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Opposing the president doesn’t make you a racist

September 23rd, 2009 . by TexasFred

Opposing the president doesn’t make you a racist

Michael Williams, TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSION
Wednesday, September 23, 2009

As an African American son of the South, I grew up in a time and place where you didn’t have to divine intent or deconstruct code words to find racism. When it raised its ugly head, it was like a blunt instrument waved in your face to keep you in your place. It was as unmistakable as it was demeaning.

Unfortunately, with political waters getting rough for the first time for our president, his supporters are quick to latch on to the actions of a fringe element and ignore the racial transformation this country has made to take us back to an era in which opposition to a black man was about the color of his skin and not the content of his ideas.

Former President Jimmy Carter recently asserted that there is a “belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African Americans are not qualified to lead this great country.” Absurd on its face — after all, Obama wouldn’t have been elected without tremendous support from white voters — this statement is not damaging because it is a false observation, but it stigmatizes the discussion about race relations.

When someone of public prominence carelessly and callously demeans the motives of millions of honest Americans as racists when they are simply concerned about policy ramifications of the president’s agenda, we stop hearing each other.

How can the president win over critics when critics are so unfairly stigmatized by such a personal attack on their character? You can hear the conversation around dinner tables and social gatherings: “If we disagree with Obama, the liberals think we are a bunch of racists.” This truly hampers the effort to find common ground.

Furthermore, stigmatizing honest opposition as racist appears to be a way of not answering legitimate questions about policy reform. I oppose the president’s health care plan because it will explode the deficit, allow further government intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship and continue to insulate health care consumers from the true cost of their care.

The president and his allies should explain why my concerns are misplaced. But by attacking the character of their critics, they don’t have to answer their charges or win the debate over policy differences, because the charge of “racist” is the nuclear option. Once it is launched, there is no need for conventional warfare in the political sense: winning and losing on the merit of policy.

What grieves me most, however, is not that false cries of racism short-circuit our debate, but that it makes legitimate concern about pockets of racism impossible to hear among the majority of Americans where it truly exists. Racism still exists in America today — on both sides of the political spectrum. Now it will be that much harder to expose because the real cry will be impossible to distinguish from the false one, much like the boy who cried wolf. Racism exists, but so does opportunity, and I can personally attest to the fact that there is far more opportunity than racism.

We have rid our institutions of government of the practice of discrimination. If only we could rid our political discourse of the ugliness that ensues when we ascribe discriminatory motive to statements with no obvious discriminatory aspect. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd couldn’t help hearing a missing word in U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during Obama’s speech to Congress. The congressman yelled, “You lie.” Dowd couldn’t help hearing, “You lie, boy.”

Though Wilson started a fire, Dowd poured fuel on it. The greater ugliness is not the inappropriate outburst, but Dowd intentionally injecting a word loaded with a history of racial condescension to label a whole movement of opposition.

I have a suggestion for future discourse. Let’s leave race out of the debate unless someone clearly raises it as the rationale for their position on an issue. Instead, let’s stick to the substance of the argument for the good of the American people.

The fact is, I can disagree with my president based on the politics of ideas instead of the politics of identity, and so can millions of Americans. When liberals seek to change the debate from the content of reforms to the character of their opposition, it smacks of desperation. And it makes me wonder if they have forgotten what real racism is like.

I appreciate Obama’s response to this controversy, but he has missed an opportunity to disavow his supporters. They are taking this country back to an uglier time and place when so many of us want to move forward.

Williams is a member of the Texas Railroad Commission and a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

SOURCE:
Opposing the president doesn’t make you a racist

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Williams Calls on Obama Democrats to Denounce Fishy White House Tactics

August 13th, 2009 . by TexasFred

Do you want to know WHY I love Texas? It’s people like Michael Williams that make this state great, and Texas has a lot of folks just like Michael. People that aren’t afraid to speak their minds and stand their ground!

Senate Candidate to Forward Texans thoughts on Government-run Health Care

August 10, 2009 – Austin – U.S. Senate candidate Michael Williams today called on the Obama Democrats in the campaign for the United States Senate — Bill White and John Sharp — to join him in denouncing President Obama’s White House intimidation tactics to quell legitimate debate about health care reform.

The White House has released an email address for their supporters to forward e-mail messages and e-mail addresses of vocal dissenters of the President’s nationalized health care plan.

“Nixonian watch list tactics have no place in a thoughtful debate about health care costs,� said Williams. “I invite the Democratic candidates in the race for U.S. Senate to join me in publicly denouncing President Obama’s efforts to collect names of citizens who oppose their government-run health care scheme.�

“Texans deserve to know who will stand up for principle, and who will hide behind their party leader and vote lock-step according to his commands,� Williams said.

“The President has already declared he wants his health care critics to stop talking� said Williams. “However, I think Texans should keep talking. Texans’ voices deserve to be heard, which is why I am offering them a forum on my website to send the White House their comments on socialized medicine.

Texans can go to http://www.williamsfortexas.com/petitions/fishy and offer their comments on the healthcare debate. E-mail addresses will be not be forwarded to the White House for their watch list, but their thoughts will be sent along.

“President Obama’s plan would reduce choices and explode costs, which is why he wants critics to be silenced,� said Williams. “I want to give Texans a platform to be heard, first with our web page, and soon after as their United States Senator who will stand up to record deficits, bailout boondoggles, and government-run healthcare.�

SOURCE: Michael Williams for United States Senate

We are hoping to have Michael Williams speak at our TEA Party event in conjunction with the 9-12 Project. I hope many Texans will see this message and attend our function.


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