The first part is that on Saturday, the former-Rodeo Road in Los Angeles (not "Rodeo Drive" in Beverly Hills, for those outside the city) was renamed. Its new name is President Barack Obama Blvd.
The street is just over three miles and runs through Baldwin Hills and Crenshaw, largely black neighborhoods. For those in Los Angeles not completely familiar with the location, it pretty much parallels Jefferson Blvd. just to the south, and sits between La Cienega Blvd. and Western Ave. Its name and location actually is appropriate, being a part of sort of a "presidents row" of three other nearby parallel boulevard -- Washington, Jefferson, and Adams.
The street runs through a district represented by Democrat Karen Bass , who is my Congresswoman, as well, though I live more to the west. Speaking about the new name, Rep. Bass said --
“I have lived in the area my entire life and I certainly remember when Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard was named. This is a sign of hope looking into our future. And, frankly, given what's going on now in our country, I think it'll be uplifting.”
I haven't traveled on the now-President Barack Obama Blvd. all that much in the past -- but have done so, most recently when a friend and I who love such things discovered that there's a Chinese buffet there. I look forward to going back, and for reasons beyond just the food which was good for a buffet though not wonderful -- though extensive, which is always a good thing for any buffet. But I digress...
You can read more about the newly-named street here.
The second part of the story is about after they announced the name change on behalf of a U.S. president, and it got reported on "Fox News". Things didn't go well. I was going to say, "as you imagined," but apparently the level of hatred spewed forth on the conservative site's website went beyond even normally-expected level of public racism directed at any black public figure, but most-especially towards a former president of the United States.
I say "apparently," because I have my standards and chose not to read the User Comments. I base by reaction instead on having seen just one of the comments, which was pathetically low-life, and from the description of them as posted on the Raw Story website, where their article wrote pointedly about the "racist slurs and attacks" that were so egregious by noting -- "According to the report that set in motion a flood of vitriol that wouldn’t be out of place at KKK meeting..."
That seemed reasonably descriptive enough for me. If anyone else would like to see the article and what all was regurgitated by the Republican base (giving appropriate meaning to the word "base"), you can read it here.
This is the Republican base. The Trump base. These are the people Trump has been focused on appealing to during his presidency. Not trying to expand on those from the last election which he won in the Electoral College but lost by 3 million popular votes. With an approval rating that's dropped to 39%, this racist, white supremacist base seems a poor foundation from which to run a campaign for re-election. Most especially since Trump doesn't appear to have any plans to expand outside it. But then, how can he? What person who isn't so wretchedly racist would want to be a part of such a party?
But as I've said repeatedly, this isn't about Trump. We know who he is. This is about the elected officials of the Republican Party who enable it. They are not all hate-filled racists. They're just fine coddling and appealing to those who are. Here's the thing: this racist base has been a part of the GOP for a while, but I sense that it never would have felt comfortable being so public leaving such vicious, gut-sickening, racist invective on a mainstream website over nothing more than just naming a street after a President of the United States if they didn't feel covered by their party and its leader.
Meet today's Republican Party.
Or drive down President Barack Obama Blvd.
I look forward to doing the latter.