4 Apr


Louise Annarino

April 4, 2012


So much of our American identity is defined by the Latin word aequus, equal. Not to be confused with the Latin word equus or equinus, a horse of a different color; although, there seems to be some connection between the two. Equipage refers to a completely outfitted carriage,ship,army or household; while equip means to supply whatever is needed,arrange,or put in order.

When our government was equipped, or put in order we used a simple equation in our Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident,that all men are created equal,that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,that among these are Life,Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our Constitution, which is the foundation of our laws and the ordering of our society must be interpreted using this equation. We fought a Civil War to assure this. Our Civil War and the subsequent amendments and equal protection laws were passed to drive home this fact. Still, we face a powerful opposition to the guiding principle and philosophy of equality.

The election of an African-American president, Barack Obama upset the equilibrium of the political order. Equality has always been America’s unattained goal. Those who are more equal and better equipped  vs. those less equal and poorly equipped. Over the years, our two-party system provided the music for this balancing act; trading philosophies regarding equality. It was the first Republican president who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and a Democratic president who signed the Civil Rights Act. Today the Republican budget and the Democratic budget proposals are equidistant from enactment, and and equation of equality.

In the past, presidents have been viewed as the meeting place for two equal and competing sides; the vice-president residing over the Senate, ready to break a tie vote. Today, filibuster rules the Senate. Few bills ever get to a vote. That one party obstructs the effort of the other is not new. What is new is that one party, in this instance the Republican Party, has announced it will, and in fact does, obstruct every effort of the president to create equity, mediate the disputes equably, and pass legislation.

The ship of state is under the president’s command. He has tried to equip it, provide all it needs to stay afloat and sail forward. The Republicans insist he fail, refusing to equip the ship of state and insisting it never leave port; or, that it sink if it does. This is something new.  It is inequitable. It strays from the American political philosophy. It is open rebellion against the leader chosen by Americans in an open and free election; similar to the rebellion of American Englishman against their King George. It is unpatriotic.

And what is the reasoning for this denial of every American principle? President (they never use this titled  appellation;they simply say “Obama”)Obama is a socialist,an aetheist, a Muslim, an apologist, a fascist, a communist, an empty suit (remember that one?),hates rich people,hates religion,hates white people…ooops! The cat is out of the bag, or maybe the horse has left the barn is more appropriate. President Obama is a person of color.

Americans acceded to the appearance of racial equality post Civil War while imposing Jim Crow laws. When Jim Crow had to go Americans maintained a facade of equal rights while redlining neighborhoods, denying bank loans, and restricting business and education opportunities which would change the balance of America’s equality equation. But allowing the education, health, business, housing, environmental, agriculture and immigration activities of the nation to  be managed and governed by a chief executive who is African-American is just too “scary”.

All that the Republican Tea Party opposes existed under the Bush administration; yet, its members failed to coalesce and rise up against President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. But, they had no hesitation to   attack President Obama. Not with policy attacks but with ad hominem attacks against him and his supporters. He is the horse of a different color white,wealthy,empowered Americans have always feared. He is the horse of a different color who could upset the unbalance and inequity a competitive people fight to maintain. Yes, America’s flaw is that every American thinks he can do better than the next guy, deserves more than the next guy, make more money than the next guy. In order to justify getting “ahead” of every other American yet stay true to America’s vision of  equality, we redefine other Americans as unequal. We cannot accept that every American IS equal. To do so , we would have to treat them equally. To do that would mean we might not get so far “ahead” of them.

This is why the first attack on President Obama was by “birthers”. If our president was not really American, not one of us, he could not threaten our superiority. He could fail; we could make him fail, and we would still be patriots. It is time to end this inequity. It is time to stand for American principles based on reality. What we hear from opposition candidates is not based in reality. We need to admit that.

President Obama is amazing in his ability to maintain equilibrium under such scurrilous and damaging attacks. He continually guides us back to the center, where equity prevails. He plays golf, eats lunch, shakes hands, smiles companionably with his attackers. His leadership style is equipotent; recognizing and honoring the power of “the people”. He is equipoised no matter what the other side throws at him. If we are honest, we will admit we could not behave with such decorum and dignity. This is a man born to lead a country of equals. This is a horse of  a different color. Amen!


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