America: just seconds away from a clean getaway. All convinced of our post-racial bona fides, certain of our moral and cultural evolution, ready to embrace the multihued palette of a vibrant mixed-race society... then we elect a black president and that old Devil comes slithering out from under the carpet, crawling in from behind the drapes.
You know the one. All hiss and ignorance; the beast that inspires white hoods, lynched men, shuttered neighborhoods, and ugly political speech. Racism.
Ann Coulter -- Mad Mouthpiece of the Right -- would not agree with this thesis. She of the tight jaw and narrow mind wondered recently on Bill Maher's show, "Where are all the racists liberals keep talking about?" None exist, she announced to a flabbergasted Bill; none except for "liberal racial demagoguery." Annie, Annie, Annie... I wish you could see how silly you look from the view outside your little blonde head.
"Where?" she asks? Not hard to find, but let's make this easier for her:
1. Have to start with the Birthers. I mean, really, is there any other reason -- besides President Obama's African father -- that Delusional Donald and his minions are so worked up that they refuse to accept the evidence presented? Over and over? Even by the governor of the American state in which the president was born? Throw something out there, if you can, but I don't think so.
2. Then there's GOP Senate candidate Tommy Thompson's son, Jason Thompson. Jason got all carried away under the spotlight at a recent GOP brunch, declaring gleefully, "We've got the opportunity to send President Barack Obama back to Chicago -- or Kenya!" Jason is either confused about geography or he's just another GOP hack playing the race card. I'd go with hack.
3. At that same event, a very enthused woman in the audience shouted out in witness to Jason's testimony, "I'm taking donations for that Kenya trip!" Get out the church basket, sister, and let's tithe for travel.
4. A photograph is making its way around the Internet depicting a shaved-headed white man at a Romney rally wearing a tee shirt that says "Romney/Ryan: Put the white back in the White House." Some are attempting to parse that. Not sure how that's going.
5. Recently ole Newt sat at Fox News (where else?) rambling on:
I'm assuming that there's some rhythm to Barack Obama that the rest of us don't understand. Whether he needs large amounts of rest, whether he needs to go play basketball for a while or watch ESPN, I mean, I don't quite know what his rhythm is, but this is a guy that is a brilliant performer as an orator, who may very well get reelected at the present date, and who, frankly, he happens to be a partial, part-time president.
Rhythm? Basketball? Really!? Racist and stupid.
6. Karl Rove's recent -- and reckless -- campaign ad for Romney works so hard to depict the president as a gamboling gadabout who'd rather party with celebs than do the hard work of running the country that I wondered if KR pulled a muscle. After an ominous litany of fear-mongering bullshit, it ends with the admonishment, "Mr. President, it's time to show up for work." Racial coding, anyone? The ad's main thesis, the president's absence from important daily briefings, has been debunked as another button-push designed to get the base all riled up, but... whatever, right? Admirable, Karl.
7. And, of course, there's the lynching of empty chairs from front-yard trees (courtesy of a really fun suggestion by Ann's Sorority Sister of Shallow, Michelle Malkin); chairs all gussied up with American flags and other nifty accoutrements. Empty chairs plus lynching. Naw, that's not racist.
And there's more; just Google "racism in politics 2012" and your open-minded little heart will get a good dose of the Devil.
I had an acquaintance who used to post occasionally on my Facebook page, particularly on political threads, claiming that he'd been a liberal and was now a Tea Partier for "all the right reasons." He got huffy at one point when I posted a piece titled "Loudly Against the Language of Racism" (that was around the time when Marilyn Davenport, of the Orange County California Republican Committee, sent out an email depicting Obama as a chimp baby with the line "Now you know why -- no birth certificate."). I was race baiting, he accused. I was being a reverse racist. Because, he insisted with some indignation, racism was not a part of the Right's party platform. Certainly not the Tea Party. And despite my retort that I'd seen quite a few pictures of Tea Party rallies in which people, including children, were seen holding signs depicting the president in African garb, hanging from trees, etc., he continued to assert the "actual lack of racism" in his party.
How prescient, his denial... even before Annie!
And I call bullshit.
Like porn, like harassment, like poop on your shoe, you know it when you see it. Or smell it. Or hear it. And if it looks like racism, smells like racism, sounds like racism, and churns your gut like racism... it's racism.
We can whistle past the graveyard of cultural expectation and excuse it as "just a few marginal types" who succumb to the deep, systemic, American DNA of superiority, certainly as it applies to our darker-skinned citizens, but the truth might actually be more useful. Until we stop pretending like a bunch of chicken-shit abdicators who refuse to admit they see the bullies beating up the little kids; until we call it what it is, name it, drag it out of the shadows, out from under the rug, from behind the coded speech, the intended insults and denigrations, the snide condescensions, we will continue to collude with the lowest among us, tacitly or otherwise.
Ann Coulter may be too self-absorbed to see it; the ones who traffic in it may deny it, but those who have a more honest appraisal of the real world know it's there. If you're one of those, good for you; you're awake. Don't stand for it. Speak out. Write about it. Shine a light on it. Refuse to accept it by your silence.
The rest of you... well, you know the drill. The first step to cure is admitting the problem. Start there.
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