In an age of political rancor and disrespect I’m rarely surprised when I come across venomous attacks from both sides of the aisles.  Yet, a  a letter to the editor that was written a while ago in my hometown newspaper still troubles me. The article was entitled,  “With Obama as president, this patriot has no country.”

The writer opined, “ …My country, as I once knew it, is gone, at least for the next four years.” Apparently upset with the election of Barack Obama she continued as to how upset she was including saying, “… I come from very patriotic roots. Having grown up in Virginia, reverently standing before the monument at Yorktown, where blood was shed for the freedom we now have. I have stood before that monument with tears streaming down my face, knowing I was standing on hollowed ground. What would our forefathers say now? Possibly that all their efforts were in vain?”

Apparently the letter writer was absent from her American History class on the days when there were discussions of the American revolution or she would have known that the first person to die for America’s freedom was a runaway slave, Crispus Attucks, in the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770. Attucks was the son of a male slave brought to America from Africa whose mother was a Natick Indian.

As a young black male who calls Sarasota home I am glad that my country as it once was is gone. Gone are the days of :

Ÿ  The “black problem” would disappear if they would just learn to accept their role in society — at the bottom.

Ÿ  Not allowing the black citizens of Sarasota county to use the public beaches and other recreational facilities.

Ÿ  Unequal pay for black teachers and segregated schools.

Ÿ  No blacks on the Sarasota City and County Commissions.

“In The Heat of the Night,” the 1967 film,  starring Sidney Poitier, there is one line that  has become  iconic in American movie history. Poitier, who plays Virgil Tibbs, a Northern police detective who becomes involved in a murder investigation in a small town in Mississippi finds himself assisting an all white police force during a time when it was dangerous for a Black man to even look a white man in the eyes in the Jim Crow south.


“Boy what do they call you up north,” Poitier was asked by the town’s police chief played by actor Rod Steiger. Poitier’s reply was simply, “They call me Mister Tibbs.” No matter what your political ideology may be, it is time for folks of all ilk to start respecting our commander-in-chief. No other President has been shouted down at a State of the Union Address; no other President has had a governor wave their finger in his face; no other President has had to deal with countless journalists disrespectfully calling them by their first name. So just like Sidney Poitier said, “they call me Mr. Tibbs”; it is about time for people to not only start calling Barack Obama, “President Obama”, but also treating him like it too.

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