You know, I have to be honest here. I really can't imagine most of the loudest members of the Republican right wing fart machine, like Beck, Limbaugh or Hannity, lynching a black man. It's unlikely someone like Tom Tancredo or Representative Joe Wilson (not to be confused with Valerie Plame's husband, of course) would ever run their cars over a group of undocumented immigrants selling oranges on Santa Monica Boulevard. In other words, on the racism scale, they're not at the top. I guess that's a good thing. They're definitely not mass murderers. But has our society become so coarse that not being a mass murderer is a badge of honor?
But while I can't imagine Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or any of the rest of the gang of right wing idiots polluting our media actually burning a cross on the front lawn of the White House, I have no doubt that, if they were walking down Pennsylvania Avenue and saw one already burning, they’d be more inclined to toast a marshmallow or grill a steak than to actually call the police or fire departments. Careful guys, you shouldn’t eat food cooked over a gasoline fire.
The Republican Party is in a right pickle right now. Back in 1964, they got their asses handed to them in an election, and they went searching for a constituency to boost their fortunes. Suddenly, an opportunity arose when Democrats pushed through the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, passed Medicare and the Great Society, and overall helped “them people” feel like more like a part of society and less like outsiders. In the process, the Democratic Party developed a collective conscience, and suddenly, the racist wing of the Democratic Party, who were only in the party because Republicans ended slavery anyway, felt as if they'd lost their political home, and needed another.
Now, a responsible major political party tends to treat fringe elements as outcasts. But the Republican Party has always been about freedom, with nary a nod to the responsibility that comes with it. So, after Democrats dared actually try to make the country better, the GOP saw an opening, and adopted the "Southern Strategy™." The essence of the Southern Strategy™ was so say anything that would make racist, ignorant southern Democrats feel kinship with, and vote for, Republicans.
It worked like a charm, and pretty quickly, as well. By about 1972, the right wing of the Democratic Party, which had always been kept in check by that party's liberal and left moderate factions, found a new, far more fertile home in the Republican Party. There, when they combined forces with the Taft Wing, they could let their freak flag fly. They could be as racist and right wing as they wanted, and they no longer clashed with the other elements of the party. Because 85% of their political views were aligned with the Taft Wing of the GOP, they were allowed to call themselves “conservative,” and people wouldn’t laugh at them. As a result, a group of racist crackers, who are not only ignorant themselves, but who embrace profound ignorance as a lifestyle choice, became the Republican Party's "base."
This is a group of people who should always be on the fringe, if indeed they are allowed to participate in the political process at all. Frankly, I think perhaps the Amish have the right idea, in that they tend to “shun” people who actively work against their society. Instead, we “English” give them their own network and equal time with people who aren’t completely stupid.
Right wingers see their opinions as fact, and thus, cannot tell the difference between an opinion and a fact. They develop preconceived notions based on an alternate version of reality that doesn’t actually exist in the real world, and they only accept those "facts" that fit that notion, discarding all others. This is why they would rather not deal with science. This is why they don’t read the Bible; they let others tell them what’s in it.
Yet, these fringe elements now dominate Republican Party politics. And politicians, even the scant few "moderate" Republicans who have managed to stick it out with the party, and a few "Blue Dog" Democrats who were elected in majority-cretin states, have no choice but to kowtow to them. We used to laugh at people like this, remember? I remember driving across the western half of the country, and hearing people like this on tiny little radio stations in podunk towns, and laugh my ass off at their idiocy. Now, they’ve gone mainstream, precisely because one major political party has come to depend on them to stay at least minimally relevant. Now, we're forced to listen to their pabulum echo throughout the land on a daily basis, and we have spend inordinate amounts of time fighting the tide of complete bullshit that has come about because the media and political elites gives voice to their idiocy. No, they don’t just give voice to it; they feed it. They throw red meat to these savage assholes, and delight in the carnage that results.
Anyone with an IQ over 50 and the ability to spell words of more than four letters knows that Jimmy Carter was absolutely right. That includes many of the people who are bitching the most about his pronouncement that the racism in the health care debate has become ridiculous. Of course, they bitch about his pronouncement, because it's part of the act. Even if you could make the case that the "kings" of the right wing media and the leadership of the Republican Party itself weren't overt racists, there is absolutely no doubt of their covert racism. And I think most of us would agree, covert racism is a far more despicable type. Minorities can handle the guy who openly hates them and calls them racial epithets; it’s more difficult to deal with racism that has a veneer of legitimacy. And as the right wing and the Republican Party lose power, their rhetoric becomes even more shrill and desperate, and even more dangerous.
Republicans and right wing media are all about money and power, so they have no choice to be racist, because their key demographic is ignorant and racist. And they can no longer excuse themselves. Even if a Republican politician wouldn't treat a member of a minority badly, personally speaking, the fact that they are more than willing to openly play to racists, and give them a wink and a nod in order to get votes and support makes them racists themselves. When you play to scumbags to gain power, you yourself become a scumbag. When John McCain, who is not personally racist -- and by that I mean, he has probably never treated a minority badly himself -- embraced the racist wing of the Republican Party in order to try to win the presidency, he demonstrated racist tendencies, whether he meant to or not. That made him a racist. When the Republican Party talks about illegal immigration, they invariably invoke images of brown people swimming across the Rio Grande, or tunneling under the border fence. This, despite the fact that MOST of the undocumented immigrants in this country come here legally and just stay beyond their visa, and more than half are not from Mexico or points south. But there is no political advantage to be gained by discussing the actual facts with regard to illegal immigration. Because of the makeup of their “base,” they are required, politically, to scare the idiots with the image of a swarm of brown people who talk funny and take their jobs
Listen to me, Republicans and right wing media elite. If you don't absolutely denounce racism in all forms, you become racist yourself. And as much as we all wish you weren't, you are figureheads in this country, and you have a responsibility to defuse the powder keg, not to exploit it and jam it with more powder. Yet, with a black man in the White House, the racist powder keg about to blow, and all of these powerful talking sphincters are not just all too happy to light the fuse; they're actually blowing on the fuse to make it burn faster.
Most of the people the right wing fart machine cater to and exploit harmless blowhards. But within that element are some seriously dangerous, disturbed people. Right wingers talk about Christianity and "family values," but they don't really give a damn about any of that; they're far more concerned that "revenooers" are on the way to take away their trailer, their guns and their freedom to beat their wives, eat too much pork and drink too much beer. They see all of "them people" as a danger to their way of life, such as it is, with "them people" constituting anyone with a hue slightly darker than Paris Hilton. They have no regard for reality whatsoever and they view "heroism" and death as equivalent. The more their fire is stoked, the greater the likelihood of a Timothy McVeigh, a James Earl Ray or a Lee Harvey Oswald popping up and wreaking havoc on the populace.
I've been noticing some changes in the ignorant Fox News-consuming masses lately, and it should be worrisome to everyone. What’s happening doesn’t qualify as a Bill Clinton-style hatred; this is far worse. I mean, don't get me wrong; Clinton hatred was the worst I'd seen to that point, and wholly irrational. And I have little doubt that the Secret Service had to deal with a large number of threats during the Clinton Administration.
But the current situation seems to be more troubling, because it’s combined with the irrational concept that, somehow, skin color is a determining factor in worthiness to live in the United States. People used to hide their hatred. Now, they're showing up to rallies and protests with a sidearm or a shotgun. They're not even the least bit ashamed to invoke Hitler in signs and posters. And most of the anti-Obama rhetoric has little or nothing to do with his policies, which are actually quite moderate, and even conservative. Everything is about the color of his skin. When they talk about "taking our country back," what would they be taking their country back from, exactly? They seem obsessed over the mere concept that "them people" have "taken over" the country.
If what is happening doesn't scare you, it should. I know there’s a tendency on the part of progressives to see the best in people, but if you’re comparing the rhetoric now with the rhetoric used during the Clinton years, then you’re not paying attention. When Clinton was in office, Republicans were still very powerful. Now, they have almost no power, and they’re desperate to get power back, so they’ve pulled out all the stops and amped it up several notches. All it takes is a small number of these people to create major problems.
Anti-government loons can pretty much be trusted to do something drastic in order to gain attention, and they have a red-letter cause to rally around, what with a black man "ordering them around." These are people who had to be forced to allow people with dark skin to eat in the same restaurant and sleep in the same hotels as they. These are people who still swear that every brown or black person who done anything with his life only got there because of "affirmative action quotas." These are people convinced that all black and brown people are inferior to all white people, by virtue of their dark skin. Apparently, in their eyes, God color-coded us, to mark the ones with brains.
The right wing fart machine is stoking these people, and it really has to stop. These people need to be driven back to the fringes where they belong, not placed on a pedestal, as if they have something to say that is worth hearing. And it's time that those in the media and in politics who cater to these idiots are pushed back into the fringes with them.
I believe in freedom of speech, but this isn't about freedom of speech. With freedom comes responsibility, and this is about responsibility to your country and your society. See, one of the hallmarks of right wing "thought," such as it is, is this notion that the right to free speech means that no one can counter it. In other words, their version of free speech actually infringes on others' free speech. (Hey, right wingers lack an irony gene; what can I say?) They’re allowed to say whatever they want, but screw you if your disagree with them. They want free speech with no consequences, and it's time they learned there is no such thing.
We as a society must stop allowing this crap to continue. When are we going to take steps to stop it? Yes, of course Rush Limbaugh has the right to be as racist as he wants. He can start a blog, or publish a newsletter, or rent a hall and make a speech, anywhere he wants to, where he can call for segregated school buses and proclaim certain types of racism "justified" to his heart’s content. But he doesn't have the right to do so on OUR airwaves. The stations that carry him have a license, which is a contract with the people who actually OWN the airwaves (that's us!) to operate in the public interest. Sorry, but spewing racism and lies to keep a tiny fraction of the public motivated to continue voting Republican is not "in the public interest." Stoking the fires of racism and motivating dangerous people into thinking "the Negroes" have taken over our wonderful "white" country in no way constitutes "the public interest." We need to go after the advertisers, and we need to blanket the local stations and let them know this kind of crap will no longer be tolerated. And we have to contact our members of Congress to demand a return to oversight, and start filing complaints with the FCC. Send letters to your local station, and let them know you're filing the complaint, and to local advertisers, and let them know you'll stop supporting them unless they start putting these people on notice, that stoking the fires of racism and violence will no longer be tolerated.
Stop waiting for Congress and the FCC to do something; WE have to power to stop this crap. Hit them in the wallet; that's where it hurts most.
And while Fox News does not fall under FCC jurisdiction, to say there's nothing you can do is just silly. Look at Glenn Beck for a clue. At least 60 advertisers have pulled out of Glenn Beck's show, and for the time being, he has record ratings, but Fox is losing money on his show. We can do the same on all of the other shows, as well. But just as importantly, we should be putting pressure on the cable companies, as well. Do you realize that all cable companies work under a franchise granted to them by your local government? Cable operators have a duty to the public , as well. Send complaints to your local cable franchise board, and your city, town or county government. If they get enough of them, they'll feel pressure to act. You can also cancel your cable. I don't know if you've noticed, but you really don't need cable tv anymore, anyway. Between dollar a night DVD rentals, podcasts, and Hulu, there is almost no reason to have it anymore. Cut off your cable, cite as a reason your disgust with the content on Fox News, and tell them you'll come back when they either get rid of Fox News, or offer a la carte programming choices, where you can have cable without it.
Just because the idiots at Fox News technically have the right to free speech and free press does not mean they are entitled to have access to your television.
The leaders of the right wing fart machine are all about political and financial power, and they don't give a damn about this country, or the people in it. Hell, they don't even care about the people they're exploiting. Have the right wingers who support these assholes even checked their own fortunes lately?
Hey Fox nerds in red states; have you noticed you're significantly poorer than the "liberal" folks in the blue states? Have you noticed that you tend to have higher murder, divorce, drug addiction, teen pregnancy and abortion rates than the blue states? Have you noticed that, while taxes on the rich have gone down quite a bit, yours have gone UP? Since idiots like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and O'Reilly have been saying exactly what you want to hear, and your politicians have been kissing your asses to get you to vote for them, what's actually changed for the better in your life? Oh, sure, the fish have two heads, which makes for a better stew, and that toxic waste dump with all them good $10 an hour jobs wasn't there before, and ya now got a Wal-Mart, so's ya don't hafta drive all over town to buy shit anymore. But really; has your life gotten any better? At what point do you figure out that they're using you to gain power and money, and they have no interest in you at all?
As a nation, we're entering into very dangerous waters, and unless we nip this in the bud quickly, I'm afraid we may be looking at some major tragedy coming down the pike. We can no longer afford to give those who encourage hate speech to continue down this road. I fear for this country's future if so much of the media is allowed to continue stoking the fires of racism and hatred.
And one last important thing.
Support progressive media, especially mainstream media. It’s not enough to know Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann are on the air. Be proactive in your support. Don’t just listen to Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz online; start making waves, and demand that they be carried locally. And if they are being carried locally, make sure your local station gets your support. Support your favorite bloggers with a couple of bucks once in a while, and if they have advertising, show your support to those advertisers, as well.
We have to do this, folks. I don’t want to see a repeat of the 1960s, where we lost the best and the brightest to bullets fired by assholes, who were encouraged to do so by right wing clowns. I’m really afraid of the road we’re going down, but we can stop it. We really do have that power.