The banner held proudly by some obviously inspired African-American gentleman attending President Barack Obama's victory rally in Chicago's Grant Park bothered me. Actually, after a few days, I was more unnerved by the fact that I was bothered in the first place, if that makes any sense.
While I should have been unconditionally rejoicing the election of a man who is my age and race, I was still stuck on that banner. It was burned into my consciousness like a farmer brands his livestock, except there wasn't the nauseating sound of searing skin that would've made me physically sicker than I already was emotionally.
While hundreds of thousands of Obama supporters, an international audience and media from every medium held on to Obama's every word, I couldn't stop focusing on how inappropriate, how off base, and how aspirational the words and message were to people who are honest about the state of race relations.
"We Have Overcome!"
That's what the banner read, and if the color of my skin wasn't brown, I would've turned red with muted and mixed feelings. Add in the fact that the sign surely was providing the wrong kind of fuel to the intense fire that was stoking bigots and racists who absolutely couldn't stand the site of a black man in the White House, and the inflammatory and exulting banner spoke volumes.
The honest among us -- including Obama and Sen. John McCain supporters -- don't have any misgivings that a black president immediately or eventually will wipe out racism as an institution. Actually, as long as people look, think and act differently, those differences will always be the source of dissension and consternation, and feelings of superiority and inferiority.
But if for a fleeting moment you did escape to Fantasy Island about the seminal impact of President Obama's election on racism and prejudice, come back to earth and read about the drama that is the racial slurs that were directed at the president's children by writers at the conservative Free Republic blog.
Now there's a place where our founding fathers had to know people of goodwill and benevolence would come together as one.
On the heels of the broadcast of a photo of the president's daughter Malia wearing a T-shirt adorned with a peace-symbol as she recently walked the streets in Italy, the nut jobs were set off like a wet hen dashed with a bucket of freezing water. If I didn't know any better, I'd assume they apparently didn't like the fact that the shirt delivered an anti-nuclear sentiment. Apparently. That is, until you read a sampling of the posts from the Free Republic blog, which is viewed by some as a prime online destination for conservative, "grassroots" people to talk politics (and vent):
"A typical street whore."
"A bunch of ghetto thugs."
"Poor kids. I hope they're not punished with a baby. Hopefully they won't deal cocaine like the Kenyan."
"Ghetto street trash."
"Wonder when she will get her first abortion."
"DIRTBAGS! All of them. Our [White House] is now a joke to the rest of the world. We have no respect and this is not going to turn out well, mark my words. We will be hit, and much worse than last time. We are now seen as weak and vulnerable. Ghetto and Chicago thugs have taken over."
"Could you imagine what world leaders must be thinking seeing this kind of street trash and that we paid for this kind of street ghetto trash to go over there?"
"They make me sick .... The whole family... mammy, pappy, the free loadin' mammy-in-law, the misguided chillin', and especially 'lil cuz... This is not the America I want representin' my peeps."
Add in to this heart-tugging sentiments the caption, "To entertain her daughter, Michelle Obama loves to make monkey sounds" that appeared next to a photo of the First Mom talking to her daughter, and who wouldn't want to host a picnic for these open-minded, unifying bloggers?
While the Free Republic posts a disclaimer that they do not "advocate or condone racism, violence, rebellion, secession, or an overthrow of the government," the idea of guilt by association takes on a new meaning here, as does the import of a well-paid, well-placed attorney who provides legal cover by way of crafting those words.
Even when Jim Robinson, owner of the site, tried to redirect the vitriol away from the Obama children, who wouldn't have slipped and fell in the sarcasm that he left on the floor in the process: "We should steer clear of Obama's children. They can't help it if their old man is an American-hating Marxist pig."
"An American-hating Marxist pig"? What a great time it is to be a black man in charge of the United States.
And I thought ending the recession was Job 1.