You may recall the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, who set out to visit her grandmother, but instead ran into a wolf disguised as her grandmother. The wolf acted, spoke, and even resembled her grandmother, but he was really a wolf inside and out. He was prepared to eat Little Red Riding Hood, and to fill himself up at her demise.
Today, we find many who are prepared to serve our president from a table set to resemble disrespect. But when you pull off the tops of the pots, there is nothing but racism, preparing the president's political demise.
I was a student during the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies. Never did you hear anyone call John F. Kennedy a liar from the floor of Congress during the Bay of Pigs incident or the Cuban Missile Crisis.
I never heard anyone call Lyndon B. Johnson a liar from the floor during the Vietnam War. Even Richard Nixon was not called a liar from the floor during the infamous Watergate hearings. The first George Bush was not called a liar from the floor when he said, "Read my lips. No new taxes," and then went on to raise them.
His son, George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney were not called liars from the floor when they said weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq to justify the war. They were not called liars when they pushed through Congress the Patriot Act, which took away several basic rights of Americans. They were not called liars when they said they were not spying on Americans domestically. Yet we found out they were working with phone companies to tap into our personal conversations.
When Joe Wilson, the Republican congressman from South Carolina, called President Barack Obama a liar, it was more than disrespectful. It was an affront to the institution represented now by this African-American leader who is president of all the people.
The remarks from the floor represent a vitriolic, unchecked pot of racism. This pot has been stewing in America since Obama's election. We must uncover it before it boils over and scalds us as a nation. It cannot be hidden under the cover of simple disrespect, which enables one to say, "I forgot myself and I simply got caught up in the moment.''
The apology is accepted, but he keeps on doing the same thing.
Ladies and gentlemen: Let's get real! There is a wolf in the house, running around in the disguise of disrespect. The old Dixiecrats didn't call the president a liar from the floor of Congress. We all knew they had a serious problem with civil rights. That is why they became Dixiecrats.
Many don't even know or remember their history. Signs calling the president's proposal a Nazi health care program are historically inaccurate. To portray President Obama in the likes of an Adolf Hitler, mustache added, is also historically inaccurate: Hitler hated Jews and black folks. He would not be supporting what Obama is trying to implement for the nation.
Using terms like socialism, communism and fascism to describe this president again is historically inaccurate. Germany, Italy and Japan were members of the Axis Powers. They fought against the U.S., Britain, France and Russia, which were all members of the Allied Forces. These terms represent the periods of history in which we fought to stop some of our greatest human tragedies. Shame on those who would make this unfair and inaccurate comparison.
Let me be very clear: I am not saying that every white person who criticizes Barack Obama is a racist. Not every black person who criticizes him is a sell out or anti-black. Every president has been criticized for something, so let's not go there.
It is the personal vehemence and vitriolic nature of these attacks that allows guns and hatred to show up in public places, and that should concern us all.
The Secret Service has indicated that threats against this president are four times greater than those against George W. Bush. This atmosphere of the "wolf" must be uncovered and called out. If we do nothing, we allow the wolf to believe he has permission to continue to bite and attack, unchecked and unchallenged. This can lead to personal destruction and even more racial division.
Since when have presidents not been allowed to speak to school children, or even been condemned for it, when all they were advocating is for children to study and stay in school? Both President Bushes did it! Ronald Reagan did it! All with no masses calling the president a propaganda artist or brainwasher of children.
Former President Jimmy Carter is to be commended for being bold enough to pull the disguise off the wolf. The wolf is trying to run. But thanks to some, he cannot hide. This is not a fairy tale. This is real life.
Little Red Riding Hood is a fable, but racism is real. Let's stop the pretending. The future of our nation still depends on those who know better to do better.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "We must be so God motivated that we are never astronomically intimidated."
We must not allow the wolf to intimidate us. We need the good people to stand up and motivate us. We've come too far to turn back now!
The Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony is president of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP (the nation's largest NAACP branch), and a member of the NAACP national board of directors.