Rep. Jim Moran is being harshly criticized by the right wing for comments he made stating that “a lot of people in the United States don’t want to be governed by an African-American, particularly one who is liberal, who wants to spend money and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society.” Moran also said that the Republican victories in mid-term elections “happened for the same reason the Civil War happened in the United States…the Southern states, the slaveholding states, didn’t want to see a president who was opposed to slavery.”
I emailed Rep. Moran’s office for comment, and here’s their response:
With nearly 1,000 identified hate groups in the U.S. and recent studies showing a majority of Americans believe racism is still widespread against African-Americans, it is no secret that our country has and continues to struggle with racial equality. The Congressman was expressing his frustration with this problem and the role it played in the last election. Rather than ignore this issue or pretend it isn’t there, the Congressman believes we are better off discussing it in order to overcome it.
Rep. Moran believes that despite these pervasive problems, President Obama has the ability to make this a more unified, diverse, and stronger country.
Now, my personal belief is that the midterm election results overwhelmingly were the result of a bad economy and the natural tendency for the party in the White House to lose seats halfway through their 4-year term. What else is new? As to the question of how much the results had to do with hostility to Barack Obama because of his race, his religion (he’s Christian, but a significant percentage of Republicans believe he’s a Muslim), his ideology (he’s clearly a mainstream Democrat, but many Republicans and Tea Party members are convinced he’s a commiesocialistpinko), I don’t know the answer. Of course, Obama was elected by a wide margin in 2008, and last I checked, his race didn’t change since then. 🙂 However, the 2008 electorate’s composition was also quite different (many more young people, African Americans and Latinos) than the 2010 electorate (older, whiter, much more conservative).
Having said all that, for Jennifer Rubin to imply that there’s no racism in this country is simply naive. Of course there’s racism – there always has been and probably always will be – although I definitely believe it’s declining, especially in the younger generations. Unfortunately, Jennifer Rubin’s response to Jim Moran’s comments basically consisted of calling him an anti-Semite (note: I’m Jewish, and I do not in the least bit believe that Jim Moran’s anti-Semitic). What purpose that serves is beyond me, although the rule of the thumb in debate is that the more you have to go ad hominem, the more you’ve basically acknowledged you don’t have a strong argument.