[Editor’s note: based on a true story]

Just a cardboard sign, all it was.

Two spikes of aluminum and paper.

In Lake Charles, it read “Obama / Biden ‘08.”

A white guy and registered Republican, we’ll call him Bill, put it in his yard.

He helped re-elect Bush and Cheney in 2004, however, didn’t like the way the country went, and threw his support behind a man who promised to fix everything.

But someone, somewhere, didn’t like that.

Bill got a knock on his door one night.

The Lake Charles police.

What they said was, “Did you know someone spray-painted the word ‘N***** Lover’ on your house?”

Bill went out and looked. Yes, it was there.

He figured it was kids playing a prank. After all, it was Halloween.

The next day, he got a note in the mailbox.

“Die N***** Lover, or move back to Africa.”

And so, Bill decided to take the sign inside, and pressure-washed his house several times.

“I have a wife and three kids,” he said. “I won’t take a chance.”

We think of terrorism from abroad, but it’s right here at home.

We think it a new problem, but it’s been here from before Jim Crow laws.

People were intimidated to vote a certain way, or not at all; often forced with mysterious visits.

Sometimes even with violence.

Then came the civil rights movement.

Progress was made, but slowly.

And after all these decades, and centuries, old prejudices still remain.

[Readers may e-mail Robert Hankins at robert1961@live.com]