On the basis of having been reading his blog for years (and even trading a couple emails), I feel safe in asserting that Jon Schwarz is one of the most level-headed and fair-minded people in the political blogosphere. A genuine nice guy, and if not, a genuinely gifted actor, then. His blog is named after a line from Orwell that says, “Every joke is a tiny revolution,” a clue that humor is a very important aspect of his political worldview. Politics shouldn’t be taken that seriously in the end.
You know, when taking the moral high ground against expressions of racial or cultural stereotyping, one would probably find oneself on more firm footing, wouldn’t one, if one could refrain from using terms like lawn jockey and house
nigger liberal to refer to a black man who has the temerity to hold political opinions different from the ones white liberals have deemed appropriate for him to hold in accordance with the voting bloc they’ve assigned him to. As the yutes of today like to put it, I’m just sayin’. And let me hasten to add that I’m not calling anyone a racist or bigot here; I prefer the phrase “people of colorful language”.
So, Barack Obama was in the general vicinity last week. Being in such close proximity to Evil Incarnate stirred many of my fellows and relations to rhapsodize ’bout revolution. The topic du jour was assassination. “Why weren’t you there with your hunting rifle, man?” “Shit, I thought you were gonna take care of it!” “Hey, what do Dallas, Memphis and Charlottesville all have in common? Change you can believe in! Haw haw!”
One of the strangest things about the teabaggers I know is the way they vehemently deny holding any racist beliefs while making no effort to hide their, well, racist beliefs. I’ve heard radical right-wingers laugh at black people for being “too stupid” to get out of the way of Katrina, blame them for being the primary group responsible for taking out loans they couldn’t afford and thereby crashing the economy, and suggest that the reason Europe can afford to have such strict gun control laws is because “they don’t have a problem with the niggers like we do here.” A violent incident involving a basketball player leads to muttering about uncivilized thugs, but routine brawls in hockey don’t seem to reflect poorly on white people in general. Despite the majority of welfare recipients being white, the ones who always inspire apoplectic tirades about freeloaders and parasites are referred to with names like Shaquanda and Tyreesha (and good luck convincing a teabagger that the majority of their taxes are not going toward keeping “those people” living the high life in Section 8 housing, wining and dining on food stamps). And the only part of our “heritage” that my fellow Southerners seem interested in celebrating are the years 1861-1865. The bolder ones even argue that slavery gave blacks at least a rudimentary work ethic, not to mention Christianity.
In a rather curious and confused way, some white people are starting almost to think like a minority, even like a persecuted one. What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? Who wakes up believing that there is no appreciation for our veterans and our armed forces and that without a noisy speech from Sarah Palin, their sacrifice would be scorned? It’s not unfair to say that such grievances are purely and simply imaginary, which in turn leads one to ask what the real ones can be. The clue, surely, is furnished by the remainder of the speeches, which deny racial feeling so monotonously and vehemently as to draw attention.
There’s nothing in the world more tired than a progressive blogger like me flipping out over the latest idiocies emanating from the Fox News crowd. But this summer’s media hate-fest is different than anything we’ve seen before. What we’re watching is a calculated campaign to demonize blacks, Mexicans, and gays and convince a plurality of economically-depressed white voters that they are under imminent legal and perhaps even physical attack by a conspiracy of leftist nonwhites. They’re telling these people that their government is illegitimate and criminal and unironically urging secession and revolution.
You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.– Blazing Saddles
I said before that one of the reasons I wasn’t all that impressed with Joe Bageant was that he just struck me as a more affable James Howard Kunstler. Heywood crystallizes one of the other reasons for me: he also makes me picture a slightly more avuncular Dave “Mudcat” Saunders. Can you tell which one is which?
I have bitched and moaned for years about the lack of tolerance in the elitist wing of the Democratic Party, or what I refer to as the “Metropolitan Opera Wing”. These are the people who talk of tolerance but the only true tolerance they ever exhibit is for their own pseudo-intellectual arrogance.–snip–I am certain I will get personally attacked for this next statement, but in all honesty, I don’t care what the “Metropolitan Wing” of my party thinks. I don’t like them. The damage the pseudo-intellectuals have done to my party by abandoning tolerance, combined with their erroneous stereotyping of my people and culture, is something that brings out my incivility. In his column, Joe said, “…the smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere.” Amen. I must add that this same intellectual arrogance and intolerance overtook the party years ago, and for that very reason, my people in rural America left the tent.So to those bloggers who believe in a straight-forward dialogue and exchange of ideas, God bless you and thank you. Together, you’re coming up with a lot of good stuff, and frankly, much of it has been helpful to me. At the same time, those Democratic bloggers, who have appointed themselves as intellectually superior and believe the only way to win an argument is to shot the loudest with personal attacks, you can go to Hell.
Most educated American liberals, however, believe simply being progressive makes them, by default, the nation’s saviors — morally and intellectually right in all things. As proof, they read more and, allegedly, are more open minded than most conservatives, except when it comes to their daughter dating a redneck named Ernest who lives in a trailer court behind the strip mall. They are certainly among the educated class in a country known for its lousy schools and a dull, sated and unquestioning public. Education and access to education are now our fundamental class delineators. Higher education is now for the privileged. And that privilege, almost regardless of profession or career, is a future that depends on government. Liberal or conservative, it matters little. In fact, this privileged class votes Democratic more predictably than the working class, Hispanics or Blacks.So when educated liberals look up from their copy of The Nation or the Jon Stewart show, they behold a chilling sight: Beefy mobs waving teabags and demanding tax cuts to help pay for new schools and bridges, Sarah Palin emerging from the ashes of the McCain campaign to become the high priestess of the uncurried tribes, with a Mormon named Glenn Beck exhorting millions of fundamentalists to seize the country. They feel that something has gone terribly wrong with America.Immediately they conclude that it is the American people’s fault through their backwardness, incomprehension and misdirected anger, and that maybe it serves them right for not rallying behind the flying progressive standard…”Ah yes,” they wailed, the people have let us down. They are absolutely disgusting!” liberals agreed. And they still agree. Read the comments on Huffington Post or Daily Kos.Or look at the arrogance of Barack Obama’s characterization of American heartlanders “clinging to God and guns.” Which we do. However, implicit in his statement was that both God and guns are indicators of an ignorant loser class. When opponents scalded him for his remarks, he justified them by pointing out he had said, “what everybody knows is true.” Meaning everybody in his class, the educated liberal class.
Even though the Southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can. Judging by all they say and do, and by the subject and nature of their controversy with us, let us determine, if we can, what will satisfy them?Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally surrendered to them? We know they will not. In all their present complaints against us, the Territories are scarcely mentioned. Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them if, in the future, we have nothing to do with invasions and insurrections? We know it will not. We so know because we know we never had anything to do with invasions and insurrections; and yet this total abstaining does not exempt us from the charge and the denunciation.The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: we must not only let them alone, but we must, somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. [Applause.] This, we know by experience is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches, we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.These natural and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only; cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly — done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated — we must place ourselves avowedly with them.
Maybe I’m wrong and we do need a national “dialogue on race,” but my guess is that if Barack Obama figures out a way to turn the economy around and create some real paying jobs, a lot of this racial angst will disappear pretty quick. If you tune out the hottest parts of the Tea Party rhetoric and just focus on who these people are, what you’ll basically see are a bunch of middle-aged white people who spent their teens listening to Eddie Murphy albums and deep down are a lot more worried about their credit card debt than they are about ACORN taking over the government. Add a little more disposable income to that crowd and this whole debate will recede to tolerable levels. Or maybe not — but we can all hope, I guess.
“We are glad that Barack Obama broke up the white male monopoly on the White House, but we were not looking for a change in the occupant of the White House from white to black, we were looking for change in foreign policies and domestic policies,” he added.
I’m glad to see that naïveté, at least, truly is colorblind. What a great country it is, where we’re all free to dream that a solitary great man, or woman, or transgendered developmentally disabled person of color, will somehow get elected and proceed to act in opposition to the system that nurtured and produced them.
One thing that makes me suspect that right-wingers have a rudimentary sense of humor is the way they keep turning the logic of identity politics back against the clueless advocates. Poppy Bush put a black man on the Supreme Court. Junior gave us a Hispanic attorney general, a black “war hero” Secretary of State, and even replaced him with a black female (and likely lesbian!) Secretary of State. (Needless to say, domestic justice finally became fair and colorblind, and we never again treated the world like our colonial playground.)
But do mainstream liberals progressives ever learn? Would I be writing this if they did?
Finally, Liddy disputed the entire idea that there’s anything wrong with the paucity of women and total lack of Hispanics on the Court:
Oh, is that all it takes? A woman and a Hispanic? So…you guys would have been overjoyed at Justice Harriet Miers and Chief Justice Alberto Gonzalez, then? No? Ahhh — so you mean you want a female, a Hispanic, etc. who share the same political values as you on the Court. But wait, then, I’m confused — if the values and ideals are what matter, couldn’t they, in theory at least, be held by anyone? Would you really care if you had nine fishbelly-white Penis-Americans on the Court as long as they upheld progressive values in their rulings? Or are we getting into some mystical racial/gender essentialism, where the solipsist logic implies that no one can ever truly understand anyone else?
So, basically we have liberal progressive white guilt that only allows people to serve in power as proud representatives of their race or gender as long as they agree with the white progressives who would feel uncomfortable about running things themselves. A kinder, gentler form of satrapy, I guess.