Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Friday, October 23, 2009

First They Came For the Racists...

It's been an interesting couple of weeks for racism. Let's take a look, shall we?

Most of the World Consists of White Conservatives

As noted by Sadly, No and many other blogs, after Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, Erick Erickson of Red State said:

I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news. There is no way Barack Obama earned it in the nominations period.

Erickson doesn't seem to consider that the voting might have occurred after the nominations were submitted, say, fairly recently? (I don't think Obama deserves it myself, but it's hardly his fault he was named.) Erickson also seems unaware that many recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize have not been white. In fact, probably the most famous American recipient was not white. Were they all "affirmative action" picks? The far right Erickson adores Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh, claims that liberals hate America and love terrorists, and hates unions so much he tried to abolish his local police force. Erickson just doesn't seem to get that most people on the planet – certainly not Europeans – do not view the world the same way as he does. They do not make decisions with much consideration of the bitter, spiteful, juvenile, narcissistic grievances of American movement conservatives.

But Your Children Will Have to Deal with Bigots Like Me

This story has become pretty infamous now (I first read it via Digby).

Civil rights advocates in eastern Louisiana are calling for a justice of the peace of Tangipahoa Parish to resign after he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple.

“He’s an elected public official and one of his duties is to marry people, he doesn’t have the right to say he doesn’t believe in it,” said Patricia Morris, president of the NAACP branch of Tangipahoa Parish, located near the Mississippi line. “If he doesn’t do what his position call for him to do, he should resign from that position.”

The demands for Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward, to step down came after he wouldn’t issue a marriage license to Beth Humphrey, 30, and her boyfriend, Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond.

Bardwell and the couple didn’t immediately return calls from CNN Thursday. However, Bardwell told the Hammond’s Daily Star that he was concerned for the children who may be born of the relationship and that, in his experience, most interracial marriages don’t last.

“I’m not a racist,” Bardwell told the newspaper. “I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house. My main concern is for the children.”

My first reaction was - Wow. In 2009?

Even if he were sincere - which I don't think it is - why the fuck does he not get that he does not get to make this decision for other people? It's not just racist, it's staggeringly arrogant.

C&L has the video of an interview with the man. He doesn't get what the fuss is about. As despicable as this incident was, some of the quips, from sources including the White House (hmm, who's successful and biracial there?), have been pretty satisfying.

Infringing on My Constitutional Right to Own an NFL Team

Rush Limbaugh's partners have dropped him from their group vying to buy the St. Louis Rams because of widespread opposition by NFL players and some NFL owners. Some early stories (and more recent pieces) soft-pedaled Limbaugh's racism. I remember reading this ESPN piece and thinking, Howard Kurtz and the MSM will pretend Limbaugh isn't racist, but NFL players know and aren't afraid to say so. It also reminded me of a sharp observation from commenter gorgias to an old post:

You are absolutely correct to contrast the quality of sports journalism with the quality of political journalism. Rush Limbaugh lasted all of three months as a sportscaster before getting tossed for his comments about Donavan McNabb. He must have been completely shocked because his comments about McNabb were the equivalent of the fact-free nonsense he spews about anyone else he doesn't like. Yet he got canned not just because the comments were "politically incorrect" but because they were factually incorrect and demonstrably stupid. In his political world where he is so successful, demonstrable stupidity is not only acceptable, it's considered a virtue.

This is exactly right. Most football fans didn't need to be told that Limbaugh's comments on McNabb were full of crap. Similarly, Keith Olbermann has pointed out that (good) sports journalists expect to be spun by coaches and flacks, and don't settle for it. It's a bit sad in a way, but sports fans demand a higher standard from sports reporters and coaches than most citizens do from political reporters and policitians.

However, let's not ignore that Limbaugh is racist, and that's been obvious for a long time to pretty much anyone who's listened to him over the years. Media Matters has compiled a superb list, and Adam Serwer has an excellent post on that, and the GOP's relationship with minorities.

Limbaugh wrote an op-ed about the experience in friendly territory, the Wall Street Journal. As several people noted, it was ironic to hear Limbaugh whine about being persecuted because the free market system he champions spoke out against – Rush Limbaugh. The NFL didn't ban Limbaugh; his partners chose to drop him, and wisely so. Skippy has a pretty good overview of the op-ed, and TBogg highlights a key omission.

Oh, and true to form, supposedly objective right-wing shill Howard Kurtz ignored Limbaugh's racism and tried to turn things on critics of the right-wing, as he so often does.

Racism Analogy Fail

TBogg also catches this classic from Star Parker:

DeMaurice Smith, NFL Players Association chief, urged the league to nix Rush Limbaugh’s participation in a consortium to buy the St Louis Rams.

Buying Al Sharpton’s hype that Limbaugh is a racist, Smith whined that football is at its best “when it overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred.”

But who are the discriminators and haters here?

Sharpton blocked Limbaugh like Governor Orval Faubus tried to block black children from entering Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.

Wow. As TBogg quips:

Yes. Keeping Rush Limbaugh from joining a bunch of rich white men attempting to buy their way into a fairly exclusive club made up of other rich white men is just like calling out the National Guard to keep black children from going to school with white children.

I'd Stab You Again, but It's Nothing Personal

Another favorite of mine comes via Thers, who passes on this gem from conservative Rick Moran:

No, Limbaugh is no racist... He’s a racial provocateur.

How is this any better? It reminds me of the people who claim Reagan wasn't personally racist, or that George W. Bush during his presidency wasn't personally homophobic. On the one hand, who the hell cares? If they pushed policies that were discriminatory or bigoted, does their motivation really matter?

On the other hand, doesn't their "personal" lack of bigotry make things even worse? That means they were cynically stoking hatred and fear for political gain. Reportedly, Karl Rove's stepfather, who raised him and with whom he was quite close, was gay, but this did not prevent Rove from exploiting homophobia in the 2004 election. If he, Reagan and Bush all knew better in their fear-mongering, I don't see how this exonerates them. That only makes sense in the shallow, jaded Beltway morality, where screwing over the rubes is always fine but pursuing members of the higher classes is unthinkable. Shockingly, many other moral codes hold that deliberately inflicting harm on others for personal gain is evil.

Opposing Racism Makes You Just Like the Nazis

Still, my favorite of all the Limbaugh defenses is this instant classic from Red State, linked at Balloon Juice and many other places (keep back-tracking through the Balloon Juice links for other fine examples). This one actually made me laugh out loud. For posterity:

Tonight… We Are All Rush Limbaugh
Posted by tsquare

Earlier this evening, as most of you now know, one of our own, Rush Hudson Limbaugh, while taking withering fire, crashed and burned.

Tonight, Rush is no longer ‘just’ a radio personality.

Tonight, Rush is no longer ‘just’ a NFL owner denied

Tonight, Rush is us. And we are him.

Tonight Rush became the metaphor for all of us… every man woman and child in this great nation of ours.

The enemy of this great nation, the enemy of you and me, Rush’s enemy… those on the left, inside and outside of this nation abhor success… and when faced with it will destroy it… by any and all means possible.

We all have our dreams in life… such as they might be. Rush dreamed of being an owner in the NFL.

Tonight the left proved that they will stop at nothing to end our dreams. Our dreams of success and happiness devastate their need to dominate and control you and me… and well everything and everyone.

Chrysler bondholders

GM dealers

Bankers and stockbrokers

Small business owners

Medical Doctors

Oppressed people wanting freedom around the world

The left can not and will not allow anyone to realize their dreams

Tonight a light went out… a dream died… it died from political correctness

Tonight we are under withering fire, we on the right those in the middle,

Tonight our values are under withering fire, those thoughts ideas and dreams that made this great nation are under withering fire

Will your light of your dreams be next?

Will my dreams be next?

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;_Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;_Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;_Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;_Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

- Pastor Martin Niemöller

Tonight… We Are All Rush Limbaugh

This is even better than Star Parker's hilariously ironic and inept analogy. Seriously, the Onion could not have done it better. Limbaugh is a racist. He has a right to speak his opinions, but NFL players and owners, the free market, and Limbaugh's partners also have a right to speak, and they did. Limbaugh is a vile man, not a Nazi. But he sure as hell ain't persecuted or a victim, either. Invoking Niemöller's warning about hateful, authoritarian bigots - in defense of a hateful, authoritarian bigot - is a keeper for the ages.

First they came for the racists...


Paul said...

The NFL decides who becomes an owner not the other way around.

All this blowhard (Rush Hudson Limbaugh A.KA. Jeff Christie) has to offer is his money and his opinions, (which in my opinion are on the fringes of racism, one mans opinion). There are many more groups biding for the Rams, not just his group. Lets face it there are more men with money (Marshall Faulk) that will gladly fill the slot and the Rams will win or lose depending on how well they work as a team and not on whether or not Rush is an owner.

As for Vick, well he is a player (he has talent not like you, Rush or I, unless you are a NFL player?) and he served his time and the NFL decided we live in the land of second chances, so why not (I personally don’t like it but, oh well). Life has never been fair (NEWS FLASH!)

Now as to the “Free Speech” argument, I guess many of you like myself heard Rush on Thursday “Almost in tears”, priceless. But the last couple of days he now is in his normal ranting and will continue until someone surpasses him, “Free Speech” continues, so what is being stifled, it simply is not true, of course, you may not have a radio, so you might want to get one.


PS – I am sure someone is working to put the tapes together maybe all you subscribers can help, since you are all about getting to the truth?

PPS- Beauty Pageant Judge - Now I understand why he lost the weight, to find a new wife, creepy.

Montata said...

Rush Limbaugh: Transcript of radio broadcast from Oct. 14, 2008
By Keith Vance

Editor’s note: This is a verbatim transcript of Limbaugh explaining how ACORN, Barack Obama, Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright are all involved in a radical leftwing conspiracy to teach black kids to hate America.

From the time of my birth 57 years ago to today, this country has grown and expanded, prosperity has opened its doors for more and more people around the world, not just people born in this country.

We know the stories of asians immigrating and running rings around people born in this country academically in California. We know all about the immigration, legal and illegal, to get into the country. We know that the standard of living has risen. We know that technological advancement is going along at light speed.

And yet, during this period of time, whether it be the last 57 years, or the last 20 years, it seems that the majority of the black population has remained angry, frustrated and behind – they’ve been left behind. They’re acting like they’ve been left behind, and of course we’ve heard that this is because of racism, natural systemic institutional racism in America. We’re unfair. That this country is just horrible and rotten.

Do you ever ask yourself how it is that people not even born here can come here and in a few short years begin prospering in school, they’re own business, and yet people who are born in this country somehow have been raised to hate it – to still think they’re back in the days of slavery.

I actually think, after studying all this ACORN stuff, and reading what Stanley Kurtz has written about this, I actually believe that what has taken place here, in addition to liberal Democrat legislation – such as the great society and the war on poverty, which a lot of people would now acknowledge really busted up the black family by the government taking the place of a husband and father – he’s free to roam around and bear no responsibility. The mother remained the mother, she got the financial assistance from this legislation from the federal government. The federal government became the father. The father didn’t have to hang around in order for the kids to be OK – depending on how you define OK.

And as you study more and more of this ACORN stuff you find that it has been part of an entire movement that has been going for two maybe three decades right under our noses. We thought that it was just liberal welfare policies and all that that kept blacks from progressing while other minorities grew and prospered but no. It is these wackos from Bill Ayers to Jeremiah Wright to other anti-american afro-centric black liberation theologists, working with ACORN, and Barack Obama is smack dab in the middle of it. They have been training young black kids to hate hate hate this country. And they trained their parents before that to hate hate hate this country. It was a movement. It was a Bill Ayers anti-capitalist anti-american educational movement. ACORN is how it was implemented right under our noses.

They’re doing far more folks than just cheating when it comes to elections and registration. They’re in deep in this mortgage crisis. ACORN and Obama, and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, the Democrat Party have their fingerprints the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The whole concept of affordable housing was people who can’t afford a mortgage are going to get one, because America is unfair.

It has been a movement. It has been a religion. And Obama and Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers were all up to their big ears in it.