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.


  1. I watched Book of Secrets about the White House on H2 last night, and despite not revealing much of the actual security systems the White House ans Secret Service have at their disposal, one gets the idea that short of an armored division supported by an air umbrella, anyone wanting to get a shot at the President is wasting their time.

    But that won’t stop them from trying. It never has. It doesn’t even have to be some gun-lovin’ right-wing nut… Ronald Reagan was shot by a man trying to impress Jodie Foster.

    I fear for the man’s physical safety but my fears are allayed by the knowledge that he is surrounded by the best trained and equipped fighting force that can be had. What has me seriously concerned is the raft of public attacks on his character, his administration, and his policies which go unchecked, day after day, by a “news” media more interested in covering the sideshow that bringing substantive weight to bear on the lies and obfuscations of political reprobates. The death I fear is the death of hope, as a bigotry-fueled wave of sanctimonious blather sweeps down upon a too-willing mass of fearful citizens, causing them to pull the wrong lever, push the wrong button, or check the wrong box, and hand government back to those who wrecked it in the first place.

    If our nation is to have a future, this man must be re-elected, and for that, even I am willing to take a bullet.

  2. Uhave2laff

     /  January 27, 2012

    ‎”I would like the Statue of Liberty a lot more if it didn’t have all that “give us your tired, your poor” crap on it.” ~ Todd Kincannon, former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party [2011]

  3. David Bailey

     /  January 27, 2012

    Content deleted.

    Here’s the deal – here are the multiple deals:

    1) This blog is neither an adjunct to, nor a replacement for, Ta-Nehisi’s site. If he’s closed comments, you are out of luck.

    2) This post was not about Ron Paul, in any way, shape or form. Your apparent need to argue with people who don’t like Dr. Paul (for, I might note, well supported, factual reasons) does not trump my commenting rules, which are based in common courtesy. High-jacking this post in order to talk about a post elsewhere on the web does not fall under “common courtesy.”

    3) Whether or not Dr. Paul has delivered 4000 babies has no bearing on anything, other than those babies’ lives. Just: FYI.

  4. All good points, Emily. They know how dangerous their rhetoric is but they don’t care. They will receive cover from the media if the unthinkable happens. Sometimes I really wish I was a cat!

  5. Emily,

    It hurt my heart just to read this post. From the day he was elected, I’ve had long discussions with Black folks about the very real possibility of President Obama being assassinated. We knew, even without seeing the reports, that he would have a bullseye painted on his back. In complete denial, I shouted down any naysayers while carrying the fear in my bones. Denial is not deletion, unfortunately, and it has just gone underground.

    Which explains why I pray for his safety.

    I draw minimal comfort from the Secret Service, not to discredit them in anyway, but because hatred and evil are powerful forces and they have succeeded before… One of the reasons that I believe he is still with us is because it would be politically disadvantageous and disastrous to remove him. The country is already splintered ideologically, add to that the combustible fuel of race riots, chaos and the sheer momentum of solidarity that bonds people when they rally around a “martyr” and it would be be a disaster.

    I keep telling anyone who will listen that one of the things I see about PBO which adds to my hope is the sheer love for him. I saw it in the faces of many at the SOTU, see the various forms with which it has manifested on the internet and discuss it with the people in my life. Love and hope are forces too. Let us hope that between the safeguards, ramifications and forces of good it is enough.

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