By now you’ve heard of the comments from John Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff for George H.W. Bush, who questioned the reasons for Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama.
“Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama,” Sununu said in an interview on CNN. When pressed on what those reasons might be, he replied, “Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”
Sununu backed off the comment after being excoriated in the media for hinting that the widely respected Powell would base his endorsement on race.
Just as the controversy has started to die down, Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to Colin Powell when he was Secretary of State, jumped into the fray with his own comments. Wilkerson is a Republican, like Sununu, but he is not pulling any punches. Wilkerson flat out calls his party “full of racists.”
My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people — not all of them, but most of them — who are still basing their positions on race. Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.
That Wilkerson claims most Republicans are racists is a broad brush to use. Sure, racism still permeates American society, but a black president was elected in 2008. That means a majority of Americans are not racists, right?
Um, take a look at these two stories. One is just out, but the other is from 2008.
An Associated Press poll released today found that 56% of Americans possess anti-black attitudes. The questions were both direct and subtle so as to catch those who were trying to hide their prejudices. The scary part in this poll is that a similar one was done in 2008. Only 49% of Americans had anti-black attitudes then. After four years with an African-American president, racism is on the rise. That’s discomforting to say the least.
While Wilkerson berates the Republican Party for having racists, the Republican Party does not represent a majority of Americans. So where are the rest of those harboring prejudices? Here is a story from 2008. You’ll have to click the link to see who these Democrats are voting for. Four years later, the story still shocks me.