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Given the fact that America just elected its first black president, a lot of people have been talking about how it represents us moving forward as a country and how racism isn’t as much of a problem as it used to be. I’d love to buy it, but I just don’t see it. What I get in my inbox every day is various amounts of unhinged hatred. I’m having a hard time figuring out how we’re supposed to be gaining ground on hatred and racism.
The latest filth I got came in this morning. It supposedly shows what the White House will look like with a black president. There’s a gorilla sitting on top of a KFC sign. Thugs and rappers standing around. Graffiti on the White House. Trash all over the yard. The message came in with an audio file of the theme song to “Sandford & Son”. Yup. That’s Barack Obama, all right. I’m sure he’ll be staggering around on the front porch of the White House during his weekly barbecue, holding his chest and crying out “This is the big one, Elizabeth!” because someone finally explained to him what it is that the president does.
Another one came from a cousin of mine, who is a preacher and a minister of music at a church in North Carolina. He sent out an e-mail to around 70 people titled “A chilling view of Obama”, which was about how Barack Obama supposedly suffers from narcissistic personality disorder and shares a lot of similarities with Adolf Hitler. Two names that reportedly supported and confirmed this report were Dr. Sam Vaknin, who states on his own web site, “I am not a mental health professional” (so much for his expert opinion), and Navy Vice Admiral Earl “Rex” Rectanus, whose claim to fame seems to be nothing more than his involvement in the discredited Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry. The report was written by a phantom called Dr. Ali Sina, who runs an anti-Muslim web site called Faith Freedom International, upon which he puts forth such bits of wisdom and Christian love as;
“Like Adolph Hitler, Barack Obama was born to a communist father who worked as a government employee who had several other children with multiple women.”
“You are Satan worshiper. There is no hope for you. You are destined for hell fire because you are not able to think.”
“Donkeys in comparison to Muslims are philosophers. It is just disgusting to know we have to share the air in this planet with such idiot animals called Muslims.”
So much for moving forward. This filth was sent out by someone who calls himself a preacher, distributed to around 70 people. Who knows how many people they sent it to? What kind of country could we possibly have when religious leaders are sending out this kind of hatred?
But it’s hardly only misguided Christians who are sending out this crap. During the presidential campaign, a California political organizations, the Chaffey Community Republican Women, stated in a newsletter to members that if Barack Obama was elected, his image will appear on food stamps instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement was followed by an illustration of “Obama Bucks” – a phony $10 bill featuring Obama’s face on a donkey’s body, labeled “United States Food Stamps” and showing a bucket of fried chicken, barbecued ribs, watermelon and Kool-Aid. Please note that this was from a Republican organization in California, not some KKK group in Bumfuck, Alabama.
On a personal level, the worst for me came from one of my uncles. He’s a die-hard Republican whose e-mail I don’t accept anymore because of the amount of Right-Wing crap he was clogging my inbox with. After the elections, my uncle, who himself has a bi-racial grandchild, asked one of his sisters, a Democrat and an Obama supporter, “You didn’t vote for that nigger, did you?”
What can you really say to that? While I think we should all celebrate the election of America’s first black president, only a fool would think that it represents that we’ve somehow won the fight against hatred and racism. I love this country and I have high hopes for what it might some day become, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that the battle is over. I’m a Pagan who finds myself dancing delicately around the easily up-ended sensibilities of Christians just to get through each day, so I’m constantly faced with hatred and the discomfort of deeply ingrained discrimination. I may not be a black man, but I’m certainly a member of a minority religion. Nearly every day I’m somehow reminded that I’m not a part of “our country”.
I won’t try to make a fancy speech here. All I’ll say is that I think we can do better. But if you think that we’ve solved anything by electing Barack Obama, you’re kidding yourself. He’s represents a hope and a promise that things can change. But the battle is far from over. In fact, with the Republicans shifting even farther right and general consensus being that Sarah Palin (a member of the Third Wave of Christians who believe in literal spiritual warfare as well as Christians’ responsibility to bring about the End Times) will be the Republican nominee for President in 2012, we’re just getting started.
The Culture War that the Far Right has been aching for these past few decades is finally kicking into gear. And from the looks of it, some of them are already getting started. I suspect that it’ll get far worse before it finally begins to get better.

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