Commentary | The Texas secession petition was a hot topic in the days and weeks after the election of President Barack Obama to a second term earlier this month, with supporters advocating deepening the divide among Americans and detractors decrying the talk as ugly, unpatriotic and unappreciative of the great damage wrought upon this land the last time we decided to try that experiment.
The Texas secession petition drew attention nonetheless, and despite having little legal ground or possibility of success, it seemed many of those whose candidate of choice failed to prevail in a free and open election enjoyed salving their emotional wounds with talk of seceding to right the wrongs they perceive as plaguing America since Obama’s election in 2008. But many of those disheartened by the movement felt that it was one of many racially motivated attacks on the President by a portion of the populace that refuses to accept a black man as the legitimate leader of the free world.
The Texas secession petition garnered signatures in the six-figures in its few weeks over on the White House’s website, and one filmmaker has spoken out about what he seems to suggest is the elephant in the room when it comes to the Texas secession petition — and indeed, the contentious subject of race is what Ken Burns says the Texas secession talk is really all about.
Burns discussed the Texas secession petition movement on yesterday’s Meet The Press, and explained that he couldn’t imagine such talk being bandied about for a white candidate — and to Burns’ point, we haven’t really talked much about secession since the mid-1800s, and what was all that about again? Oh.
Burns riffed to the panel, citing the Tea Party as an element in particular that seems to have been moved to action seemingly due to race-based dislike of the President:
“Race is always there in America….Do you think we’d have a secession movement in Texas and the other places, faddish secession movement, if this president wasn’t African-American? Do you think the vitriol that came out of some elements of the Tea Party would have been at the same level had this President not been Africa-American?”
As is fairly standard for this particular recurring debate, insulted Republicans have responded with “no, YOU’RE racist” in reply to Burns’ criticism — with one Breitbart blogger charging:
“Note how Burns simply cannot fathom why the Tea Party or conservatives who are currently discussion secession would have a gripe with President Obama other than the color of his skin. It speaks poorly of his ability to break down issues as well as his eagerness to assign hateful thoughts to others without hard evidence to back it up.”
But in fairness to Burns, much of the critique of President Obama does really seem to come down to race, origin or a general feeling among conservatives that he is not “one of us.”
(This perception, of course, boils down to who “us” is — if “us” is a product of a single mom, of color, progressive, et al, President Obama looks and feels like “us” to us.)
Attacks from the beginning of Obama’s first campaign have often centered on vague insinuations that he was born outside the US, that he wears a strange Muslim decoder ring or is taking orders from his dead father and Saul Alinsky — suggesting an ongoing unwillingness to accept that the black guy is really, actually, legitimately American and legitimately president. So much so that secession seems to many in Texas to be the only reasonable next step. I’m just asking the hard questions, here.
Do you feel that the Texas secession petition nonsense would not have been aimed at a white president and is indeed racially motivated, as Ken Burns suggests?