The presidential campaign had more than a smattering of it.
The economic crisis is breeding lots more. Crazy talk comparing Barack Obama to
Hitler went mainstream April 15th. It�s nasty and it could get worse, but there
is something Barack Obama could do about it if he wanted to.
Last week on GRITtv, the Indypendent�s Arun
Gupta talked about the Right�s April 15 �tea parties.� They tapped into
real resentments, he said, but manipulated them in a racist way. Just as some
mortgage-holders have become the scapegoats for all our economic woes and along
the way the borrowers themselves have become �subprime� -- so too,
President Obama�s is talked about as not really American, a closet Muslim, a �subprime�
president. �There is racial code wording going on,� said Arun.
It was all over the signs at the April 15 rallies: �Obamanation.�
�Hang Em High!� �Show us your real birth certificate.� The creepiest declared, �The
American Tax Payers are the the Jews for Obama�s ovens.�
None of this is new. The Obama=Hitler comparison�s been out
there since early in the presidential campaign. Rev James David Manning from
Harlem sermonized on the topic back in June 2008 (there�s a clip on YouTube,) but
Manning�s spew never received the Jeremiah Wright treatment; it got him invited
onto right-wing radio instead. Some right-wing shock-jocks used their mikes to
deliver almost daily diatribes questioning Obama�s religion and his citizenship.
Now with Limbaugh in the limelight again, right-wing talkers are enjoying a
bump and from fringe to middle is how this stuff moves -- with the help of
There�s nothing like economic chaos to feed fear and anger.
We know that much. And race-panic has always been an easy sell in the USA.
Historically, those who want to divide and conquer unrest have always succeeded
by dressing up racism and xenophobia as working-class solidarity.
There is an antidote. President Obama could put 5 million
Americans on the federal payroll as FDR would have done; stop foreclosures on
people�s homes. Stop federal and state job layoffs, and stop -- please stop --
those screw-us again schemes for unscrupulous bankers.
It�s clearly not his nature, but it better become Obama�s
strategy. The best answer to fake working-class solidarity is the real kind.
�F� Word is a daily commentary from Laura Flanders on GRITtv,
seen daily on satellite, cable and public TV and online at GRITtv.org.