Politically Recycling the Great Divide

Recently the world has had the chance to observe the political maneuvering of presidential hopeful Sen. McCain’s political cohorts, who have produced loathsome mock ten-dollar food stamps with Sen. Barack Obama’s face attached to a mule alongside watermelon, Kool-Aid, barbecue ribs, and Kentucky Fried chicken; all of which are stereotypical to Blacks.

Hopefully no one has forgotten the Obama monkey sock puppet that was produced by a Utah based company. Recently, cronies within the Republican Party of Virginia have created and sent out mailers with a picture of a face that makes it difficult to determine if the person is Sen. Obama or Osama Bin Laden.
The mailer states, “America Must Look Evil in the Eye and Never Flinch.” The ambiguity between Sen. Obama and Bin Laden leads people down a dangerous path. Examples of the path are exemplified within the weight of the words of an elderly woman at a Minnesota McCain/Palin rally where she called Obama an “Arab.”

How about the death threats noted by the Secret Service at McCain rallies? Due to the media’s lack of attention to the depths of hatred displayed at McCain jamborees, few are privy to the racist sentiments at an Ohio McCain/Palin gathering where an Al Jazeera camera crew caught this exchange that Jessie posted earlier:

I’m afraid if he wins, the blacks will take over. He’s not a Christian! This is a Christian nation! What is our country gonna end up like?”
“When you got a Negra running for president, you need a first stringer. He’s definitely a second stringer.”
“He seems like a sheep – or a wolf in sheep’s clothing to be honest with you. And I believe Palin – she’s filled with the Holy Spirit, and I believe she’s gonna bring honesty and integrity to the White House.”
“He’s related to a known terrorist, for one.”
“He is friends with a terrorist of this country!”
“He must support terrorists! You know, uh, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. And that to me is Obama.”
“Just the whole, Muslim thing, and everything, and everybody’s still kinda – a lot of people have forgotten about 9/11, but… I dunno, it’s just kinda… a little unnerving.”
“Obama and his wife, I’m concerned that they could be anti-white. That he might hide that.”
“I don’t like the fact that he thinks us white people are trash… because we’re not!”

Yep, McCain must be so proud. The rest of us, well, let’s just say those polls should tell the story. These statements and acts of verbal violence toward Sen. Obama are fascinating when one recalls Sen. McCain publicly defending all those supporters who come to his rallies within the last presidential debate.

Public meetings beginning with fiery rhetoric from religious and conservative political fanatics in combination with the fear mongering exhibited by McCain’s political propaganda–I am reminded of the tactics used to divide the White and Black farmers after the U.S. Civil War. History tells a story of the flourishing Populist Party during the 1890s which scared the base of both the Republican and Democratic Parties. Some members of the Populist Party and other outside influences feared the power of connecting poor Blacks and Whites together.

“The People Party’s” success to unite White and newly freed poor Black farmers, and factory workers, was later destroyed by the use of fear, racism, intimidation, bribery, and threats of violence to divide working class Whites from continuing to connect with Blacks in their efforts for change against the wealthy. In essence, poor Whites were basically assured that they may not have had equal access to wealth, but they were at least comforted in covering themselves with the flag of White supremacy that ensured that being White secured riches Blacks could and should never own due to the negative betrayal of what they represented to Whites.

Today within the political landscape, days before this historical presidential election, we as Americans are witnessing the surfacing of a tactic of the past. By invoking fear, White supremacy, and the reproduction of racism, the Republican Party is guilty of attempting to divide and conquer. Today, remnants of control and racism are still present within the policies and procedures of politics. Oppressive systems and people who operate on the grounds of the systemic social reproduction of racism who simply “want distinctions and advantages to be given by birth to those who simply declare themselves by decree to be best” (Memmi 2000, p. 19).