On this historic day, Aug. 28, 2010, the 47th anniversary of the day that Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his landmark “I Have a Dream” Civil Rights-charged speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., I am not in the mood for celebration. In fact, I am baffled, shocked, angry and appalled.
The reasons for these emotions are many, but they can be summed up in one image: as I pulled up to a Walgreens pharmacy in Gilbert, Ariz., I saw a sticker on a back of a pickup truck that read “Take Back America 2010” with a website listed on the bottom. I almost lost my shit.
It’s no secret that racism is still alive and well. Whether it is the “Ground Zero Mosque” Muslim community center raising their ire and causing a hate crime on an innocent taxi driver, the un-clever use of the word “Canadian” for bigots to talk about African-Americans, or FOX News dickface Bill O’Reilly talking about lynching parties regarding First Lady Michelle Obama or pretty much anything he has ever said, the right to say whatever they want is used to spew hate-filled rhetoric that would make a Klu Klux Klan grand wizard nod in agreement. Groundswell gatherings like the Tea Party Patriots (complete with racism), asshat Congressional hopefuls like Dr. Chris Salvino campaigning on the fear-based cry to “Stop Obama,” and the whites-only basketball league are examples of that silent fright being taken advantage of and gaining momentum. Hell, President Barack Obama can be called a “socialist,” “communist” and “Hitler” without any pretext of thought involved.
And yet because they know it is not considered to be proper manners nowadays in 2010 America, there is enough backpedaling to cover up their statements as not being the hostile tirades that they are to finish the Tour de France backwards. Or they believe that having a black man in the Executive Branch is a reason for post-racial slips of the tongue (hi, Chris Matthews!). News flash: Racism is racism is racism, no matter how you paint it.
The spotting of the sticker happened mere hours after fellow FOX News host/blathering dickface Glenn Beck decided that America’s honor needed to be restored by staging his own “historic” event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the same location of King’s monumental lecture, to preach to his slack-jawed pulpit about how he and they should reclaim the Civil Rights movement. The lack of irony and subtlety in bigoted, lily-white dopes wanting to convert a crusade for equality for minorities and women to suit their own rage-fueled, terrified-felt, thick-headed needs is as absurd as a Juggalo being made valedictorian of Harvard University’s graduating class.
It’s funny (horrifying) that while past presidents put measures into law and marched the country into war — Clinton helped boost CEO pay, George W. Bush’s tax breaks for the rich and George Bush Sr. and his tax cuts/bringing the U.S. into Iraq — with the public outcry being protests and Kenneth Starr being unleashed on Clinton’s sexual escapades, it took the clamor over pork spending (oh, sweet Jesus, Mesa, Ariz.) to sow the seeds of the current Tea Party movement — around the time that President Obama took office. Funny how people decided to take action as soon as the presidential portrait darkened by a few shades.
Though I’ve mocked Beck and the “Tea Party Patriots” in the past with swipes of passive-aggressive humor, it has been tinged with increasing frustration and exasperation at how these attempts from people like Beck and the drug-addled Jabba the Hut impersonator Rush Limbaugh to mask their subtle racism and growing fear with participating in and fanning the fear-mongering flames. And while a single person is reasonably of sound mind and not bound to cause harm, people are prone to groupthink, peer pressure and mob mentality.
By tapping the vein of a seething group of people that feel abandoned, hopeless and superior to the man in charge of the country due to his skin color, we have let hate-based entities like FOX News, Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Sarah Palin unlock the cells of the weak-minded asylum. (The fact that Palin defended Schlessinger’s racially-charged tirade as a free speech measure instead of the brazen, hate-filled tirade of a supposed “joke” that is was tells me that they missed the last 60 years of minority advancement in America.)
Quite simply, there is an increasing mass of people that are using their right to say and gather as they wish to unleash their outdated, hate-filled beliefs on the airwaves and in their communities. And as the First Amendment lets them communicate in such a manner, I should be able to do the same. And frankly, I am tired of being mild-mannered and diplomatic towards these people when they are most likely berating me and other African-Americans when I’m out of sight.
So you have the right to protest mosques being built in New York City because of those “horrible Muslims” in your town in this country, assemble to “protest tax cuts” with racist banners and slogans, or call Obama “Hitler.” I have the right to call you a gaping, pus-filled, fecal-encrusted asshole. And if I’m in a place where it is not public decorum to utter those words when confronted with your shit, keep in mind that I am thinking it. This is not an immature tirade but me exercising my right to say, think and feel as I wish.
So now Glenn Beck has had his chance to restore honor to the U.S. that has supposedly been tarnished by some unspoken entity (Obama). The clean-up from hate-mongers of his ilk to foster decency, respect, intelligence and a sense of equality to the country will take a considerably longer period of time. And the grassroots movements to unite like-minded people won’t come from a pudgy, pale-faced pied-piper, but from a look in the mirror and a long, hard look at what the inmates of the asylum have done.
The anger and frustration will have to be put aside, and that hope that Obama campaigned on will have to be put to a new use to overcome the negativity. King would have wanted it that way.