The Arrogance of being President while being Black
I don't think anyone was under some real illusion that the election of Barack Obama actually means the end of racism in America . I'm pretty sure that the president-elect knew it better than anyone. After all, he saw it every day, from the moment he announced his candidacy. To some degree, he saw it within his own party during the primaries. And he saw it in all ugliness during the general election. For half of this country, he was "That One". No matter how big and clear his victory was. No matter how smart he is. No matter how decent he is. No matter what a true patriot he is. No matter how optimistic and positive his vision for America was. All that didn't matter. Because at the end of the day, he was still black.
I'm quite old. I remember, vaguely, where my parents were on November 22, 1963. I've seen so many presidents. Some were feared, some were hated, some were adored, some popular and some not. But all of them, without exception, were treated with the highest respect deserving the office of the president of the United States ..
That is until a black man won the right to occupy this office. It's been 20 months now, and in the eyes of so many, Barack Obama is still that one. He is being disrespected and at the same time being held to the highest standard of any president I've ever seen â€“ and not just by the Republican side! He has to perform three times better than any president in history, and even that may not be enough.
For the media, he is many more times just "Obama" than "President Obama". They create scandals out of nothing issues. It took them at least 6 years to start giving Bush a small part of the shit he deserved. It took them 6 months to begin crap all over Obama because he's yet to fix the catastrophe that was left for him.
They use condescending tones when they talk about him, and only mildly less condescending when they talk TO him. With anyone else, CNN wouldn't dare go to commercials every time the president speaks, like they did during that summit on Thursday. They wouldn't dare be counting how many minutes George Bush or Bill Clinton were talking. Chris Mathews wouldn't dare make an issue out of Ronald Regan calling members of congress by their first name, like he is not actually the president. They fully cooperate with the Right-Wing smear machine when it comes to president Obama's national security performance â€“ even if almost every independent and military expert actually thinks that he's a terrific Commander-in-Chief. You'll never see them on TV, and virtually no one from the Left, in congress and outside, defend the president on this matter.
I don't care about the Far-Right. They're just crazy ignorant Neanderthals. It's the way the beltway and the mainstream treats this president that is shocking. On Thursday, almost every Republican had no trouble interrupting him in the middle of a sentence. They looked like they're going to vomit every time they had to say "Mr. president". They all had this Eric-Cantor-Smirk whenever he spoke. Then they went out and started to spit their stupid talking points, to the delight of the media. Sarah Palin, a woman who can hardly read, thinks that he was "arrogant" towards John McCain, and somehow this is an important news. Because you see, "Obama's Arrogance" is the talking point of the day.
Oh, those talking points. He is arrogant (because he knows the facts better than all of them combined). He is an elitist (because he uses big words that they don't understand). He is weak on national security (because he actually thinks about the consequences). He divides the country (well, he did that the day he had the audacity to win the election). Worst of all, he actually thinks that he's the president. He even dared to say so on Thursday. How arrogant of him. You'd think that previous presidents didn't have any ego. Somehow it turned out that the one president who treats even his biggest opponents with the utmost respect is the arrogant one. I wonder why?
I expected that his winning the Presidency would bring out some ugliness, but it's been far worse than I imagined. The racism coming from the Right is obviously clear and shameless, but there's also some hidden and maybe subconscious and disturbing underline tone behind some of the things that I read here and throughout the Left blogosphere, even before the end of Obama's first year - 'He's weak, he's spineless, he's got no balls, primary him in 2012'. It'll be dishonest to deny that.
The fact is that for millions in America, Barack Obama is this uppity black man (Not even a "real" black), who received good education only due to affirmative action, and has no right to litter the sacred Oval Office with his skin color. They just can't accept the fact that the president is a black man, who unlike his predecessor, was actually legally elected. But what's really sad is that it's not just the fringe, its deep deep in mainstream America ..
Barack Obama's ability to remain above all this slob, to keep his optimism and his strange and mostly unjustified faith in people, while continuing to gracefully deal with an endless shitstorm is one of the most inspiring displays of human quality I have ever seen. And I can only hope that the Cosmos is on his side because God is and He never makes a mistake.
Sometimes, they make me feel ashamed to be a white man!!