There is something very ugly happening out there in the hinterlands these days--a brewing cauldron of racist anger being directed at President-elect Barack Obama as he and his family get ready to move into the White House. It's a mean-spirited bigotry that is finding its way onto the internet and right-wing blogs across the country. It makes for a troubling portrait of a significant cross-section of the American polity as Obama prepares to take the oath of office as the 44th President of these United States.
Nowhere have these tendencies been more out-front and prominent than at TeamSarah.org, a website organized by "a coalition of women dedicated to advancing the values that Sarah Palin represents in the political process." Men, according to an exclamatory notice, are welcome, too.
The web site is funded--and hosted--by the Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund Project, a national right-wing, pro-life Political Action Committee headed up by one Marjorie Dannenfelser, an ardent pro-life advocate. I know about Dannenfelser and the Susan B. Anthony group because earlier this year, the San Francisco Chronicle pitted Ms. Dannenfelser and me against each other in an op-ed page debate over the qualifications of Governor Palin to speak for families with special-needs children. Needless to say, Ms. Dannensfelser championed the activities of Governor Palin in this regard, while I did not. I have a special needs child and I find the idea of Palin speaking on my child's behalf an absolute outrage. No friend of special needs families is she.
So I was not surprised to find that the Anthony group was behind the Team Sarah web site. According to Ms. Dannenfelser "Team Sarah was formed to capitalize off the enthusiasm of the Palin Vice Presidential candidacy with the goal of reaching women voters and urging them to support John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin. Our goal was to win the Election. Several prominent women are involved with the project, including D.C. veteran Barbara Comstock, former First Lady candidate Jeri Thompson, FRC Action Vice President Connie Mackey, and actress Janine Turner, formerly (appropriately) of Northern Exposure." Now they are carrying the banner of Palin for President in 2012. (According to their website, membership is 62,639 and counting.)
Nor was I surprised when I went to the site to find all sorts of pro-life and anti-abortion links, with lots of Christian hyperbole. There are also links to "Catholics for Sarah," "Christians for Sarah," and, of course, obligatory links to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. There's also a good amount of "clinging to our guns and our religion" in rhetoric that sounds straight out of the 17th century.
You can even find out why so many people hate Sarah Palin--"Her husband is a masculine hottie ," writes Dana. "Now I'm a straight guy, but I know when a guy is hott and Todd is hott. [sic] The left usually views masculine hotties as wife beaters who oppress their woman." Okay. And you are correct to presume that spelling and grammar do not seem to be highly valued on the site. (And, because of that, all spelling from the site is left exactly as it appears.)
There's also an incessant whine about the left-wing media bashing Palin, especially on the Huffington Post. Says Ronald: "Most people (like the media) who try to make others believe that Sara is dumb and stupid or inexperienced actually fear her because of her faith and goodness." So that's it.
But what's interesting is that there are actually more blog topics about "Obama" than about "Palin." Of course, Obama's citizenship, birth certificate, and alleged Muslim upbringing are constantly questioned, along with his youthful drug use (though funny, Palin's admitted use of marijuana is not, and we won't even mention Levi Johnston's mother). There are also a lot of references to Obama being the anti-Christ: "He is the antichrist sent here to destroy America. Nobody knows who he is or where he was born."
And then there's some plain, downright nastiness and plenty of good ol' fashioned racism that, well, certainly doesn't sound Christian, if you catch my drift. When a blogger named James asks if anybody has bought the new Obama coins, SavantNoir responds: "[Y]es James, and i melted it down to see the look of agnoy on his face, made it a BB pellet and shot it into a pile of shit."
On one blog Heather describes Election Day as the "most terrible" in history and asks "how long until obama is shot??????" Josie responds: "There are plenty of people that would like to see Obama end that way."
Nice. Then there's the "Obama the Snowman" song:
Obama the Snowman
Was a very scary soul
With a marijuana pipe
And two eyes made out of skoal
Obama the Snowman
Is a Kenyan they say
He liked his white nose snow
But the Americans know
How he stole their country one day
And guess what? It sounds exactly like the kind of racist remarks that were being sent recently on State of Alaska government emails.
Under a post entitled "Police prepare for RIOTS," by one BarbaraJo, one concerned blogger named Tommygun responded:
"For people in urban/Obama areas--do this now: 1. Stock up on some basic supplies--food, health and hygiene, water, etc. 2. Keep track of where your family members are. 3. Work up meeting points in your community for your family (different spots in town where members are to go if problems occur). 4. Check and prepare any weapons you may have."
In response, a blogger named Johnny got more to the point:
"Well niggers will occasionally chimp out like this, am I right?"
While several Team Sarah members condemned that particular post, it's remnants are still up on the web site.
Then there's the probing political analysis you can find on Team Sarah:
"Funny thing, when voters are offered the chance, they always vote to ban gay marriage. What I really find hilarious though, is the gays supported Barry Obama in force. And yet, thanks to Barry's "blackness" the negroes came out in force in California to vote for him! And negroes are pretty conventional when t comes to values. Most are rather conservative, which is why I can't understand for the life of me why the vote for democrats."
There's also a lot of Michelle Obama bashing, too, where she is often referred to as "Bitchelle." Take this current thread:
GaryP: This Obama worship has got to stop! Politico is now saying that since Michelle "gave up so much", that she should get a salary as well!
Biruta: She should be paid millions of counterfeit money, just as fake as her husband and as worthless as herself.
AmericanDog: Pay her the sum of $1.oo and then tax her at the rate of 53 % to appease her husbands new tax plans. And she would still be over paid.......
Ava M: I have never actually HATED anyone in politics before now....She is stupid, mean, power hungry, manipulative, corrupt, essentially ignorant--a poster girl for Institutionalized Black Racism and Agression, a take-no-prisoners warrior for Political Correctnes aka Socialist Realism and a racially driven Communist fellow traveller. Let her go run an African country. She doesn't fit in here with the American People.
Apparently, she, like her husband, isn't one of us. Sound familiar?
Then there was the musing about the Obama Inaugural, first reported in the Alaska Dispatch by its fine reporter, Amanda Coyne:
Wendell: I just can't wait to see the Inaugeral ball... I heard the Presidential Waltz will be replaced by Barack and Michelle "Crumpin".
tami: I am sure michelle will dance like a horse
Wendell: followed by the new cabinet break dancing...
Christopher: Not trying to get too racial, but I have never met a black woman who could not dance.
tommykb3grz: the 4th of july watermellon roll on the south lawn
Wendell: a 4-inch diameter Presidential Seal in gold hanging from Obama's neck
Surely, by now, you get the point. And just when you think you've seen it all, "Team Sarah" member Jarhead comes up with this:
"Aside form Obama being an utter Moron I suppose he is a nice enough person. I personally put his happy little smile on every Terrorist face in Rainbow six [a video game], just before my cross hairs line up..."
So much for Christian charity. As for Sarah Palin herself, she has yet to officially sign up for the web site, though she did send a note to the founders of the organization. "I received the packet of letters through Team Sarah and am inspired!," she wrote. "Thank you for all you are doing for women, families, children... America!"