CONTRIBUTORS

LePage feeds the cancer of racism in Maine

Governor Paul LePage and his wife Ann address members of the 133rd Engineer Battalion during a Heroes' Send-Off ceremony in Portland Saturday morning.
Alex Greenlee | Special to the BDN
Governor Paul LePage and his wife Ann address members of the 133rd Engineer Battalion during a Heroes' Send-Off ceremony in Portland Saturday morning.
Posted Aug. 20, 2013, at 1:34 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 20, 2013, at 2:33 p.m.

I woke up Tuesday and brought up the Internet on my cellphone only to discover the governor of Maine has stated that the president of the United States, Barack Obama, hates white people.

Why would Gov. Paul LePage say that?

It is true that white people in Maine love the president. Fifty-seven percent of Maine voted for him last year. Most white Mainers love that biracial man!

But, according to the governor, they voted for a black man who hates them. According to other critics, he’s turned out to be a Bible-burning Muslim, born in Kenya, and a Marxist.

Our governor went on to say that Obama had an opportunity to unify the country on race but didn’t do anything. What does the governor want the president to do? Reverse all of his initiatives and get on his knees and say that white people are superior?

The reactionaries of Maine have elected George Wallace redux, a bully and race baiter who appeals to the baser instincts of the haters who live here. Is that why LePage said what he did?

Many people believe that racism is a mental illness — a very contagious one. The infection was spread in Maine by a guy named F. Eugene Farnsworth, who was a very successful organizer for the Klan in the 1920s. Soon Maine had one of the largest Klan networks in the nation.

The disease erupted with white-robed marchers and cross burnings throughout the state. The Klan went after the Catholic Church, the Democratic Party and our Franco-American brothers and sisters. Is it some twisted self hate that made LePage say what he did?

Racism is in the blood and DNA of many Mainers whose legacy has spawned the insane fear and ignorance that is now on display for the whole world to see, and it lies in the hearts of the other Republicans who haven’t walked away from the governor’s remarks. His racist lie hangs in the air and, still, most Republicans are pretending the fart doesn’t stink up the place.

But they didn’t seem to mind when the governor told the president to “go to hell,” and they didn’t speak up when he told the NAACP to kiss his butt. Embarrassed silence seemed to be the best they could do, but, if the truth really be known, most of the conservative wing of the Maine Republican Party would drink his poisoned bile. Is that why LePage said what he said?

Self-righteous Democrats will sit back and denounce the governor’s remarks, thinking that the election of a black Democratic president gives them a pass when it comes to racist activities and benign neglect in their own party.

I can remember when, after the president won the Maine Democratic Party caucus in 2008, Democratic Party state committee members stated it was a disaster for Maine and the Democratic Party nationally to nominate a black man. A diversity initiative, designed to increase minority participation in the Democratic Party, has gone nowhere.

In a “bubba” state where no one knows any minorities, minorities have to settle for being tolerated, not celebrated.

Make no doubt, party leaders and legislators will be hopping all over the governor’s remarks, but their own hypocrisy is stinking up the joint. Maybe that’s why LePage said what he did?

I think the governor has done us all a big favor. He has popped the boil. He has stepped on the third rail of Maine politics. It’s out there for all to see: We live in a backwater of political and racial thought.

Maine is not the enlightened bucolic spot that some believe it is. There’s a cancer here that the governor feeds. He’s expertly playing to his base, a base that wants to go back to Mississippi in the 1950s, not America in 2013. That’s why LePage said what he did.

Hugh Magbie of Warren is the founder of The North Star, a civil rights and reform movement.

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