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Friday, August 14, 2009

Racist Asshole Deserves No Mercy (updated)

I'm sitting in the Elmendorf base exchange food court.

Fox News is on the TV. I'm watching the President of the United States answer questions on healthcare reform at a townhall meeting.

An old man and his wife sit down across from me.

He's wearing a US Army retired hat.

He says loudly and with anger in his voice, "I wish to hell they wouldn't put this fucking nigger on TV."

I was standing before I even realized it. Face flushed, blood boiling. I honestly haven't been that offended in a long, long time.

I spoke very, very harshly. I told him to take that army hat off in as much as a racist asshole like him had no business wearing the symbol of America's freedom. Fuck him, fuck his wife, and fuck the horse they rode in on. They're entitled to their opinion, as noxious and dishonorable as it is. They are not entitled to express it in public among the men and women sworn to defend this country and sworn to obey the orders of that very President. Then I told them to get the fuck out. They did, sullenly, but they did - and it's a damned good thing because I was fully prepared to punch a 70 year old man directly in his bigoted mouth.

I'm sick of these bastards telling me that I should leave this country, that I'm not American enough, that my president isn't American enough. I'm tired of hearing these nasty sons of bitches call the President a traitor and me a traitor for voting for him. I'm tired of being told that freedom means only thinking and choosing exactly as they do. I'm sick and tired of these sorry bastards and their spoiled childish sour grapes attitude. America voted, Americans exercised their right to democracy, Americans choose Barack Obama as their president overwhelmingly, the Electoral Collage choose Barack Obama in a virtual landslide, and these petulant whining pricks just can't seem to understand that America is so very much more than their stinking racist vision. These idiots let Bush run roughshod over us for eight damned years and they cheered while he pissed on the Constitution and did everything in his power to destroy this country. I've had it with these small minded ignorant backward assed fucks and their version of patriotism, and I'm sick of having to apologize for them, and I'm tired of cleaning up their messes, and I've been pushed as far as I'm going.

And if they don't like it, they are welcome to pack a bag and leave.

From now on, I'm showing these racist assholes the door.

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Update: Apologies for the, uh, density of the language in the original post, I've edited it a bit.

In my defense, I was seriously pissed. My hands shook for a half an hour afterward. I really wanted to belt that guy. He was just a mean nasty angry pinch faced asshole. One of those miserable old racist bastards who hates everybody and everything. It was written all over his face, he's miserable and it's everybody else's fault. One of those people who seem to think that "we" are taking "his" country away from him, one of those guys who seem to think that because he's old and because he's a veteran he can loudly spout racism and bigotry and frothing hatred and the rest of us should just put up with it, ignore it, pretend that it's OK because he's from a different time when such things were acceptable. He was very obviously used to having things his own way - and it just plain fucking pissed me off.

It's not acceptable. Nobody is taking his country away. It's not his country. America belongs to all of us. If you have no respect for that, you deserve no respect in return.

I was so damned mad I just wanted to beat the ever living hell out of him.

But there was more to it than that - I was embarrassed. There were only a handful of people around, but there were children in the food court area. There was at least one dependent wife (I assumed she was a dependent wife, I don't know for certain) with her kids, I think she was Hispanic. He spoke loudly, obviously intending for people to hear. His statement made me feel ashamed. It made me feel angry that those children should hear such things, that they should hear such things while their father was out there in uniform defending the nation. It made me angry that this guy thought he was superior to all of the rest of us who serve or have served - just because of the color of his skin. It made me angry that his skin color is the same as mine - I don't want him, I don't want to be associated with him, I don't want people to look at me and see him because of the color of my skin. It made me angry that he can't disagree with the President in any manner other than by race.

53 comments:

  1. I love you Jim.


    Like the big brother I never wanted, just in case you were concerned, so tell Becky to back off with the ball bat!

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  2. Can I get some of your mojo up here in Fairbanks? Please?

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  3. ::salute my respects::

    Thanks, Jim - right on.

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  4. Get in the fucking sack, racist asshole.

    Sorry you had to witness that, Warrant. Keep the faith.

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  5. Hot Mom says, "There's no cure for stupid. You just need a bigger fucking sack."

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  6. AND she says the "granny train" will be leaving for the death camps following the adjournment of the OBAMA DEATH PANEL. Perhaps your lunch buddy should get on it.

    Why, yes, I do know where I get it, thanks for asking.

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  7. Thank you - wish more people would stand up to the racists.

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  8. Really, I'm fairly speechless. But I'm proud to call you a friend.

    My hat is off - you honored your country, your service and your freedom today.

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  9. Go get 'im!

    Step Two: make them change the damn channel. :p

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  10. Well, I just may have to fly my flag tomorrow in your honor, Jim.

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  12. Hell, yes!
    *offers terrorist fist jab*

    That's not just the lawfully elected President, that's the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.

    I know several career military service people who hated Bush but would do nothing publicly against him except vote, because of that very fact.

    I'm reminded of Heinlein's essay/story "Over the Rainbow" in _Expanded Universe_ where a black woman becomes president and during a meeting of the joint chiefs the Secretery of Defense calls her a N----- B---- and the the Marines Commandant puts him in a hammerlock and demands something like, "Down on your knees and apologize! That's the President of the United States of America that you're talking to!"

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  13. Thank you, Jim, for standing up for America -- once again.

    Dr. Phil

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  14. Good for you, Jim! I am honored to know you - you do Americans proud.

    *rousing applause*

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  15. Thanks, but again, this entire incident embarrasses me. And it embarrasses me even more to be thanked for doing the right thing.

    It shouldn't be unusual for any American to stand up to these fuckers, to stand up to the Birthers and the creationists and the racists and the bigots and sexists and the wife beaters and and the Palins.

    Goddamnit this is our country and there are a hell of a lot more of us then there are of them.

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  16. You're right, Jim.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

    I've been letting things go without comment from relatives and such because of conflict avoidance. I'll stop that now. It's too important.

    Thank you for *that*!

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  17. Jim, I understand being embarrassed by being thanked for doing the right thing. But you also have to remember that a lot of people wouldn't have done anything, much less the right thing. It's hard to take a stand. You did, and you deserve to be recognized for it.

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  18. Jim, too many people are being patted on the back and thanked for doing the WRONG thing.

    Can't take back the right thing.

    Dr. Phil

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  19. Jim....you did the right thing, thank you for that

    Something that stands out here is the fact that other military folks, including kids had to hear what this dirtbag said.

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  20. Most people are too "polite" to do the right thing, and call people on being an embarrassment in public.

    Also, it carries a lot more weight when it comes from you, a white guy, than if it comes from one of us in the Them category who just get dismissed out of hand.

    So, thank you for your continued service.

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  21. I have grateful tears in my eyes. Thank you for not freezing up like so many of us do. And thanks for every other thing you do for this country, too.

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  22. Jim, can I borrow the sack when you are done with it? We have a lot of "those" people up here in Canada too.
    Pisses me off...

    Good on you for using your voice.

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  23. When I first read this post I was thinking that big tough Naval Chief Jim scaring the crap out of a frail defenseless 70 year old man was not really playing the game. "What a bully!", I thought. But then I started thinking that the guy would have been born around 1940 and would have been in his 20's during the civil rights movement. So unless he spent all his time in the Alaskan wilderness he would have been aware of the issues and made a choice to be a racist asshole, who thought that a huge percentage of the population didn't deserve the rights he had.

    I also thought about a recent family reunion attended by my surviving aunts and uncles whose ages range from the late 70's to early 90's. They are all sharp, alert, argumentative and as far as I can tell still as much in control of all their faculties as they ever were (which I'll admit, isn't saying much in the case of Uncle Len). They know what they say affects people around them, just like Jim's racist does. So why shouldn't someone let the racist know in no uncertain terms that expressing his hateful, racist views in public isn't acceptable? We're not just talking about someone who holds a different political view here, we're talking about someone who wants to deprive other people of their rights.

    Well done Jim!

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  24. "Goddamnit this is our country and there are a hell of a lot more of us then there are of them."

    And we need to remember that.

    'ALL enemies, foreign and domestic', right, Warrant?

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  25. Tim,

    I'm not a particularly big guy, and he wasn't particularly frail.

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  26. Here's the thing: he obviously intended his statement as a challenge. He obviously intended to be offense. He wanted somebody to say something.

    What really pissed me off is that he obviously expected military people to agree with him. He can't believe that anybody in the military would willingly support Obama - and what he completely misses is that it doesn't matter. We support the President, whoever he is.

    I doubt he would have said any similar thing in a public mall, but on base he obviously felt comfortable being a racist and calling the Commander in Chief the most offense thing you can possibly call a person of color in America. This implies that he felt the rest of us shared his views, or if not that he was retired military and senior enough and tough enough that he could bully anybody who objected. This mistake needed to be corrected forcefully.

    Both the assumed bigotry and the assumed power pissed me off. I've met a number of such bullies in my career. Sadistic senior NCO's who abuse their power (he was wearing a Sergeant 1st Class pin on his hat, along with some Vietnam campaign buttons - I assumed he was a retired Army Sergeant) and think their rank gives them the right to act like an asshole. Additionally I noted that a number of these jackasses hang around base long after they retire and continue to be assholes - demanding privileges and respect from active duty folks that they themselves never gave when they were in uniform.

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  27. It really is hard for most people to do the right thing, Jim. Please forgive us if we admire, in you, the traits we most desire for ourselves.

    Keep fighting the good fight. You inspire us all to stand right up with you and that is a Good Thing.

    (aka songstress)

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  28. Jim,

    I guess you'll just have to have a photographer document your next encounter so I can judge better ;-)

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  29. Now, to be perfectly honest here, after a day to think about it, I don't know if I would have confronted him in a public place off base myself.

    I'd like to think that I would have, but I don't know. Standing up was a reflex - me being The Warrant. I'm comfortable on base, I know where things stand, I know the rules of military life, I'm a pretty senior person in the military myself - both as a retired Warrant and as a senior GS. People find out who I am, who I was, and they get real respectful, real fast. I'm used to straightening out military folks. Additionally, the guy knew that what he was doing was despicable and wrong - note that he backed down real damned fast. He's used to bullying his wife and junior people, but when confronted he backed down immediately. He wasn't looking for a fight per se, but looking instead to bully the junior military folks sitting nearby (and to give them credit, two Army sergeants were on their feet behind me when I turned around, obviously coming to help straighten the guy out, we watched him leave, they nodded to me, I nodded to them, we went back to lunch).

    It's the situation that pissed me off so badly.

    1. The blatant public racism - that shit is over, that time is done and buried and I don't give a flying fuck if this old guy doesn't like it. This is 2009, not 1909 asshole, get with the program. We don't need to make allowances, we don't need to pretend that it's ok, heh heh, he's just old. He knows he is wrong, he knows it. His behavior is not acceptable - and if he's going to act like a rotten child then he should be treated like a rotten child.

    2. His statement is dishonorable, it is dishonorable in so many ways. We in the US military swear an oath to the Constitution, to the United States, and to the President. Either your word is good, or it's not, there is no middle ground. (I assume) he was a senior NCO, responsible for shaping the minds and hearts and honor of the men who followed him. To disparage the President in front of junior troops is a violation of that oath and of regulations. A statement like that in uniform would very likely result in formal charges, for racism, for disrespect, for conduct unbecoming - but out of uniform he obviously still expects the respect and privilege of his former rank, but doesn't live up to the oath and responsibilities of that rank. This is unacceptable. Respect is earned, each and every day, by every action. Respect is not a right, not an entitlement.

    3. He assumed that those sitting in a military mall on a military base must feel the same way. Or he assumed that we were too cowardly to stand up to him, either because of his former rank or because of his age or because he was an angry man who once had been somebody. This was a mistake and it needed to be corrected, forcefully.

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  30. Alesia,

    See, I wouldn't even have said anything about this online (and I regret doing so now - I'd much rather people were reading the Healthcare post), but I was pissed and angry at the time for the reasons stated above. I could hardly believe that somebody would act this way. I happened to have my netbook with me (which is why I was there in the first place, free WiFi, good sandwiches at Chicago's Best) and just made a quick frothy post before going back to work.

    Here's the thing, I don't consider my actions unusual. I'd consider NOT confronting the guy unusual. Nearly every NCO, certainly every Navy Chief (in the capital letter sense of the word) would have done the same thing - and probably been a lot louder about it. Hell, I know Master Chiefs who would have thrown the old guy through the glass door into the parking lot and damn the consequences.

    I expect people to stand up to this kind of crap. To be perfect candid about it, I'm somewhat appalled that anybody would consider my actions unusual.

    Heh, when I told my wife about it, she wasn't surprised by what I'd said, she'd expect that from me and the people like me - but she was irritated that I used foul language when there were kids present and I got an earful about that. I.e. for us (us being military folks) this is about honor, about behaving properly, about being civilized human beings. He is perfectly within his rights to dislike the President, to hate him and oppose him and vote for somebody else. He's perfectly within his rights to say so. But he has no right whatsoever to display racism, to make racist statements, or to make such statements on a military base - we have a hard time understanding folks who wouldn't stand up about that.

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  31. Oh, I think people are reading the healthcare post too. I can't speak for
    anyone else, of course, but I think it's useful to hear about this kind of occurrence too, if only as a reminder that there are people who think this is acceptable, and who will say so in public, face to face, not just via more impersonal media. And expect to be agreed with. I agree it's embarrassing, and I'm glad you spoke up. I'm not sure I would have, in that exact situation, but I like to think that I would in a millieu that I was more familiar with.

    "honor, about behaving properly, about being civilized human beings" shouldn't be the province of only the military.

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  32. Jim,

    If it's any help, I shared your healthcare post on my Facebook, not this one -- though I confess I was tempted.

    It is I think human nature to assume that what is easy for us must also be easy for everyone. I do it too, my husband does it, but the fact is that we all have strengths and weaknesses that make us who we are: Individual human beings, somehow making a life in the space between birth and death. Your strengths made you "the Navy Warrant" and they give you the courage and decency to stand up to Mr. Racist and read him the riot act.

    You're just going to have to accept that the rest of us fallible mortals may or may not have shared your strength at similar moments.

    I agree with Becky, btw, that your foul language in front of those kids really wasn't appropriate and if you have to be embarrassed about something, well, that's a good thing to be embarrassed about. I wasn't going to say anything though -- it's her prerogative and it sounds like she handles it really well, God love her.

    But please find a way past the embarrassment over the rest of us admiring you for the act itself. You're inspiring us to stand up, to do better, to be better. In today's vernacular, that doesn't suck.

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  33. If he was Vietnam era Army E-7 he could also have been a Platoon Sargent, no insignia difference.

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  34. Jim, I personally am glad you blogged about it. In many ways, it's just as important as the health care post. Just like the mindless mouthy "I want my country back this is socialism" zombie bigots at the health care meetings, and the scarier ones outside flaunting weapons and perverting the "blood of patriots" line as Timothy McVeigh did, these people need to be confronted by people like you and I.

    Not necessarily in the way you did (although I agree that your action makes me proud to know you and call you friend) but in all the ways you and others are spreading the truth about what is going on - by blogging, by commenting, by letters to the editor and to your elected officials, etc.

    If we don't stand up to these people, then they win. Adn stand up is what you did, setting a good example for all of us to follow.

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  35. NTSC, It was one of those glossy enamel yellow 3rd party pins, like you'd buy in a kiosk at the military hat store or from a pin vendor. Not an official army rank device. So the insignia was generic E-7.

    He had an infantryman's patch too, so, yeah, maybe platoon sarge type. Not that it matters.

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  36. I agree with Becky--I did a double take when you wrote later there were kids around for the incident.

    But aside from that, you still said what needed to be said, and did what needed to be done. Next time just remember not to be such a potty mouth about it.

    ;)

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  37. Since I'm a potty mouth, too, I must admit I didn't even blink at the news that children were present while you were flinging the F Bomb around with such abandon. Mostly because I'm quite certain my own reaction would have been (and has been) identical.

    Your use of profanity was visceral, as was your personal attack on the racist asshole. Speaking as a parent, I would much rather children are exposed to that visceral reaction than to the racists. I would rather explain to my kids that "the man felt really, really strongly about what the old man said, so he used bad language when he probably shouldn't have." Explaining why people are hateful (and stupid) is a much harder conversation - because the former comes from an honorable intention, and the latter is just shameful. Of course, the parents of the children would probably have to have both conversations. Because unfortunately, racism is alive and well in our world.

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  38. Jim, I'm impressed.

    (Nice blog, btw.)

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  39. Well having seen you get pissed at what I thought were some really meaningless act s of rude people or thoughtless morons in the past it's good to see you directing some of the general disdain for the general public toward a truly deserving and particularly low-life type ass hole. It's this kinda crap that puts a lot of other things into perspective and brings the rest of the crap on the burners down to a slow boil.
    So think of this type of flaming butt munch the next time the tour bus stops for the moose picture in the middle of the road or when the lady with the canned peaches freaks when you put your hamburger buns on the conveyor belt and it will seem all the more laughable. You probably would have bit your lip in public like I have seen you do time and again but you are right. Active, Reserve or Retired people owe the man in the office the respect due and should keep their face sphincters buttoned up, especially on base around people who have chosen to make sacrifices. I probably would have joined you but in a more direct and beastly sort of way like walking him to his massive RV where they left the yappie little dogs and stickers from all the other bases in the country they stank up. Even though you found your own actions questionable after the fact, you reacted in the place at the time as anyone who has served their country should. Fuck em. It may make them think twice about spewing their shit next time.

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  40. Ha! I'd completely forgotten about the woman and the peaches. Thanks, Beastly.

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  41. Jim,

    I've been quiet so far here because it really goes without saying that I have absolutely no problem with any of your words or actions in this instance and I'm proud to call you a friend.

    Now, far be it from me (really, really far) to tell your wife what she should and shouldn't give you a hard time about, but I have a distinct memory of my father taking me to get my haircut when I was a little kid growing up in the south. There was a news report involving MLK on the television, and, as you can imagine, some pretty vile things were being spouted by the assembled luminaries. My father didn't say anything to anyone there, (it really would have been inviting violence in that time and place), but he did grab my hand and drag me out of there.

    In the car, he told me the men had been spouting obscenities and that I wasn't to use that kind of language. Even though they'd certainly been uttered, the words "fucking", "Goddamn", "Asshole" and "shit" weren't part of the list he told me not to use.

    Only one of you in that room was spewing language that children should never be poisoned with...and it wasn't you.

    P.S. I'm by no means an authority on how the grape vine works in military circles, but I'm told it's one of the more efficient institutions working there. Like it or not, I have no doubt that word has gotten out that there's a retired Warrant on base who doesn't tolerate shit like that. If that makes a few people look around to see who's listening and think twice before they start running their mouths, I can't think of that as a bad thing. It does you credit that you find the whole episode embarrassing, but you've achieved more than just putting one old dinosaur in his place. That's worth a little embarrassment.

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  42. Jim -

    You make us proud bud - I know that wasn't your intent, but you represented the best of us bud, the best that makes this country so damned good.

    I'm so damn proud to know you!

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  43. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Shutup about the foul language thing, will you all, you bastards?

    I'm already married. Have been for a long time. Thanks. I've got the whole nagging thing covered. Consider me properly chastised.



    Plus, military kids. Seriously, blue language, not a new thing to them. Really. Trust me on this.

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  44. I thought I was tacitly giving permission. Well, Fuck You Mr. Warrant.

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  45. That's better, Nathan.

    Watch for squirrels. The little bastards are popping up everywhere.

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  46. Plus, military kids. Seriously, blue language, not a new thing to them. Really. Trust me on this.

    I can vouch for this. Funny thing is, it was my non-military mother who swore a blue streak when I was growing up, not my enlisted Navy father. Then again, he was overseas most of the time. He didn't have to raise six kids more or less alone. It's a wonder my mother never said "fuck" (she hates that word). Whereas I fucking use it with fucking abandon.

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  47. Well sir, there's a lot of points we don't agree on I am sure (me being not of the same political mind as you that is) but one thing is absolutely for certain:

    That racist bastard probably needed to be flogged decades ago. Shut him up and send him packing.

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