I voted for Reagan because I shared his view of smaller government and fiscal conservatism. I voted for Clinton because he embraced a community of which I was a part. Now I neither kiss the ring of Reagan, nor do I gush with accolades for the supposed "first black president.”
Reagan used race baiting to rally the white vote, scaring them into supporting policies that benefited the rich and big business. But before Democrats begin to gloat, it was Clinton who oversaw the execution of a brain-damaged black to appeal to fearful whites. And, after being elected, he presided over the largest increase of the U.S. prison population in history at the expense of blacks.
A few months ago, Bill Moyers interviewed author Ian Haney Lõpez on PBS. His book, “Dog whistle politics: How coded racial appeals have reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class,” was an eye opener.
Reagan worshipers and the largely white tea party may not "hate" blacks or use the "n” word, but they are not beyond suggesting that the "undeserving" are the cause of our bloated bureaucracy. Meanwhile, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class pays.
Even with Obama's election, closet racism is alive and well. Attention has somewhat shifted to immigrants and Muslims, but the tactics are the same – use fear and race baiting to get elected and stay in power at the expense of the middle class, minorities, and the poor.
If the party of Lincoln is to remain viable, it will have to start listening to Liberty's call to "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free," and then figure out how to help the disenfranchised instead of blaming them or the party in power.