Reince Priebus: Are You Suffering from Political Amnesia?

I happened to be living in Arkansas when Barack Obama was running for the presidency. In a hardware store I overheard a conversation between a customer and a clerk. They were talking about how Obama was a Muslim. I, being naive and from California, spoke up and said, “No, he’s not.” They looked at me like I was from Mars. I (again, that California thing) thought: how weird but dismissed it as a one-off thing.

How wrong could one person be? Ten years later and people are still doubting his citizenship and Donald Trump, the president-elect, was one of the long-term leaders of the “birthers” movement.

Fast forward to five days before the inauguration and the incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus suggests on ABC’s This Week, “I think President Obama should step up. I think the administration can do a lot of good by telling folks that are on the Republican side of the aisle: Look, we may have lost the election on the Democratic side, but it’s time to come together.” Priebus was prompted to demand this assist by President Obama when John Lewis questioned the legitimacy of the president-elect.

It’s time to come together? Just like the Republicans did in 2008 and in 2012?

Admittedly Priebus is young (44), maybe he was unconscious when President Obama took office and the Republicans made no bones about the fact that they were not going to co-operate with anything the President tried to do. Maybe he doesn’t remember Newt Gingrich claiming President Obama was unqualified because of his being “Kenyan with an anti-colonial” worldview. (He got that worldview after spending a month with his father in Kenya?)

Maybe he doesn’t remember when Mike Huckabee accused the President of being a foreigner and condemned him for replacing a bust of Churchill with a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr., an act that “insulted” the British and showed his unAmerican nature (even when he said he loved the guy and had a bust of Churchill in his private quarters).

Maybe he doesn’t remember the horrible things said about President Obama. For ten years, the Republican NEVER stepped up and said, “Wait a minute, that’s going too far.” The GOP, which is now calling for “respect for the office” wasn’t worried about that respect during Obama’s time in office.

Geoffrey R. Stone, a law professor from the University of Chicago, writing in a commentary for the Chicago Tribune, reminds us of just a few of the attacks Obama put up with, (without ever resorting to 3 am tweets) during his time in office. Stone states, “No U.S. president in history has been castigated, condemned, insulted and degraded as much as Obama. From the day he assumed office — indeed, even before he assumed office — he was subjected to unprecedented insults in often the most hateful terms.

“He has been accused of being a “secret Muslim” and born in Kenya, of being complicit with the Muslim Brotherhood, of wearing a ring bearing a secret verse from the Quran, of having once been a Black Panther, of refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, of seeking to confiscate all guns, of lying about just about everything he has ever said, ranging from Benghazi to the Affordable Care Act to immigration, of faking Osama bin Laden’s death and of funding his campaigns with drug money.”

Mr. Priebus, maybe you were in Kenya when all this happened, so this is just to refresh your memory. The next time you want to ask President Obama to “step up,” check your own closet. It’s full of horrible, despicable things that your party allowed to be said, and actually encouraged, about a fellow human being, a man trying to serve his country.

You had every right to disagree with Obama’s views and policies. You had no right to create a pig pen that has convinced the citizens of the US and the world that we have no regard for truth or respect for each other.

Your political amnesia would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.

PS. Mr. Priebus, or anyone else who thinks what I’m saying is not true, if you ever need to refresh your memory, try Googling: “insults to obama” and then just click on “images.” What you will see will nauseate you … that is if you have a shred of decency. The photo at the top is just one example; the mildest I could find. Most were so filled with lies and hate, I couldn’t stomach posting them.

omni-curious artist, writer, student of life