The simple truth is that I fear for the President’s life.

Lately, I’ve been slacking off.

Was a time, I worried constantly about the President’s safety. This President’s safety. The safety of Barack Hussein Obama, our first African-American Commander in Chief. Indeed, I’ve been worried about him since he declared his candidacy — particularly after I wrote a letter to the editor in support of said candidacy and got in return for my trouble a letter threatening both my life and his.

But, you know. One gets lulled by the Secret Service’s success at keeping the President alive. A little numb to the endless drumbeat of hate. There’s a constant hum of noxious rhetoric, but if one were to be constantly attuned to it, one would lose one’s mind. So one has let down one’s guard.

But you know what? Guard? Back up.

It was Arizona governor Jan Brewer who did it for me, by announcing to the world that she felt “a little bit threatened” by the President when he visited her fair state the other day. Because at a certain point, you realize that they’re not even using dog whistles anymore — they’ve moved on to fog horns and disco balls.

Add up enough “skinny, ghetto crackhead” comments, enough voters yelling “string him up,” enough judges still open to the idea that the President isn’t eligible to be the President, enough “food-stamp President” pronouncements, enough tiny little white ladies saying they felt “threatened” (not to mention enough audible, shared glee when another successful black man is “put in his place“) — well, add all that up and throw in all the other horrible, nasty, brutish racism that has been on display with greater regularity in the past few months, and you’ve got a situation where it is simply far too easy to imagine someone with access to a gun getting the notion that maybe it’d be a good thing to use that gun on the uppity black man who’s running around threatening Jan Brewer and the Statue of Liberty.

I remind myself that this President has the best, deepest Secret Service protection ever received by any American leader. I remind myself that they are talented, trained, and far more aware of the threats than I am. I remind myself that worrying avails neither me nor the President anything.

And then I remember that back in 2009, the Secret Service was already reporting that “threats against the president’s life [are up] by 400 percent from his predecessor,” and I start to worry again, if for no other reason than that I have a very hard time believing that the number of death threats has decreased in the meantime.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and her ilk may have gleefully moved on to fog horns and disco balls, but I do wonder if they have any real grasp of the fact that people need only be a little bit unhinged to respond to the rhetoric with violence. That a man who yells “string him up!” at a campaign event might later decide to try to put Barack Hussein Obama in his place, too. Like, I don’t know, maybe one of the guys seen in a photo posing with guns and a bullet-riddled image of the President’s face just the other day, and posted to the Facebook page of an Arizona police officer.

And then I wonder what will happen to this country if the Secret Service slips up, just once.

Crossposted at Emily L. Hauser In My Head.

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27 Responses to The simple truth is that I fear for the President’s life.

  1. You’re not the only one.

    And mark my words: If anything does happen to the president we elected, it will mean a civil war.

  2. Me, too, ee. During the last campaign season, I was haunted by the thought. Like you, I hadn’t thought it in awhile, but as the silly season starts up again, I suspect it will fill my thoughts once more.

  3. Same thing for me. Worried the first couple years, then less so later. I didn’t hear she made that comment till I saw your tweet. Sickening.

  4. Oh I think Governor Brewer knows exactly what she’s doing.

    After the Tuscon shooting last year – six dead, and nineteen wounded including a a member of Congress- there is no damn excuse for any upright and conscious adult to try to claim ‘I didn’t mean it like that!’. If she doesn’t know what kind of message she’s sending to the frightened small minded idiots who believe that everything would be okay if they’d just put the white, errr, RIGHT people back in charge then she’s guilty of Felony Stupid.

    Thinking about the safety and well-being of the Obamas in the months leading up to the last election gave me many a sleepless night. I’ve been bracing myself for the next campaign because looking the the field of possible opponents I don’t see a single one who has the guts to call out the base and keep them in line.

  5. I remember being scared shitless that something would happen to the President when he was first elected. I mean, I was worried during the entire campaign, but once he was elected I thought “Holy shit, someone is gonna lose their damn mind and try to kill him.”

  6. Barak means blessed, so lets hope that holds up

    But yes, I understand, I wonder that shit everyday.

    And if that shit ever happens, I really hope the rest of the world shut us off and leave us to die, let us destroy ourselves, because thats it, the experiment failed.

    We just need to hope that that family is still blessed, because if not, the Dark Ages will consume this place

  7. That’s always going on in my mind. It says a lot about our countries problem with race. The fact that pandering to racists in the state of SC can make you a frontrunner. The GOP knows what they’re doing and its disgusting. The hate of our president if fueled by racism, hate, jealously & envy.

  8. “And then I wonder what will happen to this country if the Secret Service slips up, just once.”

    -IT IS ON…FOR REAL.
    There will be violent reaction.

  9. I pray for our President safety. If anyone says that they the republicans are not supporting the President because he is black is a lie.Arizona’s gov.is a fool.
    She had no business pointing her bony finger in the President’s face. That didnot seem as if she was there to greet him to me. She should have been afraid of the secret service but oh she is white & doesn’t have to respect a man of color, even if he is the President of the USA.

  10. This story gave me flashbacks to Matt Dylan’s character in the movie Crash. A corrupt police officer who six-packs a woman of color in front of her husband during a profiling traffic harassment. Later he has to respond to an accident with a trapped woman in a vehicle fire. When his victim sees her rescuer, she flips out and he has an epiphany as flames are inching ever closer to the pooling gasoline.
    In this world, there are no epiphanies for these people. Only ignorance and hate.
    Every fluffinging time my mother says, “I haven’t liked a President this way since Kennedy!”, I get chills. I have since he was elected because where I live (Seattle, Washington) people don’t bat an eye dropping the word.
    My recently ex b/f uses the word. We argued over it a long time. He insisting he can’t be racist because he VOTED for Obama. Me believing he is in denial and doesn’t want to belong to the club that would welcome him.
    I asked him one time if I was white enough for him since I am Mexican and Native. He didn’t like that. I announced in his living room, in front of his friends that there was a possibility there was black blood in my mother’s background just to shut them up once. Boy did it.
    I fear for Obama every fucking time I hear another racist asshole with much, much more than fog-horns and disco balls speaking with no shame or comprehension of just how racist they are and come across to the rest of us.
    Jan Brewer may not have helped Sarah Palin place cross hairs on Gabby’s district, but you can best she AND McSame have fostered the very ignorance and racial hatred that allowed the horrible shooting to happen. They are just as culpable as the shooter.
    Ms Brewer stating that she has respect for the “office of the President” pretty much sums it up. If you can’t read between those lines, then please, go take a cruise during the election season.
    Thanks, my rant has ended.

  11. At first, I had some concerns over POTUS’ safety (the usual stuff), until adding up a few things. First, I’d go beyond SS and I’m sure POTUS (and previous ones) have done similar with security. A lot of that rhetoric you hear is basic hot air, since we’d be looking like Mad Max by now. Fear tends to freeze you, so stay movin’. I tend to back off of concerns such as this when I have to be responsible for my own safety (so far so good). If I can do it, I’m sure he’s already done it.

  12. There has not been a day since he announced he was running for president that I haven’t feared for his life. Not one. I know too many crazy white racists with guns to feel one bit complacent about his or his family’s safety. And I live north of the Mason/Dixon Line where there are a lot of Pennsyltucky/Appalachian types but also a lot of people who are uncomfortable with racism. I can’t imagine what it’s like in South Carolina or Mississippi or Alabama where they are a lot more comfortable with letting their bigot freak flags fly.

  13. I’ve been worried about him since he announced he was running back in 2007, too.
    There have been too many coincidences, too much violent rhetoric, too many people who attended the HCR Town Halls armed & loaded.
    Really, why would anyone feel a need to be armed at a Congressional or Presidential Town Hall Meeting??
    And our wonderful President seems to handle it all in stride. He truly is, “No Drama Obama”.
    I would love to bitch slap that uneducated, bigoted, know-nothing, Hater, racist Jan Brewer!! Her and her ilk, they absolutely disgust me.
    When I had first seen the picture of her boney white finger in the Presidents face, it set me off!! I don’t have a violent bone in my body…well, I didn’t, until I had seen that!

  14. Obviously, you’re not alone. But one thing that helps me is to realize that the Secret Service is way ahead of the game on this one. They’re the ones that announced the huge upswing in threats every time Palin spoke, if I remember right. I imagine they have ramped up their own vigilance to meet the increased threat.

    Re Brewer. There were a couple of mayors there, too and their take on it is just a little bit different from Jan Brewer’s. I’ll have to find that link again.

    I finally saw the interview with her after that finger in face episode and she claims she was nothing but cordial etc. Yeah, right.

    please forgive my rambling, I got sidetracked a little bit while typing.

    Nan

  15. [And mark my words: If anything does happen to the president we elected, it will mean a civil war.]

    CW is right. It won’t be just folks tearing up their own cities or neighborhoods this time-it’ll be folks tearing up the entire COUNTRY.

  16. I go back to what Michelle Obama said during the 2008 campaign when this concern was voiced by a questioner at a town hall meeting.

    Fear is a useless emotion.

  17. Spoiled Yapping dog

    Bottom line. This country is devised. However we are in control of the larger size. HATERz are gonna hate, but most are nothing but ‘net warriors’ shrieking from their parents basement for a homeland that is never going to come to fruition. The ones who have the skillset to act on their hate know that they are ‘on the scope’ and that any movement that might represent a threat would be ‘dealt with’ . That being said, there is a legitimate fear that a lone wolf might get lucky. The resulting outrage and resulting bloodshed will mean the END of our democracy as we know it.
    Money and power are calling the shots now, not some podunk in some backwater. Some of those in the monied class hate the presidents guts but know full well that any no amount of money will save you if the country is in a civil war. A trust fund cant be spent in a war zone. This civil war will be played for all the marbles, cause it will be soo brutal, neither side will aquiese until one (or both) sides are annihilated. Let’s not let this happen now, m’kay?

  18. indifferentwhitedude

    As an unreconstructed middle aged white male who laughs whenever I hear about how privileged I am… I view Obama as a much better president than we deserve, and the best president of my lifetime. (Previously I viewed Reagan as the best, warts and all.) Obama enjoys more support and appreciation among us reptilian minded privileged white folks than you guys think. Lot’s of us who avoid partisan entanglements have seen enough damage done by the GOP.

    That said… fear for his safety with all of the whackos out there is never far from my thoughts. I think Obama will easily defeat any of the GOP challengers, which, as polling data during the campaign shapes up, may add to the frustration of the lunatic fringe on the Right. They are increasingly isolated and out of step within their own race, and only a fool would fail to see that a big driver in all of that anger is racism. It’s disgraceful.

  19. Its understandable that we fear for the President life, but so does the Republican Party. They want to beat Obama, not kill him.
    The very last thing that the GOP (or the Emo Progs) wants is a dead Obama – because he becomes a Martyr for Progressives. The last time a liberal Democratic President got shot, the Left ran the court for over a decade. Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, end of the Vietnam War, Watergate, the EPA, Medicare- the Left was moving forward. Even Nixon had to cow to progressive changes. The same for the Right – Reagan getting shot by a crazy man made him an even bigger Superhero to conservatives.

    Obama getting shot would essentially turn everyone who doesn’t a Confederate Flag and a double barrel against the GOP. And you’ll see lots of progressive change. That’s not something the Republicans really want.

    On a side note – Jan Brewer is a joke and shows why many of founding fathers didn’t want illiterate commoners becoming politicians. For every self made cat Bill Clinton, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan or Barack Obama there are dozens of goobers like Jan Brewer who gum up the works.

  20. I’ve been worried more again lately too. If anyone harms our President I’ll…no, I can’t even express the amount of righteous rage I would embody.

  21. Spoiled Yapping dog

    Let’s not talk of martyrdom, just yet. I can name
    name millions of reasons why I would never willingly accept that an new an enlightened age would come a the cost of a mans life, but I can think of three of the top of my head: Michelle, Shasha and Malika. Those three have given the most any one can give and I’d be damned if the most precious thing to them would be taken away. A long road is ahead of us, and slowly and surely we will reach our common goal. A new and peaceful world and an enightened age for one and all.

  22. Civil war? Maybe. But I don’t think we’ll be the ones starting it. American liberals just have no history of mass violence. If anything, I fear it would be the right-wingers, giddy with the thought of having done away with the “usurper”, who would be more likely to have a go at wiping out the rest of us.

  23. I too, after a period of “malaise”, find these frightening ideas creeping back into my thought lexicon. I accept the emotional responses already posted and identify with each. SY dog is right to bring us back to the goal…and, with tremendous respect Michelle, I take issue with the idea that fear is a “useless emotion”. I categorize it as one of our most enduring and self-protective traits.
    “fight or flight”. That’s right…I see it daily in my horses and am reminded that I, too continue to carry this life-sustaining and life-confirming trait to this day. It’s what we do with the fear that’s paramount and moves us beyond to something more pro-actively and positive.
    I’m choosing to have faith in those whose job it is to keep this President alive and work like hell to change what I can and make sure we have 4 MORE YEARS of his brilliant leadership.
    Just a quick story…I (surprisingly) find myself living in the middle of WV, a place I’ve come to love with all her quirky quaintness and exceptional beauty. I cut out, painted and nailed a 4-ft. Obama O to the side of my barn (in your face as you travel down our road) three years ago…awoke many nights hence with fear in brief, intense episodes, that some “redneck” would shoot through it and harm (or worse) one of my beloved horses. Now I intend to cut out, paint and add 2 – 1 – 2 , stretching farther along the wall, again fearing catastrophic results, this time MORE than last as I see increased anger if “they” don’t get this man out of office.
    The point is, I REFUSE to live in fear…I’ll place this 2012 farther down the wall and avoid the stalls as best I can or hang it on the garage so they can target practice on my old truck beyond, but I feel and I preach locally that WE ARE AMERICANS and we have every right to STAND UP and LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD.
    Our yard signs are stolen as we walk away from planting them in our yards so I’m advocating we all place placards in a prominent window. I’m tired of shirking from intimidation and bullying…I was almost punched in a local store by a man who saw my tailgate full of Obama stickers and heatedly gave me an earful once we got inside, red with rage, his face close to mine.
    Yes, I’ll worry periodically…yes, one or more of us who dare to place a placard will suffer a rock through a window (pray that’s all) but
    if the President can travel the country and indeed, the world and without the burden of fear, I choose to follow his example.
    Our local newspapers decline to print our “leftie” letters to the editor and even our meeting announcements…Obama women talk cautiously in hushed voices, looking to see who might be listening…but I wear my T-shirts and the O sweater I knitted (way cool) and take solace in the young boy who asked if I voted for the President as he admired my T-shirt…and said if he was old enough, he would have too, flashing a broad grin…before his mother pulled him away by the arm in disgust.
    I say confront the fear and use it to get even more FIRED UP.

  24. So let’s help call them out. Let’s commit to writing, emailing, tweeting and calling newspapers, politicians, tv shows, whatever and naming specific incidents, labeling them for what they are, demanding that the newspaper, politician, tv show, etc. denounce the incident. All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

  25. In late October, 2008, I was in line at a coffee shop in San Clemente, CA. It was a rare trip into this particular spot for me, mostly because of the holysh*t wing nut radio that was blasting 90% of the time. This time was not my fault, I was running in for my friend. In line behind me were two guys, one old, one not. They were talking loudly and casually about assassinating Obama. Like they were talking about the weather. It gave me chills. They even got so specific as to mention the kind of ammo it would take to blah, blah, blah. I got into my car and called the police station.
    I haven’t thought about that day in a long time, but ABL is so right here. The GOP are in they’re death-throws. This is really the last gasp of the kind of 1950′s white conservatism that they pine for, and deep down they know it. What measures might be taken if POTUS wins in November? You know the answer.

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