"[Barack Obama] hates white people."
-- Gov. Paul LePage (R-ME) at GOP fundraiser
First things first -- this is just a reported quote. There's no public record of it. However, the two people who did report are not the "biased" press. Nor any part of the Main Street Media. Nor even just a regular attendee at the event who has some personal agenda. The two are Republican lawmakers in the state. “Yeah, he said it,” one of them told the Press Herald, though the person requested anonymity. “It was one little thing from a speech, but I think most people there thought it was totally inappropriate.”
Okay, second thing. I was thinking of making that last part above of the GOP lawmaker's statement the Quote of the Day. I mean, after all --
"I think most people there thought it was totally inappropriate."
Only "most" people found it totally inappropriate?? Not almost all? Not close to 100%?! And you just "think" that was the response? (This is not a criticism of the unnamed lawmaker. It's merely noting how tepid the reaction was that he couldn't even be sure.)
You'd like to think that he would have been able to say, "Almost everyone person in the room was outraged, aghast. It was palpable. The governor is in serious political trouble." Alas, instead, we're left with a roomful of Republicans, including the GOP party chairman, where the Republican governor says that the President of the United States "hates white people" and the best we can get is "I think most people there thought it was totally inappropriate." Well...yeah, ya think?
And I'll be honest, as a quip my first reaction when I read the quote that Maine's Republican governor said that the president "hates white people" was -- "Hey, given the Republicans in Congress voting 100% against him so much of the time; the Tea Party calling him a Nazi, terrorist, Kenyan, anti-American Socialist; the Far Right dressing up as Obama Rodeo Clowns and party officials sending watermelon and gorilla "joke" emails; and people like you, can you blame him?!"
The thing is that a statement like Governor LePage's (R-ME) is just painfully, sadly racist. It's the kind of attitude -- and I don't believe this is hyperbole -- that is cousin to George Zimmerman. Because when Mr. Zimmerman saw Trayvon Martin walking in a neighborhood where the teenage boy didn't "belong" and wearing a hoodie, he must be a danger, because he was a black kid and therefore was a threat. That's why that white neighborhood had to be protected by the George Zimmermans of the world. To keep it safe from black people. Because they're a threat, because they hate white people.
In the end, it's the George Zimmermans and Paul LePages who not only hate, but hate an entire race, simply because the people they hate are of that race.
And again, I don't believe that is hyperbole. And it's not just based on this one quote above, though that's plenty enough. But Gov. Page has a history of swaggering his big anger at black people. Just two years ago, he turned down attending an NAACP event, and explained that if they didn't like it, they could "kiss my butt." And the year before, he told a Republican group that he wouldn't be afraid to tell the President of the United States to "go to hell." When later asked about this, he stood by his comments towards Mr. Obama, though said he "regretted his choice of words." Mind you, what I suspect he regretted was not his choice of words at all, but that his choice of words were said in public, and reported on. From Paul LePage's history, it sounds like he very much believes in his words. That the black president elected to govern the well-being of all Americans can "Go to hell."
No doubt, Paul LePage will be there, hoping to greet him.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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