In a piece titled “President Obama as an alien,” Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. discusses the series of seemingly baseless and idiotic claims made to delegitimize president Obama in the last three years. I’m not sure if you’ve heard any of the many visceral reactions that fail to cast president Obama in the best of light. However, as Dionne points out, one only has to tune in to cable news channels to hear the latest in vitriolic political posturing.
This week, I think said sardonic characterization of POTUS has hit a historic low; yes, the metaphorical comparison of Obama and Satan represents this. But like Dionne writes, this isn’t uncharted territory for any president, as they have been all subject to scornful critiques. Yet and still, I can’t help but to think that there’s a racial component at play with said claims or attempts to discredit, devalue, or delegitimize president Obama:
They say that President Obama is a Muslim, but if he isn’t, he’s a secularist who is waging war on religion. On some days he’s a Nazi, but on most others he’s merely a socialist. His especially creative opponents see him as having a “Kenyan anti-colonial worldview,” while the less adventurous say that he’s an elitist who spent too much time in Cambridge, Hyde Park and other excessively academic precincts.
Whatever our president is, he is never allowed to be a garden-variety American who plays basketball and golf, has a remarkably old-fashioned family life and, in the manner we regularly recommend to our kids, got ahead by getting a good education.
Please forgive this outburst. It’s simply astonishing that a man in his fourth year as our president continues to be the object of the most extraordinary paranoid fantasies. A significant part of his opposition still cannot accept that Obama is a rather moderate politician quite conventional in his tastes and his interests. And now that the economy is improving, short-circuiting easy criticisms, Obama’s adversaries are reheating all the old tropes and cliches and slanders.
True, some of this is driven by cable television (a venue in which I acknowledge regularly participating). Attacks designed to gin up the conservative base are quickly recycled to gin up outrage within Obama’s own base. Moreover, Obama is not the first president caught up in the rank unpleasantness of this particularly unforgiving political moment. A quick Google search will unearth references to George W. Bush as a “Nazi,” and Bill Clinton’s Republican opponents went so far as to impeach him in a shameful episode of extreme partisanship.
Dionne is correct in suggesting that Obama isn’t alone as far as presidents go when it comes to the preposterous assertions of their opposition. But I’m sorry, when claims are made questioning the faith of this nation’s current president — who happens to be Black — and likening him to being a tool of Satan as Rick Santorum has, I must say that much of this is rooted in racism. I know it may sound crazy, but name another president who’s citizenship, faith and “phony theology” has been questioned as president Barack Obama has. Oh, and when you find him, please be sure to check and make sure that he too is Black. Sure you won’t find another Black president in history before him; and that alone helps me prove my point. That would be, by virtue of him being a Black man, it’s easier for him to be demonized and disrespected as he has, for political gain.
So here we are today, and now there’s is talk of him having some link with Satan. Yes, that Satan; yep, the master of all evil and father of lies. And enter slave catcher extraordinaire and frequent guest over at Fox News, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson. If you’ve been a reader at this site for some time now, you’ll know that Peterson is no stranger to our much coveted weekly slave-catcher award. As far as recipients go, I must admit that there’s never been none more deserving than Peterson, who literally grew up on an the very same Alabama plantation where his ancestors were once slaves. This might explain his love affair with all things Caucasian, and his subsequent hatred of “Blackness” and in turn, himself. It is only with this knowledge that one can make sense of his recent statement in support of Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, where Peterson said that Black folk should be forced to return to work on plantations. According to him, such a training program is necessary to instill a “good work ethic.” Apparently working for free on a plantation is what we need.
I know, it’s hard to believe that someone Black would say something as nonsensical, and freedom adverse as this. However, to know and understand Peterson is to know and understand why what he says in the following isn’t surprising; nope, not in the least bit to be quite honest. Just check out the statement released by the South Central L.A. Tea Party darling, and frequent Fox News guest, on the “American hating Socialist” otherwise known as president Barack Obama. In support of Rev. Franklin Graham and Rick Santorum, Peterson weighed in with the following. According to him, Satan is targeting America; and, he is is responsible for Obama’s 2008 election victory. I suppose next they’ll say Satan in a Democrat who has a legion of white demonic liberal minions.
“I am certain without a doubt that Barack Hussein Obama is NOT a Christian. It’s unfortunate that Rev. Graham and Rick Santorum won’t be completely honest about Barack Obama even though his deeds are contrary to Christian values.
“Both these men oppose Obama’s recent contraceptive mandate and assault on the Christian conscience. They know that for 20 years Obama worshipped in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s racist Black Liberation Theology-based church. They fully grasp the spiritual connection America has with Israel and see that Obama is no friend of the Jewish State. Rev. Graham has said that Obama is more concerned with the plight of Muslims than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries. Still these Christian leaders cannot tell the truth about Obama. Why?
“I do agree with Santorum that this is a ‘spiritual war’ and that ‘Satan is targeting the U.S.’ which is precisely why I believe Barack Obama was selected and elected. I’m convinced that the weak-kneed timidity that’s preventing many white conservative Christians from pointing out Obama’s wickedness is a result of their fear of being labeled ‘racist.’
“Evil understands that most white Christians have been intimidated and are too afraid to stand up to it. Especially when it is operating in the form of an American hating Socialist black president who appears to be more in harmony with Muhammad than he is with Christ.”
Listen, folks: there’s racism, and there are racial enablers like Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson. Be that as it may, as long as their symbiotic relationship exists, we can expect more of the same seething behavior we’ve grown accustomed to when it comes to racial politics in America. President Obama can hang himself on a cross and sang the Star Spangle Banner on Mount Rushmore, and he’ll never be recognized as a legitimate president of the United States. It’s really sad; but, this is the tried and true strategy of the ideologically bankrupt members of the the GOP. Being sore losers
and descendants of the one-third of the eight million white southerners at the time of emancipation who were illiterate, it’s the only way to gin up support for getting the president out of office. Linking president Obama to Satan represents a new low for our Republican friends; so much so, that if one of them were to publicly call him a “nigger,” it would actually be a compliment to be quite frank.
E.J. Dionne was right in pointing out how other presidents were also assailed with the dreaded metaphorical dart. But unlike my man Joe Scarborough who refused to see the racial dynamic on Morning Joe this morning (see here). Dionne also made the following assertion:
[...] But there is something especially rancid about the never-ending efforts to turn Obama into a stranger, an alien, a Manchurian Candidate with a diabolical hidden agenda. Are we trying to undo all the good it did us with the rest of the world when we elected an African American with a middle name popular among Muslims?
In my experience, even Americans who voted against Obama were proud that our nation showed friend and foe alike that we are a special place. We know it’s wrong to judge people by their race or lineage, and we so value religious freedom and openness that we elected a Christian convert who is the son of a Muslim father and an agnostic mother to lead us at one of our most difficult moments.
Yet many in the anti-Obama camp just can’t stop themselves from playing on fears that electing a man who defies old stereotypes was a terrible mistake.
I hear you E.J., but hey in America it’s hard for a Tiger to change it’s spots, my friend. Oh well, GM is alive, and Osama bin Laden is dead. I suppose it’s up to president Obama to kill Satan and Lex Luthor to finally become a true American, a Christian, or not-so melanin challenged human being.