Paul R. Lehman, Hank Williams, Jr. apologizes for Obama Comparison to Hitler–not

October 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Bigotry in America, blacks, Media and Race, Prejudice, Race in America, whites | Leave a comment
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Hank Williams, Jr. the country singer whose song opens the
Monday Night Football games, made a big mistake just recently during an
interview. The mistake was not so much about what he said as it was about where
he said it. He made a statement that compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler
and referred to him and Vice President Biden as “the enemy.” The problem is not
so much what he said as it is where he said it and why he said it.

Scratch the surface of a bigot, one will likely find a
hypocrite. Scratch the surface of a hypocrite and one will likely find an
irrational person. All three conditions usually go together because they
compliment each other. All three conditions can usually be found in people who
make statements that call attention to themselves. Whether Hank Williams Jr. is
one such person is not the question here. What is of concern here is his
mindset and how that reflects the three conditions.

Most people know enough about history to not confuse Obama
with Hitler, although it has been done numerous times. The idea behind the
comparison is to picture Obama as a horribly despicable person.  One would have to find some evidence to
support the claim if it was to be believed, however, since Obama has not done
anything so terrible to qualify him for that comparison, the only obvious
reason for the claim is a gross dislike of Obama. One could easily say that
William’s statement indicates a dislike of Obama. The obvious question to
follow is why does Williams dislike Obama so much? The reason could be
politics—Obama is a democrat. We might be able to accept that reason were it
not for the fact that Williams has criticized Obama in the past.

One of Williams’ mistakes was not realizing where he was
during his interview with Fox News. One might assume that he thought he was in
a comfortable, secure, and friendly setting where people thought like he
thought. He probably based his thought on his knowledge of Fox News’ reputation
regarding its coverage of President Obama. Unfortunately, for Williams, he forgot
the fact that he was closely associated with ESPN and Monday Night Football,
and that viewers generally separate their football from their politics. When
ESPN reacted to Williams’ comments by pulling his television spot, he offered
an apology.

Evidently, Williams saw nothing wrong with what he had said
during the interview because he did not apologize for his comments. He does say
that he is “very sorry if it (his comments) offended anyone.” He never
considered his comments were inappropriate, just a little extreme. Although he
says he has respect for the office of the president, he must view the occupant
of that office as somehow separated from it. In any event, one gets the message
that Williams does not like Obama.

No laws are broken when someone dislikes another person.
Usually, when someone dislikes another person that dislike is based on
something specific. Williams makes no mention of anything in particular he
dislikes in Obama—just Obama. If someone is disliked enough to compare him with
Adolf Hitler, but the comparison seems out of place, one reasonable assumption
might be bigotry. Some Americans live in communities where ethnic diversity is
not readily accepted. Some people believe that the color of a person’s skin
determines how they should be treated. American History shows that for many
years African Americans were not given any value in society. As a matter of
fact, an old saying actually measures the degree of value placed on the African
Americans when it says “a N—– ain’t worth S—.”

Many people grow up hearing that sentiment and others
equally offensive expressed on a frequent basis. Today, if the environment is
considered safe, people who would not utter these sentiments in public would
say them around friends who agreed with them. If any of these people are ever
caught in the act of say disparaging remarks about an ethnic American, they
will quickly apologize, not for what was said, but for being caught or “if”
anyone was offended.

It goes without saying that former President Bush was
compared to Hitler many times, and these comparisons were just as inappropriate
as the ones relative to Obama. Fortunately, with President Bush his comparisons
were made regarding some action he had taken or not taken. With Obama, the
comparison is made and we are left to draw our own conclusions. What can we
make of Williams’ comment that “My analogy was extreme—but it was to make a
point?” What was the point? We are given nothing on which to base a reaction.
His statement seems hypocritical because he does not say what he really means,
whatever that may be.

In offering his apology Williams stated that “The thought of
the leaders of both parties jukin’[sic] and high fiven’[sic] on a golf course,
while so many families are struggling to get by, simply made me boil over and
make a dumb statement, and I am very sorry if it offended anyone.” The he adds,
“I would like to thank all my supporters. This was not written by some
publicist.” Maybe he should have had a publicist write his apology because what
he say makes no sense at all except if one takes each phrase at a time and try
to associate it with something reasonable. One might assume he feels that the
two leaders should be some place working to resolve the problems of the poor,
and since they are not doing that, he gets upset and makes a “dumb statement.”
What he says later about the two men being total opposites adds to the
confusion. We are left either to try and decipher what he means or simply to
forget the entire matter and go on with our lives.

What teams are playing Monday night?

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