The Huffington Post highlighted Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law associate dean, Jeremy Levitt appearance on Fox's Bill O'Reilly show. See their article by clicking here.
Levitt discussed a column he wrote for the Orlando Sentinel. Below is a video of his appearance.
For more information on Florida A&M University, visit www.FAMU.edu.
Below is Levitt's column, published September 15, 2009.
President Obama, race and the unpatriotic right
The far right and its right-wing brethren's most recent barrage of indignant and visceral attacks against President Barack Hussein Obama has led me to conclude that the scourge of anti-Obama fanaticism is nothing more than foolish racism masquerading as patriotism and phony Christianity.
It is no secret that the far right and its institutions have an unjust guttural dislike for President Obama. After allowing George W. Bush to destroy our economy and international standing without challenge for eight years, the far right's central strategy for helping America is to attempt to delegitimize Obama with trailer-park prowess.
Right-wing disdain for the first African-American president is primordially violent and expressed in dishonest, uninformed, racist and unpatriotic rhetoric and demonstration.
I am not concerned with right-wing dishonesty, ignorance, racism or hate marching; these are not new phenomena in American culture and politics. However, what concerns me is the combustible combination of these perspectives when combined with a lethal dose of violent and unpatriotic actions targeting the U.S. president.
Certain fanatical people and groups, not worthy of specific mention, recently toted guns at presidential town-hall meetings wearing menacing T-shirts that read: "It is time to water the tree of liberty."
This was a symbolically threatening parity of Thomas Jefferson's celebrated call for vigilance: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots." Regrettably, this dangerously insolent and unpatriotic message was aimed at the leader of the Free World.
A patriot is one who loves, supports and defends his or her nation and loves its citizens, especially the U.S. president. A patriot subscribes to symbolic values such as honoring the flag, singing the national anthem and fighting nonviolently for fundamental freedoms. A patriot honors the U.S. president, irrespective of his or her biases.
The U.S. president is the head of state and government, as well as the highest official in the country and commander in chief of the armed forces. He is not only the most-influential and -recognized political figure in the world, but also the living embodiment of our democracy.
While I believe that it is healthy to constructively engage and criticize government, the far right has shamed our nation by attacking President Obama with unpatriotic idioms and schemes.
As a close follower of presidential politics, I do not remember another time when an American president was so unpatriotically maligned by Americans, namely, right-wing politicians and media, and the millions of Joe and Judy plumbers who would disown Jesus if they knew he was African, and Obama if he were the Second Coming.
The truth remains that right-wing anti-Obama rhetoric around abortion, health care, education, gun control and foreign policy are cowardly coded smoke screens intended to mask fear and racism.
Whether it is the birthers movement, gun-toting right-wing anarchists, bigoted congressmen, hate marchers or garden-variety dogmatists, the fact remains that Obama won the election.
Any American family that participates in the far-right campaign against President Obama by, for example, depriving their children of the opportunity to receive apolitical words of wisdom and encouragement from the president and leader of the free world, is unpatriotic.
Is it patriotic to stifle debate with right-wing anti-Obama propaganda when our nation stands in the balance between a broken economy, a controversial war on terrorism, a sick health-care system and an uneducated educational system? Is it patriotic to malign the first African-American president with racially coded and violent messaging?
The far right and its right-wing brethren have shown that they are driven by envy and racial animus.
I would remind the far right what the Apostle Paul wrote, " ... there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." Hence, Obama is the U.S. president and leader of the Free World because he was appointed by God.
Need I say more?
Jeremy Levitt is associate dean for International Programs and a distinguished professor of international law at the FAMU College of Law in Orlando.