Tag Archives: conservatives

The Day Obama Became ‘the Black Candidate’

 

obama1.jpgI couldn’t wait to hear Obama’s speech and how he would respond. Surely he would make the attempt to distance himself from the conspiracy laden diatribes of his “former” minister; I say former because he reminds us every chance he gets. I believed he would try to reassure us: No the CIA didn’t throw crack into inner cities to destroy young black men, nor did the U.S. government invent AIDS to destroy African Americans.

When he brought up his white ancestry, more specifically his grandmother, I thought, hey, maybe he’s going to delve into his unique cultural background to demonstrate his how he won’t be bound by labels or defined only by his relationship African American pastor and the black community. Instead, he used his grandmother to remind Americans that, hey, there are plenty of white racists too.

 

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

 

 

Thanks, but, I’m married to a dark skinned Italian with a heavy accent. I don’t need Obama to remind me there are still racists in America, I know all about it. A police officer once threatened to have Riccardo deported, telling him, “I don’t know where you come from but you’re as ignorant as you can be.” His accent is frequently the subject of snide comments and jokes. A distant relative even refused to call him by his full name, shortening it instead to create a ridiculous cartoon like persona.

But unlike Wright and the members of his afro-centric church, my husband is proud of the opportunity this country has presented him. He’s also well aware that despite his occasional racist encounters and America’s ugly past, the U.S. is the most racially tolerant nation on the planet.

To escape the self-created firestorm, Obama turned to the tired old liberal tactic of shifting the blame from the offender to the offended. It’s whitey’s fault for his minister’s outrage and conspiracy theories. And America’s slave-owning descendants are responsible for black men loitering on street-corners without jobs.

 

He sought to allay the fears of Americans through today’s speech. In my estimation, he’s only deepened them.

Everything is Relative

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From Michigan to Florida, voters are anxious about the direction of the U.S. economy and how the downturn will affect their pocketbook. Their anxiety is understandable, but a proper perspective might dampen their increasing negativity.

 From today’s Italian newspaper (with the help of Google translator), Il Corriere Della Sera According to ISTAT, 14.6% of Italian families (one in seven) say they have a hard time at the end of the month to pay their bills. One out of ten have difficulty with the most essential expenses: bills, heating, and medical treatment, while 4.2% of families in Corsica had problems, at least once, to stock their refrigerator. The Istat survey was in 2006.” 

Americans face tough times, but in looking around the world, even in Western Europe, they still sit top the figurative list of world’s luckiest populations.

Hillary’s freefall; Is Barack the man to beat?

Living in Italy gave me an opportunity to learn about European politics, but it also gave me an education on American politics, only from their perspective, not The New York Times. For political geeks like me, election year entertainment is wall to wall TV coverage and site to site web reportage. But until I moved to Italy and had lived there for a while, I didn’t realize Europe’s level of interest in U.S. politics, and how significant American elections are and were abroad.

Headlining Italy’s Corriere della Sera is Hillary Clinton’s freefall from favored status. Another major Italian magazine, Panorama, calls Barack “the man to beat in New Hampshire.”  France’s Le Figaro leads with “Hillary Clinton in turmoil” and goes on to say (with Google translator’s help):

“The campaign of the former first lady, long time favorite of the Democratic primaries, seems mired in disarray. Officially, her staff ensures that the setback in Iowa hasn’t influenced its plans and that there is no need to change strategy. The emphasis is always on “experience” and to “swallow” the hope embodied by Barack Obama to the rank of perilous adventure”.

Germany’s Der Spiegel explores how populism and fears of a recession have factored into the success of Obama and Edwards—the angry crowd rouser who “speaks with rage” against the existence of  the “two Americas.”

I wonder though.

Are these European writers sympathetic to an electorate driven to the polls by 4% unemployment and $3 dollar gas? As mentioned in my book, The Absentee Ballot, as of last year, Italians were paying almost $6 per gallon for unleaded gas. European journalists and their readers suffer taxes, gas-prices and employment rates much higher than populism enthusiasts. American voters who are attracted to the message du jour see a nation filled with problems, while many others around the world see a paradise full of opportunities.  

 This election is closely followed, not just in the U.S, and is paramount, not only to the American people. It’ll be interesting to watch their reactions to Hillary’s fall, Obama’s rise and whichever Republican gets the nod.

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