Obamaphobia!

obamahaters

Rudy Giuliani’s absurd claim that “Obama doesn’t love America” underscores a weird but real meme that runs through the right wing media.   Obama is somehow different, strange, “influenced by communism” (another Giuliani tidbit, that really shows his age!), or “raised differently.”

Despite his successful career culminating in being elected twice to the Presidency, some want to claim “he’s never worked” (huh?), or that he’s a horrible leader (though one who has managed to reshape American foreign policy, pass major legislation, and use his executive powers in a really effective manner).   Now one expects the opposition to dislike the President — the left certainly skewered Bush — but the rants against Obama are over the top.  They are irrational and even bizarre.

Part of it is generational.  To some – especially older white males (my demographic so I’m not knocking the whole group) – Obama is just, well, strange.   His name is Barack Hussein Obama.  He was born in an interracial marriage back when those were even less accepted than gay marriage is now.  His dad was from Africa, and his mom worked abroad and had a very progressive world view.    Living abroad allowed him to expand his horizons at a young age.

 

Obama has proven a very effective diplomat.  On his left is European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and European Council President Herman van Rompuy.

Obama has proven a very effective diplomat. On his left is European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and European Council President Herman van Rompuy.

To me, that’s positive – he grew learning how to adjust to other cultures and be open minded.   I think a President should understand that the US perspective is not the only one, that makes him a better diplomat on the world stage.   Yet Giuliani said “he didn’t grow up the same,” meaning that to Rudy, Obama’s unique upbringing somehow makes him foreign.   He isn’t like past Presidents.

Obama personifies the cultural and demographic changes taking place in the US, as the country shifts away from the kind of Cold War America people like Giuliani grew up in.   God and country is being replaced by social media and diversity.  This transformation evokes fear in some who think America is being “lost” to some strange new way of thinking.  Rather than admit that cultural change is real and inevitable, they focus on Obama as the culprit and even traitor to the American ideal.  Get rid of Obama, and things will get back to “normal.”

But that is wishful thinking on the part of the reactionary right.   The cultural transformation has a momentum all its own and will continue no matter who is elected President.   This isn’t a threat to American values – Obama believes in freedom and democracy as much as Giuliani – but a sign that the US has to adapt to a world in transition.

If anything, Obama has strengthened the US image abroad.  When President Bush tried to get the UN to approve his plans to invade Iraq, he was countered by an alliance of Germany, Russia and France – an unheard of audacious opposition to US policy!   As the Iraq war went south, it became clear to the world that the US capacity to project military power to achieve political outcomes was weak, and the American public rebelled against the effort.  Then in 2008 an economic collapse brought forth the worst crisis since the great depression.   Obama inherited a country divided by war, weak on the world stage, with an economy in free fall.

The economy has turned around, and record deficits have been cut dramatically.  While the world remains dangerous, the US is no longer involved in the wars Obama inherited, and new US military action is done in conjunction with other regional powers.   Obama understands that if the US goes in and tries to take center stage the push back will be immense, as it was in Iraq.   After all, ISIS began to form in the chaos the Iraq war created.

This kind of over the top bizarre attack reflects the sense by some Americans that Obama represents some strange sinister force.   Part of it is only slightly hidden racism.

This kind of over the top bizarre attack reflects the sense by some Americans that Obama represents a strange sinister force. It would be naive not to recognize that racism explains a part of the visceral reaction.

In short, President Obama is transitioning US foreign policy from being the leader of the West in the Cold War, to being able to partner with other states in a new multi-polar world with multiple threats.   It’s the right strategy.  On the domestic front, despite obstruction from Congress, the US is building a sustainable economy for a new era, with production finally going up.  Much work still has to be done, but the US has turned the corner from the catastrophe of 2008.

President Obama will be remembered as one of America’s great Presidents.   He is not letting the vitriol from the right get to him.   He is a leader, he knows that he has to focus on what is right rather than appease the pundits.

After all, the irrational extremes of Obamaphobia would not exist if he were not effective.  He would not have handily won two elections if Americans really thought him strange and different.  He represents the new silent majority, people looking to the future rather than the past.   The angry minority may rant and rave, but it’s a sign of their impotence in the face of a profound cultural transformation.

Advertisements
  1. #1 by Girl for Animal Liberation on February 24, 2015 - 14:33

    Well said.

    I am convinced this is why hunting as well as firearm ownership is off the charts (Check out Blogger: https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/ to get a thorough taste for how bad it is for wild life right now). I believe the angry minority are feeling the squeeze — they cannot handle the social changes that are afoot. They are vehemently clinging to the ‘old ways’. And the only way they know how to cope is to shoot anything that moves. Yah yah I know, blanket statement but if you check out that blogger I mentioned you’ll see just how angry people are and they are taking it out on the animals.

    Anyway.

    We have new generations of kids who are going to change the world. I just hope I’m around to see some of the changes these young up and comers are going to bring to the table. I have no doubt future history class students will be shaking their heads over some of the sh*t people of our generation are getting in a twist about, like gay marriage. I mean really? We’re STILL on this topic? Abortion? Really? We’re still telling women how to treat their bodies?

    I mean c’mon… if Philanthropist Philip Wollen is right, we have bigger sh*t to worry about — like our oceans dying!
    http://freefromharm.org/videos/educational-inspiring-talks/philip-wollen-australian-philanthropist-former-vp-of-citibank-makes-blazing-animal-rights-speech/

    • #2 by Norbrook on February 25, 2015 - 07:47

      Um… gun ownership increase has almost nothing to do with hunting. In fact, the number of hunters has decreased, which is a damn shame.

      • #3 by Girl for Animal Liberation on February 25, 2015 - 09:43

        I never said gun ownership increase had anything to do with hunting. As for a decline in hunters. LMAO! Thanks for the laugh!!!!!

      • #4 by Norbrook on February 25, 2015 - 09:47

        The coThe connotation of your comment is quite clear, and if you want to stop laughing, you might want to look at the number of hunting licenses issued over time. Helpful hint: I work in the environmental field, so I do have access to the figures.

      • #5 by Girl for Animal Liberation on February 25, 2015 - 11:04

        The # of licenses issued does not prove that hunting is on the decline. Nav on over to Exposing The Big Game’s site. Read his stats. Read the information he posts there. Check out the Wolf and Coyote Derbies that are taking place as I type this response. Thousands of animals are murdered by a small chosen group of psychopaths with a hunting license. Hunting is not on the decline, it is on the rise. You assume that everyone who hunts has a license. Poaching is a real and troublesome fact. Poachers do not exist solely in Africa they are in this country murdering sentient beings by the hundreds and thousands…for (illegal) profit.

        The fact that you work in the “environmental field” and feel it’s a “damn shame” that hunters/hunting has “decreased” troubles me. You must work for those agencies who claim to “protect” wildlife when in fact you relish in destroying it.

  2. #6 by Norbrook on February 25, 2015 - 07:46

    One of the things I’ve pointed out is that many of the “dog whistles” being used by Republicans are only audible to older (and mostly white) Americans. The generations under 35 really don’t attach the same connotations to words like “socialism” and “communism” that the people of my generation attach to them. When you’ve grown up in an “us versus them” worldview, which was the state of mind during the Cold War, it’s not easy to deal with a world where there’s a multiple set of actors, and the world is far and away more connected. Add in not a little racism, and it’s been a repetitive theme in American history that there’s going to be a political movement which is isolationist and attempting to take the country back to “the good old days,” which … really weren’t that good.

  3. #7 by lbwoodgate on February 25, 2015 - 13:33

    Nice piece Scott

    “This transformation evokes fear in some who think America is being “lost” to some strange new way of thinking.”

    The hidden racism that has been lying just below the surface for many whites is the factor causing fear in many whites. They will deny this but when you look at all the silly asinine comments from white groups who literally hate Obama there is little other rationale to account for it. Saying he’s a lousy leader doesn’t gel with the facts as you have pointed out. It is merely part of a smoke screen to cover contempt for a black President with a Muslim sounding name.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: