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Trolling for Assassins

Updated on February 16, 2012

The Angry Right Goes Biblical

Please read previous pieces titled The Echo Chamber and Obama Wins the Heisman Trophy for confirmation that I am no Obamaphile. I try to avoid “political stylings,” in fact. I don’t really like writing about American politics and these stories don’t do well on I’d rather write about the Oakland Raiders cheerleaders or the Red Hot Chili Peppers new guitarist. But this time I’m compelled.

Last November, the Psalm 109.8 excrement started making the internet rounds in a large way, picking up cable news coverage and vast blog attention. When I returned to Indianapolis from New Mexico for Christmas, I first saw the bumper sticker, “Pray for Obama, Psalm 108.9,” on a dirty black Chevy truck in the rural northern scrublands of Texas and then a few more sightings in the suburbs around Oklahoma City, slapped on the backs of Toyotas and mini-vans. Via email, I’ve been hit with a forwarded version of the Old Testament psalm myself at least twice. If you’re not familiar with Psalm 108.9, it’s catchy. It reads: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.” Online, the instructions that come with it: “Pray this for President Obama.” Subtle. And abhorrent beyond comprehension.

Where to begin

If Obama gets murdered, will anyone be surprised really? When Kennedy was killed in Dallas almost fifty years ago, the country was stunned, muted and grief-stricken. But with Obama, I remember on election night, 2008, hearing from friends who were elated that he’d been elected who then said in their next breath, “He’ll probably get killed soon.” The notion, in this radically polarized country, that this president, a moderate liberal, is living on borrowed time seems fairly widespread.

Fear and Loathing on AM radio

My first glimpse into the depths of hatred Obama inspires came in southern Indiana a few weeks before he triumphed over John McCain. Limited reception in the area required a foray into the netherworld of AM radio. What I found there was a shocking hate-filled diatribe against Obama that didn’t even attempt to thinly veil its opposition to him on matters as fundamental as his race, his middle name and the fact that his father came from Kenya. No political issues were discussed, just a repetitive barrage against what Obama was as a person: a product of inter-racial sex, a “foreigner”, a “liberal,” his middle name of Hussein, and that he was a “secret Muslim.”

The ignorance and fear coming through the radio were palpable. My friends and I were silent, eyes wide and mouths agape, realizing this is the message rural America hears day in, day out. Maybe they already believed all of this anyway, but it was certainly being hammered home.

For the record

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, not Kenya. Honolulu, USA. Yes, he is the product of interracial sex. I want to say, “Get over it,” yet I’m trying not to overtly editorialize and stick to facts. Obama’s middle name is a tribute to his grandfather, who was named Hussein. His mother is from Kansas and his father from Kenya. They met at the University of Hawaii and got married. Each was enrolled there. They divorced when Obama was three and his father went on to receive a PhD in economics from Harvard and returned to Kenya where he served as a government minister. He died in a car wreck there in 1982. His mother, still in Hawaii, met a man from Indonesia and remarried. The military dictator of Indonesia called all of its foreign study residents back home in 1967. As a result, young Barack Obama lived in Indonesia from ages 6-10. His first three years he attended a Catholic school and his final year, a state (public) school. Indonesia is a Muslim country and not surprisingly, Obama’s step-father also followed Islam. The fact that Obama lived there for four years as a youth, plus his middle name, and step-father’s religious affiliation, serve as a basis for a thriving cottage industry on the internet selling the “Obama is a secret Muslim” message. Obama has been the member of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago since 1992.

The silence is deafening

Back to Psalm 109.8. I have many friends, acquaintances and colleagues that support the Republican Party. To a person they say things like, “I don’t support Rush Limbaugh” or “Glen Beck is an idiot.” They aren’t the far right, in other words. Yet the moderate, responsible, adult wing of the GOP has been inexplicably silent in response to the violence supported by the 109.8 crowd.

Where is a Mitt Romney or a John McCain or a Bobby Jindal here? For that matter, where is Sarah Palin? She rightly speaks out against Fox-TV’s Family Guy for a gutless, cruel reference to Down’s Syndrome and against Letterman for risqué remarks linking her daughter with Alex Rodriguez for a few cheap laughs. In both instances, I support her. Now where is she when the murder of the occupant of the White House is being promoted under a perverted religious façade?

Wrong is wrong. And it’s time for the would-be leadership of the Republican Party to say so. In the early 1950s, even President Dwight Eisenhower was afraid to tackle his party’s chief bully, Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy’s perceived power in rooting out communists had the entire GOP silent to his overt abuses of power. The fear existed that anyone calling out McCarthy would then be labeled as soft on communism and thus be politically vulnerable, if not politically dead. Do leading Republicans harbor that same fear today from the Glen Beck/ FOX News far right wing of the party? In the vacuum of any resistance, the Psalm 108.9 message will become “legitimized” to its audience.

No lol

In the most recent instance that Psalm 109.8 was forwarded to me, it contained a postscript of “lol.” That came from a conservative friend. I took the “lol” to be his attempt at conveying, “I don’t want Obama killed, but isn’t this funny?” No, it’s not funny. On a blog I saw the sentiment defended as follows: “It’s in the Old Testament. I didn’t make it up so don’t blame me for supporting it.” Misogyny, beatings of all ilk, polygamy, and all manor of other mayhem including eye-gouging are described in the Old Testament that we now consider barbaric and certainly illegal.

The hate that hate produced

The red states versus blue states reality is entrenched. Sides have been chosen and they are dug in deeply. The rhetoric is getting less respectful. Joe Wilson, a GOP congressman from South Carolina, couldn’t restrain himself from yelling “You lie” at Obama during a nationally televised speech last September. Two months later, a Biblical passage was used to promote Obama’s murder.

Going back to Representative Wilson’s claim, it is undoubtedly correct that Obama has lied about something or some things, both before and after being elected president. (Undoubtedly Wilson has too.) The remark was in regard to a speech promoting health care. I can’t recall what Wilson thought Obama was lying about, but he obviously felt strongly about it at the time. George W. Bush undoubtedly lied about having absolute knowledge that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq and used that prevarication to garner both public and congressional support for the US invasion of that country in 2002-03. Bill Clinton’s lying under oath – perjury– over his sexual liaison with Paula Jones led to the impeachment circus in his second term. Recall Nixon and Watergate? Reagan and the Iran-Contra Affair? Lying is certainly not the exclusive domain of one party or the other, nor is it anything new. And no representative of congress dared yell “You lie!” at any of Obama’s predecessors.

What is it really?

I wonder why the vitriolic hatred for Obama exists. The president is hardly a “black revolutionary” – he’s about as black as Steve Urkel from the ‘80s show, Family Matters. And the funniest/ least logical thing I hear him labeled as is a “Socialist.” Many Democrats, especially those farther to the left, abhor Obama for his lack of liberal principles. Socialist? I’ve yet to hear anyone use that word to describe Obama who actually knows what it means. Check out Oslo, Norway, or Helsinki, Finland, in person and then get back to me on how you think socialism operates. You’ll never think of Obama as a “socialist” again afterward. Obama caved in on the “public option” for health care as soon as he hit the inevitable opposition, for instance. Che Guevara he’s not.

So what is it? McCain lost. Accept it. The Democrats had to after the electoral college, Florida recounts, and the Supreme Court denied Gore the presidency in 2000. – Obama is going to be president until January 20, 2013 but you can vote him out in November 2012 if you can convince enough other Americans to believe as you do. That’s assuming Obama’s children aren’t fatherless by then.


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    • keithmitchell5 profile image

      keithmitchell5 6 years ago from Indianapolis

      Confused by your final comment - I'd tend to agree with it, but you seem to deride the left wing instead. Thanks for reading and commenting. The right to disagree in a civil manner is a key.

    • profile image

      Carol M. 6 years ago

      Psalm 109:8 - May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.

      That is all it says - nothing more. When you add the next verse is when it takes on another meaning. When I read the Psalm 109:8 I took it to mean his 2012 nomination. NOTHING more. NOTHING about making his children fatherless or killing Obama. What nonsense the Right wing spew!

    • profile image

      Carol M 6 years ago

      Psalm 108:9 - Moab is my washbasin, upon Edom I toss my sandal; over Philistia I shout in triumph."

      Has nothing to do with what you said.

    • keithmitchell5 profile image

      keithmitchell5 6 years ago from Indianapolis

      JD: interesting points. In the ten months since you wrote them, they may be closer to fruition. I'm fairly sure I disagree with certain of your assertions at top, but I'd like to discuss it.

      Aar33178: You know, I may be an idiot. I'll consider it...if you'll do the same.

    • profile image

      Aar33178 6 years ago

      You're an idiot. I saw the bumper sticker and I thought it referred to November 2012. You libs have amazingly thin skins considering all the hate and vitriol coming from the left

    • profile image

      JD 7 years ago

      I like to read your stories, even this one I disagree with on several points. I'm not even going to discuss the Psalm reference beyond this: Anyone that takes that verse as anything other than a joke has issues (on both sides). Obama uses the guise of socialism among his liberal friends to promote the corporate and banking elite. It's fascism at the top and socialism at the bottom. The official story on Obama is also a joke. Obama is a puppet of the shadow government just as intended. The blow hards on the right distract us from the missing trillions and dupe the rednecks into thinking Republicans are better. People are going to be getting more desperate. Granted this turd was not desperate. He was a nut job all over the map ideologically. Desperate people will get violent by robbing when the high commodity prices hit grocery stores and gas is $6/gallon.

    • Timmymorgan1129 profile image

      Timmymorgan1129 7 years ago from Indianapolis, IN

      I remember you telling me that you didn't think Obama could win because of the hate you had heard from some people. At first I thought you were joking, but obviously you weren't. There is enough hate in this country to satisfy satan ten times over. Your down to earth writing is such a relief to come back to every night after a day of propoganda and twenty four hour news networks. Thanks

    • profile image

      longnow 7 years ago

      I noticed you used the same words as

      Frank Schaeffer Jr on the Rachel Maddow Show,

      "Trolling For Assassins". I like how you call on

      prominent republicans to speak up comparing them

      to how afraid republicans were of "Tailgunner"

      Joe McCarthy in the 50's. They are just as afraid today of

      theocracy as well as Rush Limbaugh.

      If anything does, God forbid, happen to Obama

      republicans can always point to Michael Steele,

      their black chairman, and say, "don't look at us".

      This is why he got appointed in the 1st place

      & why he still has his job.

      Assassination by bullet isn't necessary for the

      republican PR pros. The National Enquirer is

      assassinating him in other ways linking Obama

      with another woman showing an empty bed

      on the cover with a black bed spread. If necessary

      you might hear about orgies & prostitutes by Nov.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 7 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Outstanding comment! EBay is till selling "Pray for Obama 108.9" bumper stickers last time I checked. I've complained several times but got no reply and no action.

    • profile image

      They're all liars 7 years ago

      Psalm, smholm...."It has treated us well, This myth of Christ." --Pope Leo X

    • keithmitchell5 profile image

      keithmitchell5 7 years ago from Indianapolis

      Thanks kindly, Ralph. I appreciate the readership.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 7 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Great Hub. Last year somebody from Florida was selling Pray for Obama Psalm 109 T shirts.

    • profile image

      Alicia R 7 years ago

      Loved it. Necessary and clearly written.

    • profile image

      J Stoops 7 years ago

      Always well written. I believe he is known as a corporatist, not a true socialist.

    • keithmitchell5 profile image

      keithmitchell5 7 years ago from Indianapolis

      Jamie - it doesn't auger well, does it? Amazing changes have occurred, yet ....

    • profile image

      Jamie H 7 years ago

      I remember the day before the election I was talking to my children about voting and the importance of it. My daughter (8 years old, 2nd grade) was well aware of who we were voting for and our stance on most things political. I asked her if they discussed it much in class. She said that they did not but that some of her classmates told her at recess if Obama won that all the white people would become slaves. I assured her that it wasn't true. She was fine and went on her merry way. I was left with the unease of what these parents must be saying at the dinner table.

    • profile image

      John Martial King 7 years ago

      Obama Prophecy in full, read PSALMS CODE:

    • keithmitchell5 profile image

      keithmitchell5 7 years ago from Indianapolis

      Ladies, thank you both for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      Cathy Smith 7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this! I would agree 100%. Partisanship aside--that is ridiculous!

    • E. Nicolson profile image

      E. Nicolson 7 years ago

      An eye opening hub for me. I had no idea the hate for Obama had escalated to this point. Living north of your border I had of course realised there was opposition, and that he was in a precarious position, but am horrified with the idea of using the bible to promote such thinking.