Whatever one thinks about the current administration's ministrations in their struggle to repair what was so callously broken under eight years of steady demolition, one clear result of the Obama presidency has been to hasten the squeeze on White America. Because -- I know, hard to believe! -- there is a faction of Americans who identify more with skin color than with national or political affiliation.
The phenomenal idea of a black president of the United States, and one who does not fit their comfortable stereotypes of blackness, has forced these folks' comfortable prejudices into a corner and, like all cornered animals, is screeching, claws out, fangs froth-flecked and dangerously desperate.
The most visible corner of Caucasian coagulation was on the mall this past Aug. 28th at the Glenn Beck Beige-a-palooza, where, despite laughable assertions about reclaiming the civil rights movement (!) and reintroducing faith into the national dialogue, White America gathered to circle the wagons around their besieged race identity.
The preservation of whiteness is the basic impulse behind virtually all activity springing white-hot from the Fox News/right wing smelter, a torrent of aggressively defensive responses to that Black Man in the White House, the thing which epitomizes the end of their sovereignty. Black presidents, gay marriage, illegal aliens, Islamic recreation centers -- it's all too, too much.
Of course, as models less of intelligent design and more of Darwinian adaptability, these moderately articulate beings greet such charges with offended outrage or smirking ripostes, denying that such things as racism even exist anymore. Hell -- we got ourselves a black president! Isn't that proof enough? They then throw their anger back on the observation itself, accusing the accusers of bigotry or of cowardice, of liberals possessing all the character of anyone from Benedict Arnold to Satan's accountant. Classic bully behavior, called out by the truth about themselves, unable to deal with the waste that has become their lives, lives lived in crouching neurosis, not a life, really, when one is in constant fear that Daddy will beat them or Mommy will reject them (that'll be $500 please and see you here next week. Next?).
They will lace their outrage with violent imagery, redolent code words that evoke "frontier justice" or weave their defense into classic patriotic themes and memes: "the founding fathers", "freedom of religion", etc., performing like a terrorized interrogatee whose outlandish behavior is boiled down to simplistic justifications, like "HAL" in "2001: A Space Odyssey" singing "Daisy, Daisy"; a sad but fascinating display of the trembling core beneath the armor being stripped away.
The Obama presidency is not over, hopefully far from it. The work it has endeavored to finish (or in some cases even begin) despite the relentless obstruction and destruction on the part of the entrenched White Right represents not only the last chance for a restoration of democratic principles for all who call themselves Americans but also the last stand for these on-the-brink-of-extinct warriors, their last attempt to matter at all costs. Like the Alamo except the only shooting going on is in their own feet.
Watching anything shivering in its death throes is sad. In the case of a dying, hateful, race-obsessed giant though, they are not coming a moment too soon. But it is still advisable to lay down some newspaper and stand way the hell back. This thing's realllly angry. It might get messier.