“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.“ -George Orwell
“In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.” -Albert Einstein
If you have uttered the words, “LET’S TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK!”, you have probably stumbled on to the wrong blog. The truth does not matter these days. We live in a world where people find what they like and want to hear and believe it to be the truth. If you believe that the President and the democrats have stolen your country, you will believe the information in this blog to be a lie. Or even worse, if you believe that President Barack Obama is planning a secret Black takeover of the United States, this blog will enrage you. You will likely not have the courage to read this blog. This post is not a political endorsement. This is a response to the “Take Our Country Back” movement.
The major question I would like answered is, “WHO STOLE YOUR COUNTRY?” Let’s get the facts straight. Most people that have the “Take Back Our Country” signs are likely not the same individuals that originally inhabited this country. This country was taken over, flag planted and claimed. The Trail of Tears comes to mind. The next step was free and cheap labor. The slave trade comes to mind—our not-so-humble beginnings of stealing a country then building it with slave labor. Our country was so divided over ending slavery that we went to war, the Civil War. Some wanted our country to do better and others decided they wanted to keep “their” country embedded in slavery. People cried, “Let’s take our country back!”
After the war ended and the slow ending to slavery, we moved into good old Jim Crow. Some people in our country felt it was ok to continue to discriminate on the basis of race and ethnicity. This sparked the 20th century civil rights movement, which began much earlier and went on much longer than it should have. Arguably, the height of this movement took place in the late 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s. Who would believe that there was controversy surrounding giving people equal rights? Once again our country was divided over giving people of color equal rights, protection, and privileges. During this time some of the most prominent civil rights and political leaders fought and died for these rights. Most notably: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy. People cried, “Let’s take our country back!”
On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Millions of people attended the occasion and hundreds of millions watched on television and the internet. Some even listened on their radios and digital devices as they traveled to and from their destinations. This was a joyous day for not only African Americans, but all of America. We had finally taken a major step in overcoming our painful racial history. We celebrated, as one, the inauguration of our first Black president.
Wait! Did we all celebrate? As candidate Obama was being sworn in as President Barack Obama, top Republican officials were meeting in a place named the Caucus Room. According to reports “they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama’s legislative platform.” This is not fiction, this is fact.
What was so urgent about this meeting? Who attended this meeting? What was so wrong with the President that they could not wait? Or was it simply the idea of a Black President and what he could potentially do that struck fear in their “Take back our country” hearts.
They weren’t the only ones not celebrating. Presidential inaugurations are watched in K-12 school systems across the nation, very similar to watching a space shuttle launch. These are significant historical events that educators share with each other and their students. You may or may not be surprised to know that many schools, particularly those in Republican or conservative leaning areas, did not tune in. Why is this? What message does this send to our students? Were they in protest? Were they thinking “Let’s take our country back?”
The disrespect, racism, and downright hatred of President Barack Obama would continued beyond inauguration day.
On September 9, 2009 President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress in September 2009. During the middle of his remarks Republican Representative Joe Wilson yelled, “You lie!” This was obviously a blatant display of disrespect. In my lifetime no one has ever yelled at the President in this manner. The office of the President is to be respected. Individuals that may disagree with the President’s policies should do so in a respectful manner.
On October 23, 2010 Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConell made sure that everyone knew the intent of Republicans in congress. “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” With everything going on in the country at that time, why were they focused on defeating the President versus helping everyday citizens?
Our country is under siege. The potential that we had is diminishing every day. You may say this is not racism MarcQus. You are probably right. It actually looks more like White Supremacy. It looks more like Ethnocentrism. What do I mean by that?
Let’s look at some remarks that have been made to, or in reference to, President Obama during his presidency.
1. “Show me your birth certificate Obama!”
2. “Obama is a welfare President.”
3. “Put the White back in the White House.”
4. “The President doesn’t know what it means to be an American.”
5. “Show me your college transcripts Obama!”
6. “Black people are voting for him because he’s Black.”
Let’s check out some remarks made by John Sununu, Romney campaign co-chair:
– Obama is foreign. Obama doesn’t understand the “American system” because “he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, another set of years in Indonesia, and, frankly, when he came to the U.S. he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure.” [Fox News, 7/17/2012]
– Obama doesn’t know how to be an American. During a conference call, Sununu claimed, “The men and women all over America who have worked hard to build these businesses, their businesses, from the ground up is how our economy became the envy of the world. It is the American way. And I wish this president would learn how to be an American.” [Conference call, 7/17/2012]
– Obama is a lazy idiot. Sununu described Obama’s debate performance as “babbling,” “lazy,” and “disengaged,” and dismissed the possibility that he could do better in the future. “When you’re not that bright you can’t get better prepared.” [Fox News, 10/4/2012]
Conservative political pundit, Ann Coulter, tweeted after the last Presidential debate that she approved of “Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.”
Draw your own conclusions about these statements. Here are some social justice definitions to help clarify things for you.
Active Racism: Actions that have as their stated or explicit goal the maintenance of the system of racism and the oppression of those in targeted racial groups. People who participate in active racism advocate the continued subjugation of members of targeted groups and protection of “the rights” of members of the advantaged group. These goals are often supported by a belief in the inferiority of people of color and the superiority of white people, culture, and values.
White Privilege: The concrete benefits of access to resources and social rewards and the power to shape the norms and values of society that Whites receive, tacitly or explicitly, by virtue of their position in a racist society. Examples include the luxury to be unaware of race, the ability to live and work among people of the same racial group as their own, the security of not being pulled over by the police for being a suspicious person, the expectation that they speak for themselves and not for their entire race, the ability to assume that a job hire or promotion will be attributed to their skills and background and not to affirmative action (Mclntosh, 1988).
White Supremacy: The theory or belief that White people are innately superior to people of other races.
It is evident that America is being divided. How do we unite the country without alienating one another? Have we forgotten how to respectfully disagree?
“Live as one or perish as fools.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
We easily forget history. I have been paying attention to political cycles for a while now. People are free to criticize the President. But please understand that President Obama has been questioned, ridiculed, misrepresented, mocked, and disrespected more than any President in recent memory. Those of us that fit the “other” category can relate to the President’s racial battle fatigue.
Racial battle fatigue develops in African Americans and other people of color much like combat fatigue in military personnel, even when they are not under direct (racial) attack. Unlike typical occupational stress, racial battle fatigue is a response to the distressing mental/emotional conditions that result from facing racism daily (Smith, 2004).
You don’t have to look far to see the difference in treatment. The rhetoric was not as heated during the 2008 presidential election and the criticism of the previous President (George W. Bush) was not laced with racial coding. People are using any and every trick in the book to cover up the racism and anti-Christian sentiment that is being directed at President Obama.
My brother Isaac Akins explains what I mean:
“In my personal opinion, these past four years have served as a thinly veiled effort to hide the racist, hateful tendencies in the heart of this country behind the guise of politics. It saddens me to see so many believers hop on the hype bandwagon thinking they are upholding their Christian morals while never considering why certain push-button issues have NOW become so much more important than during other administrations. What makes THIS particular president so much more evil than the last few? You let the Socialist, gay, anti-Christ Obama rhetoric rob you of all good sense, both white and black believers alike, and your downright ignorance in general disgusts me.
I can’t imagine what Our Lord thinks when He considers our lack of love and outright hate for anyone who doesn’t conform to our socially reinforced image of a good, upstanding American citizen, or just doesn’t match up to our Pharisee-like standards of holiness, as if anyone could (speaking specifically to the issues of race and sexuality in this country). I agree that this country is headed down a dark path, but not for the same reasons so many people talk, FB and tweet about. It’s because after so many decades of struggle, this country is far more racially divided and hateful AFTER the election of its first black president than before. Go pray on THAT.” –Isaac Akins
America is a good country, but it has not been the great country that we claim it to be. America has always had the potential to be a great country. But it will not become “great” until we acknowledge our prior transgressions and work towards healing them, treat with respect the poorest man as much as we do the richest man, and truly acknowledge and appreciate our differences.
The country you want you can never have back.
There are two books that describe exactly what is going on here:
“What’s the Matter with White People: Why we long for a golden age that never was” written by Joan Walsh
“America Again: Re-becoming the greatness we never weren’t” written by Stephen Colbert
Xenophobia and racism will drive people to the polls, for and against the President.