Sunday, September 6, 2009
What Color Is The Elephant In The Room?
I haven't commented here on the whole uproar the conservative Republicans have created protesting the speech that our President is going to give to school students on Tuesday in which, purportedly, he will be encouraging our children to work hard, accept challenges, stay in school, and have goals.
I haven't commented because I can't even wrap my head around the opposition's position which seems to center around what they perceive to be Obama's real, secret purpose in making this speech which is to indoctrinate America's children in his socialist agenda.
Those words in italics are from a quote made by my own state of Florida's Chairman of the Republican Party, Jim Greer. He went on to say, "President Obama has turned to American's children to spread his liberal lies, indoctrinating American's youngest children before they have a chance to decide for themselves."
Wow. How much personal power can one man have? Can you imagine what would happen if he were allowed to speak for an hour? Our poor little mindless babies would be marching in the streets wearing blue cotton jackets, baggy pants and Mao hats while chanting quotes from Obama's Little Blue Book.
Or something like that.
And of course, anyone who has the brains of a guinea hen (and believe me- they may have brains but they don't use them for much) knows that this is so full of bullshit and fear and fucked-upedness that it puts the entire health care debate into the realm of Socratic Dialogue.
No. This is all part of something which I cannot understand even though when George W. Bush was our president for the eight longest years in the history of the universe, I hated him and his policies and his minions and and everything they did with the white-hot burning heat of the surface of the sun.
I was angry at him, I feared him and what he was doing to our country and I thought he was more of an idiot than that drunk guy who hangs out by our post office sometimes, probably selling crack. Well, he used to before they put the 24-hour EMT service there.
And so did lots of other people. Lots and lots and lots. But we let him hang by his own evil deeds, his own mangled words, his own natural buffoonery. There was no doubt he would and he did, much to the disgrace of our country and the death of tens of thousands. So we probably should have risen up in the streets but we didn't. We did not.
And now we have this smart president who wants to provide health care for all Americans. Who wants to tell children to study hard and stay in school and the twisted right has gotten themselves into such a lather, such a blithering twisted clusterfuck of hatred and fear and anger that it would amusing to watch if it wasn't so scary.
And I think that all of this is about the fact that this man, Barack Obama, had a black father.
He has been attacked ceaselessly and unmercifully since the day he began his campaign to run for president. And when he actually got elected president, the crazies didn't even stop to take a breath. He wasn't really an American. His health care bill is going to lead us straight to hell and communism and oh yeah, Nazism too. And now his little speech to school children is his evil plan to indoctrinate our young in the space of twenty minutes against everything they have been taught so far in their lives.
And because I take everything down to the personal level, I wonder how he is bearing this.
Does he sit on the side of his bed at night and shake his head in wonder? Does he listen to the insane rambling rants of the Foxers, the Birthers, the anti-health care people, and now the Indoctrinators and is there some small part of him which is that little boy he was, a different color with a different name who no doubt had slurs and racists barbs thrown his way, even when he was that tiny boy with that huge grin on his face, and does that little boy want to cry? Does he have to hold his shoulders back against the onslaught of what can only be perceived as hatred based on nothing but his differences?
When I looked into the faces of Bush, Cheney, Rove, I saw the faces of men with such sick secrets that I shuddered. When I look into the face of Obama, whether the one he wore as a child or the one he wears now, I see only someone who is a genuinely good person.
That's how I see things.
But I am very much afraid that so many others look into that face and see nothing but "not-like-us." "Black." And words so much worse.
See- I don't think people are scared of his policies. Not really. I think they're scared of him.
Nothing else makes sense to me. Nothing. Because Bush did so much damage to our country in every way. Economically, spiritually, morally, and constitutionally and although people protested, although people hated him, there was a basis to the hate. There was a reason.
I see no reason whatsoever for anyone to hate this man. It seems to me he's just trying to do the best for all the people of our country. Not just the rich ones. Not just the employed ones. Not just the educated ones. Not just the ones whose parents were both white.
But many seem to. I think they hate him because not only is he black but he has the GALL to speak well and be obviously very, very intelligent with a calm demeanor.
I shouldn't say this, but I'm going to. I think that in the eyes of way too many, Barack Obama represents one of the most feared of racial stereotypes- that of the uppity nigger. How DARE he get an education at Harvard? How dare he rise up and do well and become president? How DARE he have that beautiful family? How DARE a black man have achieved all of this?
And I fear for him. And I fear for his family. And I fear for this country because we can't afford to be this hateful, this insane.
But listen- just because we elected a president who is not white it doesn't mean we're not a nation who still has a large and very vocal population of racists. And not talking about it doesn't make it go away. It makes it worse. I think that if there's an elephant in the room, this is it.
Racism. Pure and simple. Nothing else makes any sense at all.
And racism never makes sense. It only makes us poorer and it only creates fear. And if these right-wingers aren't fearful as hell, I don't know what fear is.
But I do know what fear is. And I fear them. And I fear them for our president who grew up in a country where there were always reasons to fear, just for the fact of the color of his skin.
I love that brave little boy on that tricycle. I love that face which reflects the love he was given and the love he had for the people who loved him, the intelligence he was born with, the optimism he so obviously had, even then. I love the man he's grown up to be which still reflects those same things.
I hate racism. I hate ignorance and baseless hate.
I hate that we have to talk about it here in America in 2009.
But I think we do.
Our secrets make us sick.
The kind of sickness that no health care plan can cure.
Let's pull this sickness out into the light so that it can be examined and rendered powerless.
It's not going to be easy and it's not going to happen tomorrow. But we have to work on this. We have to stop being so afraid of the "other" whether the other has a different colored skin tone than we do or a different sounding name than we do or who loves people of a different gender than we do.
You know what I think Jim Greer and those other Republicans are afraid of if our president makes a little speech to our school children? That those children will, even in the space of twenty minutes, see someone who makes so much sense, who is so obviously intelligent and kind and who really believes in the power of education and learning and hard work and who is BLACK that they might start to realize that skin color isn't what makes a difference in how you judge someone.
And who knows where that might lead to?
A better world. That's what it might lead to.
And I guess that's the scariest thing of all.