Jeff Lukens
Obama and the end of white guilt
By Jeff Lukens
October 11, 2009

Barack Obama portrayed himself as America's first "post-racial" president, yet he and his supporters continue to play the race card against ordinary Americans who oppose him. Despite a big election victory, Obama is unable to understand that ordinary Americans do not like being bullied. Nor does he understand that they do not like being called racists for political disagreements.

The Obama agenda is desperate and out of ideas. In their desperation, they deal from the bottom of the deck. The race card has never failed them before, and when the logic of their position fails, evoking racism always ends the discussion. Unfortunately for them, this time the discussion will not end. The more they smear everyday Americans with the charge of racism, the more meaningless the accusation becomes.

In the wake of town halls, tea parties and 9/12 protests against Obama's policies, many media pundits — Jimmy Carter, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, and Newsweek Magazine, to name a few — have branded these patriotic Americans as racists. It is appalling to think that the Left has played this game for decades. Americans of all backgrounds have fought for Civil Rights for too long to have accusations of racism used in such an offhand manner.

Among the many who voted for Obama, there is a growing sense that they have been had. The idea of electing an African-American for president intrigued them. Many voted for Obama with the belief that he was sincere about ending partisan and racial animosities. They believed that he was a new and transformative figure in Washington.

That was then. Now people are wise to his ways and do not like what they see. From runaway deficit spending, to a sputtering economy, to cap and trade, to weak foreign policy, the list of policy failures goes on. The more Obama speaks about his health plan, the more people do not want it. His magical spell may still work in Oslo for a Nobel Prize, but with the public over here, it is gone.

Even with 60 Democrat votes in the Senate, it is doubtful whether Obama will get a health plan passed. He is fading in the polls because everyone knows that his speeches are just words and don't mean anything. It is all a smokescreen to obscure his true agenda of restricting personal freedoms and imposing ever-greater state control.

The Obama presidency is destined to fail due to his doctrine-over-practicality approach to politics, and the impossibility of his plans to succeed. And just as people aren't buying into Obama's policies, people just aren't buying into blind charges of racism either.

Obama and his allies are overplaying the race card so often and so wantonly that such accusations no longer have much meaning. The irony of Obama's presidency is that the demon of white guilt that has haunted the nation since the founding may finally be exorcized. Whatever sense of guilt whites may have felt about the racial injustice in our history has faded with his rise to the presidency.

No matter. With Obama's blessing, Attorney General Eric Holder plans to hire more than 50 new civil rights lawyers to search out racism wherever it can be alleged. Obama's Department of Justice will now set out to undo the emphasis on cases of obvious discrimination, and create a divisive new witch-hunt.

Author, columnist, and research fellow, Shelby Steele wrote his book, "White Guilt," in 2006. According to Steele, the success of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s showed that America's power structure lacked moral authority. White guilt was an attempt by whites to regain that right by attempting to appear benevolent toward blacks, while many African-American leaders took advantage of white guilt to gain handouts such as affirmative action. The result has been troublesome for both races, and for America as a whole.

While we should confront racism when it occurs, over the years it has become rare and marginalized. Only in a country as colorblind ours is could a black man easily win the presidency when white Americans cast the vast majority of the votes.

With the passing of white guilt from the forefront of the national conscience, perhaps the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, and all the other race hustlers of the land will no longer be taken so seriously. And perhaps the identity politics that has divided the country and sustained the Democrat Party for a half-century can finally be ended.

When Obama and his ways are finally rejected, perhaps then, we can finally live in a country where all will be judged by the "content of their character." This may be one Obama legacy that we can look forward to.

© Jeff Lukens


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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