Mitt Romney’s son jokes about assaulting the president:Mitt Romney’s eldest son joked in a radio interview that he wanted to “take a swing” at President Barack Obama after Obama called his father a liar. “Jump out of your seat and you want to rush down to the stage and take a swing at him,” Tagg said, laughing."But you know you can’t do that because, well, first because there’s a lot of Secret Service between you and him, but also because that’s the nature of the process."Yes because a good whippin’ would teach that Obama boy to mind his place.
It’s worth trying to imagine any black man associated with a credible black candidate for the presidency, joking about beating down the incumbent president of the United States. Racism isn’t just in what you do and don’t say, but in the terrain you walk. It is baked in the cake — a fact which is hard to understand when you are the party of white people.
Here’s two people I’d like to swing at: Bill O’Reilly and Ta-Nehisi Coates. I’ve wanted to take a swing at Bill O’Reilly for a long time (offer still stands, Bill. I’ll fight you any day, any place. Bare knuckle boxing or some kind of freakish, fictionalized martial arts from an old Jean Claude Van Damme movie. Doesn’t matter). The swing at Coates is new (I don’t really want to fight you, Ta-Nehisi. I’m just making a point. But Bill! Bill, you fucker. Every day I wake and think what it would feel like to slam my fist into you, right there under your floating rib. What it would feel like to head butt your nose. What it would feel like to watch your eyes widen as you realize my definition of ‘full contact’ is way different than yours).
Are we at a point where a son can’t get angry about someone calling his dad a liar? If one of Obama’s daughters said she wanted to slap Romney across the face for some of the things he said about Obama, would we administer such a wrist slap? What if it was the sassy one?
If we’re going to say issues of race are imbalanced and are now a one-way street—Coates’ argument is about color, not about family. It considers Tagg as just some white dude, and not the son of presidential candidate who was called a liar on national television—fine. Wait. Actually, not fine. If we’re at a point where I can’t say I want to sock someone on the nose for disparaging my father, no matter the man’s position or race, we’re living in a sad little world full of the worst kind of liberal whitewash.
(And Bill? I’m right here.)