Humans are hung up on black. Black cats and dogs in shelters are often last to find homes. And now, in his dotage with nothing to lose, former president Jimmy Carter is stepping forward with the guts to condemn the not-so-subtle racism toward President Obama.
We’ve seen it twice lately. When Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) yelled “You lie!” during Obama’s healthcare speech. And when many school districts last week refused to let kids watch Obama’s back-to-school speech, because having him tell kids to work hard and not drop out would be brainwashing.
In neither case was Obama saying anything inflammatory, so the only rational explanation for the disrespect is bigotry. They think Obama is inferior and not worth listening to.
Unfortunately, Obama can’t agree with Carter. To admit, “Yeah, they’re probably picking on me ‘cause I’m black!” would just signal to the bigots they have succeeded in “putting him in his place.”
Wilson is the new racist poster child, raising more than $1 million since he mouthed off. He’s so proud, he’s refused to publicly apologize for acting like town hall trash in front of his fellow Congressmen and the nation.
Republicans have clearly shown during the healthcare debate that they just want to destroy anything Obama touches, no matter what the consequences for Americans. And as long as Obama keeps turning the other cheek, pretending he’s not dealing with irrational hatred, he only emboldens them to diss him at every opportunity.
Jimmy Carter is right. But if winning the majority of the vote to become president didn’t earn him at least a little respect from the bigots, I don’t know what else Obama can do. We’re showing the world that the U.S. wasn’t ready for a black cat in the White House after all.