Just Plain Old Racism?

I haven’t posted for a bit, we were visited by three of our grandchildren last week, and the last two left yesterday.  I must admit, getting back into the swing of things is proving difficult, not only because of missing the children, but also due to the state of the current health care debate, and where it seems to be headed.

“Hunter,” a blogger on   DailyKos, wrote a brilliant post over the weekend that ties together most of the current right-wing, including the tea baggers, birthers and the deathers.  Hunter makes the case that the “angry white men” protesting at Democratic town hall meetings are driven by racism, and he likens the tactics being used by the current protesters to those used in the fight against integration.

Talking about the three movements, Hunter writes:

“But these are not three disparate movements with three different practitioners, three different conspiracy theories that simply happen to share the same summertime stage. In practice and organization they are one movement, a single collection of the same set of animated citizens and televised leaders, and their signs decrying fascism, Naziism, communism, taxes, euthanasia and outrage over 1960’s-era Hawaiian government paperwork mingle freely at every protest. If you find a newly minted tax protestor, you are as likely as not to find a birther and a deather as well, all tucked neatly inside the same polo shirt. They are nearly exclusively white, predominantly middle aged and elderly, and unambiguously conservative. Many of those shouting against their government are already participants in the same “socialized medicine” they decry, but to a person will not consider their Medicare to be of that evil ilk.

It is, in short, a movement made up of the enfranchised and enabled; people who have gained every benefit from the politics of America and yet who feel in their very bones that they are the oppressed ones, the ones who have nothing left to lose, so rapidly is America falling away from them. It is rare to run across any movement so deeply angry — or more to the point, a movement which explicitly celebrates anger as the primary mission of their activism. They are not willing to listen to any factual evidence that contradicts their own beliefs in whatever dark conspiracies have been peddled to them; they have in fact made it their publicly proclaimed mission to block any such explanations from even being attempted.” (Emphasis mine)

The bolded sentence above could have been talking about fundamental Christianity itself, as it accurately describes those who insist on a worldview that includes young-earth creationism.  In fact, if one looks at the demographics of these movements, they include those parts of the country deeply enmeshed in not only conservative thought but conservative religion as well.

The current movement embodies another of the characteristics of fundamental religion, and that is complete, utter certitude.  They have been absolutely convinced by those they hold in authority that President Obama is leading us into socialism, fascism, communism or whatever the buzzword de jour happens to be, and being so convinced they cannot be deterred by facts, no matter how well presented.  In fact, they are not even listening!

Hunter continues, contrasting current events with those in the 1960’s:

“It seems at first a bizarre thought, a mere freeform hiccup of the brain, but between a half-dozen different commentators I am apparently already far from the first to have it: it seems to me like the last time we saw public discourse be as intentionally devolved as it is today was during, of all things, American desegregation.

That was the last time you had deeply conservative southern governors and states yelling about secession because the federal government was forcing things on them that they couldn’t tolerate, and making belligerent anti-federalism statements over the slightest little thing.

That was the last time America so prominently saw, on television, shouting white mobs and the threats against lawmakers, all explicitly intended not at debate, but as efforts of pure intimidation in order to stop the debate from ever taking place.

That was when you had phalanxes of very dumb but very loud people weeping in front of the cameras that the fabric of America was being destroyed, though they couldn’t begin to actually tell you why or how, only that it involved black people rising above their place in the world and the subsequent corruption of their government.

That was when you had men with fervent political beliefs walking into “too-liberal” churches and murdering in cold blood those who they disagreed with.”

There was a rally in Wilmington, NC last week, not far from where I live, and although I was unable to attend with my grandchildren in town, some of my friends went, carrying signs supporting health care reform.  One of my friends was pushed and shoved, his sign was ripped from his hands and destroyed.  This is the American way?

One more bit from Hunter:

“We didn’t have a nationwide epidemic of people buying up weapons and ammunition under that terrible menace to the nation, Bill Clinton, though those years saw far more substantial gun legislation than anything any Democrat has proposed this decade. But when Barack Obama was elected, it started immediately, and continues to run full speed.

The last poll this site commissioned was startling. From a prominent and credible pollster, it showed beyond question how very explicitly racial the birther movement is, and it cannot help but raise questions of motive. Maybe this fight is a postmodern segregationist one after all, postmodern because it is not even about the thing it is purportedly about, but fought through weird three-times-removed proxy issues that even the participants themselves don’t really grasp and heaven knows have no actual information on.”

Although these people are in the distinct minority, they are still a large group, absolutely convinced of the “rightness” of their effort, with the certitude only the religious can muster, and worst of all, heavily armed.  I remember what went on in the 60’s during integration, and unless the Republicans can start acting like a major political party instead of pandering to their regional base, I’m afraid that we are in for violence like we haven’t seen in this country in nearly fifty years.


8 responses to “Just Plain Old Racism?

  1. If you want to view them as racists, fine. Nobody can stop you. Such a sentiment though shows your own hatred and prejudice.

    • I wish I knew another explaination for the unreasonable anger, the birthers, the deathers and the unreasonable tea baggers. I’m afraid it’s either racism or stupidity. The birthers and deathers are continuing to “believe” stuff with mountains of evidence against them and no evidence for, and the teabaggers simply have no case. There are, for sure, other valid reasons to oppose the Presidents health care plans, but these three are mere excuses for something else, and these three are what’s showing up at rally’s and town halls.

      • How about just about everything Obama and his Liberals are trying to do to this country? How about the attempts, eagerly abetted by the media, to ridicule and marginalize these various protesters? Birthers? Deathers? Teabaggers? – look it up if you need to – Racists?

        I don’t see any racism, except in a very few cases. If Obama’s, the media, and you Liberals keep painting them that way though, we’ll have more violence like we had in St. Louis where a Black SEIU thug and his friends – a lot like the ACORN thugs – beat down one of those protesters.

        Yeah, get that started up by calling a bunch of middle-aged White people racist. See out it turns out.

      • “These various protesters” don’t make any sense! Its easy to ridicule the birthers, deathers and teabaggers, as they ARE ridiculous. I am beginning to connect the dots, however, and perhaps racism isn’t the entire story. You see, no one is taking “your America” away. I just posted something that is even more chilling, and believe me, I NEVER forget that you folks have most of the guns!

  2. Racism seems to be a fairly accurate assumption. My Left Nutmeg recently posted a video captured as US Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) was accosted at one of his regular appearances in his district (my district). What you see is one protester shouting, “You and your asinine friends say that we’re paid by big insurance — YOU’RE paid by ACORN and our tax dollars. Yeah that’s me, hello, get the fuck out of my face and go back where you come from.” When you hear a person accusing another person of associating with ACORN, as if that were a terrible misdeed, it comes off as a bit racist. When you hear a person tell an African-American or other minority to “go back where you come from”, it comes off as very racist.

    • When someone accuses another person of associating with ACORN, as if that were a terrible misdeed, it comes off as – to normal people at least – as accusing them of associating with known criminals who have repeatedly engaged in disruption, borderline extortion, mob-style strong arm tactics, and various forms of electioneering including multiple counts of voter registration fraud.

      Now, if you’re going equate that with “racism,” I have to ask who is the racist here, them or you, Mike? Your the one who decided that the ACORN thugs were Blacks. You’re the one who thought in terms of race as opposed to the character of their actions.

      • Couple of interesting things here. That’s interesting info re Acorn, seeing as how it’s not true and exists only in the minds of the right-wing. The other thing is that Mike nowhere says the “Acorn thugs” are blacks, where did you get that one from?

        You are just another right-wing Borg. See my latest post for your history.

      • Perhaps you can find another meaning behind, “When you hear a person accusing another person of associating with ACORN, as if that were a terrible misdeed, it comes off as a bit racist.”

        How can using association with ACORN / COI as a pejorative be racist if the the person hearing it doesn’t think of ACORN in racial terms? As for the truth of ACORN’s behavior – their behavior is very well documented over the years and the various court cases. Indeed, one of their bigwigs just pled guilty to voter registration fraud earlier this week.

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