I see Rudy Giuliani is drunk-texting you about "love" again.
You remember him, right? The one who crashed and burned trying to court you in 2008? The one whose online profile seemed so charming until you met him in person? That's right, he's back. Whispering in your ear about how you're the most beautiful, exceptional country, and that tall, dark, possibly socialist stranger you're with now will never love you like old Rudy can.
So just in case you've forgotten why you lost his number, take it from a New Yorker who lived with him for 8 years: This new version of Rudy is nothing but the same old dog, blowing the same old dog whistle.
When Giuliani speaks in coded language about how Obama is so different from "us," and then claims this has nothing to do with race? New Yorkers know this all too well as the same game he played when he inflamed racial tensions after the Crown Heights riots to oust then-mayor David Dinkins. The same coded language and barely disguised fear-mongering that polarized the city throughout his tenure, and widened the rift between citizens and police that our city still struggles to deal with, and to heal.
When he awkwardly shoehorns September 11th into his latest eruptions of rhetoric, does that raise any red flags for you? Does he remind you of that ex who constantly brought up the one big favor he did 14 years ago, as if that should make you forget how he treated you the rest of the time? You should trust your instinct. Giuliani is that guy.
When Giuliani insists that Obama never tells you he loves you, do you get a vague sense this line might be insincere? That Rudy's hoping you've somehow forgotten wide swaths of Obama's autobiography, or the starry-eyed belief in "one America" that thrust him into the national spotlight in 2004, or pretty much every major speech he's made since then? Yeah, you should trust that instinct. That's the type of player Giuliani is, and it's the game he played on New York all along.
For the Rudy Giulianis of American politics, "love" is never more than a cynical game, in which we, the public, are buttered up with patriotic sweet talk, then kept emotionally dependent by playing on our worst fears, feeding into our worst instincts. And the bitter irony of this sick game is that the moments Giuliani has seized upon as proof of Obama's apathy, are the very times Obama best embodied a genuine love of country.
When the President trusts us to handle a real (albeit mild) conversation about racist flaws in our justice system, when he has faith we can discuss the complex history of our religious faiths and put today's extremism in proper context, in those moments the President is showing the body politic how real love works. He's showing us how a healthy, loving relationship with your country is one where you can talk honestly about your flaws as well as your strengths, and thus truly build a more perfect union.
So America, the next time Giuliani feels like dropping in and just expects you to offer a sympathetic ear, I strongly advise you to do what so many New Yorkers have been trying to do for a decade now: Ignore him, and keep on ignoring him until he takes the hint and goes away for good. Because if we want real love in 2016, we've got no time for these silly games.
Jay Smooth is the host and founder of New York’s longest running hip-hop radio show, WBAI's Underground Railroad, airing since 1991 and recently cited by Chuck D as home to "the best hip-hop conversations." In 2007 Jay began his award-winning video commentary series at Illdoctrine.com, which has been highlighted on NPR, CNN and MSNBC, where Rachel Maddow hailed Jay as a “genius.”