Taking back the country--all the way back to segregation, slavery, the crusades, and The Inquisition
This billboard appears at an automobile leasing and consignment business in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, owned by Phil Wolf. The dealership, Interstate Sales and Leasing, is part of the Wolf Automotive Group. Phil Wolf also owns Chrysler product dealerships in Jackson and Pinedale, Wyoming, and a Suzuki dealership in Bozeman, Montana. He put up the sign. He has been interviewed a number of times as to why he put the sign up.
The sign makes a number of claims that have been proven false, except in the minds of those who make up phony reasons for their hatred of President Obama. The sign implies Obama is Muslim. In interviews, Wolf has stated that Obama is anti-Christian and anti-American. The sign raises the phony claim about Obama's citizenship and birth certificate. It connects Obama to the shootings at Ft. Hood.
A former colleague of mine who is a social psychologist specializing in advertising, propaganda, and human resources, points out that this sign, along with those that have shown up at tea parties, and the tea party protests in general, have made false claims. He examines the fact that so many of the claims against Obama are apparently and provably without any foundation snd are total fabrications. Why do people create them and believe in them?
Pure, simple, good old-fashioned racial hatred, is the answer. And it is an answer that presumes a divide in the U.S. population that runs deeper and is more pernicious than most Americans would like to admit.
My psychologist friend says that people who supported and elected Obama assumed his election to the presidency marked a final surmounting of the history of racial prejudice, discrimination, and violence in the nation. But, instead, it unleashed a new wave of racial hatred and resentment that expresses itself in the falsehoods circulated about Obama and his administration.
My colleague likens Obama's presidency to the time when women and people of color began to move into important and influential jobs in the work place. As the consultant for large corporations, he recalls the problems that the companies experienced when they started promoting minorities and women over other people. He says at that time, people were at least more forthright about their resentment. He recalled when a black man was promoted to vice president of labor relations at a large, successful corporation. Another vice president asked for a meeting with the chief executive and the advisory staff, and blurted out, "Do you realize that you've just made me equal to a fucking nigger?"
My friend recalls the problems were worse when women started moving into executive positions. A number of people quit rather than work for a female boss. They said they would not submit to the indignity of being bossed by a woman. Others did not quit but did everything they could to obstruct and undercut their female bosses. My colleague says things have not really changed. While people would not use such overtly demeaning terms as nigger, spick, or cunt to register their resentments, they do so in code by constantly finding other faults and making up false accusations about their bosses. This is the tactic that the tea party protesters and some in Congress have used to assail Obama. They are possessed of a seething resentment that a black man has risen to a position over them. Except for the hardcore KKK types, people will not openly use the deprecation "nigger." So they challenge Obama's citizenship, claim he is not Christian, call him socialist, communist, fascist, jihadist and all the other pejoratives, except the one they really mean. Crude pictures and false representations avoid the words, but do not hide their intention.
The media might be faulted for publicizing signs such as the one in Wheat Ridge. However, slanderous and libelous expressions, while not subject to court challenge by public figures, is news. It is not good news. It is even worse news when the press allows the people who claim that such defamations are merely an expression of policy disagreements to remain unchallenged in their dissembling. At minimum the press should be asking why people persist with such outright and obvious lies. Attorney Gneral Eric Holder identified the probem when he said that people were cowards about the matters of race that remain a big factor in American life and politics. Most Americans of the more tolerant sort want to be proud of their country, and , therefore, ignore its history of slavery, racial oppression, and genocide against the American Indians. And they do not want to confront the racial and the political hatred that is finding expression in the tea parties, the town halls, and on the streets. They think that as long as the protesters are not using the words "nigger," "spick," and "cunt," we are living in a more enlightened age. A great, dark rage enveloped the country when Obama was elected. And in trying to maintain postures of conciliation, the progressives are allowing that dark rage to over the country with an insidious cloud.
As with that sign in Wheat Ridge, much of the political discussion on talk radio, cable television, and the internet is sub-literate and incoherent. Words are symbols of natural facts, but in the current forms of discussions, there is no attempt to connect words with actual facts. A quick look at any aggregator of South Dakota blogs reveals a devastating record of sub-literacy and incoherence The new media has the intellectual resemblance of the chatter of the dayroom in a home for the mentally disabled.
The quality of thought and expression defines the quality of a country. Popular culture is obsessed with the degradations and intellectual atrocities of the past. And that is where the author of the sign in Wheat Ridge and his kind are taking us.