Monday, August 17, 2009

Street cred

One of these politicians is known as a racist. But, in reality, they have a lot in common.
Barack ObamaLester Maddox
Let me explain. In his recent column at Pajamas Media, Frank J. Fleming suggests that Democrats play the race card when they don't have any valid arguments ... which is a lot. One thing that really caught my eye, was this passing reference:
(The) first indication that Obama was not at all post-racial was finding out what a racist loon his preacher for twenty years was. While I never actually thought Obama hated white people, it was disturbing how easily he tolerated that issue to gain street cred in Chicago.
Here's why that caught my eye: Obama isn't the first politician to do that. One of the first that I remember was a Georgia politician from the 1960s and 1970s named Lester Maddox. Little bit of background on the former governor: He operated the The Pickrick, an Atlanta cafeteria. Most restaurants run by whites in Georgia and throughout the south the 1950s and 60s, had white customers. It was very uncommon for there to be integrated restaurants during that time. The Pickrick was typical. White-owned, white clientele. Maddox resisted integrating the restaurant, to the point of threatening violence, though none ever occurred. He then used his reputation to run for political office. In 1966, he was elected Governor. (It's not as simple as that, but that story in itself would take weeks to explain.) After taking office, Maddox did the unthinkable: he appointed more blacks to high office in the state than all previous governors combined. These included the head of the Department of Corrections, as well as the first blacks to serve in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia State Patrol. Maddox also order state troopers to address blacks the same as they addressed whites: calling them "Mr." instead of using their first name. He also integrated the state farmers markets. What does all this history of Lester Maddox mean? Think about it. Both Lester Maddox and Barack Obama tolerated racism to achieve political goals. The difference is that Maddox built his "street cred," then did something about bringing the races closer together. Obama built his "street cred," and has done nothing to bring the races together. Rather, he's continued to use race to divide the country ... even on non-racial issues. Some six years after his death, Maddox is still remembered as a racist, while the good things he did are ignored by the media. Obama is thought of as above race, particularly by the media, despite it being his one accomplishment: being black. And he only got that half-right.

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