majority and white people) to heal the indignation, outrage, exasperation and terror evoked by this act of terrorism. We get to speak up and act to create a world without racism.