Behind the mask

The mask that has never more than partially obscured so much of the vileness directed at Obama, rooted so deeply in ancient racial animosity, is slipping further away from the true face of so many of his detractors.

They’ve been coming for years now, helped along by various social networks of web 2.0. But just this week we’ve seen a witch doctor photo shopped picture circulated by a puny neurosurgeon, despite an apology issued through a mouthpiece that is belied by his claim, via TPMMuckraker, that “he was being targeted solely because of his political opposition to health-care reform.”

I recently claimed that it’s likely that most if not all of the demons fueling the birther nuttiness and other animosity are dredged up from the wellspring of the racial politics of America’s past, present and future. Fox morning news bots aside, if Obama’s foreign parent was of a lighter hue, we wouldn’t be treated to the fun house nuttery of these conspiracy theorists.

Then there is the overreaction to his criticism of a cop who arrested a guy who was upset that he was being hassled in his own home, apparently largely for not being respectful enough to the cop. I’m a middle class white guy and I’ve received tickets, one time by the cop’s own admission, because cops thought I was “disrespecting” them.

In Texas, four cops and a dispatcher have been put on leave — paid leave — for forwarding a racist email about Obama. They are being defended in a very familiar way:

“These are some good officers who have worked at the department for a long time that made a serious lapse in judgment,” [Grand Prairie police spokesman] Brimmer said.

Few people, certainly not myself or 99.999 percent of the people giving Obama flak for this, who aren’t black, especially black males, in this society have an idea of the dynamics involved in that situation.

But that doesn’t stop the de facto head of the Republicans, Rush Limbaugh, from telling us all about Obama. Here’s a quote from Media Matters via Think Progress:

LIMBAUGH: I think Obama is largely misunderstood by a lot of people. … We’re finding out that this guy’s got a chip on his shoulder. He’s angry at this country. He’s not proud of it. […]

Let’s face it, President Obama’s black, and I think he’s got a chip on his shoulder. I think there are elements in this country he doesn’t like and he never has liked. And he’s using the power of the presidency to remake the country.

Of course, Limbaugh’s musings tell us far more about Limbaugh than they do about the president.

This racial hatred is not going to go away anytime soon. It will certainly get far worse before it gets just a little bit better. But it must be confronted.

Infection. Festering wound. Gangrene. Painful scouring. Sunlight. Disinfectant. The best.

We’ve heard the litany of metaphors and allusions before. Now, and for a long time to come, we will either finally give action to the words we’ve said so often or we will continue to mouth platitudes while reenacting the old failed kabuki dance.

Update: the puny doctor resigns but, despite his public apology by proxy, remains defiant behind the screen.

Update II: Obama hopes this can be a teachable moment.


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