Hey — I didn’t say it first.  Check out this post from Amanda Marcotte over at RHRealityCheck.org who happens to be white. She breaks it down better than I could. Wow — what’s amazing is that, just like voting Republican for two Bush terms, this irrational line of thinking that somehow healthcare reform is going to take something away, is against the economic self-interest of those complaining. It’s basically a cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-a-nigger approach. But don’t take my word for it. She draws a link between the birthers and the townhall nutjobs. And who are the birthers, again? Lest we forget, according to Matt Yglesias:

the Washington Independent’s Dave Weigel has calculated that “as many as three-quarters of Southern whites told pollsters that they didn’t know where Obama was born.”

And most of these are over 60. Fact: At his Tues PA town hall, Sen. Specter (D-Penn.) was booed for referring to President Obama as ‘American.’ Things that make you go hmm…


Last week, when I wrote about the birther phenomenon and its parallels to the anti-choice movement, the phenomenon was still largely relegated to email lists and mainstream media interviews with wide-eyed conspiracy theorists.  It was alarming because it’s so widespread and so obviously rooted in a need to express racist contempt towards Barack Obama and his parents’ interracial relationship, but it didn’t seem like it would grow much bigger.  Well, obviously I didn’t draw a strong enough parallel between the birthers and the anti-choice movement. If I’d been paying attention to my own ideas, I would have realized that as anti-choicers’ frustration with their daily lack of control over women’s bodies erupts into violence, so too would birther frustration over the perceived loss of control over the reins of power enjoyed by white people for the entirety of our nation’s history.

There’s not a formal link between the birther conspiracy theory and the mobs that are trying to shut down discussion about health care reform–and not-so-subtly sending the signal that they are flirting with resorting to violence in order to stop it–but it’s not a coincidence that the birther energy rolled up into this mob scene, or that the leaders pushing the birther line are also encouraging mobs of right wingers to shut down town halls by being disruptive. Unsurprisingly, these mobs have turned violent, something anyone who’s dealt with the anti-choice protestors could have told you was inevitable. Right wing mobs have broken out in violence in Tampa, FL and St. Louis, MO.  Journalists, union activists, and Democrats, who are the perennial favorite villains of right wing talk radio, seem to be favorite targets for violence and threats.


Meanwhile, the opposition to health care reform has taken on a racist tone that can only be denied by the people who require someone to be wearing a hood before they’ll admit it’s racism.  I’ve long been a proponent of the idea that one reason that Americans don’t have universal health care already–unlike every other industrialized Western nation–is that enough white people in power are so unwilling to share with non-white people that they’d rather go without than share.  History would certainly indicate this is the case. Ta-Neishi Coates pointed out that New Deal had to exclude black people to get passed, for instance.  Under Johnson, the social safety grew expansively, and conservative anger about the Civil Rights Act blended with conservative anger about social spending.  After decades of overtly racist rhetoric against welfare, opponents were able to scale it down to nothing.

Paul Krugman agrees that the birther thing plus the revolt against health care reform are part of one big mish mash. Pointing out that at least half of the mob at one event were on “socialized” health care–Medicare–demonstrating that their opposition to it is opposition to other people getting guaranteed health care, Krugman argues:

But they’re probably reacting less to what Mr. Obama is doing, or even to what they’ve heard about what he’s doing, than to who he is.

That is, the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that’s behind the “birther” movement, which denies Mr. Obama’s citizenship.

Above is a video from Media Matters that borrows one of JJP’s lines “Fear of A Black President”. Fox has been drumming up racial panic, including around healthcare. Peep Glenn Beck calling healthcare reform “reparations”. Wow. That’s one reason why we’re going after him & his advertisers in coordination with Color of Change and you. Beck’s racist attacks have to be stopped — not only because racism is  immoral and wrong. The racism must be curbed cuz it’s also damaging to the American economy (um, subprime mortgages, anyone) and to the American principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Which most people would say includes being able to see a doctor when you’re sick without going bankrupt (60% of U.S. bankruptcies are healthcare-related).

To all the crazy racist white people out there– please stand down. For your own good, if not mine. Peace.

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