‘Hate Crimes’ explode across U.S. following election of Barack Obama, says the AP’s Jesse Washigton

The following is an Associated Press Article by Jesse Washington, originally published here:

Obama election spurs race crimes around country

Cross burnings. Schoolchildren chanting “Assassinate Obama.” Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars.

Incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are dampening the postelection glow of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America.

From California to Maine, police have documented a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack. Insults and taunts have been delivered by adults, college students and second-graders.

There have been “hundreds” of incidents since the election, many more than usual, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes.

One was in Snellville, Ga., where Denene Millner said a boy on the school bus told her 9-year-old daughter the day after the election: “I hope Obama gets assassinated.” That night, someone trashed her sister-in-law’s front lawn, mangled the Obama lawn signs, and left two pizza boxes filled with human feces outside the front door, Millner said.

She described her emotions as a combination of anger and fear.

“I can’t say that every white person in Snellville is evil and anti-Obama and willing to desecrate my property because one or two idiots did it,” said Millner, who is black. “But it definitely makes you look a little different at the people who you live with, and makes you wonder what they’re capable of and what they’re really thinking.”

Potok, who is white, said he believes there is “a large subset of white people in this country who feel that they are losing everything they know, that the country their forefathers built has somehow been stolen from them.”

Grant Griffin, a 46-year-old white Georgia native, expressed similar sentiments: “I believe our nation is ruined and has been for several decades and the election of Obama is merely the culmination of the change.

“If you had real change it would involve all the members of (Obama’s) church being deported,” he said.

Change in whatever form does not come easy, and a black president is “the most profound change in the field of race this country has experienced since the Civil War,” said William Ferris, senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina. “It’s shaking the foundations on which the country has existed for centuries.”

“Someone once said racism is like cancer,” Ferris said. “It’s never totally wiped out, it’s in remission.”

If so, America’s remission lasted until the morning of Nov. 5.

The day after the vote hailed as a sign of a nation changed, black high school student Barbara Tyler of Marietta, Ga., said she heard hateful Obama comments from white students, and that teachers cut off discussion about Obama’s victory.

Tyler spoke at a press conference by the Georgia chapter of the NAACP calling for a town hall meeting to address complaints from across the state about hostility and resentment. Another student, from a Covington middle school, said he was suspended for wearing an Obama shirt to school Nov. 5 after the principal told students not to wear political paraphernalia.

The student’s mother, Eshe Riviears, said the principal told her: “Whether you like it or not, we’re in the South, and there are a lot of people who are not happy with this decision.”

Other incidents include:

_Four North Carolina State University students admitted writing anti-Obama comments in a tunnel designated for free speech expression, including one that said: “Let’s shoot that (N-word) in the head.” Obama has received more threats than any other president-elect, authorities say.

_At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: “Osama Obama Shotgun Pool.” Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. “Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count,” the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written “Let’s hope someone wins.”

_Racist graffiti was found in places including New York’s Long Island, where two dozen cars were spray-painted; Kilgore, Texas, where the local high school and skate park were defaced; and the Los Angeles area, where swastikas, racial slurs and “Go Back To Africa” were spray painted on sidewalks, houses and cars.

_Second- and third-grade students on a school bus in Rexburg, Idaho, chanted “assassinate Obama,” a district official said.

_University of Alabama professor Marsha L. Houston said a poster of the Obama family was ripped off her office door. A replacement poster was defaced with a death threat and a racial slur. “It seems the election brought the racist rats out of the woodwork,” Houston said.

_Black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. The president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas said a rope found hanging from a campus tree was apparently an abandoned swing and not a noose.

_Crosses were burned in yards of Obama supporters in Hardwick, N.J., and Apolacan Township, Pa.

_A black teenager in New York City said he was attacked with a bat on election night by four white men who shouted ‘Obama.’

_In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying “now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house.”

Emotions are often raw after a hard-fought political campaign, but now those on the losing side have an easy target for their anger.

“The principle is very simple,” said BJ Gallagher, a sociologist and co-author of the diversity book “A Peacock in the Land of Penguins.” “If I can’t hurt the person I’m angry at, then I’ll vent my anger on a substitute, i.e., someone of the same race.”

“We saw the same thing happen after the 9-11 attacks, as a wave of anti-Muslim violence swept the country. We saw it happen after the Rodney King verdict, when Los Angeles blacks erupted in rage at the injustice perpetrated by ‘the white man.'”

“It’s as stupid and ineffectual as kicking your dog when you’ve had a bad day at the office,” Gallagher said. “But it happens a lot.”

Associated Press writers Errin Haines, Jerry Harkavy, Jay Reeves, Johnny Clark and researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.

Read this Susan Jacoby article: “The Worst Angels of our nature: Rage and Racism on the Campaign Trail

Susan Jacoby wrote the article below, published at http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/susan_jacoby/2008/10/the_worst_angels_of_our_nature.html:  (Definately worth a read…..)

“The Worst Angels Of Our Nature: Rage And Racism On The Campaign Trail

Like everyone else, I am worried about the economy and the financial panic I sense around me. But I am absolutely terrified–I tremble for my country–by the rage that has been expressed at Republican campaign rallies during the past two weeks. It is a rage that partakes of the worst forces in American history–xenophobia, racism, anti-intellectualism, religious fanaticism, envy, and utter contempt for truth and reason. Lest anyone suggest that this is a bipartisan phenomenon, I should point out that no one at Obama rallies is calling out for anyone to kill the other candidate. Worst of all is the behavior of Sarah Palin, a candidate for the second highest office in the land who stood on a platform, heard the cries of “treason” and “kill him” after her anti-Obama rant, and said absolutely nothing. She went on with her vile speech as if nothing had happened.

John McCain has belatedly realized that his campaign has unleashed forces that it cannot control; perhaps he came to that realization when he was booed at his own rallies for contradicting supporters who called Obama an “Arab” and a “traitor.” Pundits on the left and right (and Barack Obama himself) always preface their acknowledgments of McCain’s effort to calm the waters with an obligatory “to his credit.” Talk about unearned credit. McCain picked the rabble-rousing Palin as his running mate, and he picked her because she appealed to the far-right Republican base. Her speeches, with their accusation that Obama was “pallin’ around with terrorists,” followed by attempts to link Sixties’ radicals with the 9//11 bombers, leading logically to audience’s conclusion that Obama himself may be a terrorist, were certainly cleared by the Rovian McCain campaign strategists. That McCain is now recognizing that he may be inheriting the wind says nothing creditable about him. The least we can expect from respectable candidates is that they decry calls for murder and accusations of treason. You don’t deserve a gold star for doing that.

I am afraid, as others are afraid and reluctant to say so, that some unhinged Joe or Jane Six-Pack will pick up a gun and act on the passions aroused at these rallies. How can anyone who came of age in the sixties–whose youth was punctuated by the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert F. Kennedy, not be afraid? The ignorant and bellicose governor of Alaska badly needs a history lesson. Most of us demon liberals weren’t pallin’ around with terrorists during the sixties; what we were doing, too many times in our young lives, was mourning the loss of leaders who did try to speak to the better angels of the American nature.

The trouble begins with the notion that there is some special wisdom in the virtuous, uneducated Joe Six-Packs of this nation. I met my very own Joe-Six Pack (that’s what he called himself) a few weeks ago, and if he exemplifies the purported wisdom of ordinary Americans, we are in trouble that cannot be measured by any decline in the stock market. I wound up at the same table with Joe, the owner of a Polish delicatessen, in a packed bar as we waited in the Milwaukee airport for a delayed flight to New York. After volunteering the information that he was flying to New York for his niece’s wedding in Brooklyn, Joe said he wasn’t looking forward to the event because his niece was marrying a native New Yorker and they were “moving into some kind of hippie loft under some bridge.”

Then Joe started talking about the economy. He didn’t blame Wall Street nearly as much as he blamed ordinary Americans who, pursuing the dream of becoming homeowners, had obtained subprime mortgages with no down payment. “These people knew they couldn’t afford to pay back those loans,” he said, “and they didn’t give a damn because they hadn’t had to put down any of their own money. So they’re losing nothing when they get kicked out. No money down, and they’ve been getting free rent for as long as they’ve lived in the house.”

How, I asked, did Joe figure that people had been getting “free rent,” since most of them had been making mortgage payments–at increasing interest rates–for years. Wasn’t it possible that many of the homeowners facing foreclosure had simply not understood what it would mean for their monthly payments if the rate on the mortgages went up by, say, 5 percent? Wasn’t it possible that they thought they could make their payments when they signed the mortgages but subsequently lost their jobs? Or that someone in the family got sick and piled up medical bills that lend to bankruptcy?

“Don’t you believe it,” said Joe, whose face literally turned purple with rage. “So maybe they made payments for a while, but they were a lot lower than rent payments would be. That’s always the excuse with these people, that they’ve been unlucky, that they’re poor little victims.”

“These people.” I wanted to ask who “they” were and what separated them from “us,” but I didn’t have to. He exploded again. “You have a whole group of people who don’t really want to earn what they have. These bad home loans, they’re like special treatment for blacks who want to get into the best universities. You want it, you don’t have to work for it, the government will give it to you.” As soon as I boarded the plane, I took notes detailing everything about this conversation.

I hope that this Joe Six-Pack was just one Joe Six-Pack, and that there are many other blue-collar Americans who do not share such views, reeking of class and racial resentment and absent any awareness of the ways in which unexpected blows of fate can derail the honest efforts and hopes of hard-working people. We will, I suppose find out on Nov. 4. The fate of our nation rests on the hope that a majority of Americans are not as uneducated and angry as my Joe Six-Pack. I do know that a real leader ought to challenge such ignorance, wherever it exists, instead of praising is as an example of down-home American values. Any politician who provides fuel for the worst sort of American fire, or remains silent in the face of bigotry and threats of violence, is a disgrace to this country.

Please e-mail On Faith if you’d like to receive an email notification when On Faith sends out a new question.”

Absentee ballots read “Barack Osama,” “simple mistake?” Pathetic.

The New York Times Editorial Board reported the following today: (see original, click here.)

Voters who wanted absentee ballots in an upstate New York County were surprised to see the name of the Democratic Presidential candidate. On the ballot, it read “Barack Osama.”

Major oops or dirty trick?

After the Albany Times-Union newspaper revealed the problem ballots on Friday, the Rensselaer County Board of Elections inisisted that the rendering of Barack Obama’s name was a simple mistake, and insisted that it was included on “only 300 of more than 4,000″ ballots.

“The board of elections acted quickly to correct the typographical error and regrets the error,” the board said in a statement. “The error was not deliberate and the Board of Elections is continuing to fairly manage the upcoming General Election in a bi-partisan and cooperative manner.”

Thought provoking responses to David Brooks’ NYTimes Op-Ed, “The Class War Before Palin.”

The folowing are a few thought provoking responses to a very good Opinion article about ‘the class war’ waged between Republicans and Democrats and fires stoked by Sarah Palin, written by David Brooks, published in Today’s New York Times:

Re “The Class War Before Palin,” by David Brooks (column, Oct. 10):

Far worse than the prospect of class warfare is to suddenly wake up to the fact that we’ve been involved in class warfare for most of the last 40 years, and we’ve been losing decisively.

Can there be any doubt, when virtually all of the economic gains have flowed to those at the very top, while real wages have been stagnant since 1969?

Tax cuts that overwhelmingly favored the rich have led to wealth and income being more unequally distributed than at any time since 1929.

It is the Republican right that has pursued class warfare relentlessly since the days of Ronald Reagan. It is time that we recognize this and begin to claw back some of the losses we have sustained.

Terence Stoeckert
Hoboken, N.J., Oct. 10, 2008

The writer is an affiliate professor of economics and finance at Stevens Institute of Technology.

To the Editor:

David Brooks is right. The anti-intellectualism of the Republicans is astounding.

Average Joes and Janes want ideas from people smarter than we are, whether they come from the left or the right. With the recent collapse of our economy, the Bush administration didn’t ask “Joe Sixpack” for advice, but instead asked the best and the brightest — I hope.

Let’s stop the dumbing down of this country.

Elaine Gallinaro
Devon, Pa., Oct. 10, 2008

To the Editor:

David Brooks seems to acknowledge the blatant failures of the Republican Party — a party that favors fear-mongering and ignorance, and habitually supports candidates with limited education and worldviews.

This has led Republicans and this nation to ruin, and attracts the type of people who yell “kill” and “terrorist” and racial slurs at campaign rallies. They want a nation that disdains education and frowns on the educated.

We call the Navy Seals and Army Rangers “elite.” Shouldn’t we have someone who is elite, in terms of intellect and judgment, command them?

Robert Rundbaken
Ossining, N.Y., Oct. 10, 2008

“The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama.”

Interesting article about hatred in America, racial epithets at recent republican rallies and  (Click to read ‘The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama,’ here.) These are sad days for the Republican party, THE PARTY OF LINCOLN, at a time when America needs true leadership and bridge building in politics, the Republican party is smearing itself in mud, fear, racism, ignorance and lies.  Pray for America.

hit play on video below to see a very sad moment for America, in the clip, you can tell McCain did his best to protect “the lady in red” and the viewers from the danger of ignorance and bigotry.

The following is a public comment left in response to this post that I thought was worth adding to the original post:

Rick Sanchez
http://www.posthastemedia.com | rick.sanchez@posthastemedia.com | 76.237.9.63

After so many years of progress raising the bar of dignity, honor and respect for every American citizen, it is sad to see a regression to the hate filled days of the past.

The party of Abraham Lincoln it seems is turning into the party of John Wilkes Booth.

I do have to give McCain credit for taking the microphone from the ignorant woman who called Senator Obama an Arab. That was the right thing to do and I applaud him for it. Free speech is one thing, but slander and innuendo are another thing altogether.

From The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama, 2008/10/11 at 4:28 PM

McCain, Obama release statements on largest monthly US job loss report in 5 years

Statements by Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama on Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department. In a sign that the economy is hurtling toward a deep recession, employers slashed payrolls by 159,000 in September, the most in more than five years.

___

McCain’s Statement:

Today’s report of another 159,000 lost jobs confirms what America’s working men and women have understood for months: Our nation’s economy is on the wrong track. It is imperative that Congress act to address the financial crisis while protecting taxpayers and being good stewards of their dollars. But we must do more.

America’s middle class needs help from a government that is truly standing on their side and not in their way. I am committed to getting to the roots of this crisis — reforming Washington and cleaning up the mess created by the greed and crony capitalism of government-backed mortgage giants — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I will reverse out-of-control spending, end the wasteful and corrupting practice of earmarks, and get the government budget back to balance. I will reform health care to control costs and better serve American families, open markets around the globe for our products, cut taxes, and expand domestic production of energy to eliminate the ability of international oil markets to hold our economy hostage. I will create jobs and get the economy on the right track.

Unlike Sen. Obama, I do not believe we will create one single American job by increasing taxes, going on a massive spending binge, and closing off markets. Our nation cannot afford Sen. Obama’s higher taxes. — John McCain

___

Obama’s Statement:

Today, Americans woke up to the sad news that 159,000 jobs were lost last month alone, making September the ninth straight month of job loss. With three-quarters of a million jobs lost this year, and millions of families struggling to pay the bills and stay in their homes, this country can’t afford Sen. McCain’s plan to give America four more years of the same policies that have devastated our middle-class and our economy for the last eight.

Instead of Sen. McCain’s plan to give tax breaks to CEOs and companies that ship jobs overseas, I will rebuild the middle-class and create millions of new jobs by investing in infrastructure and renewable energy that will reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East. I also call on Congress to pass an immediate rescue plan for our middle-class that will provide tax relief, save 1 million jobs, and save our local communities from harmful budget cuts and painful tax increases. — Barack Obama.

Thomas L. Freidman’s Op-Ed in today’s New York Times, a lucid appraisal of an absurd VP selection for McCain and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

The following is an Op-Ed piece by ‘From Beirut to Jerusalem’ author, Thomas L. Freidman, published today in the New York Times: (see the original by clicking here.)

Criticizing Sarah Palin is truly shooting fish in a barrel. But given the huge attention she is getting, you can’t just ignore what she has to say. And there was one thing she said in the debate with Joe Biden that really sticks in my craw. It was when she turned to Biden and declared: “You said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America, which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives, that’s not patriotic.”

What an awful statement. Palin defended the government’s $700 billion rescue plan. She defended the surge in Iraq, where her own son is now serving. She defended sending more troops to Afghanistan. And yet, at the same time, she declared that Americans who pay their fair share of taxes to support all those government-led endeavors should not be considered patriotic.

I only wish she had been asked: “Governor Palin, if paying taxes is not considered patriotic in your neighborhood, who is going to pay for the body armor that will protect your son in Iraq? Who is going to pay for the bailout you endorsed? If it isn’t from tax revenues, there are only two ways to pay for those big projects — printing more money or borrowing more money. Do you think borrowing money from China is more patriotic than raising it in taxes from Americans?” That is not putting America first. That is selling America first.

Sorry, I grew up in a very middle-class family in a very middle-class suburb of Minneapolis, and my parents taught me that paying taxes, while certainly no fun, was how we paid for the police and the Army, our public universities and local schools, scientific research and Medicare for the elderly. No one said it better than Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

I can understand someone saying that the government has no business bailing out the financial system, but I can’t understand someone arguing that we should do that but not pay for it with taxes. I can understand someone saying we have no business in Iraq, but I can’t understand someone who advocates staying in Iraq until “victory” declaring that paying taxes to fund that is not patriotic.

How in the world can conservative commentators write with a straight face that this woman should be vice president of the United States? Do these people understand what serious trouble our country is in right now?

We are in the middle of an economic perfect storm, and we don’t know how much worse it’s going to get. People all over the world are hoarding cash, and no bank feels that it can fully trust anyone it is doing business with anywhere in the world. Did you notice that the government of Iceland just seized the country’s second-largest bank and today is begging Russia for a $5 billion loan to stave off “national bankruptcy.” What does that say? It tells you that financial globalization has gone so much farther and faster than regulatory institutions could govern it. Our crisis could bankrupt Iceland! Who knew?

And we have not yet even felt the full economic brunt here. I fear we may be at that moment just before the tsunami hits — when the birds take flight and the insects stop chirping because their acute senses can feel what is coming before humans can. At this moment, only good governance can save us. I am not sure that this crisis will end without every government in every major economy guaranteeing the creditworthiness of every financial institution it regulates. That may be the only way to get lending going again. Organizing something that big and complex will take some really smart governance and seasoned leadership.

Whether or not I agree with John McCain, he is of presidential timber. But putting the country in the position where a total novice like Sarah Palin could be asked to steer us through possibly the most serious economic crisis of our lives is flat out reckless. It is the opposite of conservative.

And please don’t tell me she will hire smart advisers. What happens when her two smartest advisers disagree?

And please also don’t tell me she is an “energy expert.” She is an energy expert exactly the same way the king of Saudi Arabia is an energy expert — by accident of residence. Palin happens to be governor of the Saudi Arabia of America — Alaska — and the only energy expertise she has is the same as the king of Saudi Arabia’s. It’s about how the windfall profits from the oil in their respective kingdoms should be divided between the oil companies and the people.

At least the king of Saudi Arabia, in advocating “drill baby drill,” is serving his country’s interests — by prolonging America’s dependence on oil. My problem with Palin is that she is also serving his country’s interests — by prolonging America’s dependence on oil. That’s not patriotic. Patriotic is offering a plan to build our economy — not by tax cuts or punching more holes in the ground, but by empowering more Americans to work in productive and innovative jobs. If Palin has that kind of a plan, I haven’t heard it.”

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