In nearly every country on Earth citizens of most nations feel a sense of unity borne of nationalism that transcends religious bigotry and racial differences, and it is crucial to a country’s survival during times of conflict and prosperity. After the terror attacks on 9/11, the sense of unity felt by nearly all Americans was reminiscent of the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor that marked America’s entry into World War II. Today, there is no unity of will to move the country forward and in an effort to keep the country divided, Republicans have used every means possible including fear of immigrants, Islam, and especially an African-American sitting in the Oval Office. It does not matter if President Obama’s detractors questioned his birthplace, religion, or patriotism, the basis has always been one of race and it informs just how little America has really progressed in its 200-plus years of existence.
On January 1, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed 3.1 million slaves and it started the long arduous journey toward true equality for African-Americans that has never materialized to this day. If fact, Lincoln’s proclamation did very little to change racial prejudice against African-Americans and it continued unabated until the Civil Rights movement. Even after the Civil Rights Act in 1964 outlawed racial discrimination and segregation of African-Americans, the bigotry and racial prejudice continues. The lesson is that there is no way to legislate racial bigotry out of the population despite the best intentions of well-meaning lawmakers. By now, it is well-publicized that Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) said dealing with President Obama in the debt ceiling negotiations was “like touching a tar baby,” and his comment has caused outrage from Democrats and decent human beings that led him to apologize to the president. Lamborn sent a personal letter to President Obama “apologizing for using a term some find insensitive,” and although there is no way of knowing if Lamborn’s apology was sincere or not, the wording suggests he is not really sorry for the remark, but sorry he was caught on tape.
Whether Lamborn knows it or not, the term “tar baby” is a derogatory remark that most Americans find insensitive regardless if it was accidental or not. Lamborn claimed he should have used the term quagmire, but he did not and there is a simple reason; he is a racist. It does not matter what word he said he should have used because the first word that popped into his bigoted mind was a substitute for the word nigger. It flowed so easily for Lamborn that he probably never realized he used it because his mouth said exactly what was in his mind. There is no doubt that Lamborn or his kind would never use that term for a white man regardless the contentiousness of negotiations. He may have called a white president a jerk, an asshole, or a dirt bag, but he would never call them a tar baby.
As soon as Barack Obama won the election in 2008, bigots in the Republican Party began making snide, racist remarks meant to demean the president and it has continued without pause. During the healthcare reform debates, teabaggers and Republicans accused the president of stealing white Americans’ money to pay for “his homies” health insurance. When the Democratic representatives marched to the capital to vote on the health law, protestors threw racial epithets at Black representatives. On various conservative websites, racists posted photos depicting the President as an African tribal chief or medicine man. When the president instructed the DEA to back off medical marijuana users, the chatter was that he was repaying the “bros” in the ghetto for their votes. The racial hatred for the president is not really the issue, but defines the sentiment of the country.
Within a day of the president taking office, Mitch McConnell stated that Republicans highest priority was making President Obama a one term president. McConnell has repeated the comment in spite of the president’s policies that can best be described as Centrist for working with the business community, Wall Street, Insurance Industry, and the banking industry. President Obama has presided over the lowest tax rates in over 60 years and has been strong on defense but he still gets criticism as being un-American. Un-American is just code for African-American and it explains the birther movement meant to delegitimize the president as wrong, foreign, or not like us. In other words; not white.
There will always be bigots among us and instead of dwindling numbers, there appears to be an increase in racism in America. It is not that there are more racists; they have never gone away. The problem with racial hatred is that it is passed down generationally and will never go away completely. A sociologist once said that the only way to eliminate racists was to exterminate entire families much like one kills off a canine bloodline to eliminate genetic deficiencies. Although racial bigotry is not genetic, it is ingrained in adults who inculcate it into their children. Many educators claim tolerance training and acceptance will eradicate racism over time, but their argument does not take into account that regardless what a child learns in school, it does not follow them home. If a child learns tolerance and acceptance in school and goes home to parents who are bigots, they remain bigots. In fact, the concept of claiming our children are learning tolerance and acceptance itself is racism shrouded in kind terminology.
If every American is equal, there is no need to be tolerant of anyone whether they are African-American or gay. Equality means equality and every time schools tell children they have to be “tolerant” of a minority, they learn they are superior and have to put up with the inferior race. Racism is endemic in America and no amount of tolerance teaching will change it. No school-age child or adult will see another human being as being equal if they have to tolerate them. The solution is not a simple one, but a good start is to seriously make equality normal and not something to legislate or force on anyone. The government or schools cannot teach tolerance when the law does not treat every American equally.
There is no magic bullet to kill racism, but when a legislator, conservative pundit, or Fox News employee makes racist remarks, they must be terminated immediately. There is no doubt that if Barack Obama or Al Sharpton called Mitt Romney or Michele Bachmann a honky or cracker, there would be rioting in the streets. Yet, when a Republican or Fox News employee makes racist comments, they are excused if they make an apology. There can be no double standard.
There must be zero tolerance for any American who uses racial slurs or discriminates against a racial minority or else bigotry will continue until the country is torn apart by a race war. If any American thinks racism is not rampant in America, look at some Southern states that glorify the Civil War and still fly the Confederate flag. That flag represents slavery and is used by hate-groups like the KKK and various militias in the north and the south. Racism is a disease that will not be eradicated any time soon and it does not help when a member of the House of Representatives throws out a racial epithet like tar baby when referring to the first African-American president. Mr. Lamborn cannot be sent to prison for using a racial slur against the president because unfortunately, it is not against the law. However, to teach the country that no bigoted remarks will be tolerated by a government employee, he should be forced to resign. It would not eliminate racism, but it would send a strong message that our leaders will not tolerate bigots. Unfortunately, with Republicans controlling the House where Lamborn is a member, he will not even be censured because he was just expressing the GOP’s sentiment and was caught saying what McConnell, Boehner, and the rest of the Republicans must be saying in private. How can anyone be so sure? Because of his poor excuse of an apology and the ease at which he called the President of the United States a tar baby.