Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn will seek to offset federal aid to victims of a massive tornado that blasted through Oklahoma City suburbs on Monday with cuts elsewhere in the budget.> more ... (0 comments)
Here‘s the dingbat politician who forwarded a racist email about Barack Obama:
“Oh, come on! Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people–mostly people I didn’t think would be upset by it.”
There’s not much to really say about this. It’s like five different desperate (and self-defeating) attempts to dispel the “R” word. If she’d had a few more minutes, she would have been talking about how Denzel Washington was her favorite actor, how much she enjoyed Roots, and how she loved the music of Snoopy Dog.
This does leave me with an actual question. Okay, so apparently racist jokes can’t constitute racism in the minds of the wingnuts. Because they’re just jokes, right? You just don’t get them, duh. Putting aside the simple fact that bigotry often takes the form of jokes because of that natural defense–anyone who’s ever worked in corporate America and sat through a sexual harassment seminar knows that “it was just a joke” really doesn’t fly at all. But I want to know what person actually has to do for conservatives to actually admit, “Yeah, that dude is pretty racist.” Clearly it’s not speak approvingly of the segregationist presidential campaign of Strom Thurmond. Clearly not talk about how health care reform is a “civil rights act” on the radio. Is actual KKK membership required, or is mere membership in the Democratic Party enough?
I am actually serious here, and I’m not trying to be malevolent. I’ve known a lot of conservatives in my day, and there are quite a few who don’t hold white supremacist views at all, but who do actually think that having some black friends automatically means that you cannot be racist. To most of us that’s laughable, but there are a lot of people who sincerely would buy that. That’s not how bigotry works, of course, and just because Sammy Davis Jr. was a hugely popular performer didn’t mean that the public of the time was particularly enlightened. Ultimately, the real conversation is about how stereotypes contribute to unhealthy social dynamics, and having a friend that is somehow different than you doesn’t insulate you from this sort of thing at all. Is it possible to even have this conversation without getting into the same old traps? I don’t have any answers, but it’s just more proof that the notion that we’re living in a postracial era is a myth, though the situation is far from hopeless in the long term.
(And don’t think that I’m suggesting that liberalism automatically makes a person tolerant either–just look at the sort of crap Hollywood churns out for validation of that. When’s the last time a movie featured a black leading man and a white woman as a romantic couple that wasn’t directed by Spike Lee?)
(Hat tip: Political Animal)
Future 2012 Three-Percenter Rick Santorm: “Well if that person — human life is not a person, then — I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, ‘we’re going to decide who are people and who are not people.’”
I think I’m going to go with “unwittingly racist due to a lack of self-awareness and just general cluelessness” rather than voting for fully racist. But I could be persuaded otherwise. What about you?
Jason Kuznicki over at the League chides Democrats who chide Republicans over reading the Constitution:
More importantly, I find remarkable the lack of charity it must take to fault the GOP for failing to read the 3/5ths clause. We all know perfectly well that if they had opted to read it, their detractors would have complained that they liked it better that way.
No, this is not about the “desire to edit the Constitution.” It already has been edited. All congressional Republicans have done is to recognize reality.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, I guess.
Okay, the last bit might be fair. I don’t know. But let me put this in context. The Tea Party Movement* has argued that they are ultra-Constutionalists. What’s more, they believe that the original intent of the Founders–which ones, I’m not sure, since some of them had such violent disagreements that they took potshots at each other later on–should matter more than literally anything else, including acts of Congress, decades of judicial precedent, and sometimes even later amendments to the Constitution (just ask Scalia!). I mean, I sometimes hear libertarian/Republicans talking about how birthright citizenship or the income tax are unConstitutional, when that is just factually inaccurate.
The liberal counterargument to this is that the Constitution is more a blueprint than a set of commandments, that it’s been reinterpreted and revised many times, and that divining “intent” is often either unnecessary, irrelevant or impossible. The Founding Fathers themselves didn’t even want us doing that, which is why they went with a common law system that let judges figure it out and make precedent instead of civil law system where it’s all about the text. Both systems have their pros and cons, but I like the common law system better overall.
This is a very small issue, but a telling one: when it comes to defending the broader implications of their doctrine, Republicans decline to do so when the Founding Fathers were wrong. As it turns out, the Founding Fathers decided that black people shouldn’t count as people, not completely. Most everyone now agrees they were wrong to decide that. Of course that clause was later amended–by the 14th Amendment, which Republicans have recently called to repeal. They literally want to create second class citizens of these people. So, this argument boils down to that Republicans shouldn’t be criticized for being inconsistent with their guiding judicial philosophy, and while technically the Constitution has been changed, Republicans have aggressively targeted the very amendment that made those changes.
Okay, so this is a little silly. The House GOP probably just chose to do this for the sake of political correctness. But this isn’t silly: one of the leading voices of the Tea Party Movement–Glenn Beck–literally believes that God inspired the Constitution, and I doubt he’s the only one. It’s not a bad idea to remember that the Founding Fathers weren’t gods, they made mistakes, and that we have the oldest constitution in the world is surely a tribute to their general wisdom. Frankly, I’m glad a ruckus was raised over this, because it provides a counterpoint to the right’s widespread Beckian fabulism.
And with that, I’m out. Have a nice weekend, everyone!
*Going with capital letters this time. Sometimes I don’t. I don’t know why that is.
I happened to see this headline over at TPM:
Barbour Spokesman: Mississippi Gov. Is Not Racist
This is funny. Usually, politicians insist they’re not racist when they’re being accused of racial insensitivity of some sort or other. It’s a form of the straw man fallacy. For example: Governor Jones makes a joke that accidentally offends a minority group, gets angry when people notice and bring it up, and then holds a press conference in which he says, “I am not a racist.” Being racist is considered a terrible thing in our society, being called that is a terrible insult. Turning the debate in that direction usually serves to shut it down, because Governor Jones is a nice guy! No hoods in his closet.
This situation, though, is very different. It has to do with Haley Barbour saying nice things about white supremacist organizations. Angrily insisting he is not racist in the same fashion as the fictitious Governor Jones seems to me like a bad move because the quote is simply not ambiguous, and the question it presents really is, “Is Haley Barbour racist?” This differs from the hypothetical scenario I devised, where the question raised is, “Was Governor Jones’s joke offensive?” If Governor Jones had said, “The joke was not offensive,” the media will ask other people if they agree about this interpretation of the joke. So, Barbour’s guy saying this invites, rather than shuts down, further questions into the matter. In other words, this story is merely the beginning of the Barbour racism saga, and not the end.
In spite of the horrifying implications and amateur politics of this story, I don’t see this incident changing Barbour’s status as a top-tier GOP presidential contender. It should. I somehow doubt he’ll win the nomination, bet let’s not forget the regional pull of the South. If Huckabee does not run, Barbour is the only likely Republican candidate from the South, and Mike Huckabee’s better-than-expected 2008 performance can be attributed in part to him being the only viable white Southern guy in contention. The tribal currents of the region are what they have always been.
This story reminds me of this:
The NAACP has now fully backed up its accusations of racism within the Tea Party movement with a meticulously documented report on the Tea parties’ multifarious connections to racists and various far-right extremists.
The report, “Tea Party Nationalism,” looks at the relationships and differences between the six major Tea Party organizations — FreedomWorks Tea Party, 1776 Tea Party, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet, and Tea Party Express — and the various ways that each group has established connections with, and empowers, outright racists and white supremacists, as well we far-right “Patriot” extremists of various stripes.
“In these ranks, an abiding obsession with Barack Obama’s birth certificate is often a stand-in for the belief that the first black president of the United States is not a ‘real American.’ Rather than strict adherence to the Constitution, many Tea Partiers are challenging the provision for birthright citizenship found in the Fourteenth Amendment,” write authors Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, which produced the report for the NAACP.
Through all the coverage of the teabaggers over the last few years, I was hoping that I’d finally come across something that basically sums up the vile, infected wound that Obama’s election opened up in these people’s hearts:
- Library Grape: Let Them Eat Cat Food: Santorum Calls For Americans To Suffer More
- vegasjessie: Dangerous Fundamentalism: The Taliban and the American Tealiban
- Political Analytical – Insight and Analysis on Politics and Reason: Mike’s Blog Round Up
- Library Grape: What the Crippity-Crap?
- I Want My Mommy!: /* */ /* */ Francis Sedgemore – journalist and science writerCrooked Timber — Out of...
- Our Glorious Little Police State - Whores Charged As Sex Offenders
- Quote of the Day: Coates on the Death Penalty
- Housekeeping: Back By Popular Demand... Editable Comments!
- Turning Our Children Into Robots And Guinea Pigs
- None dare call it corruption? Or, what's the deal with Peter Orszag?
- Reminder: How To Follow Library Grape on Social Media
- Word of the Day
- American Peasants Grovelling Before the Master's Carriage
- Political Correctness on the Right: The Word Bigot
- How Puritanical Are We?
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