Apparently American white folks are disappointed with Obama’s presidency. He was supposed to be the ‘magic negro’ who stopped the runaway train known as the American economy. He didn’t…not yet.
With new reports suggesting that 1 in 5 Americans (20%) believe he’s a secret Muslim, and that his approval ratings have dropped to less than 40%, it’s becoming evident that America’s love affair with Obama is over.
But, was it a love affair to begin with? Obama went into this presidency with inhumanly high expectations–reverse a runway train and magically transform America’s racial landscape. Include a fierce, undeserved and unrelenting opposition from a right wing determined to see him fail simply because they don’t like him, and Obama’s own pacifist personality which saw him putting right wing concerns before those of the people who voted for him–progressives, gays and liberals–Obama has been fighting a ridiculous, no-win battle.
The right wing declared his presidency dead before he reached a full year in office. Despite reports that the stimulus packages have worked, many folk in the U.S. aren’t satisfied; after all, unemployment is still high.
Whereas unemployment is legitimate issue for complaint, I don’t think anyone believes the Tea Party’s gripe with him is about unemployment. Since they rose to full force before he did anything presidential, it can’t be argued that these people had legitimate concerns, other than a long standing ambition to ‘take America back’ [from the brown people] by destabilizing the American government.
What is at work with Obama’s critics was suspicion of him as a [non-white]man. The Tea Baggers movement (those concerned he’s turning America into a socialist,welfare state without a shred of evidence), the Birthers Movement (those who believe he was not born in the U.S. and isn’t a citizen) and the 20% of Americans who believe he’s a ‘secret’ Muslim, are right wing leaning, mostly white groups determined to undermine his presidency by casting it as un-American and therefore illegitimate.
Coupled with the fact that many Americans are socially ignorant, it’s understandable how the hoopla about his failures (highly overblown) were born. Now there are talks of his being a one-term president.
Obama’s latest criticism comes from the debate over the Mosque at Ground Zero a.k.a the World Trade Center. Apparently, the belief in his ‘secretive’ Muslim status received a boost when he stated that Muslim Americans have a constitutional right to build a mosque at the former site of the World Trade Center. This, of course, was accepted as a proof that he’s Muslim.
The ‘Obama is a secret Muslim’ belief is another one of those disturbing beliefs with underlying racial and xenophobic tones. Case in point: Tea Party president Mark Williams proclamation that Obama was ‘an Indonesian terrorist turn welfare thug turn annointed,’ the older white voter outside of a polling station who stated that she believed Obama was ‘secretly planted by Al Qaeda’ or the voter who expressed her concern to John McCain that she believed Obama was an ‘Arab.’
Not only should it not matter whether he’s Muslim or not, but to believe that he is despite all the evidence to the contrary suggests that these beliefs go beyond a simple ‘political’ ploy. These [white] folk are inclined to blindly promote the foreigner/Arab terrorist stereotypes because they want to. Obama’s presidency is a slap in the face of the white supremacist culture that they grew up with; hence, the popular nostalgic sentiment: “the good ole days.”
President Barack Obama was supposed to be a living symbol of America’s post-racial identity; after all, he was truly multi-cultural, ethnic, etc. However, Obama’s presence in the white house has become a firestorm that triggered a racial backlash. Whether it was immigration laws in Arizona, the rise of the Birthers/Tea Baggers movement, or the increased presence of neo-Nazi/white supremacist groups on the Internet, white American anger was unleashed with a vengeance. They don’t want this post-racial society, and so they fight, march and shout, feeling their ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’ are being trampled.
Whatever Obama’s legacy, he’s far from the worse presidency, despite the claims of Dan Quayle’s son. The Bush years are still fresh in my mind.
If Obama becomes a one-term president or fails in the long-run it may have nothing to do with Obama’s politics and definitely not his personality, but everything to do with a system backed by a white, mostly conservative majority that wanted him to fail, and went about doing so by first establishing ridiculous expectations he’d never reach, and resorting to preemptive attacks on his policies and his presidency that may have less to do with honest political disagreement and more to do with a strategic hatred of what Obama represents: America’s new face, that which they aren’t ready for.