Why do older white and rural southerners hate President Obama?
I was back in Callahan County this past weekend (I love the people there; I just strongly disagree with their political and religious views.) for a meeting of the board of a community cemetery association. During a discussion of future investment of association funds, I observed a muted, yet intense expression of distaste for President Barack Obama.
Our board president was reporting on a financial expert’s view of the year ahead for investors when he came to the point where this consultant predicted President Obama’s reelection. There was a change in facial expression of some board members, and they actually interrupted the report briefly to make negative comments about the president.
I see this every day here in Austin among our daily coffee klatch, too.
Why do so many people in the South hate the president? My views of why are rooted more in anecdotal than empirical evidence, but I believe there is a basis for my contentions.
The first reason is obvious — President Obama is a black man. Even though we’re more than 50 years past Brown v. Topeka and more than 40 years beyond passage of Civil Rights laws, many southern white Americans, particularly the under-educated, rural and elderly, remain bigots because of ancestral prejudices. When people are still placing Rebel flags on the graves of Confederate soldiers, it means we still have significant racial prejudice among us.
Second, southern Evangelical Christians are suspicious of President Obama’s religion. It just doesn’t look like their brands of Biblical beliefs. What is amazing to me is some Southern Baptists, long opponents of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, seem to have discarded those beliefs in endorsing Mormon Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination. The Mormon Church has more myths than Southern Evangelicals.
Finally, the Republican Party campaign apparatus together with the plutocrats who actually run this country have been demonizing President Obama since his first day in office. When you hear people use the term Obamacare, call the president a socialist or claim President Obama intends to take away all our guns when they don’t know the facts, the Republican propaganda machine has won, at least in the South.
– Looking at the newspapers from the days I was out of town, I see that Maurice Angly, Jr. died in Alaska. He was the only Republican member of the Travis County delegation in the Texas House of Representatives when I began my reporting career here. Despite being a Republican, he was one of the good guys.
– Police cleared the Occupy Austin campers from the City Hall area while I was away. I support their cause, but it was time for the demonstrators to go home. They made their point. I do believe the Occupy movement will play a significant role in the presidential election campaign this year.
– And congratulations to the Austin American-Statesman for their Sunday story exposing the practices of foundations that give money to Texas colleges. Seems to me the legislature should consider regulating these groups.