I stumbled across the following this morning. As I read excerpts to my wife and daughter I felt sick.
Four North Carolina State University students admitted writing anti-Obama comments in a tunnel designated for free speech expression, including one that said: "Let's shoot that (N-word) in the head." Obama has received more threats than any other president-elect, authorities say.
We can say its nothing. We can say this is the fringe. But it does not make it any less real.
Parents in Rexburg, Idaho, contacted school officials this week after they learned that 2nd and 3rd graders on a school bus were chanting, "Assasssinate Obama!"
Last week I pointed my friend to a site that spews this stuff under the guise of academia.
My friend laughed. He pointed to the hit counts and said that they were small, that they were irrelevant.
One was in Snellville, Ga., where Denene Millner said a boy on the school bus told her 9-year-old daughter the day after the election: "I hope Obama gets assassinated." That night, someone trashed her sister-in-law's front lawn, mangled the Obama lawn signs, and left two pizza boxes filled with human feces outside the front door, Millner said.
When homes are being vandalized, it ceases to be irrelevant.
Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. "Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count," the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written "Let's hope someone wins."
And it doesn't take a million Lee Harvey Oswald's to change history. It only takes one.
In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying "now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house."
Legions of Obama supporters are feeling a post-election letdown, wondering what now? What great thing do we put our energy toward?
Perhaps here is the answer.
We need to change the air. We cannot stop the person at the McCain rally from shouting "kill him", but if one person, three people, five, standing next to him were to say "cool it" or "that's not right" or "that's not civil" it doesn't stop the person. But it changes the air. Incrementally it changes the air.
You cannot change that kind of racism and fear overnight. But it takes millions of people to change the context in which these opinions are bred.
Vitriol feeds vitriol. So perhaps consider what you can do. Consider what you will do.
- Advocate for a discussion of tolerance at your child's school.
- Organize forums at your university.
- Donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center or Center for Tolerance or other similar organization
- Politely or calmly intercede on the racial or incendiary conversation at your local store or bar or streetcorner or pancake breakfast (I'm not sure these exist in San Francisco, but they do in the rest of America)..
- Most importantly and the most difficult, consider exiling yourself to the wilderness of opinion. I don't need to be talking to anybody here. I need to be listening to and talking to the people at redstate or drudge or wherever, or on the street corner in my town, talking to those people whom I'm afraid to confront. Not as a troll or someone seeking to monkey wrench or sabotage, but someone simply seeking to defuse a very, very dangerous line of thought and conversation.
Active Obama supporters are at least 10 million strong with incredible organizing power. A massive grassroots registration and poll monitoring effort helped the election from being stolen once again. And likewise here, the task cannot be deferred to anybody else.
We as individuals, as a community, and as representatives of a network of communities need to get in front of this bullet. if we wait for the government or, god forbid, the secret service to do so, it will sadly be too late.