Republicans are running against Barack Obama, and contrary to what you might hear them say in thirty second sound bites, they are not trying to unite the country; they are trying to unite their base. They cannot do that by acknowledging those other people who have voted by a huge majority for the man their base despises and fears.
Sometimes it's subtle, and sometimes it's not. And, sometimes, as in the case of Flipper, the silence speaks volumes.
"In the last few months, the Republican Party has spoken to many ideas. Many of them very important to the GOP. They speak freely on the economy, foreign policy, education and government spending. What they do not talk about very often, is their plan on how to unify an America so much more diverse than what the founding fathers created. They steadily evade any deep discussions on race (unless it is in direct proportion to a cost they don’t approve of).
For many this is frustrating. For others it is proof of their bigotry. But as one New York Times article says, it may be all by design. Especially for Mitt Romney:
Of course, I’m not talking about a strict count of melanin density. I’m referring to the countless subtle and not-so-subtle ways he telegraphs to a certain type of voter that he is the cultural alternative to America’s first black president. It is a whiteness grounded in a retro vision of the country, one of white picket fences and stay-at-home moms and fathers unashamed of working hard for corporate America." [Source]
Mitt Romney knows what he is doing. His constant talk of making A-merry-ca great again, and going back to what it used to be pushes all the right buttons on all the right people.
"In this way, whether he means to or not, Mr. Romney connects with a central evangelic fantasy: that the Barack Obama years, far from being the way forward, are in fact a historical aberration, a tear in the white space-time continuum. And let’s be clear: Mr. Obama’s election was not destiny, but a fluke."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 83 today, and I am pretty sure that if he were alive the republican candidates for president and the folks who support them would be spinning history to put him in quite a different light than we see him in now. (Martyrdom will do that to you.)
I give the American Civil Liberties Union credit for monitoring how we deal with the issue of race in the upcoming elections, and of course there are no surprises in their study:
Martin Luther King Jr. said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” For too many of the presidential candidates, the arc is broken."
"And the church said, 'Amen!'"