Voter Intimidation and The New Black Panther Party
During the 2008 presidential contest, the campaigns of the various aspirants kept a very close eye on their each others public statements and activities with a eye towards capitalizing on any misstep. Sometimes even if there wasn’t an actual misstep, that wouldn’t stop one from being “created”. The talking points developed around an opponent had to line up with the news cycle and generally these things have a limited shelf life of a few days at best, which means that one can only talk about certain things for so long before the issue is exhausted. This means that one has to constantly cast around for something else the opponent did, or something you can say he or she did, so attacks are kept fresh. Of course, whether or not what you’re accusing the opposition of is a reasonable approximation of reality is besides the point. This is why many people find political campaigns disgusting and devoid of any information that might be useful.
Frequently they say that the first casualty in war is the truth and what we have here being waged against the Obama administration is war with the truth being slain as the first order of business. And just like in the aftermath of a bombing run, someone’s got to do a flyover to complete a damage assessment to make sure all the desired targets were destroyed. In the political context, the poll numbers provide that damage assessment as measured by how much you’ve raised the negatives of the opposition. And just as in war, there’s always collateral damage or the killing of non combatants. The collateral damage here is our democracy. It’s been under assault for awhile and current events will probably kill off what little we have left.
Look at what we’ve had come out on Obama since the election. The first thing was a run on gun shops right after the election because Obama was supposedly going to repeal the 2nd amendment. Then we had the birther movement questioning whether Obama was a naturalized citizen. Then we have people coming to town halls with guns over healthcare and a near revolt after the legislation passed. Then he’s not supposed to speak with school children because he’s going to “indoctrinate them”. In the midst of all of this, Obama is tagged a socialist, a communist and accused of hating white people as “evidenced” most recently by a tax on tanning salons and found time to thuggishly assault BP by making them set aside $ 20 billion for the gulf. And now, we have the specter of the black panthers supposedly getting off scott free from voter intimidation charges because the Obama administration dropped the case after deciding that it lacked evidence to prosecute the case after obtaining an injunction against one of the defendants brandishing a police baton. This occurred back in May 2009, but wasn’t widely disseminated in the media until now owing to the resignation of one J. Christian Adams, a DOJ attorney and Bush appointee, who suddenly found “religion” on this case and upped and quit last month supposedly in “protest”. So this “story” laid dormant for over a year until Adams quit.
In a mere 18 months, Obama has been a very active president having destroyed a democracy that’s evolved for 300 years while bringing us to the brink of racial war. If we were to believe that, the guy deserves kudos for being ruthlessly efficient and stealthy at the same time.
In reality, it’s been one thing after the other in a thinly veiled, transparent and relentlessly orchestrated attempt to make this president unelectable in 2012 and to hamper his ability to govern. It really doesn’t matter whether any of these allegations have any merit and even if they did, the atmosphere is too poisoned to ferret out what has merit and what doesn’t. The only thing that matters is a continuation of the repeat of the Big Lie.
In this country anymore, all we really have is political theater. So, like a play, when someone has a story they’d like to tell, they’ll finance the stage, the actors, the props and the backdrop and put on a performance. The thinking person has to draw a distinction between fiction and reality. To make a critical decision based on a fiction is unwise. One only need to look at the billions we spent in Iraq on a fiction to understand the disastrous consequences of that.
Let’s talk about the New Black Panthers Party (NBPP). During the 1960’s, a part of the cointelpro program was the creation of agent provocateurs or actors whose purpose was to trap people into doing something illegal and stupid. The NBPP strikes me as such of group as its “revolutionary” rhetoric seems a bit too practiced and affected to be real. They’re really a prop for this story and represent few, if any, black folks outside of the small few who are members of their organization. Among the questions I have about them is how are they funded, how do the members finance themselves and radicals still have to eat, so where do they work? The fact of the matter is that to effectively do anything, no matter how nefarious it is, requires funding, organization and a degree of economic independence and these guys lack that in spades. Any cursory understanding of the economics of the African-American community would reveal a lack of any sort of structure that would fund a group like this let alone provide gainful employment for part time radicals. So, unless these guys are involved in something illegal, there’s the distinct possibility that someone else has put them on the “stage” almost like this guy Alvin Greene in South Carolina who can’t explain how he got the filing fee to enter the South Carolina senate primary. Someone really needs to check the NBPP out to find out who, if anyone, is really behind them.
Notwithstanding the questionable status of the NBPP, their rhetoric and behavior is objectionable and racist, but they’re a far cry from the organized white citizens councils, the KKK and others who enjoyed widespread support from individuals and governments in the effort to suppress the black vote in the south. They’re a far cry from confederate army veteran and first Grand Wizard of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest, who launched a reign of terror against African-Americans and radical republicans in the south during reconstruction. (It’s interesting to note how far republicans have gone from their roots). I’m sorry, as objectionable as the NBPP is, they’re no equivalent to the historical instances of voter suppression and civil right assaults visited upon African-Americans in this nation.
The thing that’s telling in the midst of all this demonization of everything Obama is the silence of the grownups in the republican party. Where is someone like Dick Lugar on this? Brent Scrowcroft? George H.W. Bush? Colin Powell? Condi Rice? Tom Kean? Are they willing to let their party be associated with these sorts of accusations? Are they willing to let their party become wholly owned by Newscorp and only spoken for by the likes of Beck, Limbaugh and Palin?
If that’s the case, there will be another victim of collateral damage and that will be the republican party itself. There are droves of people who will never consider voting republican again and I’m one of them.