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A nation divided?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Seven states have reached the signature threshold to have their petitions to secede from the Union addressed and responded to by the President. Texas leads the way with about 100,000 signatures, followed by Louisiana, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida with about 30,000 each. Six of the seven states voted overwhelmingly for Romney in the Presidential election. Obama narrowly won Florida. On the other hand, Austin, the Capital of Texas, is talking about seceding from Texas.

To my knowledge, this is the first time this has happened on such a grand scale since the South seceded from the Union and the Civil War resulted. The issue 150 years ago was race and that's the issue this time too, even though you'll get few people to admit that. So they'll blame it on taxes, or welfare, or the unemployment rate but those aren't really the issues at all. Racism was the underlying current in both of Obama's races for the Presidency and it's the underlying current in the secession movement as well.

I've been paying attention to presidential elections since I was 7 years old and never was there talk of seceding from the Union because people didn't like the way the election turned out. Of course, all the other candidates, winners and losers, were white. Obama's the first black.

So this is the condition of our country in 2012; a country almost evenly divided in its politics and a country still unable to shake the ugly, confining tentacles of racism. People who study race relations understand the reasons for racism. We're all ethnocentric, liking our own kind better than any other kind because we understand ourselves much better than we understand others. So when people come here from other countries with a desire to be free, instead of embracing them, we reject them because they don't look like us, dress like us, talk like us or believe like us. But as I mentioned in last week's column, we're rapidly approaching the tipping point where there's going to be more of 'them' than 'us' and that idea has almost half of our population flummoxed, distraught and confused.

I remember the hateful words thrown at people who befriended blacks when I was growing up in Arkansas. They were called n***** lovers which totally missed the point and demonstrated an abject ignorance of human relationships. Some people look for similarities in people while others focus on differences and that's the difference between seeing people as people while others define people by the color of their skin.

I have known black people in my life that I didn't care for very much. But it wasn't because of the color of their skin but rather their words, their attitudes or their behavior. The same goes for other minorities as well as white people. And even though I know that qualified minorities increase the job pool which makes it more difficult for whites to compete and get jobs to support their families, the blame is misplaced. Instead of blaming a person of color for their failure to get the job they wanted, maybe the blame lies with them instead of the other guy. Maybe if they had worked harder or studied longer, or developed their skills or gotten a degree they wouldn't be in the position they're in.

I know a lot of people have never liked affirmative action programs and I agree it's a necessary evil. Nobody wants to be denied a spot in a college classroom or get turned down for a job when someone less qualified than him or her gets that seat or job based only on the color of their skin. But it had to happen that way in the beginning because all the people in positions of power were white and they weren't going to hire people of color unless they were forced to. And so they were. I have hoped for a long time that we were getting close to being able to dismantle affirmative action and allow people to compete based on their talent and abilities rather than the color of their skin.

But the deep division between us in the last election plus the number of people signing petitions to secede from the Union has convinced me otherwise.

We still have a hard, long road to travel.

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Really sad to see you playing the race card, Mike. I thought we'd gotten beyond that. But because people don't agree with Obama, it HAS to be because he's black. Very disappointing.

-- Posted by sleeping*giant on Sat, Nov 17, 2012, at 12:25 AM

So the minority people who voted for Romney are racist also, just because they voted against democratic policies? You harshly generalise the other half yourself, which in itself is a form of racism. Please click on the link below and watch this interview. This is part of what people voted against and want to secede against. Has absolutely nothing to do with race. Pay particular attention to race of the man being interviewed.


-- Posted by Ed on Sat, Nov 17, 2012, at 1:25 AM

I suggest, Mike, that you read "Blacklash" by the black conservative Deneen Borelli, in addition to Ann Coulter's book "Mugged", which address the subject of race. You'll find it enlightening.

-- Posted by sleeping*giant on Sat, Nov 17, 2012, at 9:27 AM

Mike,you are so wrong to play the race card on this. Some people were sharp enough to see that Obama is a socialist at best. The man hates and tramples on the constitution, not to mention that he has nearly wrecked the economy. Race , no way ! I would have voted for Herman Cain in a heartbeat.

-- Posted by mc Historybuff on Sat, Nov 17, 2012, at 5:41 PM


You have certainly opened a can of worms with this article. Although your reasoning for Secession may be partially correct, I don't think it includes other factors driving the movement.

I see it more likely due to the labeling of the President and the Democrats as a Socialists and the negative stigma so often associated with that labeling. Although many aspects of our Society is Socialist by nature (Taxes, Farm Subsidies, Highway Construction and Public Transportation, Rural Development, Community Block Grants, Public Education, etc.) the right wing has been somewhat successful in labeling these types of programs as Socialism, even though many of them were endorsed and continue to be supported by both political parties.

As an example -- my local School District refused to let the students watch the Presidential Address to the students in 2009. When I confronted the School Board why this was done, the reply was that many parents in the community thought that the kids would be indoctrinated to a socialist point of view. When I brought to their attention that the School, a City Infrastructure Project, and Farm Subsidies were all examples of Socialism they seemed to be at a loss for words. I asked if any of them had seen the Presidential Address by Ronald Reagan in 1988 or George H.W. Bush in 1991 while attending school and half the board acknowledged they had. They finally agreed to show the address and those kids whose parents' feared indoctrination were not required to attend. There was a good turnout by the student body.

-- Posted by Geezer on Sun, Nov 18, 2012, at 8:35 AM

Geezer says something important here - socialism is like a fine dust that's eveywhere you look. The socialist ideas are powerful organizational ideas that have been being used by all sorts of entities in the USA for a very long time. They are used because they solve a wide range of problems effectively. For example - a town like mccook is having problems because of a flight to big cities - give them developement grands to help them be more attractive to people - take tax dollars from bigger cities and funnel them to smaller cities that need help. Someone doesnt have enough food - give them food stamps - take taxes from the wealthier people and funnel those funds to people who need them. You have to look at ALL the ways government moves money around. Taxing here , putting the money there, etc. The point for this article though is that this was all going on WAY before Obama got elected. It's going on everywhere and has been going on for a long time.

-- Posted by bob s on Sun, Nov 18, 2012, at 1:54 PM

Maybe these parents thought their kids would be indoctrinated to communist point of view, not a socialist one.

" Socialism is the idea that the working class, the class that produces the profits, the wealth, the cars, houses, planes, steel, should take over and run things collectively, democratically, for the benefit of the majority (who also "just happen" to be workers too).

Communism is the idea that society should not have classes - exploiters and exploited, oppressors and oppressed, and so on. "

*Socialism generally refers to an economic system, while communism refers to both an economic and political system.

*Socialism seeks to manage the economy through deliberate and collective social control.

*Communism seeks to manage both the economy and the society by ensuring that property is owned collectively, and that control over the distribution of property is centralized in order to achieve both classlessness and statelessness.

*Both socialism and communism are based on the principle that the goods and services produced in an economy should be owned publicly, and controlled and planned by a centralized organization. Socialism says that the distribution should take place according to the amount of an individual's production efforts, while communism asserts that that goods and services should be distributed among the populace according to individuals' needs.

This seems to fit Obama's agenda a lot closer. As he said to Joe the Plumber, ..."And I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

-- Posted by sleeping*giant on Sun, Nov 18, 2012, at 1:57 PM

Socialism can be defined in a thousand ways. The most common use is the idea of taking wealth from one area and placing it in an area of need. So that there are not great areas of need - along side areas of great abundance. It's an leveling out process or idea. This is how people commonly use it. Meanings get changed over time and can often just be local usage. Varying from area to area. Lots of people dont like having their money taken from them and distributed to some other person or entity. Their term for this process is socialism.To many Obamacare is in their minds a socialist thing. It takes money from them by taxation and distributes it to others. There is no hint of means of production in their usage of the word. But, it's a perfectly legitamate use of the word. For most people that's the type of thing they are thinking about when using that word.

-- Posted by bob s on Sun, Nov 18, 2012, at 4:33 PM

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Mike Hendricks
Mike at Night