I want my America back…
My life has been one awesome win after another. If you want to meet someone made of Teflon, look no further than me. I am an only child, I laugh at everything, and I honestly believe I can do anything. Hell, I play three instruments and I’ve won awards for each one. I’ve got a lovely liberal arts degree written in Latin, and a Juris Doctor. I like to think of it as fucking over my cousins, one accomplishment at a time. However, I have recently come to shocking realization that some people do not see Queen Shit when they look at me. They see something I previously would not have considered, they just see my race.
I was born at the very end of 1979, by that I mean I was a month and a few days old at the dawn of the 80’s. I think I was born just a bit too late to experience any of the real social changes in America. I grew up during the time of excess and hair bands. I was seven when Guns ‘n’ Roses hit the scene. Yes, seven! By the time the 90’s rolled around I was completely in love with Alice in Chains and oddly SWV. Race and cultural constructs weren’t on my radar. I was busy listening to “Weak” and “Them Bones.”
So I grew up, went to a women’s college and became very involved in the Political discourse. Looking back on that time, I was so passionate about making the world a better place. I wanted so badly to have some impact. I joined the Young Democrats, I interned on a Congressional Campaign, and I even started the first ACLU Campus Organization in Georgia. My parents thought it was cute, I don’t think the administration at my College thought it was cute at all. Whatever, I was down for the cause, whatever that cause may have been.
Fast forward a few years, my fire is not nearly as hot. I took a trip to Law School. If you are an idealist I warn you now, KEEP YOUR ASS OUT OF LAW SCHOOL. The most important lesson you learn is that humanity will never bend to the will of the right and just. Law School has one purpose, to teach you how to think. They don’t spend time teaching you how to be a lawyer; they spend time teaching you how to think like a lawyer. My personal experience has taught me that thinking like a lawyer and being an idealist is an exercise in constant disappointment. Before I was trained to “think like a lawyer” the plight of the disenfranchised bothered me, but I always saw opportunity in the prospect of righting the wrongs and generally being your brother’s keeper. I was raised to believe that you are responsible for the plight of everyman and if you can do something to help, you should.
And then there was Obama. This man came out swinging! He offered up the very things I believed in and said we can have them all. Yes we can! I was in rapture. Then he won! The whole nation was riding high on the Obama. Yes “the” Obama. He was such an awesome power he deserves an article in front of his name. I cried my eyes out on January 20th, nobody could talk to me. All of a sudden, the impossible seemed possible.
The following months were fantastic. The Obama could do anything. What’s that, the economy is still falling apart, Obama can fix it. Obama can fix anything. Word on the street, Obama fixed global warming by rigging a giant air conditioner. He can do anything and make you feel good helping him do it. Brother can you spare a $5 is no longer for crackheads looking to score a rock, it’s for sending money to whatever the hell keeps emailing me because I am helping The Obama! Yes sir, America the beautiful indeed. Then Obama says it’s time to fix health care.
When the first rumblings about health care started trickling down, I thought, oh these haters need to chill, everybody can’t hitch a ride to Cuba with Michael Moore. I figured, like everything else, The Obama would come through with gangbusters and in two weeks the whole country would be rollin’ like me with an Aetna PPO plan. Yep, Obama handles another one. THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED!
The sane news channels started carrying clips of Glenn Beck crying. Well he’s crazy so that’s not a big deal. But then I start hearing about Tea Party Protesters and they are having a huge Tea Party on April 15th. I wondered what on earth these people were protesting. Didn’t The Obama tell these people he was only raising taxes for the top five percent of the population? I can see by the footage that none of these people are in that top five percent. People that have more money that most nations don’t do protests.
I noticed something about these tea partiers, they had signs, but the signs had nothing to do with taxes. They said Obama is a Socialist, and Obama is a communist and finally Obama is a Nazi Communist Socialist Fascist. This led me to the conclusion that perhaps these people are confused. Surely they took Civics in High School. But the problem with these signs and complaints is that they continued. By the Summer, not only are these people having a fit about taxes, they changed Medicare for all into Death Panels, yelling at members of congress, and the McCarthy Blacklist.
I decided to do my own investigation by going to a town hall. For me, this was the summer of the day dress. I can’t explain it, but I wanted to wear dresses all of the time. So I slap on a particularly awesome yellow fifties style day dress, a cardigan and I head out to a town hall. When I arrived there were cops and news trucks everywhere. Well of course there were, CNN had already started a Saturday segment called Town Hall Raw. I guess other people were interested too. Never underestimate the power of nosey people to go above and beyond to get their information!
I stood in line forever, just waiting to get in the door. Then finally the line starts moving. I go into the Gym at Mundy’s Mill High School, take a seat and make sure my Blackberry has service so I can tweet the hell out of what is sure to be awesome. Before Rep. David Scott even took the stage, the crazy started. Organizing for America was busy handing out “Support Health Care Reform” signs and luckily I got one just as they ran out. Then I hear a rumble. Apparently a man one row in front of me had taken one of these precious signs and then ripped it up. An obviously angry woman yelled at him and he started screaming “Sit down! I can do what I want, this is still America!”
That was the beginning, no more than three minutes later I hear, “Look at that uppity nigger over there.” I look up, because I’d never really heard someone say Nigger with venom outside of Hip Hop or a movie about the Civil Rights Movement. This elderly white man and his shrill wife were looking dead at me. I mean they were looking at me so hard that I thought they were going to attack. Then the very nice former Marine sitting behind me jumped up and screamed, “What?! Aww hell naw, who do these Po’ Cracka’s think they are talking to.” Luckily his wife was right next to him and she yelled to me, “grab him!” So she took one arm and I took the other. He calmed down, and so did I, but a month later I’m still disturbed.
Up until my town hall adventure, I’d never heard someone called a nigger or been called one myself. I made it 29 years in the world believing that people weren’t racists anymore. If they were they were in their 90’s at this point and surely on their way to hell. So now I’m left with the question, what is this disharmony in America truly about? After seeing the anger and rage up close, I’m left with two conclusions.
The first conclusion is that the gullible and vulnerable have been preyed upon by those who wish to regain their majority. These people get their information from one source which has an interest in the undermining of the current administration. They are being told that The Obama is not fantastic; he’s the communist Truman promised to keep at bay. He’s the face of the Bolshevik Army your parents told you would eat your babies and to top it all off, he’s Black. Surprisingly, there are places in America where races do not coexist. They are still segregated and therefore someone who is from the other is mysterious and not to be trusted.
The second conclusion is that these same gullible and vulnerable people are afraid and when people are afraid they cling to their most basic beliefs. One of those beliefs is that an African American cannot be the president of the United States without simultaneously taking from them and giving to his own race. I believe this current upswing in what looks like racism is more related to fear. These people are afraid of losing something that they don’t have. Sadly, they are the very people who would benefit from the reforms.
Finally, I am still an idealist which is likely why I am always disappointed. I am convinced that the majority of these people are not racists. I believe that these protests have given those who do hold racism near and dear to their hearts a forum and with that forum they have taken the lead. Now all that the world is seeing is the worst that America has to offer. The vile and the deplorable have taken over the debate in what should have been a nationwide exercise in civil discourse. So, to quote one of the angry town hall participants, I want my America back.