On 5/1/12 8:20 PM, Bill Vis wrote:

So far today we’ve heard it implied by two Voicers that whites that vote against Obama may very well be closet racists.


My point was that for  some — those I would consider as radicals out on the fringe — do bring a racial animosity into their rejection of the president. Moreover, that race issue has a historic link in certain types of populism. This issue is simply uncontestable.

This racial tinge is not universal, but arises for a narrow set of anti-Obama types (I would not even presume that they vote).

Even then, I do not consider race to be the dominant theme among this radical wing. Rather, the politics seem to be driven by other emotional understandings. The best explanation that I’ve read has suggested that this underlying emotional energy comes from a perceived threat to a way of life, perhaps even a loss of a certain way of life, a loss of a way of understanding ones place in the culture.  Actually, that’s fairly understandable. Folks my/our age, who grew up in the 60s, grew up in a nation that was overwhelmingly white, one where ideals seemed to be fixed. The changes of the last 40+ years have been disorienting, not only with ideals/beliefs, but what happens on our streets, and what our economy looks like.

This is a real loss, and so it would not surprise me if that loss also had a certain rear guard, or reactionary politics associated with it.

Related to this is perhaps a loss of common connection. Once perhaps, we thought of the ideals as applying to everyone, covertly assuming that our viewpoint (white, middle class) was the normative one. Others participated as a sort of mercy, or noblesse oblige. This loss of cultural pride of place can fuel resentment. An interesting blog post on this turn from empathy to disdain is from Ed Kilgore.


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