Yes, Obama 'Lectured' Us, We Deserve To Be Lectured Good And Hard
Barack Obama stepped into the political ring Friday and shot "darts from the heart, tried and true" at Donald Trump. It was a blistering, unprecedented speech, and Republicans were bound to react in typical fashion. People who willingly voted for Trump non-ironically accused Obama of narcissism -- going so far as to actually count the number of times Obama referred to himself. That's a lethal drinking game to play with a Trump rally. They also decried Obama as "divisive" and claimed he promoted "identity politics." These are all odd charges for Trump supporters to make unless they're concerned Obama is stealing the current president's act like Milton Berle.
George W. Bush's former press secretary Ari Fleischer demanded Obama denounce Louis Farrakhan, which the brother did a decade ago. Curiously, Farrakhan is the rare breed of bigot the "free speech" crowd doesn't believe is Constitutionally obligated to a prominent platform for his hate.
The media also couldn't resist joining in Obama's "welcome back" festivities. Twitter creeper Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reminded everyone that Obama didn't have such a rosy relationship with the press. This was in response to Obama going after Trump for his attacks on the media as the "enemy of the people." You'd expect such ludicrous "whataboutism" from a "FOX & Friends" host whose press credentials were fished out of a box of Cocoa Puffs. Why is Haberman sweating Obama when Trump is actively raising a
lynch mob against members of her profession? It's like Haberman is walking through Central Park at night with her hairstylist and an armed mugger jumps out at them. Her stylist tries to help, but Maggie starts ranting about how she thinks she's getting overcharged for a cut and color. Even "Lawfare" executive editor Susan Hennessey straight-up called Haberman's tweets "insane."
Chuck Todd, who is always working my last nerve, had the gall to say that Obama "lectured" folks in his speech. I'm told Ben Shapiro said something similar and probably worse because it came out of his gross mouth. However, I like to pretend Shapiro doesn't exist so I can keep my homicide rate to a more legally manageable zero. Now, let's return to Todd's use of the word "lecture." You'll recall that he also dismissed Hillary Clinton as "overprepared" for her first presidential debate against future Constitutional crisis Trump. How the hell can you be "overprepared" for the presidency? This ain't a gig at Chuck E. Cheese.
Obama and Clinton are often accused of "lecturing" Americans. Critics on the left and right liked to call Obama the "professor" or the "lecturer" in chief. You'd think that two years into Trump's presidency, we'd appreciate some moral leadership. The problem is we do appreciate it, but not when it comes from politicians like Obama (the black guy) or Clinton (the woman).
Even critics of the late John McCain called his speeches on the Senate floor "stirring" or even "Sorkinesque." Even the generally feckless Jeff Flake's speeches are not derided as something a college freshman chooses to skip on a sunny Friday afternoon. If we're paying attention to recent primary results, there's a very good chance that Trump's Democratic opponent will either be a minority or a woman or a combination of the two. We can't afford to mess around with these double standards, and that's what they are.
Let me put it bluntly: Claiming Obama "lectures" us is racist. Rolling your eyes over Hillary's "lectures" is sexist. Period. It's especially obvious coming from the "traditional values, personal responsibility crowd." Mediocre white men like David Brooks or Brett Stephens do nothing but lecture us but that's just viewed as speaking the truth. "Never Trump" conservatives have practically begged Paul Ryan for two years to step up against the orange goblin, which he never did because he's so obviously a spineless weasel. But America is desperate for a white man to lead them.
It's such a fascinating scam, isn't it? "I'm not racist or a misogynist. I just take issue with black men or women leading or commanding us. If they can find a way to lead a country as commander in chief without doing that, I'm all for it."
Obama won the presidency at an opportune moment in history. He might decry the perceived progressive quest for a "messiah" but he capitalized on that urge in 2008. He was able to present himself as a symbol of post-racial America. It was when he tried to actually lead the nation as a moderate, responsible human figure that he experienced fierce blowback. Hillary wasn't so fortunate. she sought the presidency shortly before Krypton exploded. She literally warned us of everything that's happened in the past two years, like she was describing events seen in a crystal ball, but dudes acted like their penises would drop off whenever she spoke.
This "castration anxiety" among American voters is what helped put a reality TV show host and unstable bigot (like, he's actually both those bad things) in the White House. If we don't get our acts together, it might wind up keeping him there.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.