There has been a lot of chatter of Fr. Andrew Greeley’s column yesterday Fall election hinges on race.
In fact, only a little more than half of the Democratic voters chose the senator from Illinois as their candidate. Were the other voters racist? Influenced by racism? Inclined to racism, which they hide even from themselves? Surely all of these factors were at work, but it is virtually impossible with the current research technology to sort them out. Moreover, is the voter a bigot who says — to himself or others — “He’s too young for it,” “I don’t know anything about him,” “He’s an elitist,” “He’s just a lot of fancy talk,” “The country isn’t ready for a man like that,” “He’s weak in his support of Israel,” “He’s Muslim, possibly the anti-Christ!” Are these hints of lurking prejudice? Are the voters of regular members of the Democratic coalition — Hispanics and union members — against Obama partly because of racism?
Racism is of course still with us, but blessedly reduced. No doubt there were some within the Democratic Party that voted against him on race alone, though I don’t think it is a very large segment. Though articles like this never mention the large numbers of blacks that voted for Barack Obama. Surely some did so based on the color of his skin and it seems to me when you take that into consideration when you vote that is in fact a form of racism. Though you also had class warfare in terms of gender where some women voted for Sen. Hillary for the simple fact that she was the same gender as them. Look at the fallout when Oprah endorsed Barack and many women were upset that she had done so.
How many of the male readers of this column who are habitues of bars, locker rooms, commuter train bull sessions, pool rooms and men’s clubs have not heard the indigenous racial slurs of such environments applied to Obama?
I do wonder who Fr. Greeley hangs out with. I have to really go back in time about twenty years to remember the last time I heard someone make a racial slur within my hearing. The guy making the slur was a class A idiot who actually believed Robin Trower did the music for Jimi Hendrix. Everyone in the shop I was working in at the time would immediately go on the offensive on this guy when he said something racist or sexist. I suspect that Fr. Greeley just projects this as happening as frequently as he thinks.
And surely some of the explicit chatter during the campaign was racist, especially the obsession with the various clergy who mounted the pulpit of his church. By what stretch of sick logic could the candidate be responsible for what his clergy said and did?
So by this logic I guess you could attend one of the racist white supremacist churches and not be accountable for the rampant racism that was taught. Plus Rev. Wright was not just some clergy in a Church he attended, he was a personal friend also involved in his campaign and someone Obama had written was a great influence and advisory. He book “Audacity of Hope” comes from one of this sermons.
Certainly there are solid political and personal reasons that some Americans might have had for voting against the senator that would not be in principle racist. He is one of the most “liberal” members of Congress. He stole the election from a woman who was entitled to it. He is one of the “boys” beating up on the female candidate. He is a not a patriot dedicated to final victory in Iraq. He is weak on national security. He lacks experience. He supports abortion. Yet behind these arguments, might racism lurk?
Certainly it might lurk, but predominantly you are going to find people who oppose Obama because of the positions he holds and at least Fr. Greeley even mentioned that abortion might be one of those reasons. Original sin is still with us and the evidence for concupiscence is always increasing. We are nowhere close to judging people by the “content of their character” and can come up with vapid reasons to support someone who fails on these counts. Now we all know that if Sen. Obama fails the media will not see it as being the fault of his radicalism, but only in terms of race. That somehow if I oppose someone who is the most extreme supporter of abortion running for president ever, someone who supports cloning, ESCR, euthanasia, homosexual marriage – all intrinsic evils – that it makes me a racist. Gee I thought it made me a Catholic or someone who takes the natural law seriously. I guess the fact that I have voted for Amb. Alan Keyes multiple times just makes me a confused racist.
The point is that racism permeates American society and hides itself under many different disguises. The nomination of an African-American candidate was a near-miracle. Only the innocent and the naive think that the November election will not be about race.
I would like to know how racism permeates the society when he says there is no “current research technology to sort them out.” How does he know this? Or is it just calumny based on what he wants to believe? I guess for Fr. Greely you can make uncharitable judgments on what you think motivates most people. But then again Fr. Greeley supports a candidate that supports intrinsic evils that will continue the culture of death, so his judgment is questionable in the first place.