I’ve had a few hours free this evening since nobody’s talking to me any longer and I’ve been doing some reflecting on ways NOT to respond to hatefulness and venom. For a couple of years now I’ve been kicking my own butt for not responding in kind to some of the assaults not o much on Barack Hussein Obama but on the office of the President Of The United States which, for better or worse, he just happens to hold right now.
I remember a time… several times really… when I would see posts on various right wing sites roaring on in regard to how anybody who dared to criticize the president… for whatever reason and especially during war time, was a traitor and wanted the “enemy to win”. It didn’t even have to be about the war. Any criticism would do. I called it attempts to legislate respect for someone who had yet to earn my respect but in general, I went along with it.
I saw pictures depicting President Bush as a monkey on occasion and I heard him subjected to criticisms that were outside the ken of politics altogether and had nothing of any substance whatever to add or even take away from any kind of enlightened social discourse. They were simply expressions designed to get a cheap laugh at the expense of a man who had been pushed into a position that was simply too big for him and for which his frat boy mentality never really suited him.
Yes, he’d been a businessman but he was never a good businessman and actually everything he’d ever gotten involved in had lost money… usually his daddy’s money. He committed social and diplomatic blunders like giving the Chancellor of Germany a shoulder massage and he positively mangled the English language to the point his particular brand of Malaprop became known as “Bushisms” and we were treated to at least 3-4 of those a week when something was going on.
But I always figured hey, he’s the president and if I can’t respect the man, I at least have the responsibility to show a little respect for the office.itself. So that’s how I handled myself for the rest of Mr.Bush’s term(s) and I really thought the same rules were going to apply to our new president when Barack Obama was elected in 2008. Shows you how naive I was, eh?
The day after the election we started seeing the depictions of the hangman’s nooses… I dunno, maybe you have to be black to understand the terror that symbol used to strike into the hearts of black people… and by the time Mr. Obama had actually taken office we had pretty much run the gamut of racial epithets, cheap shots, racist cartoons and references and the chain emails were flying around the country like ping pong balls in a whirlwind. This man did not grow to hated or disrespected… he was hated and disrespected from the day he was elected and it didn’t matter what he did he was absolutely vilified for it. During wartime… in fact, the same two wars that supposedly made it virtually treason to criticize Mr. Bush during.
That’s when the questions started for me. This man was articulate, intelligent, admired throughout the world community which had come to know him through the campaign… He was a constitutional scholar and a former senior lecturer on constitutional law at the University of Chicago.where he “served as a professor” and was “accepted” as such. He could in no terms be termed a Liberal and in fact his leanings were considered actually right of center in his dealings with the Wall Street banks and corporations a position he still retains today as we’re about to find out yet again. In short, he leaned more conservative than he did liberal.
And yet he continued to be brutally vilified by the right for everything from what he named his dog to what kind of lettuce he had in his salads to his wife’s arms, whatever is supposed to be wrong with them. People started showing up at his rallies wearing heavy sidearms and automatic assault weapons, something that had NEVER happened before. What the hell was up with that?
Mitch McConnell made the barefaced statement that the one and only agenda for the US Senate for the next four years was going to be to make Barack a one term president and by damn if they pretty much haven’t stuck to it with this congress getting less real work done than the fabled 109th which had formerly held the do nothing title and only worked two days a week.
So being nothing if not of of an inquisitive nature I set out to find out why this man was so instantly hated on first sight that the country had to be virtually shut down solely in order to get him out of office. Got a ton of answers… he was Kenyan, an Indonesian, a socialist, a liberal, a fascist, a Nazi, a communist (those last two mutually exclusive terms) a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Muslim, a purveyor of sharia law and lastly the possibly only true statement of the bunch, that he had attended a “madrassa ” as a youth, a madrassa being nothing more than a religious school similar to the catholic schools many Americans go to. This reached a zenith of absurdity when the press made a huge deal out of Michelle Obama wearing a pair of Madras (get it? See the connection there?) shorts while walking the family dog one day, People like the vapid Orly Taits enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame and Donald Trump peered from under porcupine on his head and demanded an hour over the birther thing.
And me? I’m still looking for an answer to my basic question… what made a huge group… were talking millions of people here… decide they hated this man to the nth degree before many of them had ever laid eyes on him or he had signed a single bill or made a single proposal and is there or is there not an element of racism involved since that’s the only thing that sets him apart from someone like me for example? OK there are a lot of things that st us apart but the fact that he’s half black and I’m about as North Atlantic Irish white as you’re going to find is the only readily palpable difference. If there’s something else that causes this kind of hate, all I want to know is what it is, that’s all.
II don’t know what I expected but I do my search has cost me the love and respect of several people whose love and respect I valued as much as life itself and I still don’t have an answer and it’s all been for nothing. He is still the most hated and vilified man in America according to roughly half the voters in the country and yet not a one of those millions can look you in the eye and tell you why they hate him as much as they do if race has nothing to do with it. Not justifiably, anyway. Only other thing I can think of is mass hypnosis through the right wing noise machine we call the media, hich is of course, absurd and the lesson I’ve taken away is do not respond to hate with hate… hate doesn’t care who it paints and all to often it hits the wrong people..