Of political hypocrisy & racial undercurrents which bubble up




For those who have been following the recent presidential campaign in the U.S. culminating in Barack Obama becoming the 44th President of the U.S., it would have been noticeable that race was hardly a predominant card played during the campaign. In the early stages, Bill Clinton played it obliquely and possibly did more damage to his image and Hillary's chances of winning the Democratic nomination than he would have ever thought. Right-wingers and neocons including the infamous Fox News channel kept trying to inject it obliquely as a factor and possibly did a great deal more damage to the hamhanded McCain campaign than they could have imagined. Sarah Palin & McCain himself tried to inject it in desperation towards the last stages of their campaign when they felt the walls crumbling all around them. Yet despite all these covert & oblique attempts it never quite became one of the major issues during the campaign.

Or didn't it? Witness the hysterical outpourings in the media and the virtually frenzied reaction from African-Americans among others after he was elected and you couldn't have been faulted for imagining that the biggest issue of this campaign was electing an African-American to the highest office in the land, all other issues be damned.

Clearly then race was a major factor which was carefully cossetted and kept from view by the mainstream media and all those pundits who came out of the woodwork to pontificate on the major issues of this presidential campaign.

Such hypocrisy is something one must come to accept as an established norm of present day politicking in the U.S. and in virtually every other country where democracy prevails. If you aren't quite convinced yet, consider the following:

Virtually right till the eve of the election, McCain, Palin and a host of right wingers attacked Obama as someone who pals around with terrorists, is possibly not quite a patriotic American and an inexperienced, wet-behind-the-ears community organizer and a first-term Senator who, if elected. is very likely to take U.S. down the path of doom and destruction. Yet, immediately after they were vanquished, they were singing paeans of praise to the new president-elect and vowing to work with him in any capacity that he deemed suitable. They didn't bat an eyelid about lining up behind a man who till yesterday was a guy who 'pals around with terrorists', is an 'out-of-control, wet-behind the ears' extreme liberal and an insignificant African-American community organizer from Chicago. One wonders what caused this change of hearts in the space of a couple of days on the part of McCain, Palin and their conservative, right-wing supporters.

And if indeed they were such saintly, forgiving, magnanimous kinds why weren't any of these traits evident during the campaign which was one of the most negative & bitter ones in memory and added new chapters & footnotes to Karl Rove's manual of dirty & underhand tricks.

Nothing other than the 'H' word can quite explain these seemingly irreconciliable contradictions. And that says a lot about present-day politics, politicians and the practice of democracy globally.

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