In A Way, It Really WAS Obama’s Fault…

Whether the current eruption of White Christian Nationalism is–as I profoundly hope– its “death rattle” and not a more permanent, dangerous fixture of our political reality, it may be useful to consider what has triggered its current malevolence.

The road from the Emancipation Proclamation has been a long one, for reasons a number of historians have documented. The resistance of White supremicists, abetted by racist politicians, consistently impeded progress and continues to do so. But little by little, as the boots of those supremicists lifted from Black and Brown necks and as people of color (and women) were able to access education and get hired to do non-menial jobs, the environment has– slowly– shifted.

It has become difficult, if not impossible, to ignore the fact that talent and diligence–just like ignorance and sloth– are pretty widely dispersed among all populations.

Over the years, women, Latinos and Black people who occupy positions of authority have become more prominent and plentiful. Faces in the media and academia, and among co-workers and bosses and neighbors, have become steadily more diverse. And then, for the bigots, the ultimate indignity: a brilliant, classy Black President and his equally accomplished wife were “in the face” of resentful Whites for eight long years.

One way they could diminish Obama was to elect a crude, ignorant, classless racist to succeed him, as if to say: “See. Even a dumb, mentally-ill buffoon can do that job. You aren’t so special.” Another was to oppose and mischaracterize efforts to remedy the still-potent remnants of official racism–to pretend that vote suppression was “prevention of voter fraud” or  to insist (falsely) that demonstrations by groups like Black Lives Matter were as violent as their own.

I don’t pretend to understand the attitudes or thought processes (if they can be dignified by describing them as “thought”) of people who believe that a mob of White vandals trashing offices and defecating on the floor of the nation’s Capitol are representatives of a “superior” population.

As the saying goes, I’m not a psychiatrist and I don’t play one on TV. I can only assume that what we are seeing is the inarticulate rage of people who are disappointed with their lives, who feel that the world is not according them the status and/or recognition to which they feel entitled, who have  comforted themselves with the notion that (as LBJ memorably put it) at least they were superior to Black people.

Take that comfort away, and they are truly bereft.

The question now is whether this most recent eruption will usher in any meaningful change. In the wake of the insurrection, there have been some encouraging signs that the determined “neutrality” of many people and businesses has been shaken. Donors are withdrawing support from several of the most culpable elected officials–those like Cruz and Hawley who clearly knew better but encouraged the uprising in hopes that indulging seditious fantasies would win them the support of Trump’s rabid base. The PGA will no longer authorize tournaments at Trump-owned golf courses. The Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers and even the rightwing editorial board of the Wall Street Journal are among those that have called for Trump’s resignation.

Will reaction to this shocking example of sedition go the way of the  “thoughts and prayers” responses to mass gun violence? Or will Americans finally, firmly reject racial and religious tribalism, and begin a final and vastly overdue commitment to civic equality?

I have hopes, but no crystal ball.


  1. Barack Obama was born to a white American mother and a black Kenyan father; due to the racist values in this country, only his blackness is recognized. In fact, only approximately 5 years of his life was in the black world; he was primarily raised by his white American working class grandparents and rose to become President of the most powerful world on earth for two terms.

    “Will reaction to this shocking example of sedition go the way of the “thoughts and prayers” responses to mass gun violence? Or will Americans finally, firmly reject racial and religious tribalism, and begin a final and vastly overdue commitment to civic equality?”

    Let us move on to another “colored guy” who remains a victim of Trump’s White Nationalist administration after being elected the first black Senator in Georgia to be sent to Washington, D.C. Of course Senator-elect Rev. Warnock and Senator-elect Ossoff have not been sworn into their rightfully elected positions in the United States Senate. Why haven’t they? The President or Vice President swears in these new members; is this another deliberate ignoring of their Oath of Office duties and is race the reason? How will the lack of their being seated in their duly elected position effect the current impeachment action to be voted on by the House of Representatives today, then passed on to the Senate for their vote? Will this lack of swearing in of elected Senators, preventing them from casting their vote in this Constitutional crisis come back to bite the entire impeachment in the ass?

    Pence was selected as Trump’s running mate for his weakness; yesterday he refused to enact the 25th Amendment to remove from office the president who sent 2,000 or so insurrectionists to “Hang Mike Pence” with the noose prepared before the deadly attack. There is an insidious reason the two Senators-elect from Georgia haven’t been sworn in with the Senate back in session for the 4th day.

  2. I understand that even Wal Mart has decided to stop providing funds to the insurgents in Congress. I will believe in miracles when Charles Koch does the same.

  3. I suppose things can seem like they change for the better, but if you look at the history of this country, it’s gone through so many cycles were things seem better and then swing back in the opposite direction. Slavery, bad! Emancipation, good! Jim crow, bad! civil Rights movement, good! Barack Obama, good! Donald Trump, bad!

    I mean, there are a lot of things left out of here, but you get the idea! There is never a good deed or idea or program without the punishment that follows.

    I really said what I needed to say yesterday, and, I feel no different about it today. Things might seem better for a while, but this thing that we call a society has more feet than a millipede and so many shoes are left to drop! How it shakes out in the end, who can tell! but considering the cyclical nature of history, you can kind of predict with a fairly great degree of accuracy, the next turning point!

    I mean, look at the complete history of Judaism, the ebbs and flows, the ups and downs, that’s the canary in the coal mine, and, rightly or wrongly, that’s where you can tell how things will meander for everyone. It doesn’t bode well because hatred doesn’t go away.

  4. NEVER FORGET the actions of a few WORTHLESS Hoosier politicians in the tragedy that happened last week. Mike Braun wouldn’t accept election results, Todd Young was caught on video with the mob repeating how he agreed with their sentiments, and Todd Rokita tweeted out “I still love my president” after the horrible actions we all witnessed on TV. This kind of politician HAS NO REGARD for the people they are elected to serve, but instead caters to an extremist base. Hard to believe that Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to enact the 25th Amendment even after his own life was threatened by Trumpanzee extremists. HOOSIERS WILL NEVER FORGET THESE WORTHLESS POLITICIANS AND THEIR ACTIONS!

  5. I am at last a tiny bit encouraged to see Corporate America START to withdraw their funding from the Trumpists. Now if they can go further and stop funding Fox & Rush and such…. Or is that too much to hope for?

  6. Good morning everyone. I’ve been MIA for several months, but have been reading the posts and comments.

    At the risk of sounding like Debbie Downer I believe the change of hearts by corporations and others will be just another temporary show of goodwill.

    When the dust finally settles on the despicable actions last week by radical rightwing extremists the racism and white supremacy within our country’s population will return to ‘normal’. Until those of us with white skin become the minority in government and corporate leadership positions, white racists will keep fighting to maintain their superior positions in society that they believe is their birthright and not something that THEY have to earn.

  7. I too wish that the events of the past week were the harbinger of the end of White Christian Nationalism. Alas, they are not. Trump’s base, the majority of the Republican Party and all those White Evangelicals and Catholics, have simply crawled under their beds where they remain waiting and silent. They’ll be back, fueled by hate and intolerance, their own self-righteousness, and funded by the greedy who need them to paint over their own avarice.
    Meanwhile, their Republican spokespersons in Congress, even after being part of the target by the insurrectionists, continue to support Trump and his delusional cause.
    For anyone with a conscience and a love of the Constitution this is a horror to watch. And it isn’t over yet.

  8. The 2022 Congressional races will tell us a lot about long-term benefits of the backlash to the backlash, if any. Typically, after one party wins the White House they lose seats in the House and possibly the Senate. Dems cannot afford to let that happen in ‘22. The controls to power MUST be denied to the Party of Big Lies for a period of time that causes political death to the politicians that embrace white supremacist ideals, no matter what labels they try hiding it behind.

  9. I’m not going to go national with this article when you the deep pockets of prevalent racism in this country. Also, don’t forget about those dark skin immigrants who infringe on the “inherited status of the poor white class.”

    However, I also find deeply troubling, but not unanticipated, the people of color who’ve established “standing in their communities,” who have acquiesced to the existing white power structures.

    As you mention, Mr. Wall Street himself, Barack Obama, was a complete sellout for his own favor. I am sure the Democratic apologists will quickly rise to his defense, but let’s ask Louis Farrakhan what he thought of his Chicagoan brother who did nothing for the black community. Barack was a manifestation of the media culture and Wall Street, who said, “Yes, it can happen here.”

    However, as a black leader, Barack was no MLK. LOL

    He was a sellout to his brothers and sisters. I see the same thing in my community. I see the same thing in academia, as well. Once accepted into the white power structure, Barack stopped making his inequality and classist speeches. He went from Marxist to Capitalist overnight. LOL

    And I don’t know about anybody else, but watching Michelle Obama love over the white war criminal GWB makes me want to puke, especially when the US/UK governments are torturing Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison for exposing Bush’s criminal enterprise.

  10. I have always understood this since Obama became president. I am Black and completely know my worth. I am 77yrs old and lived thru the 50s on. This in many ways a repeat and continuation of the white man’s misguided belief that they will always be superior to minorities. Minorities are truly understanding that ” Yes We Can” and we will, threatening the solid hold that white society had on us. When you know who you are and willing to fight for your dignity, no one can stop you. We have arrived!! It is now the time to instill this in our children. People get ready, there’s a change a-coming. I like the way you process thoughts. Keep up the great articles

  11. What can the GOP do? Since the Civil Rights Act split the South from Democrats and left it to the GOP and, later, Reagan and used the ‘culture wars’ to bring the Rust Belt working class into the GOP, white resentment has been their only recruiting tool. We’ve seen how deep their commitment to fiscal restraint is when they aren’t using it to handcuff Democrats. Now that they have almost bankrupted the country, killed off a generation, laid bare the rot at their core…where do they go? My hope..when the 20% of less radical Trump voters (not the 20% of true believers) have to face their own racism, they have the capacity to be ashamed. This the first step in reconciliation.

  12. Sadly, Indiana is ground zero for so much of what you write about, from gerrymandered legislative districts that exacerbate the extremes to voting laws that make it more cumbersome for people to register and vote. I hope you are right but as long as elections are flooded with dark money and legislative gerrymandering prevents a real contest of ideas in November elections, the extremes will find fertile ground to grow here at home.

  13. 1. Regarding the “corporate” retreats, have no doubt that they have measured the exact dollars they can get from seeming to please Left-learning well off professionals v/s losing a few “white trash” customers. It is all about favorable press/PR. We have seen this show before…

    2. Patrick Wiltshire – you are right on – the 2022 House elections will tell the tale (steered by the 2020 census re-districting directed by Red-state legislatures). We at CommonGoodGoverning are gearing up…come on down Patrick (and anyone else interested).

  14. Just a couple of thoughts:

    Do these corporations intend to continue to donate to the same 501C4s (where they don’t need to be identified) that they have given to in the past, before the money is passed to a PAC that supports either Republicans or Democrats?

    Has anyone else noted that the last two Republicans who didn’t win re-election had Hoosier VEEPS? Is there a lesson there? It might be don’t pick a Hoosier or don’t pick a dullard. Not sure which.

  15. HOOSIER PATRIOT, et. al.:

    Republicans do what they do because they primarily work for their donors. Their donors tell them to do whatever it takes to inculcate the citizens for fascism. They do this in order to make more money. Republicans haven’t had ANY intention of governing since 1981. Their “small government” mantra is the converse of their intention: NO government to prevent the corporatists from making more legal and illegal profits.

    The Obama backlash by the weakest and dumbest among us is not just a death rattle of right-wing, white privilege and perverted Christianity. It is the vacant scream from the depths of the most primitive organism that began to become human. Tribalism is, and always will be, with us.

    Give these pathetic wretches guns and a TV camera and you see what we have and will soon see. Here in Colorado, we thinking people have our faces in our hands over the wretched creature from the western slope of Mars, Lauren Boebert. Her entire political campaign is based on guns. How’s that for intent to govern?

  16. Vernon–did you see the reports that Boebert the day before the siege was giving a tour of the Capital building to folks who participated the next day in the siege? Rep. Mikie Sherrill reported witnessing colleagues showing folks around the Capital on what she is describing as a reconnaissance mission. Then of course reports of Boebert tweeting where the Speaker was when the walls came tumbling down. No wonder they put up metal detectors–you have Republicans refusing to wear masks last week in tight quarters and have infected their fellow Congress peeps and concerns that people like Boebert and other conspiracy worshipers have infiltrated the ranks of Congress.

    Things are going to get dark as the news come forward on how deep the Republicans and those holding office were in on the plan to take over democracy

  17. One of the things I fault Obama for, is his lack of urging to rid us of the electoral college, after seeing the damage it had only recently done. Obviously, without it Dumpy would never have been elected in the first pace.
    Why were there 2 Hoosier VP candidates in recent loosing GOP slates? What is it about Indiana that is so, excuse me, politically rancid? Pence had the key to the Evangelical crowd, had been a horrid governor, showed his bona fides to the RNC, and was, also, or looked like he was, also, a steadying influence for the bizarre Trump. Was that it? Does “Indiana republican” equate with “defender of the (rotten-to-the-core)status quo?
    I am not at all surprised that Pence is not going the way of the25th amendment, as he is, IMHO, little else than a backboneless republican dung beetle.

  18. I am with you, Sheila. The Reagan Consensus is dying and a new era is beginning. We, as parents, are the only ones who can change the racism and misogyny in our culture. We need to stop blaming politicians and take responsibility.

  19. Also:
    We have a horrid track record regarding the choosing of candidates for president of the country. Those who are most narcissistically driven to be “On top” regardless of merit, take center stage, and we let them occupy it. It may be fantasy on my part, but i like the system elucidated in “Breakfast of Champions,” by Joseph Heller:
    Those who clamored for the office, were automatically disqualified. A neutral search committee sought out the most qualified person, who then, kicking and screaming, was sworn into the office, and DID THE JOB!
    Yes, I know, there are all other kinds of problems with this, but, hey, we are still loosing citizens to the Bush wars, what 18 years later? Feeding the MIC?

  20. The insurrection is led by smart, intelligent leaders. They have no fear. Not only have they successfully infiltrated elected positions, law enforcement officials this morning reported: “we have a problem”. Their ranks have been infiltrated. If have not Googled: “Oath Keepers” or read the Atlantic Monthly, November, 2020 edition … I encourage you to do so. This is not over with Trump. We are in this counter-insurgency strategy for sometime to come.

  21. Elaine,

    Oh yes. The Denver Post has watched her every move since the summer when she decided to run for office. The pathetic Republican she defeated made barely a whimper: the loudest voice (and the emptiest head) won in our third district. Gun nuts like Boebert abound everywhere. Guns have become more a symbol of white grievance and fear of “the other” than anything to do with the First Amendment. Boebert is just another brain-dead lunatic lusting for power over things she doesn’t understand.

  22. Norris,

    I beg to differ with your redundancy about “smart, intelligent leaders.” They are none of those. It’s true that they do not fear the consequences of their actions, because they have embraced the idiocy of white grievance (I see that as intellectual sloth), bigotry and DO fear being usurped by “the other”. It’s pathetic, dangerous and stupid. Give these assholes guns and watch what happens next week. I live a mile from the Colorado State Capitol and I expect to hear gunfire in the next few days. One of our newly-elected Congress people, Lauren Boebert is all about guns and about nothing else. What else should we expect?

  23. Mitch D, you touch on a good topic. The party primary system. In a lot of cases, it selects extreme candidates that are far from the main stream, especially on the Republican side, where the main tactic is fear and the theme is racism.

    This is somewhat off topic but is relevant when you talk about political extremes. Something occurred to me while listening to stories about who voted to challenge the election results and nobody has really mentioned it.

    There were 8 Senators that voted to challenge the election results, or 8% of the Senate.
    There were 139 Representatives that voted to challenge the results, or 32% of the House.
    I asked myself why is that? I am going to guess that the difference has to do with Gerrymandering.

    In a Senate race, you have to get votes from the entire state. You need to have a more middle of the road position so that you will get re-elected because if you don’t get a little support from outside your loyal base, you might get voted out.

    For Representatives, you only have to appeal to the base in your district. If your district is drawn in such a way that you are always guaranteed a right wing Republican majority no matter what, you are going to get much more radical candidates, with much more extreme views, and they are going to feel safe ignoring the minority constituency in the district.

    Think about that when somebody talks about Gerrymandering before you decide it does not make a difference.

  24. The Trumpist movement is binary and has sold out our democracy for different reasons. The “Christians” have sold out to money, abortion and spiritual authoritarianism aligned to capitalism, and the other half have surrendered to grievances real or imagined and their fear that minorities will supplant them in the order of things. Racism, wage inequality and violence are the tools they use to maintain the status quo, where everyone “knows his/her place.”

    What to do? I have no magic potion and that may be because none exists, so all I know to do is to continue agitating for policies that foster the common good, be they policies in re civil rights, wage and wealth inequality, open housing, environmental concerns, availability of capital, trade pacts, monopoly concerns etc., all aspects of the common good.

  25. It’s amazing to me how quickly how many leaders now have “normalized” the storming of the Capitol. Are we really that cynical about the country?

    The Congress that could have easily been wiped out by the insurrectionists is now politely deciding between essentially ignoring the crime or holding Trump accountable by firing him after he leaves office.

    It seems to me that Louis XVI, if he could find his head, would tell us how cheaply we are letting Trump off of the hook.

  26. I think that those of us who were appalled have something in common with those who were involved in the storming of the Capitol and that is that the legislators in that building are largely incompetent and are beholden only to the big bucks crowd that funds their lavish campaigns. Our differences are mostly in our perception of Trump as the best or the worst of them.

  27. Those of us who are appalled by this development would solve the problem with democracy. Those who were involved have been taught to mistrust even that tradition. What they don’t understand in my opinion is that democracy is the only door to freedom and liberty because if a majority of we the people don’t pick who our leaders are that leaves as the only alternative a minority and a requirement to choose which minority to trust with all of our lives.

  28. Pete,

    I recommend the two books by Rick Wilson, beginning with “Everything Trump Touches Dies”. Follow that up with Michael Cohen’s book. They saw all this coming.

  29. Repeat – quit complaining; get active – Repeat – quit reading books to make you feel better in your anti-Trump bubble; get active – Repeat

  30. Frankly I read books to learn because the problems that directly and negatively impact my family are created by people and forces out of my purview.

  31. Pete,

    You are a citizen…the doings of your governments local, state and national are IN your purview. You are their customer…

    Too many folks think they can’t do anything – the major reason people don’t bother to vote. I’m sure you do vote…but, given where we are, we must do MORE.

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