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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/9/10

The Age Of Rage Continues

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Initially, America and the world celebrated what was and is an historical milestone, when despite the odds this country, noted for its embarrassing slave past, elected its first Black president in the person of Barack Obama. But no sooner the euphoria of the moment wore off the true nature of the established ruling class bubbled over driven by a strategy of division, discrimination, bigotry and an open attack on the United States Constitution.

In the Age of Rage the technique to scare voters and to regain political power appears to be to vilify the president and the Democratic Party while leveling a vicious attack on the US Constitution. This targeting is now about appealing to the most backward elements of the anti-immigration fringe plank while stoking the fires of racism. In this context is the new attack on the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution that ratified the presidency of Abram Lincoln one of America's most successful presidents.

The chatter from politicians with a program to defeat Democrats this November and carry that to the presidential elections in 2012 is now all about repealing the guarantee of automatic citizenship as a birthright for anyone born in the United States. It is a clarion call to arms by the lunatic elements in the national debate led by the Tea Party Movement and leading elements in the Republican Party. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Arizona Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham are all on record calling for a repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment.

That's not surprising because this also has its roots in the lunacy of the so-called "Birther Movement" that wants to decertify President Obama as a United States citizen and thus make him legally unfit to hold that high office. In the face of comprehensive, irrefutable evidence that Obama is a United States citizen elements in the Tea Party Movement and their sponsors still keep repeating over and over this discredited falsehood.

Political power is a fickle, uncertain animal whose modus operandi is often opportunism, subjective pandering, and an appeal to the most angry, backward and uninformed elements and strata in the community. The movement to harvest votes by an appeal to racism, bigotry and bias have worked in the past. Therefore it came as no surprise when the state of Arizona passed a law that targeted a specific demographic, a specific people, speaking a specific language under the guise of "immigration reform."

The Republican incumbent governor has reaped a huge political windfall that guarantees her re-election on the crest of a local and national anti-immigration sentiment. And Republicans have a history of tinkering with the US Constitution. For example, under President George Bush II, no fewer than six constitutional amendments were activated. These amendments dealt with balancing the budget in the face of record deficits, placing a ban on flag burning, same sex marriage, rolling back a woman's right to choose, to permit prayers in schools and the establishment of victim's rights in criminal proceedings that undermined the legal presumption of innocence before proof of guilt.

It was under former president George W. Bush that the Age of Rage was born with intolerance against gays and a return to politics based on an imperial president whose ideological position started and ended with born-again religion. Now these anti-bill of rights, anti-immigration, and anti-poor people positions continue unabated.

Apart from the Arizona immigration law that is now being challenged in federal court and will, no doubt, end up in the US Supreme Court, the state of Missouri recently revived the Southern States Civil War policy of bucking the federal government with a ballot initiative that would allow that state to void the application of federal healthcare reform to its citizens.

This was the inevitable piggy backing of the Arizona law that at its core speaks to an arrogant disdain for constitutional boundaries, individual rights, and the movement to subvert the Fourteenth Amendment that is now encouraged by national Republican leaders. The national polls show that a majority of Americans now support Arizona's approach to immigration. And political pundits have been beating down on Obama for not buckling to the so-called "will of the people."

That same argument was made during slavery time when owning Black people was the law of the land. Had Gallup polled the American public back then as to if slavery was right their polls would have returned near record numbers in the affirmative. But it was wrong, inhuman, and brutal no matter the rationale. Heck, even Jesus Christ failed the popularity contest for what was right. The point here is that not because a poll says that public opinion is on the side of Arizona's racial profiling pseudo-immigration law makes it morally right. A majority of people can be wrong and on contentious an issue as the Arizona law they most certainly are.

Over a quarter of a century ago a Democratic governor commenting on the rancorous political climate in The United States at the time opined "we put all the hate groups in one pot and let it boil." Today, that pot is still boiling, is more toxic than ever, and now has technology on its side. Infact, it has spilled over into mainstream America and has poisoned the atmosphere in a way not seen or witnessed before.

No issue is sacred in these times. Taking genuine problems and people's fears and mixing that up with bigotry and hate is now the recipe to win elections and regain political power. As wrong-headed and counter-productive as that sounds it is now the driving force in US politics today as bigotry and racism are now almost accepted in mainstream American politics as the public, beaten down, confused and angry, have become immune to the toxic hate brew.

I believe that politics is the honorable pastime of the people and that it is basically a good and decent profession. But it has been subverted, sullied and dirtied by people who have forgotten what it is to be a servant of the people. Arrogance born of long incumbencies has dictated how politicians behave on a daily basis. There is a chilling disregard for the core principles that this country was founded on. Increasingly, this intoxicating political brew has created a kind of moral bankruptcy in both the Republican and Democratic parties.

In recent times Americans have had to witness the painful saga of an obscene public political squabble between a president fighting to do right by the American people by passing healthcare reform, a jobs program, an economic stimulus package to drag America out of a crippling recession the worst in 50 years - and the obstructionist policy that prolonged the pain of millions of Americans out of work. Now we see a renewed attack on the Constitution that would if they get their way make children born in the USA to undocumented parents non-citizens.

This is simply a debate to score partisan points by attacking the most vulnerable in our midst. It is a debate predicated on division, discrimination, bigotry and anger aggravated by the very difficult economic situation. In New York City we now have the politicization of the proposed building of a mosque close to Ground Zero. This event has drawn the ire of Republicans who oppose its building.

The sad thing is that the proposed site for the building is privately owned. The opponents of the project have been stirring up the dangerous brew of shortsightedness, bigotry and political opportunism to whip up community opposition. These calculating politicians have spun this simple proposal into a referendum on Islam, obliquely equating a noble religion with terrorism and unfairly stereotyping it along the way. By scurrilously whipping up fear and resentment and rubbing the still raw wounds of September 11, 2001 these political leaders believe that public outrage will win them elections. They have thrown out the long American tradition of religious freedom and tolerance.

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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