What Progressives Don’t Understand About Obama
By ISHMAEL REED
NOT all of my white teachers viewed me as a discipline problem. To the annoyance of my fellow students, one teacher selected me regularly to lead assembly programs. A high school teacher insisted that I learn about the theater. She was an America-firster who supplied me with right-wing pamphlets and magazines that I’d read at breakfast and she didn’t seem bothered by my returning them with some of the pages stuck together with syrup.
But most of them did see me as an annoyance, and gave me the grades to prove it.
The author is establishing his authority to speak on the subject. He reminds us of racist white women and minor intellectuals.
I’ve been thinking recently of all those D’s for deportment on my report cards. I thought of them, for instance, when I read a response to an essay I had written about Mark Twain that appeared in “A New Literary History of America.” One of the country’s leading critics, who writes for a prominent progressive blog, called the essay “rowdy,” which I interpreted to mean “lack of deportment.” Perhaps this was because I cited “Huckleberry Finn” to show that some white women managed household slaves, a departure from the revisionist theory that sees Scarlett O’Hara as some kind of feminist martyr.
Remember, progressives can be racist too. And so can feminists.
I thought of them when I pointed out to a leading progressive that the Tea Party included neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers — and he called me a “bully.”
Progressives can even be like Hitler! And, oddly, they support the tea baggers!
He believes that the Tea Party is a grass-roots uprising against Wall Street, a curious reading since the movement gained its impetus from a rant against the president delivered by a television personality on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Silly progressives, who believe Wall Street is their friend.
And I’ve thought about them as I’ve listened in the last week to progressives criticize President Obama for keeping his cool.
Obama is cool. Criticizing him is like defending racists.
Progressives have been urging the president to “man up” in the face of the Republicans. Some want him to be like John Wayne. On horseback. Slapping people left and right.
Progressives are like the right, who worship machismo.
One progressive commentator played an excerpt from a Harry Truman speech during which Truman screamed about the Republican Party to great applause. He recommended this style to Mr. Obama. If President Obama behaved that way, he’d be dismissed as an angry black militant with a deep hatred of white people. His grade would go from a B- to a D.
Tumans' speech warning America of the growing military industrial complex? That speech?* He was screaming? And progressives want Obama to be like that? The racists would win!
What the progressives forget is that black intellectuals have been called “paranoid,” “bitter,” “rowdy,” “angry,” “bullies,” and accused of tirades and diatribes for more than 100 years. Very few of them would have been given a grade above D from most of my teachers.
And you don't want to be racist like them, do you?
When these progressives refer to themselves as Mr. Obama’s base, all they see is themselves.
You are here to support Obama. He is not here to support you.
They ignore polls showing steadfast support for the president among blacks and Latinos. And now they are whispering about a primary challenge against the president. Brilliant! The kind of suicidal gesture that destroyed Jimmy Carter — and a way to lose the black vote forever.
If you don't support Obama you will lose an important part of your base.
Unlike white progressives, blacks and Latinos are not used to getting it all.
You are a spoilt white person.
They know how it feels to be unemployed and unable to buy your children Christmas presents. They know when not to shout. The president, the coolest man in the room, who worked among the unemployed in Chicago, knows too.
Obama is cool. Shut up.
Mr. Reed is an important man. This opinion piece, written with skill and power and transparent manipulation, will scare quite a few people into shutting up.