One of the more difficult exercises for human beings is respecting another person regardless of their race, religion, or world view. For the past three years, since the rise of conservative extremism, the lack of respect among a large segment of the population for other Americans has revealed a level of contempt and hatred that is normally reserved for a hated enemy, and it informs the inherent inhumanity that is eating away at society. However, conservatives are following the lead of the political heroes who have shown nothing but contempt for the American people and especially the first African American President.
On Friday a reporter interrupted President Obama’s speech announcing that children of undocumented immigrants would not be deported, and it is a stark reminder that the opposition to the President is not his political ideology, but his race. One might even excuse the reporter’s disrespectful interruption as an isolated incident, but throughout this President’s tenure, everyone from low-class teabaggers to bigoted religious sycophants to sitting legislators have treated him like a third class citizen instead of the President of the United States.
The disrespect began in earnest when Republicans acted as if they won the 2008 general election and it continues unabated because the white racist element cannot fathom, or accept, that the American people elected an African American man to lead the country. President Obama ran, and has governed, as a Centrist who has been friendly to business, Wall Street, and especially Republicans as he has attempted bipartisanship on every one of his legislative agendas. Indeed, many of the President’s policies were once held by Republicans, and yet to show their opposition they obstructed, voted against, and used fallacious propaganda to convince the American people that the President is an interloper who illegally inhabits the position they think is reserved for a white Christian male.
What is stunning, is that despite the President’s policies that are staples of Republican ideology such as reducing taxes, slashing government spending, and maintaining a strong military, conservatives have used every means to delegitimize and denigrate the President. Republicans have not countered claims that the President was born in Kenya, is a Muslim, or a fascist dictator, and in fact have perpetuated the fallacious claims with their silence and tacit approval of every conspiracy theory and nut-case that comes along. The Republican candidate for president, Willard Romney, has taken every opportunity to convince voters that the President is lazy, over his head, and not a real American. The only reason Willard did not join in attacking the President’s past association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright is because he is mortified of Americans looking closely at his offshoot pseudo-Christian religion.
What is incredible, no, phenomenal, is that President Obama has maintained dignity in the face of racist and bigoted attacks on his character and Republican assaults on his administration as a Socialist takeover when a normal man would lash out with vindictive retribution. Despite the obstruction to every single one of his policies to get the economy up and running and Americans working again, President Obama has taken the high road and attempted to work with Republicans to help all Americans and it is testament to his character and devotion to fulfilling his oath of office.
Republicans like John Boehner have impugned the President for not working to create jobs, and yet the GOP has obstructed every jobs bill, stimulus, and working American’s tax cuts under the guise of deficit reduction and budget cuts. There is a philosophy that the Republican assault on social safety nets is little more than retribution targeting Americans who, more likely than not, voted for the President in 2008. One of the themes of the Republican primary was that the President was taking money from good, white Christian Americans and giving it to minorities as a form of reparations to his people (read Black) even though white Americans depend on social safety nets as much, or more, than African Americans.
The Republican, teabagger, and religious extremist’s opposition and devout hatred for the President is blatant racism. Last week during an interview with a retired Republican living on Social Security and dependent on Medicare for healthcare, they said they would much rather a corporation control the government than a dirty nig***. The man attempted to stop himself from uttering the N-word, but it was too late and when asked if that was his only objection to the President’s policies, he said absolutely, because “the Constitution did not allow for an African American to be president.” When asked where in the Constitution the requirement was located, the man calmly said “this country was ordained by god to be controlled by the white race,” and that “Osama is illegal.”
It is without doubt that if President Obama was a white man, conservatives would hail him as a hero in the image of Ronald Reagan. It is a sad commentary that a man of President Obama’s stature, intelligence, and even-keeled resolve has been the subject of such rancid racism in a country like the United States. There were many Americans who believed that President Obama’s election spelled the end to racism in America, but instead, it has increased to a point that many conservatives are talking openly of a coming race war. American racism may not be as blatant and open as before the Civil Rights movement, but it has never been more prevalent. When the President of the United States is called a liar during the State of the Union address, and schools across the country refused to air his message to school children to work and study hard, it indicated that it was not the President’s policies or agenda that rankled conservatives, it was his race.
Americans should feel abject shame at the level of disrespect and contempt aimed at President Obama and obviously, many do; however, the lack of outrage in the main stream media and tacit approval and cooperation of Republicans in Congress and state legislatures defines a disease that keeps America from being exceptional or a great country, and whether targeting minorities or the legally elected President of the United States, racism, like conservatism, is eating America alive.