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16 comments, In Series: Science and Cosmology

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Grumpy Old White Guys United: Decoding the Attacks on Barack Obama and Angela Giron

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From http://www.flickr.com/photos/47422005@N04/6819520396/: Rush Limbaugh

Has anyone noticed something strange lately? The Constitution clearly indicates that US democracy should operate on the principle of majority rule. This means that, when it comes to running the government, any idea that's supported by 50% + 1 of the voters is declared the winner. Or, at least, that's how it used to be.

Ever since the Republicans became the Party of No, they have made it impossible for bills to make it through the US Senate with fewer than 60 votes.

60 votes?

Yes, you read that correctly. Technically-speaking, it should only require a simple majority (i.e., 50% +1) of senators to pass legislation. However, Republicans have been in such a snit since Barack Obama muscled healthcare reform through Congress that they have decided to filibuster every piece of legislation that comes down the pike. As a result, instead of majority rule, a mean-spirited Senate minority has derailed the democratic process. So much for responsible governance.

If political gridlock were due to nothing more than a sustained Republican hissy fit, there would be little need for concern. We could simply wait out the problem. Spoiled children who throw temper tantrums eventually run out of steam. Once they have calmed down, responsible adults can usually induce problem children to straighten up and fly right. That, or we could vote new kids into office. Either way, the problem would be solved. Unfortunately, the spiteful numbers game that is increasingly becoming the bane of US democracy is but the tip of a much larger and nastier iceberg.

Due to the immensity of the crises that he inherited, the jury will be out on Barack Obama's performance as a US President for a long time. Though he has weathered political storms that would have laid low lesser presidents, Barack Obama is not loved by all. In truth, Barack Obama could be the most polarizing president of modern times.

People either love or hate Barack Obama. The people who hate Barack Obama do so because they are convinced that Obama is not a "real American." This poisonous sentiment has manifested in repeated efforts to cast aspersions on Barack Obama's birth records. The whole business would seem silly if it were not for the staying power of the indictment, and for the venom of the attacks.

You wish you were President, boy! Show me your ID 'cause I don't like the way you look.

Of course, even though hateful cowards like Ted Nugent and Rush Limbaugh deny the charge, their antipathy for Barack Obama derives from the President's ethnicity. Back in the good old days, majority rule meant that good old boys were guaran-damn-teed to come out on top every time. How's that for an illusion of democracy? In the good old days, the Constitution explicitly denied women, Africans, Native Americans, and a variety of other non-people legal recognition. As a result, in the good old days, the only "real Americans" were, by definition, self aggrandizing white guys. Heck, the law practically required white guys to exploit Others.

If you really were one of God's children, then he'd be on your side. But he ain't, so quit yer bitchin'. It's not genocide, it's destiny. Manifest Destiny!

Barack Obama's detractors claim that they hate him because he's not really an American. In fact, what they're actually saying is that, not having been charter members, black guys will never be welcome in the old boys club. Don't get the wrong impression, though. Grumpy old white guys aren't racists, they're traditionalists.

In the good old days when white guys ruthlessly denied citizenship to women and people of color, the old boys were perfectly content with majority rule. Now that white guys are having a tougher time contriving false majorities, they have lost their appetite for majority rule. Instead grumpy old white guys have become determined to assert a new form of tyranny: the tyranny of the minority.

If you can't beat "em, cheat "em.

It eats at the vitals of grumpy old white guys that hard-working, gifted politicians like Barack Obama and Angela Giron can breeze into office by forging rock solid majorities among formerly disenfranchised Others. Gone are the days when grumpy old white guys could win elections by doing nothing more than securing the votes of other grumpy old white guys. We live in a new era of political plurality. But that's the last thing that grumpy old white guys want to hear. They want to go back to the good old days when "real Americans" ruled, and Others had to content themselves with table scraps and brutalization.

Ah, the good old days. May they be good and gone forever.

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http://goodscience.sociology.org/

Tim McGettigan is a professor of sociology at Colorado State University -- Pueblo. Tim's primary research interests are in the areas of science, technology, society (STS) and the future and Tim blogs about those topics at the following sites: The (more...)
 
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It's up to the supporters of America's new breed o... by Timothy McGettigan on Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 at 4:36:29 PM
"The Constitution clearly indicates that US democr... by Natalie Oberman on Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 at 12:14:50 AM
I wish old Teddy would run for president!... by Bill Johnson on Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 at 9:53:56 AM
There's another group of grumpy old white men, inc... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 at 10:05:24 AM
Disgusted with President Obama? Step back, take a ... by Earl Smith on Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 at 10:28:03 AM
because he stifles dissent, allows the cops to use... by sand fessler on Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 at 11:06:19 AM
But for those of us who are actually leftist/progr... by Anna Van Z on Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 at 11:08:13 AM
Not sure what this is supposed to mean? I am NOT d... by Earl Smith on Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013 at 10:37:27 AM
Obama is not perfect. No human being is. As presid... by Timothy McGettigan on Friday, Aug 23, 2013 at 9:32:03 AM
Grumpy Old White Guys United sums up the way ... by Earl Smith on Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 at 10:24:38 AM
That race card's getting pretty tattered and dog-e... by Natalie Oberman on Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 at 11:45:16 AM
what race card?... by Earl Smith on Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013 at 10:38:42 AM
Since our nation's founding, dark skin has always ... by Timothy McGettigan on Friday, Aug 23, 2013 at 9:38:55 AM
Ignorance indeed Timothy.  You got that part ... by Natalie Oberman on Friday, Aug 23, 2013 at 8:38:38 PM
You have no idea what an "old boy" is if you think... by Timothy McGettigan on Saturday, Aug 24, 2013 at 4:26:40 PM
You seem to kind of evasive and fluid on just who ... by Natalie Oberman on Saturday, Aug 24, 2013 at 7:52:12 PM