Trust Me, I’m a Doctor: Please don’t play the moron card


Mark Leeper

I can’t exactly say I was surprised to see Sarah Palin bring her petty, pin-headed, narrow-minded, narcissistic commentary to the day we celebrate the heroic efforts of MLK, Jr..

King bravely pushed against our endemic, centuries-long pattern of social, economic, and physical violence against African-Americans.

King orchestrated complicated non-violent protests with remarkable results in civil and political rights; he faced beatings, jailings and ultimately assassination in the pursuit of justice, dignity and equality.
Sarah Palin can see Russia from her front porch.

Palin could have spared us her idiocy and fatuous self-importance for just one day.

She could have issued a dignified statement from her posh lakefront compound, like, “All Americans should celebrate the vision of Reverend King that we all be color blind.” Nope.

Instead, after quoting a segment of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, she bleated on Facebook: “President Obama: Stop playing the race card.”

I would dismiss this as the isolated rantings of the Alaskan She-Beast, but this refrain is all-to-common among leading conservative public figures.

They accuse Obama of somehow craftily using race to his advantage. Palin, along with Newt Gingrich and several Republican House members, also refer to Obama as the “Food Stamp President.” They go on to refer to food stamps as a form of “slavery.”

In other words, they demand Obama quit playing the “race card,” while in fact, they are drawing it from the deck themselves.

These politicians know what they are doing. When Palin calls out Obama for “playing the race card,” she is simply drawing attention to Obama’s race.
She is dipping into America’s deeply-sewn racism, the fact we all still see individuals through the lens of skin color.

It is to re-frame and stir up the prejudiced perceptions of southern and white male voters who are none-too-fond of Mr. Obama.

The same goes for labeling food stamps as a form of “slavery.” To frame this issue in racial terms reflects the tactics of national politicians dating back to George Wallace, Dick Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. They would craft rhetoric to conjure images and stir race-based feelings among lower class white voters. They stirred fears that hard-earned tax dollars were being siphoned away to lazy, indolent people of color living large on their welfare checks.

It was a means to cleave the lower classes and motivate working white households to support the Republicans whose policies did not naturally fit with lower class voters.

To interject “slavery” into the food stamp debate introduces a racial cue, and stirs emotions among lower-middle class whites, regarding an issue that is in fact NOT racially charged.

Southern politicians have long been adept at introducing such “code” words into campaign rhetoric. It’s tried, it’s effective and it persists.

It is all disgusting. To flippantly use “slavery” in political discourse does not respect the sordid, violent, race-based institution that plagued our country for 200 years and bears its scars today.

To tell Barack Obama to “quit using the race card” arrogantly ignores the fact that he has endured a life with all the perils and pitfalls of having darker skin, in a culture that denied opportunity and wealth, that hounded and arrested, that even murdered on the basis of skin color alone.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day to rise above it. Sarah Palin swam in it.