Well, black lawmakers say they hope the affair leads to change in what they see as the racist culture of the Capitol. They're calling for sensitivity training classes for legislators and staffers. "We have to set a higher standard," Rep. John DeBerry said at a black caucus press conference where Sen. Thelma Harper also expressed her outrage:
"It's offensive to see a page of white men who were presidents and, when you get to the black president, you see a black spot with white eyes. We should take corrective action immediately. That hasn't been done. It will continue to bleed and fester until corrective action is taken. It's more than a mistake. Someone planned it and they executed it. I'm the mother of black children. They didn't come out as a black spot on a page with white eyes. You should be offended. This nation should be offended that someone feels comfortable portraying the president of the United States in that manner. I'm offended, and I hope you are."
Liberadio's Mary Mancini agrees it's time to reset the tone at the legislature. She suggests a couple of facilitators to lead lawmakers to a better mental space: civil rights legend Jim Lawson or a guy named Tim Wise who lectures on the pathology of white privilege. Yes, this is a teaching moment. We are all earthlings!
We'd like to do our part by recommending a few students for the first sensitivity class. There's that lovely couple Poison Ivy and Norman Bates, er, we mean Robin Smith and Bill Hobbs. For show-and-tell time, Hobbs could bring his charming little cartoon of Mohammed, and Smith could relive yet again that wonderful time her enlightened family took her kid's black friend on a beach vacation. And let's not forget Reps. Gerald McCormick, Curry Todd and Eric Watson, the three sophisticates who threw temper tantrums over the resolution expressing regret for slavery this session. Slavery wasn't their fault, they said, so regret is a little too much to ask. Watson was so wound up he invented an entirely new species to insult--Hispaniels!
On second thought, maybe sensitivity classes wouldn't work with these guys.
See Otis Sanford: "The last thing Republicans in Tennessee need right now is more evidence that the party is full of backwater bigots who wish they were in the land of cotton."
And Jack McElroy: "So why would she disseminate a blatantly racist smear of the president among her colleagues at the Tennessee General Assembly? The sad answer is because, within certain circles of the Republican Party right now, the line between racist attack and political opposition is blurred. Goforth, immersed in the culture of partisan combat at the statehouse, simply crossed the line because there isn't any line."More opinions here and here.