Advocate editorial board opinion: Anti-Obama graffiti diminishes all of us
By By the Advocate Editorial Board
June 1, 2010 at 1:01 a.m.
Like the evil it symbolizes, hate-filled graffiti flourishes in the darkness.
During the cover of night, evildoers sneaked onto Nursery Drive in Victoria and spray-painted a series of messages, including "Kill Obama" and "comie." The police suspect juveniles are to blame.
If so, their parents and perhaps society share responsibility. The message "Kill Obama'' also appeared as a so-called group page on Facebook for a month until CNET publicized it and prompted the social-networking site to remove it.
Closer to home, we've heard of bright students telling their classmates that the new president was going to create concentration camps and of teachers promising to move to Canada if Obama was elected. We've shaken our heads as about 100 Crossroads residents have joined this Facebook page:
DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN
South Texas is far from alone in spreading this venom. The anti-Obama prayer page incredibly has more than 1 million fans. In the heat of political debate, some people have always made a lot of crazy and even dangerous statements. On Facebook, there remains a "Kill Bush" page which has three members. Today's degree of hate, though, strikes us as the most intense in at least a generation.
The anti-Obama graffiti remained on a busy Victoria street for at least a couple of months with no action taken to remove it. After the Victoria Advocate publicized its existence, city officials removed the hate speech the next day. Why weren't residents crying out for action immediately after the words appeared? The vandals appeared to have returned repeatedly to spread their message over the course of several months and different sections of the street.
Walter Williams, an otherwise thoughtful political commentator, promoted recently on his talk show the need for conservatives and liberals to form separate countries. Is this really how far we've sunk as a country? We're no longer even the United States of America?
We live in the greatest country in the world. Our freedoms are the envy of millions who still live under oppressive regimes in places like China, Iran and North Korea. We should wake up every day and give thanks to God for all we already have and for all the freedoms we have to achieve even more.
If we don't like the government we receive, we can take many peaceable steps, starting with voting. If we let one racist or hate-filled comment stand unchallenged, we are diminished as a person, as a community and as a country.
In the light of day, we are better than that. Our country's founding fathers held these truths to be self-evident.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.