Historians will some day say that the title of this essay accurately represents the largely unspoken and perhaps primary reason for the fanatical efforts on the part of the Republican Party to get President Obama out of the White House. I had thought to reference the Republican Party leadership only in the preceding sentence, but the silence of so many Republicans (with some exceptions) in the face of the not-so-subtle simmering racism fueling their party’s efforts to take back the White House and get rid of the black guy is sickening, and thus they don’t deserve a pass. Lincoln would be disgusted.
We have Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who fools some fools with his avuncular folksy countenance. Paul’s newsletters in the 1980s and 1990s have published such racist gems as: "Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal" and "We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational" and "Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks." Paul claims he didn’t write these things and says he doesn’t agree. Are you kidding me? Are we as a people really so stupid that we believe him? Sadly, in more cases than we’d like to admit, the answer, it seems, is yes.
And then of course, we’ve got Rick Santorum who, in talking about Medicaid, SSI and food stamps in Iowa Sunday said, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families." Then, of course, he later said he is not racist. And I suppose there are still fools who believe him and racists who believe in him because they know his I’m not a racist claim is merely Santorum’s attempt to cover his, well, why not, lily-white ass.
The fact there are racists among us should surprise no one. The fact they are running for president with support should both surprise and sicken all people. However, most disturbing of all? The dead silence on the part of leaders in both parties, and, perhaps even worse, the silence on the part of the media.
If there is anything that feeds racism, homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, anti-disabled, etc., it’s silence. Believe me, in my own efforts as an advocate for people with disabilities I see the damage caused by silence on many fronts. Silence from those who, like those running for the presidency (President Obama and John Huntsman excluded), would want you to believe they really really care.