Last night, I had a dream. But unlike MLK’s, mine wasn’t about forgiveness and civility. In it, the dignified and decorous First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, was running toward two people standing near Air Force One. While doing so, she was stepping out of her Manolo Blahnik shoes, peeling off her Loro Piana cardigan, pulling out her Roberto Coin earrings, rubbing Vaseline on her face, and yelling “Oh no she didn’t. Oh no she didn’t.” And as soon as she got past her husband and was within arm’s length of Republican Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, she proceeded to slap the shit outta her. But, alas, it was just a dream.
However, what precipitated Mrs. Obama’s actions in my dream was quite real. On January 25th, while walking across the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport tarmac, U.S. President Barack Obama was publicly accosted by the governor who shoved a letter toward him, lectured him about immigration, and then pointed her finger directly in the face of the leader of the free world. Afterward, she told the media that this incident, which was actually nothing more than an amateurish grandstanding not-ready-for-prime-time book-selling contrivance, resulted from an immigration dispute she had with President Obama at a White House meeting in 2010. Although in a press conference immediately after that meeting she had described him as “cordial” and “positive,” she later lied in her book by claiming that he had been “condescending.” When that contradiction came up at the airport, she angrily gave him the photo-op finger.
Shortly thereafter, she told reporters that the President was a “thin-skinned,” meaning black-skinned, person whom she “felt a little bit threatened” by. Threatened? Did she really say that? Yes. She did. Well, come to think about it, she does have a point. After all, the only thing that handsome black Harvard law school grads who are married to model-caliber wives and who’ve been elected to the highest office in the land really want to do in the presence of TV cameras and reporters is to ravish stunning Angelina Jolie-looking white female governors. If such “thin-skinned” and “felt threatened” language under these particular circumstances is not some coded or dog-whistle racist language, then nothing is. Never in the entire history of America has anything like this ever been done to or said about any other president by any governor.
When questioned about the disrespectful finger-pointing, she again lied, this time by claiming that she “was trying to be very, very gracious” because she “respect(s) the office of the president and … (therefore) would never be disrespectful in that manner.” She’s a racist, bald-faced liar—and not just about this. Back on June 25, 2010, again on TV, she fomented fear against allegedly frightening and dangerous men of color in connection with immigration by stating that, “Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert … beheaded.” However, when questioned, spokespersons from six county medical examiner departments, including four on the U.S.-Mexican border, said they never heard anything about any such decapitations.
Her kind of racist disrespect toward this particular President, who just happens to be black, is not unique to her. It permeates much of the Republican party, including its various leaders. For example, nobody will ever forget South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson’s notorious “You lie!” outburst on September 9, 2009 during President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress, specifically during his statement about immigration reform. By the way, Wilson—like Brewer—also rudely pointed at the President. What’s up with that? It’s not hard to imagine that they would have, if they thought they could have gotten away with it, used that finger to poke him in the chest and say, “Stay in your place, boy.”
Just this month, Newt Gingrich, a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination, once again referred to President Obama as the “most successful food stamp president in American history.” Aside from the racist point he was trying to make, it’s obvious that Newt doesn’t know that more whites than blacks receive food stamps (34 percent to 22 percent). On second thought, he does know. He’s just a lying racist who was verbally lighting the Klan cross for the many bigoted voters throughout the country. It’s that same Newt who, during a November 23rd Republican debate, mentioned the President by name seven times—but not once did he refer to him as “President Obama.” Instead, he called him “Barack Obama” four times and “Obama” three times. In fact, not one of the three leading Republican contenders, who collectively mentioned the President nine times during that debate, referred to him even once as “President Obama,” “Mr. President,” or “the President.” But I’m sure that was clearly unintentional.
About a week earlier, Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal publicly cited a Bible verse calling for President Obama to be killed, his wife to be widowed, and his children to be orphaned. He’s the very same guy who forwarded an email to state house Republicans referring to the First Lady as “Mrs. YoMamma.” And Marilyn Davenport, an elected member of the Orange County (California) Republican Central Committee, forwarded her own email in April of last year that included a doctored photo of the President and his parents as monkeys. Four months later, Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn candidly said during a radio interview that he didn’t “even want to have to be associated with … (President Obama). It’s like touching a tar baby …”
In addition to this blatant disrespectful form of racism, there’s the “plausible deniability” form—like when Congressional Republicans turned down the President’s requests for meetings at the White House, refused to return his calls, and walked out of budget negotiations. Things got so bad that Speaker John Boehner on August 31, 2011 became the first speaker in history to tell a sitting president that he would not be permitted to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress on the date specifically requested by the White House.
Despite all of that, no amount of Republican racist disrespect will negate the effectiveness of the President. Although politics has forced him to compromise much more than progressives wanted, it must be conceded that he nonetheless (and despite Republican obstructionism) has done a great job in many aspects, including, but not limited to, the following: historic health care, extended unemployment benefits, consumer financial protection, mortgage refinancing program, economic stimulus, auto-industry jobs rescue, equal pay for women, stem-cell research, student loan refinancing program, two pro-choice female Supreme Court appointees, extermination of Osama bin Laden, Iraq drawdown, and hate-crime initiatives.
Oh, by the way, in regard to that dream I had, I forgot to mention that it also included the hilarious but heartless character Cartman from South Park. He was whispering something to the First Lady while the governor, who had a hand imprint on the left side of her face, was on her knees trying to pick herself up off the ground. Mrs. Obama, in turn, then began whispering something to the President. Immediately after discreetly winking to Cartman, President Obama, with a mischievous smirk, was heard gleefully saying, in his best Cartman voice, “You will respect my author-rit-tay!” And she certainly will—she and all other Republicans—during the second, and uncompromising, term of the 44th President of the United States of America.