What does a monster look like?
Lately, President Barack Obama has been painted as the worst U.S.president since… (fill in the blank). The portrait makes him look like the biggest bogey man imposed on our lives. He has been scapegoated for everything wrong with, well, everything.
Where to start?
One of the earliest portraits of Obama was that of a liar (early in his first term). He has been portrayed as an imposter (not a U.S. citizen and therefore not qualified to be president); a traitor (even though he has supported the current immigration laws/policies); a weakling (despite having Osama Bin Laden killed); imperialistic (actually implementing his executive privilege fewer times than previous presidents); simian-like (suggesting he is sub-human). The list goes on.
Recently, Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments that some interpreted as suggesting that American racism is at the heart of, and the reason for, the ongoing denigration and negative portrayal of Obama, have turned up the heated discussion about race.
Could that really be it?
Monsters lurk in the hearts and minds of people who bear ill-will toward their fellow human beings. That takes on many shapes, sizes, colors, ages, gender, races,
political outlooks, etc. Monsters are bred from fear and ignorance.
If so, what is behind black folk who are shouting that Obama has not done anything for them? For black folk? Really?
Before I go to the ‘R’ word, I want to examine what a monster looks like to me.
There are five persons sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court dressed in judicial robes and regalia who have wreaked havoc on women’s right to control their own bodies and reproductive choices. Monstrous!
There are hundreds of men and women who continue to sit in business attire in Congress who remain paralyzed over making decisions. They have held all of us hostage against pursuing our constitutionally given rights to (a better) life, liberty and happiness. They have been petty, small-minded, and simply mean-spirited. Monstrous!
There are too many private militias who have cloaked themselves in the misreading of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, armed and ready to shoot and kill me/you and stand their ground. Monstrous!
There are predators preying on our children and hiding in plain sight: on the Internet, at the work place, in school houses, in the pulpit and in the home, who continue to slip through the legal systems. Monstrous!
Worldwide, there are too many insurrectionists who are declaring “war,” often in the name of some god, putting us all at risk of certain annihilation. Monstrous!
Monsters lurk in the hearts and minds of people who bear ill-will toward their fellow human beings. That takes on many shapes, sizes, colors, ages, gender, races, political outlooks, etc.
Monsters are bred from fear and ignorance. They feed and thrive on hate and lack of love.
So, is Obama a monster?
And, has he done nothing for black folks?
I say that the sheer bravery that it took for Obama to run for the highest office of this land, to win – not once but twice – demonstrates his lack of fear. I contend that his lack of fear is fueled by his love for the pure ideals that this nation has been built upon, not on the reality of today but on the promise of tomorrow.
I say further that Obama’s abiding and demonstrated faith in that ideal cannot be rooted in ignorance: he is a constitutional lawyer. I would bet that he embraces the promise of the Constitution, as well as the limitations built into the law of the land.
Reaching the fullest realization of democratic experiment has created more than a few monsters amongst us. Obama is not one of them.
And I say this to black folks who are looking for the president of the United States of America to be their president: Come on board the world-wide movement toward international peace and more equitable distribution of resources and accept that the U.S. is still the leader in this movement, headed by a black man who is trying to take us closer to that ideal – and from that we all benefit; we benefit greatly.
Now, let’s get on about the business of caging and taming the real monsters.
Antonia Williams-Gary may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org