In the blue state of Illinois, where President Barack Obama launched his historic career, served as a senator and is widely lauded as a Chicago hometown hero, you would think proposing a holiday honoring him would be an easy call.
Instead, state Rep. Andrew Thapedi was bombarded with a stream of death threats, “venomous” emails and phone calls in the days after he introduced legislation for an Obama state holiday in Illinois.
“We’re digging a grave especially for you,” Thapedi, a Chicago Democrat, said one of the emails warned after the bill was written up in a story on Breitbart.com. “It has been a hodge-podge of responses, from one end of the spectrum to the other: joy, jubilation on one side; absolute, unadulterated venom on the other side.”
The business of honoring Obama’s legacy is turning out to be another reminder of the nation’s bitter divide, with one side eager to salute the first black president and another positioned in stark opposition.