Air Force One sparkled beneath the brilliant Arizona sun as President Obama and Governor Jan Brewer met one fine day on the tarmac. Then, for no reason, Brewer spat on Obama’s foot. Oh, she didn’t? Then she asked him for a shoeshine. No? Did her dog mark Air Force One’s tires? Wrong again? So what was the big deal? 

While both parties appeared terse during their recent meeting, they didn’t seem on the verge of blows. Obama was apparently displeased with how Brewer’s new book portrayed him while Brewer didn’t appreciate Obama’s condescending attitude. Fine, there was a mild rift. The situation ended with Brewer inviting Obama to a formal meeting, which a White House spokesman indicated was accepted, and Obama referring to the incident as “overblown” and “not a big deal at all.” 

Neither participant considered the “confrontation” more than a common disagreement between divergent political persuasions. But the fact that the two alleged combatants let the situation pass didn’t prevent the spin machine from going full throttle.

Robert Paul Reyes wrote of Gov. Brewer as if she’d worn a white sheet and hood to meet Obama. According to Reyes, Brewer’s a racist for wagging her finger under the President’s nose. Disagree and you’re a bigot, too. Reyes has made two unsubstantiated assumptions and one inexplicable statement. He assumes Brewer would’ve treated a white president differently under like circumstances and that anyone who defends Brewer is equally bigoted. Furthermore, he states that the presidency always warrants respect. 

It’s not improper to respect the presidency. But has Reyes practiced what he now preaches? Was he outraged when Bush was branded a war criminal? Or when a film depicting Bush’s assassination received critical praise? Did Reyes demand respect for the presidency when our media cheered an Iraqi reporter who tossed a shoe at Bush? No? What a surprise. 

Reyes is all too typical of contemporary punditry. He issued a declarative statement based on unsubstantiated opinion. The only fact pertinent to his racism charge is that Brewer is white and Obama black. Then, in an attempt to dissuade dissention, he paints all opposition as racist, too. However, two can play this game. Suppose we reverse the roles? 

President Obama abused his powerful position to scold Brewer, a mere woman. It should be obvious to everyone that Obama is an unabashed sexist. Brewer has succeeded in politics, which is a man’s profession, and thus threatens Obama’s chauvinistic goal of a world filled with June Cleavers. So he slapped her down. Anyone taking the President’s side is excusing Obama’s overt sexism, meaning they are as bigoted as he. Women are approved only when powerless, barefoot, pregnant, and lacking suffrage. 

Is Obama sexist? No more than Brewer is racist. Funny how easily spin on a female governor becomes spin on a male President. Welcome to politics, where racism and sexism aren’t defined by ethnicity and gender but by the political advantage each can yield

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