A community always has its share of conspiracy theorists, of racists and xenophobes, and just out-and-out crazies. These people can generally be safely ignored. But what do we do when the nutcase is a judge, and the talk carries an inherent threat to the nation's first biracial president?
Lubbock County, Texas Judge Tom Head is so worried about a violent reaction if President Barack Obama is re-elected that he wants to actually raise local taxes to deal with the aftermath. According to a report by Fox34 Lubbock, Head opines:
He's going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the (United Nations), and what is going to happen when that happens? I'm thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we're not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we're talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.
Now what's going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He's going to send in U.N. troops. I don't want 'em in Lubbock County. OK. So I'm going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say 'you're not coming in here'. And the sheriff, I've already asked him, I said 'you gonna back me' he said, 'yeah, I'll back you'. Well, I don't want a bunch of rookies back there. I want trained, equipped, seasoned veteran officers to back me.
So—Head says they need to raise taxes, a position that could get you on Grover Norquist's hit list pretty efficiently, to thwart a violent uprising against the guy the GOP sees as a tax-hiker. Seriously.
But this isn't about taxes. It's about race. It's about some Americans' utter horror, more than three years later, that we have a head of state with darker skin than they have. The Civil War reference was no accident (though Head clearly wasn't paying all that much attention in Social Studies, or he would know the president of the United States doesn't have the unilateral authority to order UN troops anywhere). The nation went to war in the 1860s over (in large part) slavery, and the slave states lost. Does Head want another racial showdown?
Obama's election was a sign that the country had advanced in race relations. But it was naïve to think that his service in the White House would advance things further. There's always a backlash when there is a dramatic social change. Obama's status as president has merely given some people license to take their racism public. Criticizing a biracial candidate seemed to carry a whiff of bigotry. Now that Obama has served for more than three years, calling for his ouster—for any reason—arguably has a legitimate policy basis. Campaigning against Obama now isn't on its face a matter of trying to get rid of the black guy; it's trying to get rid of the guy who (now) backs gay marriage and signed a sweeping healthcare overhaul law. But Head's warnings aren't about fiscal restraint or gays or abortion or paying for healthcare. They're about race. And he cannot, sadly, be dismissed as just another random crazy.