• Fed up with presidential disrespect

    by Kelvin Wade

    About four years ago, I went to downtown Sacramento in hopes of getting a glimpse of then Vice President Dick Cheney. Now of course, I saw Cheney as being the Emperor to President George W. Bush’s Vader and, like many others have said, considered him to be one of the worst Vice Presidents in U.S. history. So why did I want to go see him? I was going there to see the Vice President of the United States.

    I was holding an iced Venti Americano on 13th Street across from the Sheraton Grand. Suddenly Sacramento police appeared and made everyone get off the street. I went into the Community Center and minutes later a motorcade of black SUVs turned the corner and drove by, stopping at the Hyatt Regency down the street behind a strategically parked Ryder truck. No one could see the Veep as he made his entrance into the hotel for a speech. It was disappointing because even thought I couldn’t stand the man, it still would’ve been a thrill to see the sitting Vice President.

    It seems that kind of respect for the office has completely evaporated with the election of the country’s first black President.

    • Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!” during a Presidential address and then fundraised off of it.
    • There were the signs hoisted by Tea Partiers of a President Obama as Hitler or as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose. There were deplorable signs with racist messages that Republican leaders refused to repudiate.
    • The whole birther movement has been an insult. Even after it was thoroughly debunked, media whore Donald Trump continues to band that drum. Major Republican officeholders refuse to repudiate him and the other Birthers.
    • Whenever asked if Obama is a Christian or a citizen, too many GOP officeholders have said the weasely, “I take him at his word” instead of just saying “yes.”
    • Fox pontificator and general asshole Bill O’Reilly interrupted the President 48 times in a 15-minute interview.
    • Newt Gingrich said Obama had a “Kenyan, anti-colonial worldview” In yet another desperate attempt to paint him as the “other.”
    • Gingrich also repeatedly called President Obama the “food stamp President” which is clearly a racial dog whistle to the haters in his audience.
    • September 2011, in an unprecedented move, Speaker John Boehner refused the President’s request to address a joint session of Congress.
    • In January 2012, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer wagged her finger in the President’s face. She later said she felt “threatened” by him. Another dog whistle.
    • Then there’s all the racist emails and remarks that have been made by Republican officials from coast to coast from Obama being called “uppity,” the First Lady being compared to a gorilla, to a Colorado congressman saying the President was “not an American.”

    All of this has been tough to stomach. So when Neil Munro of the Daily Caller interrupted President Obama’s remarks last week on immigration, I saw red. Why do we allow this blatant, unprecedented disrespect to go on? Why didn’t the other press members shout him down? Why weren’t his credentials revoked on the spot? If I’d been among the press corps for that statement and anywhere near Mr. Munro, I would’ve knocked him out cold. I would’ve proudly chin-checked that clown and went to jail in order to give that clown and others an old school lesson in respect.

    Having a policy dispute is completely legitimate. It’s fine if people dislike the President. But what’s not okay has been this continual diminution of this man. Should Mitt Romney win the Presidency, what do they think is in store for him after this? What kind of nation will we be when blacks, progressives and others jettison any pretense of respecting the office and go off on the next GOP President? Is that where we want to go?

    • I absolutely agree Kelvin. Having Obama as president shows that we can elect someone of color and then watch racism take over. I am so saddened by this as I thought our country was ready for Obama but clearly something happened after he won. And I just don’t like the disrespect that has come out. I can’t tolerate in kids and I certainly can’t tolerate in adults. Our people embarrass me on a daily basis.

    • Whenever there is a real agent of change in the world, he or she will be met by strong opposition. Obama becoming president brought the underlying racism of our country out of the shadows, the racism that everyone denied. We haven’t healed from the horrors of slavery, and Jim Crow laws were not that long ago. Now we have to look at it, and deal with it as a country. I think the next generation coming up sees this ugliness and is repelled by it. This is all part of social change, and change never comes easy.

      All that being said, I am outraged and disgusted by it too. I also hate when journalists call him “Obama”, instead of President Obama. I was ranting and raving at each of those instances you brought up, but then I realize that it’s because he is so strong and such an agent of change that the opposition is so loud. They are threatened, and fearful of losing their own power.

      No matter what they say or do to discredit him now, Barack Obama will take his place in our history books as one of the most influential American presidents of our time.

      • Judy N

      • June 24, 2012 at 10:35 am
      • Reply

      I really agree with Hollye about the racism, and it’s on the left too in the expectation that Obama should have been like superman, in the self-righteous anger at him for not having been angry or macho enough. (As if that could have overcome the Republicans’ determination to do him in no matter what the results for the country.) Glad you wrote about this.

    • The racial angle is what makes the disrespect so much more upsetting. People get away with racist remarks under the cover of political sparring.

      • Kelvin

      • June 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm
      • Reply

      I admit I got swept up in the moment when Barack Obama was elected President focusing on what a tremendous step it was. And it was and is. But I naively didn’t think about the obvious fact that it would expose the ugliness that lies beneath a lot of Americans. We should’ve known because it was visible before he was elected with people bringing monkey dolls to Palin rallies. The Palin rallies were just the precursor of the Tea Party rallies we’d see with horrible signs.

      I will never forget this disrespect. I think it has erased the hope that Republicans would ever be able to make inroads into black support. There was a time in this country when African-Americans were overwhelmingly Republican. But the Republican Party stepped a long way away from being the party of Lincoln. These slights are things we’re not going to forget. And I’m not going to forget the silence of Republicans who I may vigorously disagree with on issue but thought they were people of character.

      I admire people like former Republican congressman Bob Inglis. He was very conservative and I probably didn’t agree on many issues with him. But he said, “For me to go around saying that Barack Obama is a socialist is a violation of the Ninth Commandment. He is a liberal fellow. I’m conservative. We disagree…But I don’t need to call him a socialist, and I hurt the country by doing so. The country has to come together to find a solution to these challenges or else we go over the cliff.” Those are the kinds of Republicans I can respect.

      Of course, for being rational and decent, Inglis was defeated in a primary by a Teabagger.

      • Orvis Wade

      • June 26, 2012 at 5:56 am
      • Reply

      I am appalled at the disrespect as well. It is the office of the President of the United States; I really do not recall so many people being disrespectful to any other president. I will troll the internet later to see if someone has done some research on the subject. One person cannot change the United States in four years; President Obama was elected president, not Jesus. I love the United States and know we have issues, but blaming the president seems the easiest thing to do. With blame comes disrespect and disrespect on a grand level. From what I have seen, the politicians have really led the disrespect problem and people in turn think it is okay and follow suit. While people may have felt his or her racial thermometer raise with the election of a black president. The leaders should have stepped in and took the respect lead. Their positive actions would not have changed the inner feelings of those who hate, but I think the climate would have been a little nicer. My personal belief is President Obama being elected president has really allowed, for the most part many middle class people to be friendly and open to blacks. I say this because, I have encountered so many white people, who make eye contact with me when walking on the street and they speak. Now is that because of President Obama or because I am older, I like to think both. I learned it takes 3 years to get comfortable in a job, that is when you have an several experiences and training to really know the in’s and out’s of the job, I think President Obama needs another four years, he is just now getting where he can be comfortable and learn the job. An eye opener for me was watching the Clinton biography, the Clintons were shocked at how things were done in Washington, no one wanting to work together, no cooperation, the Michael Jackson song, Man in the Mirror, now that is where to start, I wish I knew the answer.

      • brian

      • June 27, 2012 at 9:14 am
      • Reply

      Get out of here. By making it seem like President Obama is not only the first black president, but he is also the first disrespected president, YOU are flaming the fires of racism. Where was the respect for office when Bush was president? Pretty arrogant to think that lack of respect for office is something new and unique to Pres Obama.

      • Kelvin

      • June 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm
      • Reply

      Fanning the fires of racism? Please. Be serious. Grown folks are talking here. Of course, lack of respect didn’t begin with President Obama. We’ve always had a robust dialogue about Presidents since the founding of the country. We’ve had intense debates over policy and the direction of the country. And there’s been plenty of invective for those who have held the office. In the last twenty years, we saw plenty of disrespect for President Clinton. We saw plenty of disrespect for President George W. Bush. No question.

      But the level with this President has sank to a new low. A President called a liar during an address to Congress? When did that happen to George W. Bush? A President who is said not to have been born in this country. He’s been accused of not being an American. It’s one thing for bloggers and radio host to say these things but we’re talking about elected members of Congress. You had the Speaker of the House turning down the President’s request to address Congress. Unprecedented. You’ve got elected officials whipping up fear. Where’s the picture of a Democratic governor with his finger in President Bush’s face?

      You’ve had a ton of racial ugliness, again not just by hacks and bloviators, but by party officials.

      And the disrespect and invective is not only or solely racially motivated. We’ve been headed down this sordid road a while now. I contend that this conservative mob would’ve been hostile and disrespectful to any Democratic President. My point is the racial animus helps put it over the top for this President.

      In 2001, we were attacked by Al Qaeda. Democrats rallied behind the President. George W. Bush had the highest approval rating ever recorded by Gallup. Democratic and Republican legislators stood on the steps of the Capitol and sang God Bless America together. http://youtu.be/Izb459vJ-8Q

      If America was attacked today, would Republicans back their President? No, they would blast him and blame him.

      I’ll end with this. In 2006, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spoke at the United Nations and called President Bush the devil. He blasted President Bush in his speech. After he left, Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel, Democratic Senator Chris Dodd and the Rev. Jesse Jackson were among those who criticized Chavez for attacking the President. I didn’t care for George W. Bush but I was offended that a foreign leader would come here and attack the President.

      If a foreign leader came to the UN today and attacked President Obama, would be see the same on the other side? Please. The RNC would turn it into an attack ad, Fox News would run the video footage over and over again like it was a party and Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would have on air orgasms.And you know it. Everyone knows it.

      That’s the difference.

      • brian

      • July 5, 2012 at 10:28 am
      • Reply

      “Grown folks are talking here.”?

      • Kelvin

      • July 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm
      • Reply


        • Brian

        • July 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm
        • Reply

        “Grown folks are talking here.” Is that the kind of respectful discourse you’d like to see?

          • Kelvin

          • July 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm

          Come on. Really? How respectful is “Get out of here.”? When I’m accused of fanning the flames of racism by pointing out presidential disrespect on an unprecedented level, this is definitely what you should expect.

      • Brian

      • July 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm
      • Reply

      Let’s start over. The entire basis of your article is that presidential respect has evaporated since we elected the first black person. i don’t disagree that respect has declined, but I do disagree that it happened when President Obama was elected. I think it happened a long time ago and has nothing to do with race and on that and we can agree to disagree. But you had to realize when writing this that some people would at least consider your accusations provocative and possibly challenge it. So why so defensive when I challenged it? Because I said get out of here? Maybe i should have been less confrontational.

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