Americans have always hated presidents--so why does hatred for Obama seem so much worse? Reason's Steve Chapman argued
that anti-Obama sentiment, while intense, merely carries on the American tradition of "weirdly angry and intense
denunciations" of whomever occupies the Oval Office as "not
just wrong but illegitimate, dangerous, and thoroughly evil." Chapman compiled a lengthy history of such insanity, but noted that the current criticism is much louder than in the past. Is technology to blame?
What Obama may not have recognized before he arrived in the White House
is that hating presidents is an irrepressible American tradition. The
haters hung George Washington in effigy. They called Abraham Lincoln a
dictator. They said Franklin Roosevelt was a Bolshevik.
Eisenhower's enemies suggested he was a "conscious, dedicated agent of
the Communist conspiracy." Shortly before John Kennedy arrived in
Dallas in November 1963, where he was assassinated, an ad ran in the
local newspaper with his picture over the legend, "Wanted for Treason."
Looking back, all these claims seem bizarre and unwarranted.
But that didn't count for much at the time. The furious denunciations
against Obama are simply the latest installment in a custom that seems
to have gotten more extreme as methods of instant communication have
Beyond the charges of racism
on one side and socialism
on the other, is our overheated discourse
really just a function of the amplifying effects of social media?
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