After one of the most divisive elections in American history, some are calling for unity around President-Elect Donald Trump.
Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway took it a step further, calling the nationwide anti-Trump protests “degrading to the office of the presidency.”
Really? So when a president is elected in America, everyone should just fall into line?
History shows that America’s first black president didn’t quite receive the benefit of the doubt after his election in 2008. President Obama’s election brought out overtly racist displays questioning his citizenship, character and legitimacy.
The Tea Party’s rise to prominence months after the president’s inauguration in 2009 was in part fueled by race. Here are some reminders of disrespect President Obama faced over the course of 8 years.
1. His citizenship was questioned. Led by people like Donald Trump, the ‘birther movement’ spread the false idea that President Obama was born outside of the United States and therefore not eligible to be president.
President Obama had to endure the disrespect of presenting his birth certificate to show he was born in Hawaii — and even then, some people still didn’t believe him.
2. Obamacare was reduced to ‘Death Panels.’ While criticism of any new policy might be valid, some opponents of the Affordable Care Act were hysterical in their protests. They even claimed “death panels” would be used to describe the program’s administration, a claim which has since been debunked.
3. He was called an outright liar. In 2009, one of the most infamous incidents of disrespect occurred while President Obama delivered a speech about health care to Congress. Rep. Joe Wilson shouted out for all to hear, “You lie!!”
It was just one example of many times people referred to Obama as a liar, no matter what he said and did.
4. His Christianity was questioned, mocked. It made no difference that President Obama espoused Christian philosophies or was married in a Christian church.
His critics insisted that the president secretly practiced Islam, and in a 2012 poll, the Pew Research Center found 17 percent of Americans and 1/3 of conservative Republicans believed Obama was a Muslim.
5. His wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, was also disrespected. Despite being one of the most educated First Ladies in history and overcoming incredible odds to build her professional career, critics ripped Michelle Obama for everything from her clothes to her facial expressions.
The disrespect has continued even in 2016, where an elected official referred to FLOTUS as an “ape in heels.” Despite the hate, FLOTUS has stayed classy and a partner to President Obama through thick and thin.