As it’s probably painfully obvious, I am working at being post-racist, post-sexist, post-heterosexist, etc. And I thought that most people were too. Hell, I blogged that, publicly said it…hoped it…
…It turns out I’m a bit sheltered. More than even my wife thought. Whether part of the racism/sexism/etc watch over on Shakesville, or John Scalzi’s scathing retort to Fox News’ descent into blatant racism, others are noticing and reacting to the racism, sexism, and just sheer ugliness that has descended upon Sen. Obama and his family.
I’m not surprised that some of it’s going on. Don’t get me wrong. I expected the GOP to be nasty. I’m surprised at the extent of it. I’m surprised at how blatant it gets. And I’m surprised – and disappointed – in how much it’s not being done by GOP activists, and is instead being supported by “normal” people.
And then I had one of my co-workers tell me he thought Obama was the Anti-Christ. As in the actual literal Bibilical boogeyman. Because – get this – Obama’s charismatic. Mind you, said co-worker didn’t realize that Revelations would have been written in Greek or Aramaic instead of Hebrew, or that the real “number of the beast” is 616, or that y’know, Jesus probably wouldn’t have been too cool about attacking Iraq, but wev.
And I’m damn disappointed. I really thought better of people. I’ve managed to pull myself out of a several year “I wish Ents just smashed everyone” funk, and, well… I thought better of people.
So the question then is: What To Do?
And I think Sen. Obama has the answer. (Yeah, no surprise. But seriously.)
Throughout this campaign he has reacted with grace and poise to every attack. Things that would have had me coating commentators (or debate moderators) with spittle, he handled with aplomb. As if the stupidity was beneath comment – though the *person* was not. Rather than react with fury and rage, the racism and stupidity has been simply dismissed.
And I remember Ray Messer (who has no idea I’m writing this, and I have no idea what his political leanings are). He did more to help my older son S than any other therapist. One of the most important things he tried to teach me was that reacting with anger only diminishes you, and empowers the offensive person.
That is what I believe Sen. Obama has done, to a degree I have difficulty understanding, let alone emulating. But I will continue to try.
I will work to demolish the social constructions. I will do what I can to illuminate the bankruptcy of systems of privilege – and I will take their venom and anger with a placid smile.
Consider this permission to please thwap me when I forget. 🙂
By the by, I’d like to publicly recognized Shakesville; they’ve showed that they’re practicing what they preach. After months of the Sen Clinton sexism watch, they’ve quickly taken up a racism watch in regards to Sen. Obama. They’re practicing what they preach about progressives being all about fighting *all* types of oppression, and that’s worth recognizing. Also, I’d like to recognize John Scalzi, whose everyday wit and sheer humanity have helped keep me sane.
Because with all the negativity and bullshit out there, it’s important that we do give each other encouragement once in a while.
to Shakesville’s credit, they’ve been having racism watches for a longer time. And thankfully someone was doing the sexist watches, eh? 🙂
please don’t get into the “wev” speak. please. you are a bright boy with a mastery of language.
excellent entry. if the nation can go beyond scapegoating regions for its national problems, they can heal themselves. it will take longer than an administration and well past messiah-seeking, but it might happen.
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