By a string of unimportant and not interesting events, I visited the grave of Jefferson Davis last weekend. Remember that scoundrel? He was the president of the Confederacy. His ambiguous headstone claims he was a "Defender of the Constitution."
He said cool stuff like:
"African slavery, as it exists in the United States, is a moral, a
social, and a political blessing."
He also said, "We recognize the negro as...our inferior, fitted expressly for servitude."
As I stood there looking at his statue with the Confederate war flag run up the flagpole behind him, I thought about hatred. Thank goodness those days are over.
No, Mitt Romney hasn't argued to reinstitute slavery. At least that still rings ridiculous in our political landscape. But only that.
So much of the Republican platform smacks of hatred. Hatred for women (attacking reproductive rights), hatred for minorities (attacking the safety net), hatred of LGBT people (defense of marriage), hatred of immigrants (opposition to the Dream Act), hatred of the old, the sick, the infirm, the unemployed, the working class, the middle class...the 47%.
Then they roll all that negative energy up into a racially based hatred for our president that they can barely contain. Words and phrases like birther, food stamp president, shuck and jive, and boy come to mind. That's not to mention the shameful frontyard "lynchings" of empty chairs in Texas and my own state of VA that occurred after the debates. Nor the racist protest poster I saw at the Obama rally I attended back in July. It portrayed President Obama's face, superimposed onto the face of a monkey. I just couldn't believe the ignorance, the audacity.
Is it ironic or fitting that the name of the movement that brought all of this hatred to the fore is "The Tea Party?" A bunch of folks sitting around sipping Oolong and Darjeeling feeling all civilized, right? They imagine their tea party is all inclusive. If you're a woman, they'll let you make the tea. If you're a minority, they'll let you serve it. If you're an immigrant, they'll ask, with their pinkies raised, if you could be so kind as to go home and grow it.
Bullies never play fair.
Bullies also don't like it when they don't get their way--and they certainly didn't in 2008. I think that over the past four years, the visage of our black president has driven them stark raving mad. In their frenzy and froth, they've taken a lingering backlash against civil rights and whipped it up into a super storm that challenges even the power of Sandy.
Don't despair. You know how a child that plays hard also crashes hard? I think the Tea Party is like that. I believe we have such power to squash it tomorrow. The reelection of president Obama would be a referendum on hate and a rejection of the backlash.
So if not for healthcare, diplomacy, the economy, student loans, the safety net, veteran's benefits, renewable energy, and climate (as if all of that isn't enough!), then stand tomorrow, on the side of tolerance, compassion and community. Vote for President Obama so that we can move Forward to face our economic woes together.
Vote Obama to show the rest of the world that hatred just isn't our cup of tea.