My journey into politics and activism began with the 2008 presidential race. I have always been interested in politics and donated to campaigns but never got directly involved. That changed when the Republican candidate for Vice President, Sarah Palin, started riling up the crowds at her rallies with, “he’s palling around with terrorists,” or, “just who IS Barack Hussein Obama?”
While there have always been extremes on both sides of the political spectrum, we’d never had a vice presidential candidate using racist fear-mongering, which gave many people “permission” to outwardly express their own racism. Soon, other elected officials and some members of the media joined in the ranting. I was determined not only to make sure Barack Obama was elected President but also to keep those expressing such racism out of office.
This overt racism has not only continued but has also grown in frequency and virulence since the 2008 presidential election. Every time those of us who are opposed to this type of rhetoric calls out the racism, we are accused of playing the “race card.” After today, I am no longer shying away from playing that “race card.” It is time for all of us to lay our cards on the table!
Sarah Palin, Senator Ted Cruz, and Senator Mike Lee joined a couple hundred protestors in Washington, DC to protest President Obama’s closing down the WWII Memorial (while pretending they had nothing to do with the government shutdown). These protestors then marched to the White House, where they carried a Confederate flag and demanded “the President leave town, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to come out with his hands up.”
Did no one realize that carrying a Confederate flag in front of the White House, where our first African-American family now resides, was an absolutely disgusting display of racism? The Confederate flag – which represents a war that killed 600,000 Americans over the right to enslave other human beings?
The elected officials participating in this protest, and those who condone it by saying nothing, should to be removed from office for treason. We all need to stand up to this continual barrage of racism disguised as “patriotism” by calling it out at every turn. And when the response is, “You’re just playing the race card,” our answer should be, “You’re damn straight because your actions are racist, and I will keep playing that card until it trumps yours!”
|Karen Teegarden is the CEO of UniteWomen.org, founded on February 19, 2012. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and works in the marketing and advertising sales industry in Michigan. Her daughter was raised to believe in her core that she was created equal. Karen began this journey to assure that all women live in a country that protects their equality.