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October 12, 2010


Rick Lowe

If you and I were having that conversation Larry I would have had to mention Mr. Obama's other policies as reasons for the US to be involved in a "cultural war" as its put.
Seems they were involved in an "anti-cultural war" when they reacted to Mr. Bush's policies then?

chris armaly

I usually enjoy most of your articles and although your views are to the left, you usually bring other views and opinions into your writings. This morning, however, is a different story and unfortunately the piece is so biased it won't be taken seriously except by the hard party liners who don't listen to any other views regardless.

I am tired of being called a racist if I don't believe in a certain politician's views and won't tolerate the race card anymore. Please bear in mind that most Bahamians (both black and white) have only voted for a black PM all of our lives (that is all we know), so to endorse or disagree with a president because he is black is a rather weak argument.

Voters are more in tune with policies today, hence why the huge growth of independent voter, and why their vote is so crucial to both political parties (of which both parties are empty suits). I trust if a white man runs for PM of the Bahamas you will take the same stand as you are with the current President.

I would truly hope in the year 2010 voters would go far beyond race when making a choice at the voter's booth, or perhaps I'm just naïve.

larry smith

I find it surprising that you can focus on bias when the whole purpose of my piece was to show that Obama's policies are not that exceptional - and certainly not what they are made out to be by his extreme critics.

The whole idea was to bring some balance and perspective to the debate, which is raging in the Bahamas as well as in the US.

I have no doubt that extreme critics of the Obama administration are motivated by racial and cultural issues.

In the Bahamas, many whites were opposed to Pindling and the PLP from the break, many left the country as a result. Don't you think race played a part in that?

chris armaly

I agree with your points on the past. However, I think today is a different issue. People prefer to move on from the past and while we should remember, dwelling on it doesn't help. I don't hear racial tones today as in the past among my white Bahamian acquaintances/clients etc. as many whites were in the past.

All you have to do is look at the interracial couples/marriages etc., in families that would have never tolerated or accepted it 30 +/- years ago. I would say that among citizens aged 40 or less, 90% don't see colour in a person as many did generations ago.

Perhaps you don't agree or in your circles it is different, but today's times are certainly different than what you refer to. This is not to say there isn't a great-grandfather or great uncle etc. that has those views, but they are a dying breed.

larry smith

I think you're right in acknowledging that things have changed a lot in the Bahamas - where whites are in the minority.

In the US, however, the white majority is still coming to terms with racial issues.

As I said, my intention in this piece was to bring some balance and perspective to the argument over Obama, which is raging in the Bahamas as well as in the US.

larry smith

I'd also like to reinforce the point that this article was prompted by the receipt of some extreme anti-Obama propaganda sent to me by a white Bahamian. This material was offensive, and frankly I am surprised by some of the vitriolic and hateful anti-Obama material I have received from white Bahamians that I know. I thought they were better than the extreme rightwing elements in the US, but they have proved me wrong.

Rick Lowe

While some whites are simply racist, that is undeniable.
But to reduce the discussion about Obama's reelection chances to race is incorrect, at least in my view.
Maybe Bush or GW, whatever he was referred to as, and those are the kind names, was booted out of office and the majority of Americans did not vote "for" Obama?

larry smith

It is only the racists who reduce the argument to race.

It is my view that many of obama's EXTREME critics are motivated primarily by racial and cultural issues.

That does not mean there cannot be a valid discussion about his policies or re-election chances.

As the article attempted to show - you can have an argument about policy, but not by making ridiculous claims and factless slurs.


I must have missed the concerns raised about some of the Democratic or independent candidates and other policy issues. Sorry.
One minor disagreement, Reagan brought the tax rates down from very high levels and the congress spent like there was no tomorrow.
Also, combined (overall) tax rates Federal, State and Local are estimated to be around 30% now if I'm not mistaken.
That's quite high in the scheme of things. And will go higher as a result of the vast deficit spending, healthcare etc, if it is to be repaid.


You make a lot of interesting and rational arguments, but this line

Richard Iott, a Republican congressional candidate in Ohio, was recently outed as someone who for years spent his weekends dressed up in Nazi SS uniform happily reliving the glories of the Third Reich.

seems more of the hyperbole you are trying to refute.
Dressing up as a reenactor does not mean you glorify the character you are playing. Do you have some facts that I am not aware of that he is sympathetic to Nazism?

larry smith

The short answer is 'yes'. All three individuals cited at the beginning of my article are examples of the hyperbole I was trying to refute. They are jokes.

Having said that, Nazi attire still carries a lot of meaning to most folks today. So the fact that anyone would want to re-enact as a Nazi, even if he's not a real Nazi, is concerning.

The Wiking re-enactment website makes this political statement: "the men who fought against the Bolshevik scourge...only had a desire to see an end to Soviet Communism."

Historians say they assisted the Einsatzgruppen in rounding up and executing Ukrainian Jews. The Institute for the History of Jews in Austria has documented several cases of war crimes committed by members of the 5 SS Division Wiking in the Spring of 1945. The notorious Dr. Josef Mengele, also served with the SS Division Wiking during its early campaigns before moving on to the concentration camps.

As one commentator said: "Whitewashing the history of the atrocities committed by the Nazis is a sin. It is a sin against the victims of those atrocities, it is a sin against the families of those victims, and it is a sin against the truth...even if it's a sin of ignorance."

The SS were Nazi Germany's true believers. But the Wiking re-enactment group says they were idealists who were fighting valiantly for a new free united Europe.

Is this the kind of "education" that US congressional candidates should be promoting?


The Wiking group is quite nuts and his involvement in the group troubling, but he claims to have also played US soldiers from WW1 and WW2, no one has refuted this, so I think the the issue is more about the shock value of the picture than him being a Nazi lover, just my opinion.


To minor, do you know what the Nazis did? Would you dress up as one? Do you think it reflects well on the judgement of an individual with political ambitions to do something like this?
Just a few questions that came to me when I saw the pictures.


Watched a portion of 'Real Time with Bill Maher' last week, and a question was asked of Obama's critics on the show: 'What would have happened if Obama had let the banks fail, Chrysler fail, and simply cut spending, etc...'. The response was symptomatic of how many people in the US have lost their mind since Obama's election. They said, and without smiling, that Obama would have been Impeached...rational, indeed!


Yes Jovan I know what the Nazis did, are you trying to insult my intelligence?
Yes I would dress up as one, Tom cruise and countless other actors have got paid good money for it, don't see anyone calling them out. The error in judgement by this fellow was to think that the whole story matters in today's world.
Shock value and fear sell, so both sides use them.

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