Regarding my post yesterday about Mr.Coates' article in "The Atlantic", I submitted the following letter to the editor via their submission form.
I wonder what the odds of seeing it published are?
"I just finished reading Mr.Coates' article "Real Racists Do Real Things". Is truly considered "quality journalism"?
First off, I am not a supporter of Newt Gingrich. I'm not overly religious. My views on most topics would be considered moderate. On some issues I would be labeled a Conservative, on others a Liberal. I don't view myself as a part of the "Left" or the "Right". I consider myself firmly entrenched in the area that has seemingly disappeared in the American political system...the MIDDLE.
That being said, as we all know (whether we want to admit it or not is another story entirely) when someone talks against a political view or candidate, that person is immediately grouped in with the "opposite" political viewpoint. I just wanted to clarify that doing that, in my case, would be ignorant and flat-out wrong.
I respect and value Mr.Coates' right to express his opinions. The thing that makes this country great, that makes it stand apart from so many others, is the same thing that seems to threaten to tear us down and divide us. The right for people to express their opinions, and the SUPPORT of other Americans OF that person's right to do this. You don't have to agree with someone's opinion to support their right to express it.
But labeling what Newt Gingrich said regarding President Obama being a "Food Stamp President" and the standing ovation that followed, as Racist? That's so far out of left field (a baseball analogy, not a political opinion) that it truly befuddles me that this article saw the light of day.
First off, I agree with Mr.Coates' examination of the article he linked to. Comparing what Mr.Gingrich said, and what happened after, to this country electing its first black President, is just as ridiculous as Mr.Coates' making these statements out to be "Racist".
Voters should not be focused on whether or not they agree with Mr.Gingrich's statement. They should not be concerned with whether or not this statement was racially based. The statement was POLITICALLY BASED. It's the same finger-pointing that's been going on since we ushered in a "Two Party System".
Why is the crowd giving a standing ovation to Mr.Gingrich such an important action? Common sense would tell most people (well 'most' might be stretching it unfortunately - and common sense doesn't seem to be so common anymore) that the people present for that speech would be those supporting a Republican candidate for President.
So wouldn't that make sense that those same people would support the statement by Mr.Gingrich?
If those SAME EXACT words had been uttered by Herman Cain, and the same standing ovation followed, would that be considered racist as well?
While many of us continue to talk of "making race a non-issue" we continue to bring it to the forefront of discussion day after day.
I actually know people who are uncomfortable being outspoken against President Obama, even when he was still a candidate, for fear of being considered a "Racist".
It was brought up over and over during the election of President Obama that some voters would vote against him, simply because the color of his skin.
Is that a racially biased decision? Sure it is. More IMPORTANTLY it's an ignorant decision. One born out of being driven to focus not on the substance of a candidate. Not on what a candidate stands for, where they stand on the issues that are important to you as a voter, but simply on the APPEARANCE of a candidate.
Now on the SAME topic, we've seen people talk about the fact that at least some voters , by their own admissions, voted for President Obama BECAUSE of the color of his skin.
By the very definition of the word racism, this is no less of a racially motivated act.
If you want to rally against Mr.Gingrich, be my guest. But do so by pointing out his faults as a politician. Do so by looking at his voting record and pointing out what he has done in the past to make you set against him.
Don't resort to dropping the "Racism Bomb". It's the ignorant, easy way out of a very important discussion. By doing this you are doing no one any favors, especially the potential voters in this country.
In a society where many people know more about the contestants / characters of a reality television show than they do about the potential candidates for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, the goal should be EDUCATING readers, not dropping the phrases that will surely gain attention in today's "Buzz Word" media.
Mr.Coates', readers should expect more from you. You should expect more than this from yourself.
You are in the unique and important position to influence readers. But more importantly, you are in the position to EDUCATE readers and potential voters."