Ugly America Rears its Head

I have been trying to figure out the wide array of emotions I’ve been feeling since Tuesday’s election. I think I’m beginning to understand, but only beginning.

I think I took the mid terms personally, both as a woman and as an African American. I have been stunned, more often than I’d like to admit, at the spirit of the political ads that ran and the political rallies that were held. The Republicans couldn’t really attack President Obama frontally, because he wasn’t running for office, but they attacked him nonetheless by the ugly signs they carried and seemed to brush off as not being any big deal, they called him a Nazi and a Socialist and probably, behind closed doors, things far worse.

The attack on the sitting president was nothing new, but the viciousness, which I believe in my heart was and is based in racism, was profoundly disturbing. I am still processing it. I am still thinking back on what I heard, the buzz words that said to those who were in position to understand, that this black man has to go, however we do it, and no matter who gets cut down in the fray.

So, I’m wrestling with that …but I am also wrestling as a woman. The attacks on Speaker Nancy Pelosi were as sexist as attacks on President Obama were racist. I was stunned again. This woman, the first female speaker in the history of this country, was vilified by men and women candidates alike. Why? She did her job. She did it with skill, and patience and intelligence and perseverance. She did not back down, she did not whine (as does Sarah Palin whenever she gets bad press), but she was steadfast and she was effective. And for that she was cut up like a piece of paper, to be thrown away.

She was and is tough, as anyone in politics must be, especially one in her position.

So, this African American man and this white woman joined forces, along with Harry Reid, and pushed forward an ambitious presidential agenda. They accomplished something, with all of its flaws, that had not been accomplished for nearly 100 years. They did their best, followed their advisers and their guts. They did in fact bring about change; whether everyone likes it or not, it is change, nonetheless. No, there are no jobs, and I just shrugged as I listened to Republicans say that once they were in office, there would be. Well, how? Corporations are sitting on profits, not hiring. Are the Republicans saying that the inaction of the corporations was intentional, to help bring about a Waterloo for President Obama? I don’t know. Everything is so …ugly.

And I guess that’s where I am stuck, in a bowl filled with the ugliness of America. Mitch McConnell’s primary goal is not to get Americans back to work but, rather, to get Barack Obama out of office. Karl Rove is in the fray, having supplied a fair amount of money to bring on the Republican onslaught, and the Chamber of Commerce is on board for the castration of this African American man and the castigation of this white woman.

I am still processing it all. I wonder what people in other countries think of the way Americans have dealt with their president. It has all been so disrespectful. Disagree if you want with our national leader; I certainly disagreed with George Bush …but I would never have thought of being as disrespectful of him as have so many been of Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi.

Even today, Michelle Bachman, who is seeking a leadership position in the Congress, was on television spewing blatantly inaccurate information about the cost of Mr. Obama’s trip to Asia, saying that it is going to cost $200 million a day. Really? I mean, it’s par for the course for the opposition party to criticize the members of the other party, especially when the drive is on to get someone from that party out of office and out of the way. But to unabashedly feed into the anger of jobless people with such a blatant lie …well, that’s a low blow that is unconscionable and unacceptable.

I read today that repeal of the health care reform bill is not likely to happen, because the insurance companies like it, minus a few things they’d like this Republican Congress to fix. Well, if that’s the case, if repeal is not likely to happen, and if there are no jobs, which means that the economy is not going to suddenly burst onto the Yellow Brick Road and finally reach the Wizard of Oz, what will be the cry of the Republicans who have so ably fit into the molds of racism and sexism which are so much a part of America?
I don’t know.

But I do know that the ugliness of America, its spirit which is so infused with racism and sexism, has reared its head with a boldness that is troubling. I pray for the strength of the president and for Nancy Pelosi.

And I pray for America, so sick but so in denial about that sickness.

That is a candid observation.

14 thoughts on “Ugly America Rears its Head

  1. To be very honest, I am not surprised. Did anyone really think that racism was dead? Racism is like the devil, walking around, seeking whom he may devour. George Bush put us in this hellhole we’re in and his best efforts only dug us deeper. Personally I don’t agree with all of Obama’s policies but they present a vast improvement over what we had and prevented a full fledged depression. We will see the lies of the republicans clearly once the smoke is gone and most Americans will hope for what will be gone forever. GOD bless us all.

    1. I’m not surprised, either, but bothered. It is scary, how easy it is to manipulate and control the masses.
      Thank you for your comments!

  2. Rev. Dr. Smith’s analysis of this past election is not only cogent and clear, but it is right-on! We are in a time where ugliness is acceptable, greed is acceptable, and disrespect and lies are acceptable — and that spirit runs throughout our society today. That is what showed up at the polls on Tuesday, because it sure wasn’t logic or reality or the truth about the fine work of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and others who have redefined what it means to lead in troubling times. I struggle at times with the decisions of my government. But like a mother when her child misbehaves, they still belong to to me! So I will continue to pray (that’s a given), work and try to walk in a way that resists these attacks and ways of being human that are less than what we were created to be, searching for the hope and love that is REQUIRED in such ugly times!

    1. Does it bother you as much as it bothers me? I wish I could shake some sense into we who refuse to see and understand! As long as we are so pliable and able to be manipulated, things will never change!
      Thank you, Dr.Dillard, for responding!

  3. Maybe I am too old and “jaded” to be surprised, shocked or stunned, Dr. Smith. Maybe I have seen too much, read to much, experienced too much or see the “inside” of the beast during my 6 years in the military and my “time on the cross” during both the sit-ins in the 60’s and the Presidential Campaign in 2007-2008. For whatever the reason, Dr. Smith, the ugliness you describe is vintage white supremacy, white racism and corporate controlled politics-as-usual. It is what I not only expected. It is what I have become accustomed to, Pastor Smith.

    1. It makes me sad. It makes me sad that so many people, all colors, refuse to see what’s going on and therefore, keep putting themselves and this nation in a bad way. Thank you, Pastor Wright, for your input and insight.

  4. As a foreign born citizen it is so dishearting to experience internally the impact of racism and sexism on American political culture. What continues to amaze me is the entrenched and seemingly accomodating ignorance of the American public on the issues that are really important to their own well being. The same racist, sexist and homophobic onslaught is executed during every election as if this exercise in futility and nothingness is a badge of honor for being truly patriotic and American. It is as if only the eyes of a few are open but their hands are tied as to what can be done about the injustices they see. Keep naming the demons my sister- in faith that killing them is truly an “impossible possibility!”

    1. Thank you, Martin. The more I think about what’s going on, the more bothered I get. Writing about it is about the only way I can release the valve and let the steam out. My prayer is that someone unlikely will read what I write and at least begin to think in a different way.

  5. This was in the script all along. It’s the sequel to Americ’s long and silly soap opera called I the Heat of the Hype. I read an honest article today that said that Obama, though smart, articulate, strong, and cool, is the right man at the wrong time unfortunately. In other words, America is not ready and may never be ready for a person of such intellectual rigor as Obama. I agree that although George Bush made everything in me angry, I would never have attacked him as the masses of the privileged are attacking Obama.

    This ugly head has never bowed down since England emptied its prisons in the 1600s and those newly released landed on these shores evicting the original residents. It is unfortunate, but I pray daily that this current sea of vitriol will not decide how I will act or respond. Thanks again for hitting the nail on the head.

  6. Rev. Sue I am glad that you posted your comments and I pray that more read, think and act. I was bothered no……more than bothered, I am hot and bothered! This “season in time” has made me totally disturbed by what I have heard and seen and what I have been hearing and seeing even before now.
    I don’t remember any president in my lifetime being more disrespected than our president now. Anyone with a brain can only deduce that this is because he is African American. We have had presidents that have made horrible mistakes, bad decisions, and foolish statements and yet we all still called him “our” president and whether we like him or not we did this out of the respect that he was due as the president of one of the greatest countries in the world. Now the way the masses treat our president today is so hurtful that I don’t recognize that I live in the United States of America!
    Also, any other time in history, this time would be considered amazing for the United States, First African American President and First Female Speaker of the House! Instead we shame ourselves to the rest of our world by the blatant disrespect of these very important people. To think that this ugliness can only be seen by a few is heartrending. When will our nation wake up?

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Veronica. I am so disturbed … I don’t know that our nation will wake up any time soon.

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