Op-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: Thanks To GOP, All Public Offices Have Been Diminished

Pity the poor elected official.

When the political ninja-assassins first emerged in this country, the target of the nihilistic, kamikaze, ultra-conservative politicians was simply ruining The Black President. Now, it seems, all politicians have been tarnished and covered in mud by other mud-slinging politicians.

It began with a coterie led by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and a dozen or so others meeting on the night of President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. While so many others in Washington were at inaugural balls or otherwise celebrating, these guys were conspiring to ruin the president and oppose every word and every initiative that came out of his mouth. And they did it, even rejecting Obama proposals that had originally been put forward by Republicans.

Then, just weeks later during his first State of the Union address, a House member defiled the decorum of the occasion, and the World’s Most Deliberative Body — a joint session of Congress — by shouting out “You lie!” during the president’s speech.

Today lying politicians are the rule and not the exception. Just study any one of a number of fact-checkers that have reported that virtually every claim made by the dozen or so GOP presidential candidates has been — putting it mildly — a prevarication. That’s “karma” for you.

Now that xenophobic, rightwing mentality — defined at first as the Tea Party — has morphed into something even more toxic, and it’s called The Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives. It is at war with its own GOP House leaders, with the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate, (with Obama, it goes without saying), with the U.S. citizenry, with the tide of world history, and with Mother Earth herself.

They are consumed by that “Mighty Whitey,” “Manifest Destiny” philosophy of “American Exceptionalism,” which promises to “Make America Great Again,” and they are destined to bring about their own ruin. Me, I understand it and them.

Thanks to Craig Wilson from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, whom I met at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008, I’ve come to see clearly the devilish scheme they employed to win power but which now seems inadequate.

Until 1968, when Republican Richard Nixon won the presidency utilizing his “Southern Strategy,” Christian, segregationist White Democrats – so-called “Dixiecrats”– ruled the South telling White voters (when Blacks could not vote) six “truths”: 1. the federal government’s a threat; 2. federal courts don’t understand the Constitution; 3. taxes are bad; 4. unions need to be eliminated; 5. you have a lousy hospital; and 6. but at least you’re White. With a simple modification, Republicans kept using the same playbook.

The modern Republican “talking points” (truths) to the Whites who see a Black president in the White House and who blame affirmative action and Black progress for the stagnant economy, which has been hijacked by the wealthy 1 percent and the mega-corporations are: 1. the federal government’s the enemy; 2. taxes are bad; 3. the federal courts don’t understand the Constitution; 4. unions are bad; 5. you may have no health insurance; 6. but at least you’re an American. Sadly, now, even though there is a national Affordable Care Act, which has provided health coverage for 8 million Americans who had none before, the right wing has succeeded in vilifying the law so much that many, even poor White folks, hate it and want to see it repealed.

So, these wealthy robber-barons who are content to defile and pollute the Earth and exploit workers the way they stole the free labor of millions of enslaved Africans have a message for the flat-Earth-Neanderthal-thinking White folks who are blinded by race hate and envy of President Barack Obama: that he is a Marxist-Socialist-foreign-born-Muslim, who would impose Sharia Law and turn America into a caliphate, robbing them of their guns and their booze, so vote in favor of anybody who says they are against Obama.

Liberal economist Paul Krugman stated the obvious after the last election: “Politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth. Still, it’s not often that a party that is so wrong about so much does as well as the Republicans did” in 2014.

The GOP-blame-everythingon-the-Black-guy strategy worked like a charm for them at first, but now it has come back to haunt even them. They beat former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) like he was a rented mule and dogged him out of office, and their presidential campaign looks like an endless stream of clowns piling out of a car at the circus. But they trudge on.

They are like beasts in the wild that devour their own offspring, and now the result is that all politicians — not just Obama — are potential prey.

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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