I’m not talking about that “South” which steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that America can and is being led by an African-American, I’m talking about the South that acknowledges that racism is the source of Obama’s critic’s discontent, and it’s Southern white men who are making the case. They should be the ones who call out the racist critics of Obama, because as we all know, ‘it takes one to know one’, but this pot calling the kettle black (or in this case racist) is not coming from racist whites but rather from white people who have lived with them down in the deep south all their lives and know how they think and behave.
We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes. Criticize them, yes.. Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.
But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we’re back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we’ve proven what conservatives are always saying that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that school children from Maine to California are talking about wanting to “assassinate Obama.”
I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do? How long before we start(ing) “living out the true meaning” of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that “red and yellow, black and white” all are precious in God’s sight?
If you have policy differences with the POTUS, and God knows I surely do, that’s one thing but to resort to the behavior of Obama’s critics to the point of intimidation and threats on his life is another thing altogether illegal, despicable, and based on a belief he’s not worthy of being where he is. Look at the imagery used by his opponents to portray him as unfit for office, pictures that are steeped in the very images passed down through racist ranks about black Americans since their beginnings on this continent.
And one can easily think the genteel looking men sitting next to congressman Joe Wilson below, with smirks on their faces because they have gotten one of their own to so disrespectfully call the president out were probably thinking of him in those terms as they posed during Wilson’s outburst for their constituents on national television. They will no doubt say theirs is a measured response to Obama’s administration in much the same way as others, like myself, demonstrated our disagreement to the Bush administration, but it surely was not, because I cannot find images which denigrate Bush’s whiteness or call into question his ancestry in much the same way as the pictures above do for Obama; similarly I can’t find a news clip where a member of Congress acted so disparagingly towards the commander-in-chief as Wilson did on the floor of the Congress before a nationally televised crowd. Yet, in many ways, I wish someone had called Bush out as a liar when he regaled us with stories of how big government was necessary to protect us. The compatriots of Joe Wilson most likely hate to read New York Times’ columnists refer to Obama as elegant and erudite, because that’s not the notion they have of African-Americans and not the one they want the public to have either.
Everyone knows the look and the attitude, that is those who have had it flung at them during their life time. Even the good natured Bill Cosby who has had some stinging rebukes to direct towards other African Americans admitted “During President Obama’s speech on the status of health care reform, some members of Congress engaged in a public display of disrespect….While one representative hurled the now infamous ‘you lie’ insult at the president, others made their lack of interest known by exhibiting rude behavior such as deliberately yawning and sending text messages.”
And so it goes, the dehumanization of another group of people at the hands of the Republicans who manage to foist this attitude on the people they claim to represent which further damages the social fabric of this once great Republic and turns it increasingly into a banana republic. It was not enough that we turned on one another out of fear and handed over our liberties to protect the state, as we fought the global war on horror and demonized members of the Islamic faith, now we are asked to distrust the very official(s) we elected less than a year ago and accept the notion that his death might be the only solution to the problems for which he at the moment is not responsible. In the interim we are abandoning all sense of civility and decorum in our opposition towards one another, and steering a course towards disorder and anarchy. Are we our own worse enemy or what?
Again, Olbermann nails it!