Racism Still Alive?

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For people throughout the world, the election of Barak Obama to the U.S. presidency seemed to signal in a new era, that of the end of racism. Indeed, Obama's election was a momentous occasion and, one would have hoped, a milestone on the road to reconciliation. However, some recent, very ominous events cast a worrisome veil over the democratic process in the United States.

There are many reasons that can explain Obama's election as President: his penetrating intelligence, a wonderfully orchestrated campaign, and a life devoted to public service in which each action was like a brilliant chess move by a master of the game. But there were other factors of equal significance.

Before Obama's election, not only was the country involved in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in what increasingly looks like a quagmire, particularly in the latter country. The economy was in a desperate state, and unemployment and health costs were rising. There was a feeling of widespread malaise in the country believed by many to be the result of an incompetent president manipulated by darker forces, an opinion widely shared throughout the world.

After the initial high of Obama's election, there is now a changed atmosphere n the country. Violence is an inescapable companion to racism. And violence, or violent outbursts racially motivated, are certainly on the increase in the U.S. Threats against President Obama have increased by 400% since President George W. Bush left office, the highest numbers on record.

What makes this situation particularly worrisome is that they come not only from fringe elements in society. Thinly disguised, they also originate from certain political leaders who seem intent on creating an atmosphere of violence and disrespect around the President and the presidency.

How else can one interpret this statement by House Minority Leader John Boehner? "There is a political rebellion going on in America, and what we saw last night was just a glimpse of it," he...