One of the more unique aspects of the 2008 election was how, whenever anyone sidled close to making a damaging charge against Barack Obama, they were instantly accused of racism no matter what they were talking about. Republicans suffered most from this tactic, but then that's par for the course; more startling, especially to himself, were the racism charges leveled at Bill Clinton who's more used to being lauded as our "first black president." He doesn't seem to have really recovered or forgiven to this day.
After the election, nothing changed. Stand-up comics have been having a hard slog of it: their most usual source of comedy, the Presidential administration, is off-limits for fear of finding themselves tarred with the infinitely flexible racist brush.
Editorial cartoonists, too, are walking on eggshells. The New York Post made the politically incorrect blunder of including an image of a monkey in a cartoon about the trillion-dollar stimulus bill written by Congress; though it neither mentioned nor even alluded to Mr. Obama or his administration, the cartoonist and his editors were pilloried as KKK-wannabes.
Now comes an interesting report from Greenville, SC, so routinely stereotyped as a den of racist rednecks.
The state NAACP is demanding an apology from a former South Carolina official whose Internet posting suggested a gorilla that escaped from the Columbia zoo was an ancestor of first lady Michelle Obama... Minutes after the gorilla's escape was reported, DePass posted: "I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's ancestors - probably harmless."
The unfortunate Mr. DePass, who contrary to many reports is not a GOP official of any kind, has spent every waking moment from then 'til now apologizing to everyone who will lend him an ear. To no avail: he has lost his (politically unrelated) job, and his apologies have been spurned by all and sundry. Even Don Imus was treated more generously following his far harsher insult against young girls who were private citizens unused to the public spotlight, unlike Mrs. Obama.
And for what? Mr. DePass' connection of Obama ancestry with the great apes is nothing more than what modern science tells us to be true. In fact, virtually without exception, every one of the politicians and media demagogues now calling for Mr. DePass' immolation hold man's descent from monkeys as an article of faith.
In other words, they agree with Mr. DePass and ridicule anyone who thinks otherwise! Could it be that Southern Democrats are in fact closet creationists?
Have we not all been taught since elementary school that mankind evolved from, yes, monkeys? As well as lizards, fish, and amoebae to be sure, but the primates are our "closest relatives." Not just Michelle Obama, but George Washington, Albert Einstein, and Keith Olbermann equally well have Magilla Gorilla in their family tree.
In fact, the only people who don't believe that the Obamas and everybody else evolved from monkeys, are... fundamentalist Christians, who instead believe in the special and unique creation of mankind by God. In literal-biblicist parlance, the resemblance of apes to mankind is only because of God's efficient recycling of engineering designs for bipedal quadrupeds, not from any genetic or hereditary relationship.
By the stated standards of the NAACP and the South Carolina Democratic party, only fundamentalist Christians are not racists. Who's the monkey now?