Why Obama's Skeet Shooting Makes People Crazy

The question isn't whether President Obama shoots skeet—it's why anyone cares.

By SHARE
In this photo released by the White House, President Barack Obama shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David, Md., Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.
In this photo released by the White House, President Barack Obama shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David, Md., Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.

The question isn't whether President Obama shoots skeet. The question is why anyone needs to believe that. And the most offensive question of all is why anyone would refuse to believe it.

Obama told The New Republic recently that he goes skeet shooting at Camp David. This is uninteresting information, having nothing to do with the president's ability to reduce the debt or negotiate immigration reform or even deal with a legislative response to gun violence. But it seems that some gun owners need Obama to prove his (Secret Service-protected) street cred on firearms before they'll let him have a voice on trying to stop gun related tragedies.

Oh, but people didn't buy it. So the White House released a photo of the president aiming a long firearm at some sort of target. It's horrifying that the White House felt it had to prove anything—it's on par with releasing Obama's long form birth certificate—but as with the birthers, the photo didn't satisfy some folks.

[See a collection of political cartoons on gun control and gun rights.]

The Internet and cable TV were awash with theories that the pic had been photoshopped. That level of paranoia is almost clinical in nature, just on its face. Holding a gun doesn't give anyone, let alone the president, more credibility is determining who gets to have guns and what kinds of guns they may own. And the fact that the president was wearing those very unattractive "mom" jeans proves the photo wasn't doctored.

But this isn't about whether Obama likes to shoot skeet or hold any kind of gun. This is about the unending attack on the president as "other"—another race, an unusual name, accused of being foreign-born, and presumed, wrongly, to be a Muslim. This is about a group of people still so baffled that anyone could vote—twice!—for someone who doesn't look like them or act like them, they can't handle the prospect that the president might, indeed, share an interest in a leisure activity. This is about a hate and resentment so deep that no amount of actual physical evidence will convince some people that Obama is not a terrorist or an alien or a socialist bent on destroying America as we know it. He is, in fact, one of us. And that's more powerful and threatening to part of America than any kind of gun.

  • Read Noah Kristula Green: Netflix's House of Cards Ups the Ante on Its British Inspiration
  • Read G. Phillip Hughes: Will Hillary Clinton Ever Pay for Her Benghazi Blunder?
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad.