Photo by Edward F. Palm)

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Forest, Virginia, United States
A long time ago, my sophomore English teacher, Father William Campbell, saw something in my writing and predicted that I would someday become a newspaper columnist. He suggested the perfect title for my column--"Leaves of the Palm." Now that I have a little extra time on my hands I've decided to put Father Campbell's prediction to the test. I'm going to start using this blog site not just to reprint opinion pieces I've published elsewhere but to try to get more of my ideas and opinions out there. Feedback is welcome. To find out more about me, please check out my Web site: www.EdwardFPalm.com (Click on any of the photos below for an enlarged view.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

President Carter, President Obama, and Racism

I have never been much of a Jimmy Carter fan.  I do think he is a genuinely good man--too good, probably, to have been an effective president.  In my estimation, Carter did the nation irreparable harm in not taking decisive, forceful action in 1979 when Iranian students stormed our embassy and took the staff hostage.  I don't mean to seem callous, but more than the lives of the hostages was at stake.  Storming our embassy was an act of war and should have been dealt with accordingly.  By being wishy-washy Carter also helped provoke the right wing reaction that swept Reagan into office.  And I do part company with those who consider Reagan to have been good for the country.  

But when Carter is right he's right!  I agree that much of the animosity we've seen displayed toward Obama is racially motivated.  This is not to say that  there are no legitimate arguments to be made against Obama's health care reform proposal or his economic stimulus measure.  Nor is it to suggest that all of Obama's critics are racists.  Contrary to what Michael Savage and others are alleging, liberals are not simply playing the race card in order to stifle debate.  Rather, Carter is simply acknowledging what a lot of us have felt:  There has been an undercurrent of racism in much of the belligerence and hysteria we've seen displayed recently in town hall meetings and other venues.

It is plainly evident that Obama's most rabid critics will not accept Obama as our rightful president.  Openly, they charge that the election was rigged and/or Obama is ineligible by birth. But what really bothers them is Obama's race.

The whole scene reminds me of the intransigent racism endemic to the working class of my youth.  Apparently, it will take more than a single generation to achieve a color-blind, post-racial society.

Stay tuned:  In the next day or two, I intend to share the story of what happened in the spring of 1959 when the first black family tried to move in to my neighborhood.

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