I was bemused in reading that when the Episcopal bishop of South Dakota planned to close down some chapels on the Pine Ridge reservation. The locals were upset .A lot of Native Americans are Epicopalian, and even when they might not attend church, they see the pastor as a comfort, and the local chapels as places where they were baptised and their relatives are buried.

But for some, the anger then turned personal:

One blogger wrote:

 It has been known for some time that several Pine Ridge leaders (mostly Oglala Lakota) and the Bishop (who is Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota) have been squabbling or estranged. There are many struggling congregations in South Dakota – why did the Pine Ridge take the hit?”

My point is not to show that Episcopalians are prejudiced, but to point out two things about prejudice:

One: That those who have suffered discrimination in the past are likely to point to racial, ethnic, religious, or clan prejudice as the reason behind a decision when a closer look suggests that the decision or remark was  due to a different reason (in this case, a tight budget and the need to close underattended churches).

But the second reason I use this as an example is to point out that there are a lot of people who have suffered discrimination.

Yes, In know. Discrimination against Catholic/Orthodox ethnics, Jews, Asians, Hispanics, and other “white” people has never been as bad. as the legal restrictions of black people in the past.

I’m old enough to remember when we visited the South in the 1950’s, and there were “colored” bathrooms, hotels, etc., and that one intern whom I worked with worried when she and her white husband visited her home in Virginia, since at that time interracial marriage was illegal.

Yet in the past 50 years, things have changed.

But people have long memories, and racism is “taught” as a child. So I am not surprised to see that “hidden” racism (i.e. people who believe in negative stereotypes) is widespread in the American public.

Yet now we are being told that if we don’t vote for Senator Obama, the reason is because we are a bunch of bigots.

Wait a second…

Your assumption itself shows ignorance and bigotry: who is lumping all “whites” together, are ignoring that not all whites have the same history, and that many whites themselves suffered from discrimination?

When Geraldine Ferraro tried to point this out, she was misquoted and condemned as racist. Yet white ethnics and Asians in large cities often have had to compete with their black neighbors for jobs, apprenticeship programs, college placement, and scholarships because of affirmative action.

So is the country ready to elect a Black president named Barak?Well, that depends.

You see, among working class democrats, there is racial prejudice, but the majority are smart enough to exempt those that they know from these false generalizations.  So an Obama who could campaign and encourage white workers to identify with him would be given a “pass” because the majority of people do try to be fair.

That was what making Senator Joe Biden his VP pick was about: To show that they too were represented in TeamObama, the team for change and hope.

Joe Biden is a klutz, but he is likable, and could teach the Obama team a lot about ordinary folks. He seems to be all over the place, giving speeches…alone. One has to wonder why Senator Obama hasn’t seemed to do a lot of campaigning with Biden. Obama is missing his chance to pick up Hillary’s huge blue collar vote.

This is where Governor Palin comes into the discussion.

Senator Obama has a problem, not because he is black, but because he is a snob. And to make things worse, he is the darling of the snobbish elites.

The snobbish elites have been having a field day making rabid personal attacks on Governor Palin.

Oh, I don’t mean those that question her lack of foreign policy experience (although similar criticisms could be made of Obama).

What I mean are the personal attacks against her appearance, against her children, against her religion, against her marriage, but mainly against her failure to be part of the club of those who went to Harvard and can discuss ideas (but not change a tire, fix a faucet, change a diaper, or teach a kid to fish...).

How bad is it? GatewayPundit has a list… and the list doesn’t even include Andrew Sullivan’s tirades, the libels in the gutter press, Huff Post and DailyKos, or the ridicule of her religious faith in editorials or by pundits on Television.

Ralph Peters, no friend of Bush and company, puts it this way:

When The New York Times, CNN, the NBC basket of basket cases and all the barking blog dogs insult Palin, they’re insulting us. When they smear her, they’re smearing every American who actually works for a living, who doesn’t expect a handout, who doesn’t have a full-time accountant to parse the family taxes, who believes in the Pledge of Allegiance and who thinks a church is more than just a tedious stop on daughter Emily’s 100K wedding day.

His essay goes into details, but you get the idea. Every time some elitist who is a known Obama supporter attacks Palin on a personal level, Obama loses votes.

Finally, the press hasn’t quite noticed it, but there is another segment of the population that may desert the Democratic Party: The church-going Catholic voter. It’s mainly about abortion, of course, an issue that wasn’t supposed to be in play for this election. Obama’s policies might lower the abortion rates, so he is claiming this why people of faith should ignore the issue and support him. He was actually making some headway with this argument.

But then Obama’s own people blew it.

First Nancy Pelosi and then Joe Biden started Catholic bashing by criticizing and denying what Catholics believe on national television. The result has been that some bishops have actually gotten enough backbone to publicly correct them. No problem. The press didn’t give the bishops much publicity in the matter.

But the bishops aren’t the only ones upset. The Knights of Colombus are also getting into the act, and unlike the bishops, who run things from the top and often are out of touch, the Knights are a grass roots organization… You can ignore the bishop in his mansion on the hill, but your next door neighbor is in the KC…and they have been fighting anti Catholic bigotry for over a hundred years.

So there you have it. On one side, a vote for racial tolerance, hope and governance by the best minds of academia. On the other side, beer, church goers and uppity Nascar loving union workers: or as President Blaine would have put it  “rum, Romanism and Rebellion“.

What, you never heard of President Blaine? My point exactly…


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She writes about human rights at Makaipablog.

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