One could argue that both presidents lied about these “issues,” but no one saw fit to scream out “You lie” when either president was discussing the matter. However, before President Obama could get his words out, Wilson was hurling the insult in a televised session of Congress, which in my mind makes it a partisan act at best — and a racist act at worst.
Pundits and politicians like Wilson have been letting their emotions and their acidic tongues take over ever since. We’ve had other comments and shenanigans, like Tea Party member Marilyn Davenport of the Orange County Republican Central Committee sending out “chimp” emails of the first family, insisting that it was political satire and yet apologizing, while refusing to step down. That email was clearly racist because of the long history of comparing blacks to apes in art, literature, film and history, based on a so-called hierarchy of humans.
The most recent example of racial commentary comes from Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), who referred to President Obama as a “tar baby.” He not only apologized but also said that he was certain the president would accept his apology because he is a “man of character.”
Lamborn’s presumption that the president would accept his apology has nothing to do with Obama being a man of character. He’s a black man, so he will ostensibly submit to the will of this white man, who has been described as the most conservative member of Congress. Inherent in Lamborn’s “apology” is the audacity to believe that he can determine the thoughts and actions of President Obama without giving him the respect of a conversation, which is racist and insulting.
Therein lies the rub: These examples of what appears to be a fundamental lack of respect for President Obama have more than offensive words behind them. Racism is the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others. These politicians and pundits appear to be engaging in racist acts based on this flawed ideology at the same time that all kinds of “movements” have sprung up in reaction to Obama’s election.
No other president has had his qualifications for the office challenged so vigorously. A “Birther movement” developed around fabrications about the citizenship of Obama (made up mostly by Orly Taitz, a Russian-born woman and recent citizen).
A number of folks jumped on the bandwagon, calling for the president to “show his papers.” Many Republicans, who just a few years ago had toyed with the idea of altering the Constitution so that the fan favorite and Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger could run for president, joined a movement that appeared to be the closest thing to a high-tech lynching seen in this century.