Disclaimer: This blog post is not a civil discourse zone. Uncle Rick, I’m probably going to swear a lot so you should just skip this one.
Sometimes on TV shows, a character has a particular problem. Sometimes, that character is sent to therapy. Sometimes, the actor as doctor will tell the actor as patient to write a letter. The letter should be to someone who made them mad. Actor as patient might never send the letter, but getting all those feelings out is supposed to help. I’m going to do that right now. Because it’s TV doctor approved.
Dear Mr./Mrs. Right-Wing Conservative:
What the hell?
No, seriously. What the hell?
Your boy Mitt Romney just played the birther card last week. Really? Really? Are we back there again? Don’t try to tell me that it was a joke. It was not a joke. You know damn well that there is a sizable group of people that actually believe that the President was not born in the United States. Romney knows that, too. He opened this door again on purpose. He might not believe it himself but he knows it will get him votes so he needs to play up his angles. I’m not calling Mitt Romney a racist but what he did was, in fact, racist.
I know you don’t want to admit this, but racism still exists in this country. It still runs rampant in this country. The nonsense about the birth certificate, the nonsense about Obama being “anti-colonial,” or being too “foreign” all comes from the same place. It comes from fear. It comes from basic fear of someone who is different from you. Not dangerous. Different. Not evil. Different. That fear is the very essence of prejudice. And prejudice, dear children, is the foundation of racism.
Yes, racism. It exists. Just because it’s not as obvious as it was 50 years ago doesn’t mean it went away. Yes, racism is shameful now as it should be. But that doesn’t mean that people don’t feel that way. It can be more subtle now. People can say something crass and horrible and say “but I’m not a racist!” and suddenly everything is fine. Then it turns on those who “pulled the race card.” Suddenly we’re too sensitive. It was a mistake. It was a joke. We need to calm down. Amazing how the person who didn’t make a “gaffe” is suddenly the one in the wrong.
I don’t think all of the criticism of the president is based on prejudice. But I do believe, and you will be hard-pressed to convince me otherwise, that much of the inexplicable anger and hatred is based on prejudice and racism. If it’s not, then prove me wrong. Why are you so angry at the president? Why are you absolutely seething with rage? Why do you hate him? What did he do to you? Tell me, in excruciatingly specific detail, exactly what the president did to ruin your life. I want to know. I need to know. I never hear anything useful. All I hear is “he’s destroying liberty, he’s un-American, he hates America, he hates the Constitution.” Where are you getting all of this? Where is this coming from? Give me specifics.
I know that fierce criticism and dislike of any sitting president is nothing new. I’m not saying it is. Hell, I couldn’t stand President George W. Bush. He led us into war with Iraq on false pretenses. I watched the presentation back in 2003 to the UN Security Council. Specific locations were given as alleged storage for WMD. There were town names. Coordinates. We were there for ten years and what do we have to show for it? You can’t force democracy on a country, kids. Revolution has to come from within and even then it doesn’t always work. History will show you that (France, Italy, Britain in the 1600’s, China). Bush gave us No Child Left Behind, which isn’t helping anyone. Test scores aren’t improving because the tests are flawed. And how can you give, oh say, a 5A high school in East Mesa the same test as a 1A high school in South Tucson? They don’t have the same resources and you’re really going to expect the same test results? Oy. Bush and the 2008 Congress also bailed out the banks. Whine about TARP all you want but that was a Bush administration baby, not Obama. The South is still a mess because of Bush’s lack of action on Katrina. People are still living in those temporary trailers. See, I can give you specifics. I could write you a novel of specifics. But we’re not talking about me and we’re not talking about George W. Bush. I’m pretty sure you didn’t like Bush all that much either. I mean, come on, who did? But I digress. We are talking about you and Barack H. Obama.
Let’s talk about you in the plural you for a minute. You meaning the right-wing conservative base. You guys are acting like jackasses. Seriously. I have never seen such blatant disrespect toward the office of the presidency before. Granted, I’m not exactly old enough to know what kind of shenanigans went down with really unpopular presidents but I’m guessing even Nixon and Andrew Johnson didn’t have to put up with this crap:
1.) Obama got heckled. By a Congressman. During a Congressional speech.
2.) President Barack Obama asked to deliver his economic speech to the joint session of Congress next. House Speaker John Boehner told him no. A president has never been publicly denied access to the chamber for an address before.
3.) Sen. Tom Coburn said that the President’s “intent is not to destroy [the country], his intent is to create dependency because it worked so well for him. As an African-American male, he received tremendous advantage from a lot of these programs.”
4.) Sen. Mitch McConnell said that the main goal of the 2010 Congress should be to make sure that Obama is a single-term president.
5.) Birthers. Enough said.
6.) There is a church in Arizona (of course it’s Arizona) which actively prayed (prays?) for the death of President Obama.
7.) Glenn Beck said that the president hates white people. Now before you go and throw Kanye in my face, remember that Kanye is a rapper and Glenn Beck was on Fox News. Big difference.
What’s all that about? What’s going on there? Why do these people seem to hate the President so much? Please note that many of these things happened within the President’s first year in office. Is it racism? Maybe. Maybe not. But if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a probably a douchebag racist duck.
So let’s try this again: what did the President do to make you so angry? Better yet, what did the President do to make you so scared? You compare him to Hitler. You compare him to the anti-Christ. Where is this coming from? That’s delusional. Is he making you wear yellow stars? Is he making you register your ethnicity? You’re deluded. Plain and simple. Guess what? No one is going to take your damn guns so take those stupid bumper stickers off your car. Guess what? You’re not clever when you call the President “Obummer.” Guess what? He’s not Muslim. Guess what? He was born in Hawaii. Guess what? He’s not Communist. Guess what? He’s not Fascist. Guess what else? THOSE TWO ARE CONFLICTING POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES SO IT IS LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO BE A COMMUNIST FASCIST OR A FASCIST COMMUNIST.
Have I made you angry, Mr. Republican Face? Guess what? I’M ANGRY, TOO. I’m angry that you can dismiss me so easily as a “crazy liberal” and never think twice about me. I have thoughts, too. I have feelings, too. I am sitting here, asking you why you do the things you do, knowing damn well you will never bother to ask me the same thing. I’m damaged to you. That’s it. That’s the end of the story. I’m crazy and wrong and therefore I am insignificant.You’ve been calling our president names and calling me names so in this instance, in this one blog post, civility be DAMNED. Anger seems to be the only thing you understand so here you go. Have it. Have it in fucking spades.
I’m angry because you think I don’t matter. I don’t think that about you. I might think you’re crazy but I am angry because you do matter. You matter a whole hell of a lot. You have a voice and and an opinion and you have the means of influencing that opinion on our country. You vote. You have power. I respect that. Provide me the same courtesy. We have common ground. We’re citizens. We’re humans. Stop acting as as though I am “lesser than” or that the President is “lesser than.” Grow up. Or better yet, grow down. Kids don’t act like this. You have to be taught to hate.
Let the healing begin.