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Is Obama “Playing the Game?”

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In recent weeks, the Obama administration has come under considerable fire, as it has attempted to advance its agenda regarding national health care reform. Much of the opposition directed towards the President's plan has expressed itself in a manner which many believe to pertain less to the proposal and more to the Head of State himself. African Americans, among other citizens, have voiced concerns over disturbing images and utterances emerging from those who oppose Obama's political intentions; as these expressions, in numerous instances, have been observed by some as acts deeply rooted in racism.

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In late August, a series of rallies organized by a conservative advocacy group - Tea Party Express - were staged over the course of several weeks, in an effort to quell the President's efforts to gain public support for his Health Care Plan. Significant attention was drawn by these events as many in some quarters regarded the organized protests as nothing more than "Confederate style", gatherings wherein racial epitaphs and covert language embedded in "white supremacy", substituted for civil expressions of opposition. Such assessments germinated as numerous ralliers displayed signs portraying Obama as an "illegal immigrant", an African "witch doctor" , "Adolph Hitler" and even "Satan" amidst vocalizations suggesting that he as a result of his political orientation is somehow less "American" than those in possession of dissimilar views. Additionally, other attendees held signs stating, "We Didn't Bring our Guns (This Time)," a reference to a prior presidential event in which some outside protesters boldly brandished firearms, as Obama addressed constituents in regard to his health care initiatives. These acts, composed what many interpreted to be, indirect threats to the physical safety of Obama. Such widely regarded misconduct would not only surface within the boundaries of less formal public events, but also too, within the confines of an official government institution.

In early September, Obama, while again enunciating his plan to reform this nation's health care system, via a nationally televised speech delivered in the chambers of Congress, was greeted directly with yet further uncivil protest. This circumstance developed as South Carolina Congressperson. Joe Wilson expressed his contempt for the President, as he boldly declared Obama a "liar," during the address. Wilson's proclamation, which violated American standards of formal political protocol, was expressed in response to Obama's stated assurance that illegal aliens would not be included as beneficiaries of his proposal.

As a result of the litany of perceived racially imbued aspersions cast upon President Obama, great angst has registered within much of the African American community. Not only have many Americans of African descent asserted feelings of displeasure in regard to these affronts, but so too has an elite member of the political class, former President Jimmy Carter. Carter expressed his discontent, as he addressed what he believed to be, the racist nature of the deeds leveled towards the nation's first African American President, further suggesting that such an ethic of racial discrimination has and continues to function as an institutional force within our society.

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In response to this pronouncement - as well as a similar past statement from New York Gov. David Patterson - Obama has refuted these charges and has subsequently attempted to distance his Administration from those whom have made these declarations, as the White House released a press statement in which the edict of former President Carter was disavowed.

In the face of what many African Americans view as undeniable acts of racial intolerance aimed not only against the President, but by definition the race as well, Obama's denials that such behaviors represent expressions of this form of bigotry have been largely reasoned to be a strategic approach. A maneuver designed to avoid any potential harm, in regard to Obama's ability to operate politically, any acknowledgment on his part of racial bias against him would almost certainly produce. In light of the President's reluctance to squarely face the felt racist behaviors of his opposition - and in so doing essentially speak for many members of his race - as a means of adhering to a perceived strategy, one question must be asked? Is the course of action undertaken by Barack Obama one which may serve a greater purpose in advancing the interests of African Americans?

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www.frederickmeade.com
Frederick Alexander Meade is a syndicated columnist providing analysis on social and political matters. His works appear in news magazines and publications internationally.

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