As a kid growing up in blue-collar Queens in the 1960's and '70's it wasn't uncommon to hear some bigoted fool say "If they don't like it they can go back to Africa" when referring to black peoples' frustration and anger over racial inequality. And now here we are some forty plus years later listening to the same sort of ignorant, racist crap from people who are seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In North Carolina's 11th District runoff scheduled for July 17th, Republican candidates Mark Meadows and Vance Patterson spoke at a Blue Ridge Tea Party Patriots forum this week and, while denying they were 'birthers', made outrageous comments that clearly contradicted that claim and demonstrated just how little we've changed in over four decades.
Asked by a member of the audience if they, if elected, would investigate Obama's birth, Patterson, with a smirking Meadows seated to his left, replied: "I hate the thought of being led by somebody who is not an American.... There's something there that's not right. Yes, he's produced a birth certificate but it's not the one that I've got and that most of us here in the room have as far as proving our origin. I don't know where he is from. Chicago, which bothers me enough just in itself."
And if that wasn't offensive enough, it was then Meadows' turn. He simply answered "yes" and slid the mic away to laughs from the crowd, before continuing with: "If we do our job from a grassroots standpoint, we won't have to worry about it. We will send him back home to Kenya or wherever it is."
Yup, just like the '60's. 'Let's send Blackie back to Africa.' It's unconscionable that statements like these are made in 2012 America. What's even more incredible is that they're made as open, unapologetic campaign speeches.
Follow Andy Ostroy on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AndyOstroy