America has collectively gone nuts. Among other things, garment-rending mobs from the far-right to the far-left to all points in between appear to be blaming President Obama for almost literally everything, so given the context it's really not too shocking to see a brutally racist billboard in Cleveland calling for Obama's impeachment and featuring a gigantic pair of black, well, nuts.
The billboard's message is printed in bold, all-caps text reading: "ENOUGH WITH THE LYING," "IMPEACHMENT NOW" and "YOU'RE OUT OF CONTROL," with a jet-black caricature of the president. It continues with the text, "DOES ANYONE IN CONGRESS HAVE A SET OF THESE?" And just above the words "TESTICLE FORTITUDE" is a jet-black, weirdly penis-less scrotum labeled "The Big Kahunas," an obvious reference to Obama's childhood in Hawaii.
Cleveland resident Nancy Sysack -- yes, "Sysack" -- who operates Harry X. Sysack Sign Co., posted the billboard to attack the president and, as with most of the screeching about impeachment, to grab a little attention, "Sometimes you've got to put things out there in order to make a point and get people to turn their heads," she said, "There's more graphic stuff in the art museum." Well, the graphic stuff in an art museum is in a museum , not along a street in Cleveland, and considerably less racist/obnoxious than this.
Credit where credit is due: at least she had the, um, kahunas? to include the name of her business and its phone number on the sign (it's (216) 351-6111). Not many racist trolls would take credit for something this truly awful -- and posted at a time when the United States is gripped by racial tensions in Ferguson, MO.
Oh, and by the way, it's not the first time Sysack has been responsible for a racist billboard. Back in 2002, Sysack produced a billboard showing MLK with his arm around Osama Bin Laden. Obviously Sysack wasn't a fan of the Martin Luther King holiday and wanted to illustrate her objections by depicting the civil rights leader with the world's most-wanted terrorist at the time. What happened to this sign? Someone burned it to the ground.
Whether it's Iraq, Gaza, Ferguson, Ukraine, the Ebola outbreak or the immigration crisis, there's nothing particularly unusual about various hot spots cropping up around the world. Sure, each situation is more harrowing than the next, but it's the reaction to all of these things that's particularly nuts right now. Maybe it's the prevalence of social media and its ability to spread outrage at hyper-speed, or maybe it's the click-bait news headlines that exaggerate the truth and serially mislead the public. It's difficult to know exactly why it's happening, but Americans are particularly loaded with piss and vinegar right now.
Honestly, I'm shocked no one tried to blame Obama for what happened to Robin Williams. Sure, Limbaugh came really damn close, but I was braced to hear from at least one crackpot who'd go there. And they might as well have. Nearly every news item that drops, it's a race to see who can contort the thing into a consequence of Obamacare or the president's alleged abuse of power or his golf game.
How nuts are we? A lot nuts.
--The House Republicans have taken a break from demonizing frivolous lawsuits in order to conduct one of their own as a means of thwarting the president's traditional use of executive orders -- in spite of the fact that he's signed the fewest of any two-term president in history. One faction of the GOP supports legal action, another faction supports impeachment, while a third faction of extremists want both. In this category, the viral derangement cells have multiplied into a full-on pandemic.
--Elsewhere, the NRA has responded to a lengthening chain of massacres by producing videos in which they endorse free government-subsidized ammunition and, yes, gun permits for blind people. (The latter item was too nuts for even the NRA and so the video supporting guns for the blind was removed.)
--For her part, Hillary Clinton gave us a preview of the forthcoming psych-ward group-sessions that will be the 2014 presidential primaries when she ludicrously simplified the president's foreign policy as "don't do stupid stuff." She knows better, but why educate the public about the policy you yourself had a hand in crafting when there's a huge pile-on in progress?
--As for the reaction to Ferguson, and depending on who you ask, the president was either too sympathetic to the protesters or he was too ignorant to care, interrupting his not-out-of-line-for-a-president vacation to issue a statement about Robin Williams before issuing a statement about Michael Brown, as if this represented an intentional snub to the African-American community.
--Is there any stronger indicator of mass psychosis than "Rand Paul: Presidential Frontrunner"? The states' rights nullificationist, whose father was a laughing stock in two presidential primaries, is now the ostensible leader of the GOP and his party's would-be 2016 nominee. And how might he achieve this? With the support of the naive far-left, of all people, who don't seem to mind elevating someone who's repeatedly poo-pooed the Civil Rights Act.
The list goes on and on. Bottom line: we've clearly lost our shpadoinkle, and I'm not sure we can get it back.
Once again, does the president have a spotless record? Hardly. However, the tone of the discourse at this point has made the time that guy hurled shoes at President Bush's head seem centered and rational by comparison. Yes, there are things you can blame on the president. But a great many of the figurative shoes being hurled at his head right now are reactions to events that are entirely out of his control.
So no wonder there's a racist testicular billboard in Cleveland demanding that Congress impeach the president. We're so far down the rabbit hole, so thoroughly wrapped up in our flailing political dementia, that it'd be shocking if there wasn't such a billboard. But let this be a wake-up call. Perhaps we all need to settle down. Unfollow Gawker and Buzzfeed. Unfriend your conspiracy theorist former college buddies. Close your Twitter app. Have a tall drink, perhaps a little sex with your partner and chill the fuck out, America. Seriously. The world is watching.