Robert Jakubowicz’s fascinating June 22 op-ed column on disrespect to the presidency was an interesting look at the evolution of how the office of the presidency has been, in his eyes, devalued over the past three years. He opines that the extreme right’s disrespect to the current president is due to its complete disregard for the Constitutional mandate for the executive branch. Fair enough.
I believe that this disrespect is based on something far more insidious and deep rooted in parts of this country -- the fact that the president is not white. Consider: the foreign and domestic policies championed by this administration are far closer to what was once, about 3 1/2 years ago, moderate Republicanism. Most on the right should perhaps grumble that these policies aren’t the extreme right wing fantasy that they have as a vision for the country, but were the president a white man, I believe they would not have this burning hatred for the man.
From South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson’s scream of "You lie" at the State of the Union speech (I can only imagine he bit back the word "boy" before it slipped past his lips) to the most recent heckling at the Rose Garden by conservative journalist Neil Munro, there has been a visceral disrespect aimed squarely at President Obama by those on the right.
Even Bill Clinton didn’t endure this amount of white hot hatred. The only conclusion I can draw from this constant and consistent lack of deference to authority is that the president’s skin color is the main factor.
I, too, have many disagreements with the administration’s policies and actions, although for different reasons. It is not the lack of respect and flouting of authority that I object to. It is what I believe the reason really is.
The writer is a former resident of Great Barrington.