Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lighten Up? Jeff Jacoby's editorial in the Boston Sunday Globe entitled "Lighten up, Mr. President" (Link below) gave me pause for thought and at the same time angered me. I responded:

Jeff, your editorial today, struck a nerve. I ruminated about your thoughts for hours trying to figure out why I felt you were correct and find a rationale for why it is that our president seems besieged. He seems like the heavy burden of the presidency was not what he envisioned. It seems in his eyes that he is serious, even angry and that he is not free. He is not free? The president of the United States is not FREE? The presidents you mentioned Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Clinton and Reagan had, despite the terrific burdens, an eternal flame in their soul and a twinkle in their eye despite the grueling weight of the office. Why does this man whom I thought fate had determined would save our nation from its national nightmares look weighed down, sad, serious and dare I say scared?

The presidents you mentioned were white. Yes, of course, I will talk about race. I believe while President Obama had that gleam once it became dissolved in a sea of anger, rancid race bating and an incredulousness at the epithets he hears, sees, and reads about every single day of his life. It has been said he has received more death threats in one week than any other president has received during their entire tenure. Have you seen the signs? Have you seen him portrayed as something less than human, as an animal this man who graduated Harvard Law School? Could it be that this man who attained the highest office in the land by sheer determination and grit to become the first black man to ever occupy the US presidency feels the weight of the office oppressive?

Yet, he is only HALF black but it does not matter that the other half is white. White is not in his presidential description. Have you heard the reports from reputable sources that white supremacist groups are larger now than at any other time in our history with the exception of the Civil War era? Our president is under constant attack. Maybe he is under attack like Lincoln? Did the pictures and descriptions of Lincoln say he was lighthearted? No, I think not. Lincoln looked serious and under siege because he WAS under siege.

The anger, the hatred, the vitriol and the threat of violence against our president has been of Herculean proportions. He is threatened, black members of Congress are spat upon, his birth is relentlessly challenged and he is hunted by the extremist right like an animal of prey. How would YOU feel if you were he? How would YOU feel if you could jump into his black skin? I suspect you might think it difficult to "lighten up."

How light would we feel if every minute of every day we had to hear a Jewish epithet hurled at us like a weapon? How did our brethren feel as they were hunted down like dogs because of who they were? I suspect, to a degree, it is how our president feels. He feels hunted, hated, tormented by an economy he did not make or wage wars he did not begin and if that were not enough his words "This is not a black America. This is not a white America. This is the United States of America. We are one people ... " ring hollow. Oh really, we are one America? Tell that to the man who carries a shot gun within yards of the president -- this president -- this one half black president who after 300 years of racial hatred, I suspect still does not feel free. Lighten up, Mr. President? That's easy for you to say, Jeff. You are white!