Enough With The Verbal Attacks On Obama
MICHEL MARTIN, host:
And now, the latest of the commentaries we've been bringing you reflecting on the upcoming inauguration and presidency of Barack Obama. Today's commentator asks whether the hateful talk and attitude stirred up by the presidential campaign will go away after Tuesday. Here's writer Mary Curtis.
Ms. MARY CURTIS (Freelance Journalist): So, where will all the anger go? On election night, when Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech, he reached out to those who did not vote for him. Will they extend their hands? The majority of American voted for Obama. Even the majority of those who did not have, I imagine, moved on. I'm not talking about them. I don't mean the voters who disagreed with Obama's health-care plan or who voted for John McCain because they admire the former prisoner of war's military service. I'm speaking of some other people at the fringe of the McCain and Palin rallies, the ones who were filmed during the campaign yelling terrorist and Obama bin Laden; I mean the people who burned a cross on the lawn of the New Jersey family of Obama supporters; I mean the students at North Carolina State University, who used a free-speech wall to write slurs and to threaten the president-elect; and the folks at that general store in Maine who threw their dollar into an assassination pool.
I cannot believe all that hatred will dissipate into acceptance. Will those who are angry the election didn't go their way just sigh and say, OK, it's President Obama now? I doubt it. Rush Limbaugh has declared his no-surrender position on the next occupant of the White House. No surprise there. But he has plenty of company. I still get vicious emails dissecting Obama's religion and birthplace, spreading rumors long since debunked. I don't answer them. Sometimes these folks cover their anxiety with jokes. The ones about painting the White House black never were funny. So, why are people still laughing?
My thoughts turn to the YouTube image of a self-proclaimed good American with a monkey doll labeled Obama. Little Hussein, he called it. And then, there are still people who swear the president-elect is the Anti-Christ. They are frightened about what happens next, when it's the rest of us who should be frightened. Though it saddens me to imagine the reason for the protective of bubble around the Obama family, I trust the Secret Service will protect them. But I spend too much time thinking about the stubbornly angry people I meet at the market or the gym. And I wonder, who do I trust? When the Bushes move out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the Obamas moved in, it will be evidence of orderly transition in our democracy. Most Americans will be proud of the process. Amid the ceremony and the celebrations, I worry about the rest.
MARTIN: Mary Curtis is a writer and editor based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
(Soundbite of music)
MARTIN: Coming up, with just a couple of days left in office, the Barbershop guys give their take on how President George W. Bush will be remembered.
ARSALAN IFTIKHAR: When we have 56 presidents, George Bush will be ranked 56th. When we have 212, he'll be ranked number 2-1-2. Unless we elect an astronaut chimpanzee to the presidency...
JIMI IZRAEL: Oh, come on. I've got to...
IFTIKHAR: George Bush's presidency will be known as the worst presidency in America.
RUBEN NAVARRETTE: No, no, no.
IZRAEL: I've got to push back on that...
MARTIN: The Barbershop guys are next. Plus, their final picks for the Super Bowl on Tell Me More from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.
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