Harold Meyerson is a liberal opinion writer for the Washington Post, and he seems to have plenty of stereotypes about minorities and an unrational vitriol toward the Republican Party. His newest piece, entitled “In modern GOP, the old South returns” inadvertantly exposes his own prejudices in an attempt to paint the Republican Party as a bunch of southern racists. Meyerson writes:
Consider the Romney campaign’s ads falsely attacking President Obama for gutting welfare reform. “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job,” proclaims one such commercial. “They just send you a welfare check.” Obama’s plan, as several media fact-checking monitors have noted, does nothing of the sort. The spot clearly seeks to resurrect the kind of resentment of African Americans that the GOP exploited back in the days when welfare was a major program. The Romney campaign has evidently concluded, since virtually its entire pool of potential voters is white, that it must rouse the sometime voters among them with such expedients — which explains why it is running more of these ads than any others.
So let me get this straight; Meyerson believes that talking about work-to-welfare is a racist dog whistle because, in his own mind, he links welfare to the African-American community. This says a lot more about his own stereotypes than it does about the Republican Party, and certainly the Republicans that I know.
When I think of welfare, and food stamps for that matter, an entirely different image comes to mind. I think of my time working at Kroger, where I watched a group of people, almost entirely white and southern themselves, misuse the EBT (food stamp) program to buy unnecessary and expensive products while ignoring the essentials.
What comes to mind when I think of government subsidized housing and the abuse of disability payments? I primarily think of some folks back in Northeast Ohio, in the predominantly white suburbs and rural areas north of Youngstown, Ohio. I don’t think of inter-city bums, as that hasn’t been my experience. I think of the families with two cars, cable television and kids with video game consoles that are getting government help.
I know people, some very close to me, who have received government assistance and truly needed it. Almost all of these people, however, worked or pursued work to empower themselves, their families and their children. When I think of the cheats, the abusers and the users it’s essentially always a run-down caucasian in my mind. If it’s different in Harold Meyerson’s mind, he might need to examine his own prejudices, not project them on others.