There are iconic representations, whether in paintings and photographs, that embody an event or era that are easily identified by people even remotely familiar with history. For Americans, the painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware symbolizes the revolutionary war, and photographs of burning Navy vessels in Pearl Harbor represent America’s entrance into World War II, and images of burning crosses remind Americans of Ku Klux Klan racism. Another iconic image representing the racial animus prevalent in the southern United States is African American men and women hanging from trees as a result of lynching that portrays a dark period in America’s history. Recently a racist conservative Facebook group, ”America the next generation,” created a photo-shopped image of President Barack Obama with a hangman’s noose around his neck that represents the group’s racist hatred of the President.
The group put up the image of the President’s head pasted on former Iraqi President Sadam Hussein’s body just prior to his execution with the words, “the making of a national holiday,” that surely made the Ku Klux Klan proud. The group’s stock and trade is demeaning liberals and particularly President Obama and the image garnered high praise and support such as “it should be the fate of all Traitor to the United States” and that they hoped the lynching took place before New Year’s day. Some of the racists concluded that lynching the President would make him into a martyr and suggested that life in prison was a better sentence than lynching. Some people who saw the image spoke out against it only to face outrage and vitriolic rants including one member who warned that the group could “add a rope for them next to his” because they found the image offensive and condemned the idea of lynching the President.
The image was eventually taken down, but not because it represented KKK racism and hate, but because the group “respects our regular followers that requested us to remove the post with the noose around Obamas head; we will take the high road!” Allegedly, Facebook refused to remove the image because “it does not violate community standards” that portrays them as either mortified of offending racists using their platform, or in agreement that an African American serving as President deserves to be lynched. It is likely a combination of both because Facebook is notorious for banning users for posting pictures with a woman’s breast exposed, or including racially insensitive quotes in news’ articles. What was missing from the racist image is why the group wants to lynch the President they claimed would become a national holiday, but it is safe to conclude it is related to other conservatives who claim they are victims of “Obama tyranny;” a clever cover for “the President is not white.”
The overriding theme of all the conservative and Republican calls for revolution, rebellion, or assassinating this President is “tyranny,” but that cannot possibly be true when Republicans, conservative Christians, and groups associated with ALEC and the Koch brothers rule like tyrants since they lost the 2008 general election. If conservatives are so opposed to tyranny that they are ready to rebel and call for public lynchings, they should target their own champions in Congress, state legislatures, and conservative groups for tyrannical assaults on large segments of the population. However, the simple fact that they give Republican tyranny a pass is just further proof their opposition to President Obama is pure racial animus and nothing else.
True tyranny is the U.S. House of Representatives convening an all-male panel of clergy to force women, married or not, to give birth or forego having sex because they oppose contraceptive use. Tyranny is Republicans in state legislatures banning women from using their private health insurance policies for medicine prescribed by their physicians, or allowing private businesses to force their employees to adhere to the company owners’ religious dogmata . In southern states, Republican tyrants are suppressing their citizens’ right to vote and yet there are no calls for armed insurrection or public lynching for enacting voter-suppression legislation. In several states, Republican tyrants are openly violating the Constitution’s 1st and 14th Amendments to satisfy conservative Christians replacing the Constitution with the bible as the law of the land, but no so-called patriot groups are calling for public hangings or “a new revolution” because “Christians” are shredding the Constitution. Conservatives are also not threatening the Koch brothers, ALEC, and the State Policy Network with lynching despite the tyranny of seizing employees’ pensions to give the rich greater tax cuts.
The mountain of evidence that conservatives, religious right, and Republicans are guilty of tyranny with no protestation, threats of rebellion, calls for assassination, or public lynching from groups decrying Obama tyranny leads one to conclude that in conservative speak tyranny means not white. In fact, every call to arms to overthrow the government, arrest and convict President Obama, or assassinate him are racially motivated and not due to any policies. That the “America the next generation” group used lynching as their solution to an African American President informs they represent “America the last generation” typified by the Ku Klux Klan and overt racism. The group’s Facebook post was a calculated and very deliberate clarion call to the KKK that they have an active racist support group outside of the South.
The frequency of threats of violence against this President due to his race informs that America is still an overtly racist nation, and for Facebook to allow an image of the President with a noose around his neck to remain on its site is proof racism is beyond being an acceptable form of political opposition; it is popular and the new normal. Despite the increasing number of racially-motivated threats against this President’s life, the conservative media and their Republican masters have been complicit in not reporting purely racist threats or condemning them because they reap the benefits of an angry white voting bloc rejecting anything the President advocates purely because he is Black.
There are still Americans who claim that racism is not a real problem in America and nothing like it was before the Civil Rights movement, but they are deluded. The level of hate toward President Obama transcends opposition to his political agenda and is more blatantly racially motivated as evidenced in the 2012 Republican primary and presidential election; particularly from the GOP standard bearer Willard Romney. The racist group calling for a national holiday marking the lynching of the President and being allowed to keep it and the group on Facebook was more than a shout out to the KKK, it is a sign that racially motivated calls to kill this President are normal, generally accepted, and a sign that the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists are part and parcel of mainstream America.