Been following the steady trickle of unabashedly racist asides from GOP stalwarts in the direction of the Obama administration and family alike?
First we had the South Carolina GOP activist who compared Michelle Obama's ancestors to a gorilla...later issuing a non-apology-apology to "anybody who was offended" and claiming that he was referring to her position on evolutionary theory - a matter upon which she seems never to have stated an opinion publicly.
Then we had an aide to a Tennessee GOP state senator sending out an e-mail photo collage of all 44 U.S. Presidents....except that the final position in the collage is a black box with two eyes peering out from the background, and nothing else. Ha, ha, ha - how funny is that? And not even a non-apology-apology this time: only an admission that she "sent it to the wrong list." Oopsie.
And then back again to that bastion of good taste and interpersonal aplomb, South Carolina, where another "GOP operative" tweeted that Obama will tax aspirin at 40% "because it's white and it works." At least he had the good grace to issue a "real" apology...though under the circumstances, its sincerity can be considered dubious at best.
What is feeding this flurry of the kind of comments that used to be beyond the pale, no pun intended? Is it that having a black President in office is drawing all the latent racism in the country to the surface, like iron shavings to a magnet? Is it the talk radio inflammatory speech making these people - all in party or government positions, notably - think that it's OK to express themselves in this fashion? Is it the free-wheeling nature of e-mail and Twitter and Facebook meeting with people of innately poor judgment? Or some combination of all the above?
I'm not sure I know the answer, but I do know that there seems to be a marked rise in all of this, lately - and not just from the likes of Michele Bachmann and her ilk - and I wonder why. What I do know is that it bodes nothing positive...