By Sheryl Estrada
Demonstrations this week in Oklahoma and the racist insults made by the mayor of Airway Heights, a small city in Washington, illustrate the lack of respect President Barack Obama, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama, have received during two terms in the White House.
Demonstrations in Oklahoma
President Obama visited Durant High School in Durant, Okla., on Wednesday to address to the Choctaw Nation concerning a new initiative, ConnectHome, which aims to increase high speed broadband to more families across the country.
A couple of dozen demonstrators gathered across the highway from the high school waving Confederate battle flags in the name of “heritage,” as well as signs reading “Southern Pride.”
Later that evening, the President’s motorcade was also greeted by about a dozen Confederate flag-waving demonstrators, mixed in with a larger group of Obama supporters, across the street from his hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.
Andrew Duncomb, a black man who calls himself the “black rebel,” organized the demonstration.
The Confederate battle flag, not one of national flags used to represent the Confederate nation during the Civil War, was removed from South Carolina’s capitol grounds on July 10, following Gov. Nikki Haley signing a bill into law, July 9.
The murder of nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. by Dylann Roof on June 17 created a public outcry for its removal as photos surfaced of Roof using the relic to perpetuate his ideology of hate.
According to KOCO 5 News, organizers of the demonstration in Durant said they wanted to “show respect to their flag,” not intending to show disrespect toward the President.” However, President Obama has made it clear what the flag symbolizes for many Americans.
On June 26, when giving the eulogy at the funeral of State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of Emanuel A.M.E. who was killed in the massacre, he discussed the Confederate battle flag.
“For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation,” he said. “We see that now.”
President Obama also explained the significance of removing the flag from South Carolina capitol grounds:
Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong — the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong. It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history; a modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds. It would be an expression of the amazing changes that have transformed this state and this country for the better, because of the work of so many people of goodwill, people of all races striving to form a more perfect union. By taking down that flag, we express God’s grace.
On Thursday, President Obama visited a federal prison in El Reno, Okla. to talk about criminal justice reform. He is the first sitting President to do so.
Mayor Insults the Obamas on Social Media
“Gorilla face Michelle, can’t disagree with that. The woman is not attractive except to monkey man Barack. Check out them ears. LOL.”
The Facebook post of Patrick Rushing, mayor of Airway Heights, a small city just west of Spokane, Wash., insults both Michelle Obama and President Obama. KHQ received the posting from one of his followers.
“It’s just playful back and forth banter that my friends and I do,” Rushing, mayor since 2010, said.
The Airway Heights City Council called for him to resign on Monday, but he refuses.
“I made a mistake. I owned up to my mistake,” Rushing said. “If I do resign that’s admitting I’m a racist and I’m not.”
Stanley Schwartz, city attorney, is drafting a resolution about the future of Rushing’s employment, which will have to be approved by the city council members. An Airway Heights city council meeting is scheduled for July 20 to discuss Rushing.
Apparently this isn’t the first time during his tenure as mayor that he has used his Facebook page to illustrate his disdain for President Obama. It’s reported he has made more than 75 questionable posts.
In May, during her commencement speech to Tuskegee University graduates, Mrs. Obama discussed “the chatter, the name calling, the doubting” she endures as the first black First Lady. Also in May, when President Obama sent the first tweet of the official Twitter account @POTUS, within 10 minutes, multiple racist Twitter users began replying to him using racial slurs.