Virginia is a passionate progressive and now leads a group of women activists in her retirement community. It's not safe to ignore politics.
Former President Barack Obama
Over the years of the Obama presidency, I witnessed frightful attacks in social media on him and his family. Having a Black president, instead of elevating our race relationships, seemed to bring the haters and racists out-of-the-closet. The President and the First Family wisely chose the slogan "when they go low, we go high" and did not respond to such nastiness.
Even after his eight years in office, people continue to heap abuse on him. Sometimes, I can't stand it anymore and respond with some facts and explanations. My words fail to change any closed minds.
I've featured here some of these essays supporting the Obamas.
Why Someone Loses a Job after Calling Obama a Chimp
It's OK to disagree with the first family and to even call them names. I must admit in the past that I called George W. Bush an idiot. I didn't lose my job because of that. It's called freedom of speech. No one wanted to censor me (maybe because it was true).
What's not OK, is the racist names that people apply to our last president and first lady. That's why someone gets fired after calling Michelle Obama a chimp. It's because they exposed their racism publicly and their employers don't want someone like that representing them.
If you don't understand the difference, then it probably is time for you to get some sensitivity training. Start by looking at your friend's list on Facebook. Are all the faces white? Maybe it is time to expand your social circle and expand your thinking to realize that people are people, no matter what color their skin is.
Insulting people of color by comparing them to a chimpanzee indicates that you have a serious case of white supremacist thinking. There's a group for people who think like that. It's the Ku Klux Klan. Heaven, help us, if that is the way you think. Heaven, help us, if the KKK grows in power in this country.
Freedom of speech does not mean you can spew racist comments all over social media. It won't be the FBI or local police who care, it would be your boss and the company you work for who is publicly embarrassed by your hateful racism.
Freedom of speech means you won't go to jail for it, but losing your job is a rational consequence of putting your employer in an awkward, untenable position.
When the Obama Family Was in the White House
My Response to Another Hate Filled Comment about the Obama Family
(This was written not long after Obama was elected)
Sometimes I see some hateful comments people put on Facebook about the First Lady and the President's family members. It's really distasteful and makes me wonder how this person happens to be among my Facebook friends.
Yes, your candidate for president lost and you are subjected to news coverage of a First Family that isn't the one you would have picked. Still, that is no excuse for a discussion like the one I'll share with you here.
First, the commenter posted a photo of Michelle Obama, her 2 daughters and her mother exiting from Air Force One. They'd accompanied the President to Beijing. Here's how his friends reacted:
First comment, "That is a whole bunch of Ugly...I never knew that ALL of that family looked that bad...& I'm sorry, I'm no fashion expert but that is one ugly drab dress..& on an ugly drab ?? It looks even worse..."
Another person commented, "Its bad enough that Michelle and the kids are there... but what in hell is Grandma there for????"
The original person chimed in with, "She lives off us in the White House so why not on trips too."
I couldn't stand it any longer, so added my two cents, "It is not uncommon for many families across the US to have a parent living with them. She provides oversight for the girls while the First Lady attends required functions. That's all I'm going to say since I don't want to disrupt your hate-fest too much."
Now, I didn't want to get in a slanging match with people who have dedicated themselves to hating a black family, but the only way I could interpret their comments were in a racist context. It's very sad to see how racism is going strong in America.
Do you see some discussions on Facebook that are hateful?
Why Isn't Obama in Jail? (My Answer)
I try not to get into Facebook discussions where Republicans and Democrats are bashing each other. It never ends well.
I couldn't resist responding, when I saw this comment, "This is why i could NOT understand why hillary, obama and ALL their criminal friends were not being put in jail !!!!!"
Here's my answer:
Because Obama was a constitutional lawyer before being president and also an intelligent man with intelligent advisors, nothing he did ever crossed the line into being illegal. With a Republican-controlled Congress, you know if there had been one single transgression, they would have impeached him in a minute. There is nothing. NOTHING.
On the other hand, Trump has blundered around, thinking he is the emperor, won't listen to advice, and all his efforts to conceal his previous illegal behavior has led to his current illegal behavior. What a mess.
Take a look at the Facebook meme (below) from before the 2012 election.
Then read the rest of my rant below the meme.
Continued from Above
Anyway, I'm sure the person ranting about jail for Obama won't listen to a word I said. I'm not sure why I bothered to post. I sure don't want to spend all morning debating such nonsense as he's spouting.
It's always a risk when you enter one of these Facebook political debates, that the person will follow back to your Facebook profile and try to make trouble for you.
How about you? Do you enter into some of these discussions on social media?
© 2018 Virginia Allain
Do You See These Negative Comments about the Obamas on Social Media?
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on August 01, 2018:
Hi Virginia - I remember someone that I know complaining that people were acting like Obama was the Messiah. He was not happy with the outcome of the election. I pointed out that in a country where, in living memory, people remember African Americans being mowed down with fire hoses because they wanted equal rights. And that the same people were amazed and thrilled by the change in the hearts of Americans. He didn't get it.
Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on June 09, 2018:
I love this article. Thank you.
Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on January 03, 2018:
I like your comparison of the forces of good and evil playing out around the world. Sadly, evil has been gaining ground and we must fight back to push the creatures of the night back undergound.
Les Trois Chenes from Videix, Limousin, South West France on January 03, 2018:
I only saw the reference to the monkey. Pleased to hear the woman was sacked. I can't believe that people think like this about a president and family that did so much good for the people of America.
After Brexit, I now see that the Harry Potter / Narnian type battles between the good and the evil are actually being played out in the world, in our countries, now. When Farage called Obama 'Odious' I realized that he was a Troll, Ogre, Creature of the Night who hated all that was good in the world. I'm sad to the point of wondering if I really want to be here at all.
Thank you for an uplifting article.
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on January 02, 2018:
It's important to note, both parties wear blinders. Right now, the Republicans cover their minds in various shades of darkness. the past is the past covered in questions that time will answer.
But now. What about now?
Berry is not President.
How many Democrats can be pointed to saying we want the man lynched (literally.)
Decency tends to lift the blinders.
That's what we're talking about. We have seen America reject indecency; just like it did in Alabama. I think the window is becoming clear.
Maybe decency will become a cure for the infection which gripped America and spread to social media.
Perhaps, Americans will invest in hearing aids to hear that message clearer.
Readmikenow on January 02, 2018:
You can look at the scandals that took place during his administration and believe Obama did nothing illegal? Seriously? These scandals are well documented. The Republicans didn't do their job because they were more interested in getting reelected. Too many Republicans in Name Only (RINOs).
Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on January 02, 2018:
Again, I make the point that with a Republican Congress who tried to obstruct his every move, if anything Obama did was illegal, they would have impeached him immediately.
Readmikenow on January 02, 2018:
Obama had it easy compared to what people have done and said about President Trump. "he did ever crossed the line into being illegal." You really need to take off the blinders and start dealing with the many scandals ignored by the media.
Everything from lying to the United Nations as well as the American people when it came to Benghazi. The FBI scandal where this agency was used against opposition conservative groups, Fast and Furious and more.
He also permitted Hezbollah to increase the movement of drugs into the United States to get Iran to sign his agreement. An agent from the DEA testified to this under oath.
Yes, he has done many things that should earn him jail time. Sorry, these are facts.
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on January 01, 2018:
This is great. There are important differences between the two presidents which many prefer to overlook. It's simply this: the Obama's worked to understand the system and operate within the system to rise to the top of the system. What we have is a result of those who feel that somehow, without using our system of capitalism and democracy, they should be where the Don is. They resent the Obamas managing to make it work. Don made it work, too; but he is the polar opposite of Berry.
You left out the calls for lynching by the Obama haters, even attacking the Obamas' children. Disgusting.
I avoid such Facebook nonsense. I seldom use the social media tool because it is riddled with this sort of thing.
Sometimes, I simply don't want to know what's going on in my friends' minds.
Thank you for a great article. Keep up the great work.
Melody Lassalle from California on January 01, 2018:
Although I don't mind a good debate based on facts and ideas, I try to stay out of unproductive political discussions especially on social media. There are times when I can't stay silent though.
I was not prepared for the instant outrage about Obama being elected. I can still remember posting about the historic moment. I was instantly chastised and berated by some of my friends who were not happy with his win and were pretty sure this was the end of democracy as we know it. Some of the comments were distasteful and mean. And, it never got better.
I was gracious when Trump won though I did not support him. But, I noticed that the same people who took every chance let me know they were unhappy with every thing Obama did were now posting "You lost. Get over it."
It's been a year since the election. While I don't care for Trump or his policies, I'm dismayed at the rancor that seems to grow daily between the two sides. I still see the anti-Obama memes and alongside them are the anti-Trump memes. There doesn't seem to be any room for debate. You can't get passed the name calling and finger pointing.
I am not sure that we can get back to any kind of productive debate over the issues that face our nation.