Saturday, September 28, 2013

Why Such Hatred?

Why is it that the President is so strongly disliked? Why do members of the opposition take it so far beyond the element of politics?
by Charlie Leck

Has anyone said it? Has anyone dared to utter the words? Could it be? Is it possible?

For heaven’s sake, ask yourself the simple question: Why does such a strong element of the Republican Party hate the President so much?

Don’t answer lightly or too quickly or simply; yet don’t either complicate the question and therefore its answer!

The Tea Party does not just disagree with the President. It seems more than that. There is some kind of haunting hatred in their attitude toward President Obama. I chatted about it with a black friend of mine and he just closed his eyes and chuckled quietly and sarcastically to himself. Then he shook his head slightly, indicating to me that he didn’t want to go there. Oh, my!

It’s not just that he is African-American – a black man – a man of mixed racial parents. No, it’s not just that. There is something more haunting and disturbing about the dislike that we see and feel from so many people. One must look at least one level deeper. Barack Obama’s father was more than a black man, of direct African dissent. He was also of the Islamic faith. He was Muslim.

I remember, during the campaign of 2008, that John McCain, Obama’s opponent in the presidential race, chatted with a woman at one of his rallies and sternly rebuked her for a remark she made. She shouted out that she didn’t like the candidate opposing McCain. Her comment rattled me deeply. It was the shattering hatred in her voice.

“I don’t like Obama,” she said. “He’s an Arab!”

I hear a recording of her charge played here in Minneapolis, on the opening of a daily radio show. I’ll often turn the radio off at the point I know the words will be shouted. I don’t want to hear them. I don’t want to hear the woman’s ignorant hatred.

Yet, there is something of her voice in many of Washington’s Tea Party politicians. Beneath the surface of their political opposition you can hear a similar voice – similar anger – similar hatred.

One doesn’t want to make a racial thing of it! One doesn’t want it to be that; yet one is given pause; and one does think about it.

Could this strenuous, bitter hatred of the President stem from something far beyond political opposition?

I, an old man, heard a young, broad and muscled fellow shout out at a TV screen one day in a bar and restaurant where I was lunching with a friend. He used the n-word – that word that we are so loathe to put in print in a place like this. The guy was slightly inebriated. It increases people’s courage.

“Shut up, you ignorant fool,” I shouted out at him.

He looked across at me. His face reddened and his eyes blazed. Had I not been so obviously aged, I believe he would have crossed to where I stood and slapped me silly.

I heard the word used again in reference to the President at a gathering of my old high school classmates recently. My wife was sitting next to me and she saw the flash of anger in my eyes. She held me gently and urged me to shush – to not create a scene. I felt the need to throw-up. I left the table for the restroom.

As much as I don’t want it to be, I know it is out there. It’s nasty and it’s hurtful – even though it is so totally unreasonable and unnecessary.

Bigotry is awful. It leads to no good. It hurts the soul and creates a heavy, thick fog through which it is difficult to see and understand…

There, I’ve said it! I’ve tried so hard not to, but I’ve said it.

“As long as Obama is president, these folks will be flush with fever. Opposition to Obama is their raison d’ĂȘtre. America’s national interests are subordinate to their selfish ones.
“The far right needs Obama to fail in order to fulfill their most preposterous prophecies. President Obama must deal with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives that wants nothing more than his demise. There is nothing between the House and the president but a table of cease-fire and surrender at which no one will sit.
“The House Republican caucus is full of Captain Ahabs, and Obama is their Moby Dick.”

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a Republican and the former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, took a deep breath awhile back, when he was on the Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC, and went ahead and just said it. (If you don’t believe he said it, you can find a video of the remarks here!)

“Let me just be candid, my party is full of racists. And the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander in chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin. And that’s despicable.”


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