President Obama, Race and the Unpatriotic Right

Jeremy Levitt, Orlando Sentinel, September 15, 2009

The far right and its right-wing brethren’s most recent barrage of indignant and visceral attacks against President Barack Hussein Obama has led me to conclude that the scourge of anti-Obama fanaticism is nothing more than foolish racism masquerading as patriotism and phony Christianity.

{snip}, the far right’s central strategy for helping America is to attempt to delegitimize Obama with trailer-park prowess.

Right-wing disdain for the first African-American president is primordially violent and expressed in dishonest, uninformed, racist and unpatriotic rhetoric and demonstration.

{snip}

Certain fanatical people and groups, not worthy of specific mention, recently toted guns at presidential town-hall meetings wearing menacing T-shirts that read: “It is time to water the tree of liberty.”

This was a symbolically threatening parity [sic] of Thomas Jefferson’s celebrated call for vigilance: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots.” Regrettably, this dangerously insolent and unpatriotic message was aimed at the leader of the Free World.

A patriot is one who loves, supports and defends his or her nation and loves its citizens, especially the U.S. president. {snip} A patriot honors the U.S. president, irrespective of his or her biases.

{snip}

As a close follower of presidential politics, I do not remember another time when an American president was so unpatriotically maligned by Americans, namely, right-wing politicians and media, and the millions of Joe and Judy plumbers who would disown Jesus if they knew he was African, and Obama if he were the Second Coming.

The truth remains that right-wing anti-Obama rhetoric around abortion, health care, education, gun control and foreign policy are cowardly coded smoke screens intended to mask fear and racism.

{snip}

Any American family that participates in the far-right campaign against President Obama by, for example, depriving their children of the opportunity to receive apolitical words of wisdom and encouragement from the president and leader of the free world, is unpatriotic.

Is it patriotic to stifle debate with right-wing anti-Obama propaganda when our nation stands in the balance between a broken economy, a controversial war on terrorism, a sick health-care system and an uneducated educational system? {snip}

{snip}

I would remind the far right what the Apostle Paul wrote, ” . . . there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Hence, Obama is the U.S. president and leader of the Free World because he was appointed by God.

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Jeremy Levitt is associate dean for International Programs and a distinguished professor of international law at Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando.

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