I have tried to stay out of politics lately because I find myself more and more embittered by what I read. And this week, with “legitimate rape” and other such gaffes, has been no exception. But it’s impossible. I still click on every story and read through the comments. And I’m amazed, constantly, by what I see.
When George W. Bush was president, I was frequently disappointed. I truly feel that he was one of the worst, if not the worst president in history. His literacy seemed tenuous at best, his understanding of political affairs sketchy and his overall attentiveness was worrisome. But as much as he scared me and disappointed me, I never hated him. I mean, I probably at some point said I hated him, but I meant it in the same way I mean it when I say I hate fresh green beans. I would prefer canned, but if given no choice, I’ll eat them. I did not care for Bush’s politics, but as a person, I was indifferent.
Mitt Romney isn’t the guy I want as president. Paul Ryan is really not the guy I want as vice president. I struggle to think that either of them ever have the middle or lower classes, women or minorities in mind in any way, shape or form, but that is beside the point. They will never get my vote. But I do not hate them.
And this is one of the thing I find most curious about politics now. Barack Obama has not accomplished what he wanted and promised to in his first 3 year in office, thanks in large part to the Congress of No. He passed a healthcare bill that has the potential to help millions of children and adults in this country, one modeled after a very successful reform in Massachusetts created by Mitt Romney. He gave orders for the capture of Osama bin Ladin. He has tried to improve immigration reform for teenagers who want to go to college (you know, so they won’t become that horrific drain on society that I hear about endlessly).
He has been far from a perfect president, but I think he has tried incredibly hard to do what is right. And yet, there is a very significant part of this country who hates him. Not like, disagrees with his politics and thinks he’s wrong. Not like hating fresh green beans. They legitimately loathe him as a human being. They compare him to Hitler, they make vague threats on his life. They truly, genuinely hate him.
And I am kind of mystified by this. Bill Clinton was about as morally bankrupt as a guy can be. And yet, he’s still a beloved former president to so many. But Barack Obama, who has done little of offense except inherit an economic disaster that he did not make, is practically Satan in the eyes of conservatives. All you have to do is read the comment section of any news article. Or just read the news. Recently, a former member of Megadeath told an audience in Japan that Barack Obama staged the shooting in Aurora and in Wisconsin. How is that an acceptable accusation to make?
I have tried to find an understanding of this and I don’t want to fall into a trap, but honestly, the only thing I can understand to blame is his race. He’s a family man, he is Christian, he has tried to make social reforms that support families and yet, he is absolutely hated.
Now, let’s be clear. I’m not saying that anyone who disagrees with Barack Obama is a racist, not by a long shot. People who disagree with his politics and legitimately feel that his policies are wrong but don’t make death threats, don’t use racial slurs or other such monikers, are a completely different class. I’m talking about the people who don’t even read through a whole story before commenting about how Obama is bringing about the end of the world, or who just make everything about how evil he is. These are not typical conservatives, but they are alarmingly numerous and loud.
If it is not his race, then what? What would make such a significant portion of this country have hatred for their president? What makes him this special kind of democrat that these republicans cannot even find respect for? What has he done, besides not be a WASP?
I want to be wrong about this and I hope that I am. But until the president does something worth hating, I’m not sure I can believe any other explanation. Because at this point, there is plenty to be frustrated with, things to disagree with, but nothing I have seen that is worth even a fraction of the hate.