The large crowd that gathered along the parade route in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day went wild when President Barack Obama and the First Lady got out of their armored vehicle and walked along Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a pivotal moment in American history, but it was also a moment that had to make the Secret Service a little nervous. It definitely made millions of other Americans tense to see the two look so exposed. On television that day, the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. and other analysts vocalized just how uncomfortable it made them to see the Obamas outside the confines of the vehicle, especially because of the many threats directed against Obama.
An increase in threats against a new president is nothing new, but officials say there are more threats against Obama—the nation’s first Black president—than any other president in U.S. history, according to the Associated Press. In fact, law enforcement officials, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said they have seen more potentially threatening Internet postings, writings and other activities directed at the new President than with any past president. Secret Service has cautioned the public from assuming threats are solely directed at the President because of Mr. Obama’s race, but many believe race is most certainly the reason.
First Lady Michelle Obama previously told ESSENCE that older Black Americans have expressed concern for Obama’s safety. But the President told Barbara Walters recently that he doesn’t worry about the threats. “Part of it is because I’ve got this pretty terrific crew of Secret Service guys that follow me everywhere I go, but also because I have a deep religious faith and faith in people that carries me through the day,” he said. “And my job is just to make sure I’m doing my job, and if I do, I can’t worry about that kind of stuff.” —ESSENCE.com Staff
Do you think the large number of threats against President Obama is because of his race? Join the discussion below.