Ralph Nader finally caught a break and the mainstream media is actually covering him. Unfortunately it is for a statement that touched on the the polarizing issue of race. The reaction to his remark indicates that we may see the issue of race being brought up anytime someone is critical of Barack Obama.
The controversy began when Nader said in an interview with Fox News on Election Day that “[Obama’s choice] is whether he's going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country, or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations.” There was a huge outcry of indignation against Nader for not only making these remarks, but also for refusing to retract them. However, one should consider his point before rushing to crucify him. He argued that Obama would be an Uncle Tom if he used the Presidency to continue Washington’s support for corporate interests over the interests of the people. To illustrate the gravity of the situation he invoked the memory of Uncle Tom. The response by the media was to focus entirely on the Uncle Tom remark and not the substance of Nader’s criticism. Nader did not call Obama an Uncle Tom; rather, he said he had the choice to become either an Uncle Tom or Uncle Sam depending on his policy actions. This point—regardless of how ineloquently he made it—is worth considering. However, his substance has been obscured in favor of just calling Nader a racist.
The bigger issue here is not whether Ralph Nader is a racist, but whether or not criticism of Obama can remain independent of racial issues. What if the race card is played when Obama tries to push for a controversial act? Will his detractors be labeled closet racists? This tactic has been seen before with Zionists who rebut any criticism of Israel with charges of “anti-Semitism”. Will supporters of Obama resort to this strategy? Only time will tell.
The reaction to Nader is indicative of how profoundly sensitive issues of race continue to be in this country. Let us hope that we will enjoy the right to be critical of Obama without being dubbed racists.