January 3, 2016. Here we go again; new year, new you, resolutions, weight loss, less social media…. blah, blah, blah. Honestly, I think 2016 is going to be a very interesting year. First of all, it’s an election year. Unless you live under a deeply buried stone you probably already know that. But this is a flippy election year. For the first time, the Republican party has a woman, a black man, and one and one/half Latinos running. I say one and one/half because I am still not sure that Ted Cruz’ campaign is legal since he was not born here. But that is a conversation for another day.
The Democratic party, on the other hand, the one that cares about minorities and the poor, etc, is running three white people. Yes, one is a woman, but a very establishment, hawkish woman who is not well trusted by the people who get polled by national pollsters. (I put it that way because I have never, ever been polled by any of those people. Nor has anyone I know personally.) Anyway, it is also the last year of the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, the first black president of these United States. Of course, his mother was a white woman from Kansas, and she is the one who raised the president after his father left the family, but he is black. Because he is black. He identifies as black, and married a black woman. In my view, that label is the least important thing about him. His is a very complex presidency, and one that will take many years to sort out.
I am one who continues to be a true believer. Yes, he has disappointed me on many levels. Yes, he is an imperfect human being, kinda like me. Well, kinda like all of us. But I voted for him twice, and if it were legal for him to run again, I would likely vote for him again. But he and his poor family have suffered the worst level of insult and assault that I have ever seen in my lifetime. And the people who have Obamanoia still won’t admit that it has anything to do with his race. And every time I say on social media that I’m concerned for his safety, I get slammed as an angry, suspicious person. It is usually people I don’t know who are friends of friends, but it befuddles me that people call me angry for this. In the last eight years we have seen an increase in people using racial imagery to threaten and intimidate black students. Systematic racism has been exposed at several universities, and there has been a GIANT kerfuffle about the confederate flag and the meaning behind it. So in some delusional world in which lots of people seem to live, racism has nothing to do with the hate, threats and vitriol that seems to have embarrassed me as an American ever since President Obama was elected.
The proof for me has been that the haters always start the conversation with, “I hate him, and it has nothing to do with his race.” Weeeeeeeeeell, in my experience, if one must use the defensive disclaimer, “It’s not about race,” they are already on iffy ground. Just as when someone feels the need to end a remark with, “I’m just joking,” they are infinitely aware that their remark may be interpreted as not funny. I guess one could say it’s kind of like, “I’m not a racist, I have black friends.” Okay, my friend, if it’s not about race, give me an issue for which your spiteful rhetoric is appropriate. I’m waiting. I’ve been waiting a long time, but hey, I’m an evidence based thinker. So give me the evidence. We have the birth certificate, we have the national economy, we have the gas prices, we have Bin Laden, and many other terrorist leaders who have been killed on his watch, some in the last two weeks, when Trump and the rest of the republican fear bating cadre still keep pounding him on his weakness in fighting terror. Give me something to work with here. Please? When President Obama and his wife get cartoons in which they are depicted as monkeys, there is silence on the right. But when a cartoon with Ted Cruz’ children depicted as monkeys, outrage ensues, and the Washington Post issues an apology. An APOLOGY! From a major newspaper for a cartoon. All public figures are considered ‘fair game’ to the press and cartoonists, and if any politician involves children in a campaign, they too become targets. So I will quell the roar about the cartoons of the Obamas if Ted Cruz will do the same. Oh, and Fox. Yeah, Fox must also do the same. Because it isn’t what is said in a First Amendment, free speech context that bothers me, it’s the use of a different yardstick for Obama than for any other president in history.
Twice in the last week I’ve been accused of being ‘angry’ and ‘fearful’ because I worry about the safety of this president. One of these strangers even accused me of living in a delusional, dark place. But with the gun fervor that gets whipped up every time there is a mass shooting, or a high profile gun death, and the zeal with which the National Rifle Association lies to the public (and many of the fearful eat it up) about Obama coming for the guns of law abiding white people, the more I believe I have reason to worry. And it has NOTHING to do with me being angry or fearful in general. During a conversation with my mom about racism a year or so ago, she admitted that she “knows people in her family who still wouldn’t spit on a black man if he were on fire.” So I have that history with my family to make me think that the worst is still possible in some situations.
We had friends over for dinner last night who found it surprising that I am not afraid to go out in the dark to walk my dogs. I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m not afraid of being raped, or killed, or kidnapped, or targeted by a terrorist. Not because I don’t believe those things can happen; of course they can. But numbers are on my side. In other words, those awful things do happen, but WAY less than one might think if one watches the news. Yes, every time a person is murdered, raped, kidnapped, terrorized, it’s a terrible tragedy; I’m not taking anything away from that. But I choose not to be afraid of most things because it wastes energy. But I do fear for President Obama because he has been a bit of a transformative president, and there are people who hate change to the point that they hate people who advocate or produce changes. And in the case of this president the changes he has wrought have made some people who are used to not having to earn their power in the world. The power structure is changing, just like the demographics in the United States. Minority rule has been shown historically to work for some years, but not forever, and the people of the US are getting browner. Which doesn’t scare me. But it scares enough people who appear to be outwardly like me that I’m worried in this instance. I’m not angry, I’m not afraid, but this one situation makes me both. And if anyone has evidence that can show me where I’m missing the big picture, please, by all means. show me the evidence.