Race in Politics Not Headed in the Right Direction

There has always been a racial component to politics in this country.  Even after the Civil Rights Movement, this racial dynamic was clearly up for display.  As time wore on though, and more minorities became involved and elected in politics, that dynamic has shifted from obvious to a more underlying position.  Since the election cycle of 2008 that has all changed, and not just in Washington.  Ever since Obama was a candidate, that racial dynamic has once again begun to shift from underlying towards obvious.  During his campaign, it was widely discussed whether a black man could become president.  There were groups of people who would not vote for him simply because he was black.

It continued after the election and still continues with the rise in white supremacy groups.  But it is deeper than that.  As the mission of the republican party has become to not let  him succeed at all cost, the racial dynamic has moved from white supremacy groups to the halls of congress.  Even if they will not come out and say it, there has been a racial component to their strategy.  The questions of his birth certificate, the outright brashness of calling him a liar, interrupting the state of the union, and more recently the use of “tar baby” are unprecedented attacks on a president.  No president in history has faced the same kind of treatment from the halls of congress.  The rise of the tea party has not helped that dynamic either.  The racial atmosphere that appeared at tea party rallies during the health care debate was troubling.  Despite the rise of Herman Cain as a tea party candidate, you cannot deny the racial component to that movement.

Let’s take it one step further.  The attack on both a federal and state level on programs that are designed to help the poor, is also ripe with racism.  A disproportional amount of people who receive government assistance are minorities, and the disregard our elected officials have towards them is disturbing.  It is continues to bleed down to the lower levels of government as well.  The North Carolina State Legislature has been attacking policy like the Racial Justice Act, and early childhood for poor and at risk children.  If we take one step further, we can look at the Wake County School issue.  Regardless of how you feel about busing and socioeconomic diverse schools, the root of why people wanted to policy to change was a new approach to nimbyism.  A certain subset of people no longer wanted poor kids to be sent to the schools in their neighborhood.  Let them go to school where they live is written all over this, whether they want to admit it or not.

Many people wrongfully thought that the election of Obama pushed America into a post racial society. I would argue that it has done the opposite.  That election has had an impact on the racial dynamic of this country, but not for the better.  What it has done is moving racism back to the forefront.


Survival of the Richest

This post was written by Kevin Rogers and is cross posted from www.actionnc.org


Downtown Raleigh is just getting back to its normal pace of life this morning, with all of our distinguished representatives of the General Assembly finally back in their respective districts.

Let them cause trouble at home for a change.

The General Assembly finished up their work this Saturday.  Well, sort of – they will be back in July to finish up those tiny, itsy-bitsy issues of redistricting and veto-overrides.

But at least for now, we are blissfully free from the invaders and can once again walk down Jones Street at lunch time and not be over-run by roaming gangs of portly white men in cheap suits.

At least we all survived.  Well, kinda.

There were a few fatalities this session, in addition to the normal causalities of honor, trust, and civility.  Let’s go down the list of those who lost this year:

Women:  Do you think women have a right to choose? Sure… as long as they choose correctly! Thanks to a new bill women would have to wait 24 hours, undergo counseling and have an ultrasound (on their own dime) before having an abortion.  Oh, and Planned Parenthood funding was cut as well. Isn’t motherhood fun?

Children: The budget that was passed by the GA, vetoed by the Governor, and reinstated by the GA, cuts an additional $124m from public education this year, on top of the combined $300m reduction over the past two years, almost certainly placing us 49th in per-pupil spending in the nation.  Oh, and the 100-charter school limit was lifted as well.  If children are our future…

Voters: Want to vote these knuckleheads out of office in 2012? Better read up – the rules just changed.  Voters would have to show photo IDs at polls starting next year.  Don’t have an ID? Better get one!

Immigrants:  Do you look “undocumented”?  Too bad, because a new bill requires employers to run your info through the federal E-verify system, even though the system does not function properly and may falsely label you as illegal even if you aren’t.  Spin the wheel of fate and see what happens!

Workers: Get hurt on the job? You used to be able to at least depend on workers comp to give you a little money to get your through.  But now caps for worker’s compensation payments for most disabled workers are now set at 500 weeks. But that’s fine, right? Because after a few years your permanent disability automatically becomes less permanent – that is how it works, right?

So, as long as you aren’t yourself, or care about, women, children, voting, immigrants or anyone who works, you survived.