How the Worm Has Turned
Just a warning: the following meanderings of my sometimes-chaotic mind will include references to Shakespeare, Naz, YG and Nipsey Hussle.
Over the last eight years I kept expecting President Obama to finally loose his cool, start imprisoning people for treason, and have them whisked away by extraordinary rendition for enhanced interrogation at the black ops sites Bush authorized and Trump is so eager to reopen.
Like the congressman who jumped up in the middle of his state of the union speech and called him a liar, or the one who called him a tar baby, or the senator who invoked a prayer at a conservative Christian meeting that he die -- really soon, or the governor who wagged her finger in his face as if chastising a little (colored) boy; or the “New Yorker” for publishing the cover cartoon showing him as the Muslim-garbed husband of a gun toting militant wife. Or for having said wife’s body parts endlessly made the butt of smutty jokes, and for her being compared to a chimp or depicted as a transsexual.
But Obama kept his cool. Let’s take a moment to remember some of the many people who were arrested and charged during Bush’s presidency for, say, wearing T-shirts at his re-election campaign stops that said “Protect Civil Liberties” or “Love America, Hate Bush.”
How many people did Obama have arrested for dissenting speech? None, ‘cause if he had started down that path, he’d have had to round up half of Congress.
We began Obama’s presidency with the buoyancy of hope, singing the song “Yes, We Can” and rapping right along with Naz as he rejoiced that it had to be heaven sent that we finally had a Black president.
We ended his presidency disgusted at the unveiled racism that made it okay to openly disrespect the president in unprecedented ways solely due to his race.
And now, in addition to the marches and civil unrest (I love it when the media gives that name to a riot) that greeted Trump’s inauguration, we have rappers YG and Nipsey Hussle performing a song gone viral that has as its refrain, “Fuck Donald Trump.”
Apparently, this song debuted during Trump’s campaign, but was recently rejuvenated when hackers co-opted radio stations in several states and blasted it out over the airwaves on a continuous loop.
Now, let me step back metaphorically speaking for just a minute. While my first instinct was to twitter (not with a capital “T” but as in chuckle, snicker and tee-hee-hee) and feel the euphoria of revenge and the righteousness of justice in a “back at you” kind of way, my second instinct was to have a different thought.
You see, precedent is a dangerous thing. And I mean that not only in a lawyerly fashion, but in an historical one. For once you lower the bar on public discourse, once you make it okay to disrespect others in disrespectful ways, where does it end?
I imagine some Trump supporters are experiencing the same kind of dismay and anger I did when the first vestiges of hatred were leveled at my president in ways I believed were wholly inappropriate and unprecedented. The problem is, some of those same supporters helped create the precedent that’s now being used against their president.
In Shakespeare’s play “Henry VI” he wrote, "The smallest worm will turn, being trodden on. And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood" meaning that even the smallest, most submissive of creatures will retaliate or seek revenge if pushed too far.
Well, we have been pushed too far. And oh how the worm has turned.