Saturday, September 05, 2009

Tahoe Ticker Column 11: The Hate that Dare not Speak Its Name

OK, it's now officially over the top. When President Bush was criticized, or even just teased for his mangling of the language, the Right said "you can criticize the President, but you must respect the office,"

Now those same people, after calling President Obama a Nazi, a non-citizen, and a socialist, are objecting to his doing a broadcast to schools this week. The socialist agenda he's going to spread? Stay in school and work hard.

It's time we called (you should pardon the expression) a spade a spade. The continuing foaming at the mouth on the part of the Right is not about health care, socialism, or anything else. It's racism, pure and simple. While the majority of the country was ready, willing, and able to elect a liberal African-American to the Presidency, a small but vocal minority is proving unable to live with a Black President.

Respect for the office? Irrelevant. This isn't "Advise and Consent" or "24," this is "Blazing Saddles," and "the sheriff's a *****!"

Those of us who still believe in the America of JFK, RFK, EMK, and MLK need to fight this, and the first step of the fight is to call these people out for what they are – racists and bigots, and stop letting them define the ground for the fight. We can fight them on health care, show them birth certificates, and be outraged at their blocking their children from hearing (and seeing) President Obama, but they'll just go from phony issue to phony issue until the real one is named.

The culture of America has changed sufficiently over the past 50 years that it's no longer OK to be overtly racist – the North, particularly the Northeast has been that way even longer, but now even in the South racism is the hate that dare not speak its name (publicly at least). So we get sly references to monkeys instead, and the use of socially acceptable language such as calling Obama a Socialist, a Liberal, etc. (like those are bad things).

We on the left of center did what it took to get Obama elected; now we need to go on the attack against the hate and hypocrisy so that he has a chance to succeed. Remember, there is more than one kind of assassination, and character assassination may be the worst of all in that it kills not just the man's chances, but his legacy as well.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, Ed. Right on! I've been saying this for the past several days as it became blatantly obvious with not allowing their children to see and hear the Presdident of the United States! When I was in school and JFK was visitng my town, they let us out early to see him!!! Helloooo! MFrank, Allentown, PA

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying what's so about the incessant attacks on our President and the Presidency. I am continually amazed by the power of small group of hateful people. The damage they are doing is unconscionable and your voice is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

This is the most ridiculous article I have read in a long time. Let me get this straight. If you disagree with Obama you are a racist? Really. That is insane. As far as the address goes, no one had an issue with the president addressing school kids to stay in school. What people had a problem with were the "recommended" teaching materials made by the Department of Education. Facts make a much more compelling argument than ideology Ed. Maybe next time you should do your homework.

Terro said...

How do you jump from your inability to stomach criticism of policies that will forever change our economy, health care, world standing, and possibly our Constitution to charging "racism"? The answer is only illogically and stupidly.

The people who judge others by identity group (race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, national origin) are ignorantly and firmly seated on the left.

Ed Gurowitz said...

Actually it's no "jump" at all, and it has nothing to do with genuine criticism of policy proposals.

But when signs are held showing caricatures of lips and skin color, showing animals (e.g. apes) that have long been a racial slur, when the "N" word is heard muttered in congress, it begins to sound to me like REAL nazis - not calling Obama a nazi, which is nuts, but the kind of signs, pictures, etc. of Jews in Germany in the 30's. It's racism because it's racism, not because they are disagreeing.

Terro said...

You certainly did not attend any tea parties and read the vast vast majority of signs that criticized policy. It's dishonest to cherry pick.

Ed Gurowitz said...

It's no more cherry picking to focus on the racist signs than it is to focus on the signs that focused on opposition to policy.

Why is it so hard for you to see that there is racism behind much of the opposition to Obama, Van Jones, just as there was to some opposition to Condy Rice and Colin Powell. The difference is that this is more open and virulent.

This is the kind of thing that, if it's not opposed, makes idiots think it's OK to assassinate presidents, doctors, etc.

Terro said...

Perhaps it's so hard for me to see there's racism behind much of the opposition to Obama and Van Jones (not really on the same playing field) because there isn't racism behind much of the opposition...and I will qualify with "by and large" because there's a vestige of racism always present and among all races (5-10% ???).

I don't believe the antagonism toward Condi Rice was racially motivated. I credit her critics with opposition to her strong support of George Bush's foreign policy and the War in Iraq. I think Colin Powell actually benefits from his race; many are eager to support him to demonstrate their racial tolerance... a factor also in President Obama's election.

The problem for President Obama here and the Democratic Party is that their critics are also opposed on policy. The administration's response was first to mock this opposition: "teabaggers," "astroturf," "un-American," and then to attack: "despicable," "shameful," "an unhealthy reaction...not representative of the American people," "brown shirts," and finally (now) to incite to hate: "right wing domestic terrorists," "Nazis," and "racists." Many of these charges have come from elected officials...and the racist charge in particular from a former president, which of course magnifies them.

I wonder if you are aware that a black man, Kenneth Galway, was attacked while passing out "Don't Tread On Me" flags at a townhall given by Missouri Senator Russ Carnahan. He was beaten by members of the Service Workers International Union (SEIU), a bastion of the Democratic Party, and called "a nigger."

I don't think this makes all Democrats and all those who support the president "racists." It demonstrates that hatred crosses party lines, but it is also telling that it appears on the Democrat side in group action (as opposed to isolated individuals).

I'd also point out that the September 12 teaparty in Washington D.C., attended by hundreds of thousands, was totally non-violent...and the participants actually cleaned up after themselves.

I've attended two local teaparties in Reno. There were a few blacks and Hispanics at each (although not proportional to their percentage in the general population). Most minorities cling to the Democratic Party, to their detriment, I believe, but others think for themselves and oppose this president on policy issues, just like 99+% of teabaggers.