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Posted by on Jan 1, 2010 in Politics, Society | 5 comments

Colorado State Employee Could Face Problems Over Racist Email Showing Obama Shining Sarah Palin’s Shoes

hate_image2.jpgAnd so 2010 begins with a story that could have been run in 2009: the AP has this story about a 73 year-old Colorado State employee who could face problems for sending out a blatantly racist email showing President Barack Obama shining former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s shoes.

The AP story reports:“The original sender of the e-mail, who isn’t a state employee, wrote ‘It appears he (Obama) has found his niche.'”

It continues to be mind boggling how politics in America on some levels has devolved into hatred and disdain for those who dare to see things differently. There has always been a component of over-the-top demonization throughout the nation’s political history but, increasingly, over the top is the bottom where the top used to be. Lashing out is normal mode on many fronts (in many comments on blogs, blog posts about other writers or about blogs, talk shows, in Congress). Rather than focusing on an issue — and there is no lack of ISSUES to discuss — the focus is to denigrate and discredit someone who disagrees with you. If they disagree with you they must be bad, must have suspect motives, must be lying — they simply can’t have a different world view that they offer up honorably.

The idea that people can disagree with each other and perceive things different honorably increasingly seems to be a concept considered as outdated as video cassette players and payphones.

In Obama’s case, he clearly arouses hatred among some opponents similar to what JFK, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George Bush did among their foes — but perhaps a few notches up due the combination of politics and race (clearly among some and clearly not among all of his critics). And the nature of 21st century’s 24/7 new and old media, constantly competing for attention, plus the advent of email where everyone can be a pundit in their emails simply by what they send into people’s mailboxes, accentuates this inclination to shrillness.

Rush Limbaugh is in the hospital? The reaction of some: good, I hope he dies. Some of the Twitters were sickening (and I am NOT a Limbaugh fan). As Dr. Clarrissa Pinkola Estes noted in this must-read post about the death wishes for Limbaugh, the hospitalized Limbaugh wasn’t in front of his mike: it was a human being.

In Obama’s case, with the kind of racial hatred spewing forth from the septic tank minds of some (who always try and find a legal-type argument to say it just isn’t so and/or use the tiresome tactic of going on the offensive against those who point out racism so obvious that even this would see it as such), is it any wonder that already some psychics (go HERE and HERE) have predicted that Obama will be the target of an assassination attempt in 2010?

It’s an safe bet and easy prediction that the Secret Service (between terrorists and nutcases) will have its hands full protecting Obama in 2010 — as the coarsening of how some Americans view and “discuss” politics continues on its seemingly inexorable, lamentable path.

FOOTNOTE: We’ll pass on posting the email photo here but it’s available if you go to the link.

SOME OTHER COMMENT OF VARYING VIEWPOINTS ON THE AP STORY:

The Immoral Minority:

First things first, that is a REALLY bad job of photoshopping.

Second, the state worker that sent this needs to lose her…job.

And third, you can have any racist fantasy you want, but the facts are that Caribou Barbie destroyed the Republicans chances of winning the 2008 election.

And just to give the people who support this kind of thing a little reality check. Barack Obama is our president, while Sarah Palin is a woman who quit her job, wrote a book full of lies, and is so terrified of me that she had me banned from a public event.

And if Sarah Palin has an ounce of class she will rattle the chains that connect RAM to her keyboard and make her write a repudiation of this image on her Facebook page.

The Political Carnival:

These disgusting, doctored photos never fail to turn my stomach and make me wonder how the cretins who find them so amusing became so pathetically racist. Why were they taught to be that way? Why couldn’t they evolve… just a little?

Yeah, yeah, I know.

Old Catman:

It is a great political satire!

However, the first issue at hand is: It is not cool to use company time for emailing personal ‘stuff’ and the state should discipline the employee accordingly.

Now if somebody has their panties in a wad over the ‘content’ of the ‘photo’, then I suggest they eat their panties!

Gee, I wonder of Sarah tipped the ‘boy’?

American Buddhist has a long post that needs to be read in full. Here is part of it:

The picture is being described in news stories as “offensive.” A Colorado state spokesperson says it is “certainly inappropriate” but is quick to affirm that the main problem with the picture is that it is “very unacceptable” because it was forwarded on a state system by an employee of the state on state time.

….Would the picture be “offensive” or “inappropriate” if the Palin figure were a well-known Wall Street personality? What if the Palin figure were Obama and the Obama figure were Hilary Clinton? What if any of those ideas were cartoons?

The picture is almost certainly being thought of as “offensive” or “inappropriate” because of the cultural role assigned to shoe shine workers and the probably out-of-date association with that being a profession for blacks. The sender of the email is 73. But she is also a woman–so doesn’t that force us to also see a probable gender angle to this as well? Could she not be mainly thinking it would be good to see a man shining Palin’s shoes and none of this has anything to do with race?

….I am fine with the email rules of the State of Colorado, and I do understand why the picture is being called “offensive” or “inappropriate.” I do not even really care what happens to the employee. What concerns me is how those very large and vague categories – “offensive,” “inappropriate,” and “unacceptable” – have the capacity to morph into illegal.

That picture may already be deemed hate speech and be illegal in Canada, Europe, Australia and elsewhere. Many are calling for hate speech laws in the USA. (Pictures, artwork, cartoons, and so on are also forms of speech protected by the first amendment.)

Politics from the Eyes of an Ebony Mom:

The 73 year old worker is now facing disciplinary actions for sending this on the state computer. There is nothing remotely funny about this image, but some will say other presidents have been made fun of why is this different? The shoe shine boy image is associated with a subserviant status and this image says so much about how some still see the first black president as a boy. It is simply not funny. It is simply insulting.