These charges aren't just emanating from the fringe groups; they're not just being uttered by radical leftist bloggers or Occupy Wall Street zealots. They are no longer the exclusive province of race hustlers whose professional careers depend on stirring up animosity among racial groups.
In August 2011, the level of polarization seemed to reach a fever pitch, when Congressional Black Caucus Whip Andre Carson said, "Some of them in Congress right now with this tea party movement would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree."
Just a week or so ago, no less a mainstream media figure than former ABC White House correspondent Sam Donaldson wrote, "Many on the political right believe this president ought not to be there -- they oppose him not for his policies and political view but for who he is, an African American!"
This is truly despicable. Imputing such false charges of racism, either out of profound ignorance or in a cynical effort to chill critically important political debate, is terribly destructive to our social fabric. But it goes on -- unabated.
Indeed, Carson's and Donaldson's deplorable statements are a predictable culmination of three years of divisive, racially charged rhetoric and policies from this administration.
Before he was inaugurated, President Obama promised that he would usher in a new period of bipartisan, post-racial politics, and many people believed him. But instead of inspiring a new climate of harmony, Obama has fostered an unprecedented atmosphere of divisiveness and polarization in this country.
From the beginning, Obama has engaged in identity politics, pitting groups of people against one another, from race to gender to economic status to sexual preference.
Early on, Attorney General Eric Holder lectured Americans for being cowards on race. President Obama himself, at one point, allowed as how some of his detractors have a subterranean agenda related to race.