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Recently, I presented two examples of modern racism. One involved the mortgage seller, Countrywide...the other involved an AP study examining South Carolina's voter ID law and it's racist implications. While America has made great strides in our tolerance of non-whites, non-Christians and non-males....racism and bigotry in the United States is far from being eradicated.
Case in point: Rick Santorum...
"Having that strong foundation of the faith and family allows America to be in a position where we can be more free," Santorum says. "We can be free because we are good decent moral people."
For Santorum that means cutting government regulation. Making Americans less dependent on government aid. Fewer people getting food stamps, Medicaid and other forms of federal assistance — especially one group.
"I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money," Santorum begins. "I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families."
Santorum did not elaborate on why he singled out blacks who rely on federal assistance. The voters here didn't seem to care.
For many years it has been clear to me that what many conservatives and Republicans dislike about America's safety net is the fact that non-whites receive benefits from it. Of course, it goes without saying that this is not true of all conservatives and Republicans. One size never fits all.
It is quite clear from Rick Santorum's comment that he believes whenever food stamps, public housing, Head Start, welfare-to-work programs, etc. are being talked about.....in reality the discussion is really about black Americans. Santorum does not want to "make black people's lives better" through these governmental safety net programs. That's what he said. Why not? Because the government is giving them "somebody else's money."
At least Rick Santorum, David Brooks' latest crush, didn't try to hide behind politically correct weaselness. Rick just came out and said what was on his mind.....and it's the same thinking that has been on the minds of a good many conservatives and Republicans for over a half a century now. Sure, blacks should be treated equally....but not given welfare, because welfare is "somebody else's money." The implication is that the "somebody else" is made up of white Americans.
This is the same thinking which has expressed itself over the last three years, primarily by white conservatives, in characterizing the black President Obama as an affirmative-action president. The bogus idea being that a black guy could have never risen to such prominence without welfare, affirmative action or handouts being involved....all unearned, naturally....and funded with "somebody else's money."
I've been around long enough to know that what Rick Santorum said about black Americans is exactly what many conservative types think about black Americans. Many white Americans, for whatever reason, do not want their tax monies going to help "somebody else", especially if that somebody else is black.
That dynamic is the dynamic which explains conservative opposition to ObamaCare. In ObamaCare, Medicaid, health coverage for our poorest citizens, many of whom are black, is expanded. Under ObamaCare, citizens who earn up to 300% of the poverty level will qualify for Medicaid. To conservatives, that means that health care to more poor blacks will be paid for with "somebody else's money." That is anathema to many Republicans and conservatives who happen to be primarily white.
Sure, just like Santorum did, conservatives repeat the, "I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families", disclaimer to fig leaf their actual motivations. But make no mistake.....Rick Santorum is also against the government creating enough jobs to employ those unemployed black Americans during a weak demand recession. Still today, for every job opening, there are 4 Americans trying to land it.
Santorum also told the same audience...
“Diversity creates conflict. If we celebrate diversity then we lay the groundwork for that conflict.”
So, I guess, it's okay to not be a white male.....but we shouldn't "celebrate" that some one, or some group of Americans, are not white males. Pointing out and celebrating our differences, our distinctions...if I'm plumbing Santorum's words properly....angers white males and leads to conflict.
That is so top-to-bottom....so wrong, there really is no need to expand on it.
But Santorum's overall message is clear, isn't it? He doesn't appreciate America when America celebrates its diversity. Celebrating America's rich and diverse population, for Rick, leads to anger and conflict.
If all that wasn't quite disturbing enough coming from an ex-senator closing strong in the Iowa GOP presidential primaries....here's the kicker....
"We can be free because we are good decent moral people."