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When Clinging to God Is Convenient

The Other Side of the Tracks: A Socially Speaking commentary

August 31, 2010

By Perry Redd

Here I am, nine months later reviving the words of a former commentary of mine about “Obama’s Prophecy” from last November…how quickly we forget.  Our president is a prophet and we don’t know it.  It’s been nearly two years since he was elected when  53% of Americans said they wanted change.  Unfortunately, 46% said they didn’t.  During the heat of the primaries, the then junior senator from Illinois knew that certain people needed it—and would act up if things didn’t.  What he didn’t know is how people would act up…if they did.

You might recall that on April 12th, 2008 at a San Francisco fundraiser, Barack Obama said some working-class voters are bitter over their economic circumstances and “cling to guns and religion” as a result. His then opponent, Hillary Clinton derided the comments as “elitist and divisive.”  The conservatives had a field day; and though everybody pretended to be up in arms, they knew he was right.  The left turned-tail and ran.  Remember that?

Well, all rhetoric aside, Obama was dead-on…and nobody seems to remember?  You see, I expounded on the gun-related murders by angry white males I had been tracking since the Virginia Tech massacre in April 2007 (and no, Sun Wi Cho doesn’t qualify as a white male). We get about one a week now.  Officially, the recession began in December of 2007, (though former President Bush denied it until he was almost out of office).  So now, we get to see the religion part of the clingy Americans.  When white, American males get scared, they start talking about God—and how we strayed away from Him…like we’ve been obedient or something! 

They talk like the 60’swas when the bottom fell out of America’s moral bottom.  But factually speaking, America was openly racist and fighting against equality in education, voting and civil rights of any American who wasn’t them.  What was moral about that? 

So now, just in time for election, the conservatives want to pull God’s coattail and “turn back to God.”  So what were they doing for the last 40 years?  Conservative commentator Glenn Beck says his revival-style rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday was about restoring America’s honor and returning the country to the values on which it was founded.  It’s estimated that around 87,000 people—white people—showed up for the event.  Fox News posted over 500,000…knowing good and damned well that is untrue.  But that’s what “turning back to God” looks like to conservatives. The event also featured the morally sound former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the quitter and mother of a fornicator.

Beck insists the rally was nonpolitical, but the event, which took place on the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and in the same place.  These are the same people who cry that building the mosque and cultural center near Ground Zero is “insensitive.”

Beck told Fox News, the network that carries his weekday television program, that the rally was meant to reclaim the U.S. civil rights movement “from politics,” arguing that the movement was about “people of faith.”  Since when was the Civil Rights Movement non-political?  Politics is the only way white people were going to “do the right thing.”

My purpose here is to illuminate the consistent pattern of white, males angry about their fear of change…change the way our country has bankrupted the financial sector.  Now that Obama’s taking bold steps to repair the broken dam, they want to take the building materials.  Just like the 60’s with Barry Goldwater, and the 80’s with Ronald Reagan, whenever white male, working-class voters are bitter over their economic circumstances, they “cling to guns and religion.”  Last year, there were no rallies to “turn back to God.”  They wanted to turn back—turn back the clock!  Turn back to the days of their forefathers…when they didn’t have to compete with other classes of people for jobs, industry or elections.  Well, my hopes are that you see the history of the past and read the handwriting on the wall.  “Take Our Country Back” has a real connotation.  Don’t sleep or you’ll wake up with a gun to your head and a foot on your bible…’cause someone familiar will be clinging to it.


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