Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bob Herbert Tells It Like It Is

I call bullshit on all these attempts portray these extreme attacks on Obama as anything but racist; as the genuine feelings of honestly outraged citizens from "real" America (small population rural states where barely 20% of the American population lives). I'm a Southerner from a Confederate state (Texas) who remembers the Civil Rights days and the tide of white resentment that followed and has yet to recede. I remember all the angry resentment of "welfare cheats" (never mind the white-owned banks that robbed people of property and livelihoods all the time). I remember the store owners that would follow black customers through their stores while ignoring the little white shoplifters at the candy-counter. I remember the sign up in J's Cafeteria into the mid 70s that read "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."

I'll let Herbert tell the rest:

Republicans have been openly feeding off of race hatred since the days of Dick Nixon. Today’s conservative activists are carrying that banner proudly. What does anybody think is going on when, as Anderson Cooper pointed out on CNN, one of the leaders of the so-called tea party movement, Mark Williams, refers to the president of the United States as an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug, and a racist in chief.

After all these years of race-baiting and stirring the pot of hatred for political gain, it’s too much to ask the leaders of the Republican Party to step forward and denounce this spreading stain of reprehensible conduct. Republicans are trying to ride that dependable steed of bigotry back to power.

But it’s time for other Americans, of whatever persuasion, to take a stand, to say we’re better than this. They should do it because it’s right. But also because we’ve seen so many times what can happen when this garbage gets out of control.

Think about the Oklahoma City bombing, and the assassinations of King and the Kennedys. On Nov. 22, 1963, as they were preparing to fly to Dallas, a hotbed of political insanity, President Kennedy said to Mrs. Kennedy: “We’re heading into nut country today.”


No one ever lost an election in the South by pandering to people's worst fears and resentments.

20 comments:

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Exactly. I think the only reason the Obama White House is playing this stuff down is because they KNOW a civil war, or at least deadly rioting, is a huge possibility...with the likes of these ugly racist fundamentalist (religious) protestestors it is truly a case of fear/hate-mongering...you know what? They are likely to get far more than their bigmouths bargained for...terrorists need not do anything, these bloodsuckering bigots will destroy as much diverse community as they can...they will fail but they are a dangerous lot taking pot shots...sick to the core (nothing that minority and LGBT citizens haven´t seen before).

James said...

Amen, and amen! He's said it well.

Counterlight said...

Leonardo,

I pray daily for the safety of the Obamas. If anything should happen to them, our cities would go up like Roman candles. We've already been through a young Presidential family broken by murder, and once was enough.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

The situation is serious indeed. Let's pray it doesn't come true, but it's sure ugly.

Brad said...
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Leonardo Ricardo said...

Best to look to Sweden (and most of Europe) when facing the challenges of living with a great variety of ¨others¨ and providing civilized health care for ALL...that certainly says more about Christian outreach, including that to be found at the U.S. Lutheran Mo. Synod, than viewing a large group (retouched/fake photo of a larger group at another time, published to appear like the teabag grumpies were more than they were) of demented white bigots swaggering down the D.C. Mall and spewing the name of Jesus about as if they understood even the basic Ten Commandments! Selfish, stupid, windbags all.

Counterlight said...
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Brad said...
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Brad said...
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Counterlight said...
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Counterlight said...
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rick allen said...

As a white guy born and raised in the Old South I have no doubt, myself, that racism runs very deeply in this country (I suppose I should add I also lived a few years in Boston, during the most trying years of school desegregation there, which suggested that the problem was not entirely confined to ex-Confederates.)

But though I have no doubt that Jimmy Carter has been pretty much on the money on that subject, I think whe White House is correct to downplay it, partly because the assertion of hidden motives can be easily denied, and persuasive proof is difficult for those not already convinced.

It's like those who always claim that the motivation for socialism is not a desire for justice, but envy of and hatred of the rich. There's no question that that envy and hatred may be there...but that's largely beside the point.

Perhaps I am being polyannish, but I think the racist tinge of this will backfire, big time, with the broad center, who eventual attitudes will govern how this thing turns out.

Counterlight said...

rick allen,

I agree that the White House did the right thing downplaying the racial component of the whole argument. I also agree that this will backfire, especially on the Republicans who know better, but have done nothing to distance themselves from all the craziness.
I think a lot of this is driven by economic hard times. As Frank Rich pointed out this morning, there is a lot of hostility to the corporate establishment on Glenn Beck's show that would not be out of place on Rachel Maddow's show.

I'm a Southerner myself, and I'm certainly aware that the South has no monopoly on racism. Just talk to any African American New Yorker who has ever tried to hail a cab in Manhattan.

Brad said...
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Counterlight said...
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Brad said...

I believe myself because I don't preach anything I don't already do.
There is no gap between words and deeds.

Counterlight said...

So, you are Brad Evans in Rhode Island, and a year older than me.

And you don't believe in anything beyond you. I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that you are neither married nor partnered with anyone.

As they say, even a man who believes in nothing needs someone else to believe in him.

Brad Evans said...

Why the censorship?
I am married-nearly divorced a few years back, but we're together.
She's an RN, URI graduate.
Formerly sexton of Saint Peter's by the Sea in Narragansett, RI. Russell Ruffino would know my name.

Counterlight said...

Why censor you?

Cause you're a pain in the ass. You don't really have an opinion. And it's my blog.

Why don't you get your own blog where you can rant away to your heart's content instead of latching onto other blogs like a lamprey on a trout?