Thousands of hostile messages flooded my e-mail after my Sept. 2 column that the Daily News called "We Need Obama, Not 4 More Years of George Bush."
Drudge cleverly headlined it: "Philadelphia columnist warns if McCain wins, look for a full-fledged race war."
I stand by the column - but after all of that backlash, I realize I was dead wrong. We don't have to wait until after the election for a race war. We're in one now.
I know that putting the words "race" and "war" together is like hurling an incendiary device. But I wasn't issuing a call to arms, it was a metaphorical prediction.
I hate violence, but I do see a growing wave of intolerance sweeping the nation. And most of the responses were hostile, like one from someone who identified himself as Dennis Van Pelt: "Obama runs like a porch monkey in Alabama during a KKK concert." But, not all white Southerners feel like Dennis. Russ Nelson wrote: "I am a white male who was proud to cast my vote for Barack Obama in the Alabama state primary. He inspires me!"
Nelson sounds more like the liberal whites I grew up with in West Mount Airy, a community that pioneered integration in Philadelphia and kept me wearing rose-colored glasses. I didn't personally experience racism until I was 40, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks...'
I move in diverse circles and was raised in an upper-middle-class family with parents who exposed us to a wide range of experiences. My family includes several races and religions and a range of political views.
But from what I've been seeing lately, including the reaction to my column, the racial, economic, cultural and religious divides are getting wider. Most of the 2,000 negative responses used language so foul my ears curled...."
Ms. Ali, I know a little about Mt. Airy; it is one of the most beautiful and diverse communities in A-merry-ca. But Ms. Ali, you ain't in Mt. Airy anymore, you are in A-merry-ca now, and there won't be any race war. The only wars that are being faught are being carried out by people like Drudge and the folks at FAKE NEWS. They are fighting against truth, and they are hoping that the rest of A-merry-cans will stay blind and never see it.