I have made no secret of the fact that I believe Charles Pierce is the most insightful, perceptive and, delightfully, funny political commentator of our time. His long and brilliant article in the September issue of Esquire may be the most brilliant analysis to date of what the Obama presidency means (and does not mean) in the national psyche. The entire article is available on his politics blog (that’s where the link above takes you). Here’s a brief and pertinent excerpt:
It’s not the naked racism that’s so disturbing — the witch-doctor signs and the postcards featuring watermelons on the White House lawn — or even the carefully coded language of opposition by which some woman from Alabama goes on TV and, weeping, says, “I want my America back,” and everybody knows what she means. None of that could surprise anyone who lived through the two campaigns Jesse Jackson ran for president in the 1980s, when it was all out in the open to the point where the artist David Hammons produced a portrait of Jackson as a blond, blue-eyed Nordic and titled it How Ya Like Me Now?(The answer was not very much. The original artwork was destroyed by vandals.) What’s made Obama’s presidency so difficult, and what has been used against him to considerable effect by those people who are much too civilized to depict him with a bone through his nose, is the tyranny of other people’s sanctimony.
I urge you to read the entire piece. As one of the commenters at the blog wrote: “And if anyone doubts your premise just consider those willing to put the nation into the hands of Mitt Romney and Company as proof.”