Monday, July 13, 2009

The Fault, Dear Brutus, Lies Not in the Stars but in Ourselves...

In my innocent youth -- my time of naivety about how the world really works -- I was more or less surrounded by howling packs of intellectually-challenged emotional morons, blatantly bigoted racists, quasi-neo-nazis and sheet-on-the-clothesline members of the KKK.

Mostly they were a squalid lot, a rabble of tarpaper-shack-dwelling semi-toothless goons with chronic white-lightnin' breath, tobacco stains on their chin-whiskers and family trees that looked like telephone poles.

But when I considered them, I thought two things that turned out to be problematical:

(1) These assholes were all old -- at least to my young eyes -- and how much time did they really have left to spew their bullshit anyway, and who would listen to it?
(2) None of the younger generation -- my generation --shared their beliefs, not even their own children.
So, obvious conclusion, all we had to do was basically wait it out until the old fuckers died off, and their attitudes and beliefs died along with them, and then we'd be free. Free at last. Yes, great gawdamighty, we'd be free at last.

Except it didn't quite work out that way. Here it is, nearly 60 years after I arrived at those faulty conclusions, and this is what I observe now:
(1) They might have died off, but their ideas remain vibrant.
(2) The younger generation that I knew personally was, apparently and evidently, an insufficiently diverse sample from which to draw any conclusions.
Of course, looking back (in retrospect, which is the best way to do it...), I realize that even at that young age I would not have included in my circle of friends anyone who thought that way, which left me with a self-limiting sample, in statistical terms a bad thing.

Which brings me to the news today, that the new president of an outfit called the Young Republicans is one Audra Shay (R-Deluded), who, at nearly 40, stretches the definition of "young", and who is just as racist and bigoted and psychotically paranoid and homophobic as those old geezers I knew 60 years ago.

Shay is actually little younger than Sarah Palin (R-Quitter), and it is just a little odd that someone who is approaching the age of 40 could be a leader of the YOUNG Republicans, but there she is, Audra Shay, now famous for her racist rants and her Bachmann-Beck-induced trumpeting of an impending Obamanation Meltdown.

In the meantime, our old friends the Freepers over at the so-called Free Republic website, are insulting the Obama daughters (children!) thusly: "A typical street whore ... A bunch of ghetto thugs ... Ghetto street trash ... Wonder when she will get her first abortion." (See the exposé of this over at The Political Carnival and brace yourself -- it's pretty ugly stuff). But this is really nothing new for the party of hate, whose spokesman and chief motherfucker Limbaugh said many years ago that Chelsea Clinton was the White House dog...

All of which goes to depress me some, knowing that I was wrong -- REALLY WRONG -- way back in the day. But that's not so depressing (if I started counting up everything that I've been wrong about in my life, the numbers would outlast the days I have left until my biblically-allotted threescore and ten...) as the fact that this shit is still with us, and it seems to be getting more virulent.

And in the famous words quoted from William Shakespeare by Edward R. Murrow when he was basically the only person to stand up to Joseph McCarthy: "The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars but in ourselves."

In other words, we let this happen. We let people like Audra Shay and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin and Michael "Savage" Wiener and the hundreds of other raucous voices braying Big Lies over a public airway at an uniformed populace without break, without end, and without correction.

I'm for free speech as much as anyone, but in the words of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., free speech does not extend to "falsely shouting fire in a crowded theatre".

And no, I don't have any immediate solutions. But these people have an immense amount of psychological power over their sheeple listeners and they need to be dealt with somehow. I'm not so much in favor of silencing their voices (except on a personal level -- after all, I did challenge Limbaugh to a wild-west shootout...), but I do like the idea of boycotting their sponsors.

If anyone can provide a comprehensive list -- hell, even a semi-comprehensive list -- of the sponsors of hate-talk/lie-talk venom, including Faux News and the manifestly-misnamed Excellence in Broadcasting Network (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rush Limbaugh), I'd be glad to promote it.

One of our biggest problems over here on the left is that we lack the Nazi-like organization, the Gestapo-like regimentation, and the blind willingness-to-follow-any-orders-at-all that the right wing has been perfecting for years, and that lack of lock-step skills has left us in the lurch so many times. The very fact that I can't seem to find a comprehensive list of the sponsors of hate talk illustrates this.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying what I have been feeling and saying for years. I am a "young" 54 year old whose parents NEVER used racist or bigoted remarks. I had great faith in my age group that we would dismiss the hatred but I was so wrong. I surely hoped our children would learn but I still hear 25 year olds just as racist as their grandparents. I still have hope.

zeppo said...

I don't know if I would say, necessarily, that this is a "problem." I would perhaps say it is a tendency or a trait that Democrats lack the will to have the "win at any costs" mentality that drives the conservative movement of this country. I rather look at it this as perhaps our better side winning over humanity's darker inclinations. I agree that this puts us at a great disadvantage, when our adversaries place no such limitations on themselves.

That's the same thing behind why many conservatives think that torturing anyone who might know anything about terrorism and happens to have dark skin is a good thing, while our side is appalled.

As you say, this leaves us in a position where we have to work twice as hard. But I would rather not become like them just so we can win. That would make us too much like those who we believe are on the wrong side of the truth.

Boy, that sounds preachy for so early in the morning.

The only good thing I see coming out of all this at them moment is that people like Jeff Sessions isn't even pretending that he isn't a racist anymore. Between those fools and gasbags like Rush Limbaugh, it's pretty obvious that racism is part of the central foundation of today's conservative movement. And the rest of us are rightly appalled. Get it out into the open, and maybe the current Republican Party will truly become a regional party of aggrieved white males.

Farnsworth68 said...

Thanks, Zeppo. I've always been one to say don't bring a knife to a gunfight. But we as Democrats carry a heavy burden of personal and social responsibility that the Rethugs, for all their pandering to the family-values-and-intent-of-the-founders etc. set, have blithely cast aside.
The danger of course, as you imply, is that we can arrive at the top of the heap but if we've sacrificed our own beliefs and values to get there, what have we really won?

Anonymous said...

First, what does party affiliation have to do with racism. When I was 24 years old I was engaged to an amazing and beautiful black woman (yes I am white). Her parents vowed to disown/disinherit her if she married me simply because I was white. Her parents were big time Democrats and I was top staffer for a US Congressman in the same party). The two of us met at a Democratic fund raiser put on by her parents. I am no-longer politically affilitated. My experiences have taught me well that both parties are corrupt and controlled by global corporate monies and powerful global special interests. The concept of any US congressional representative actually representing the average working person is but a pipe dream. We need only to look at the bailouts of the banks and corporate giants while individual families are being destroyed by corporate greed. The previous administration was doing it indirectly through back handed political appointments and the current one is doing it directly through bailouts...the end result is the rich are getting richer and ... well you know the rest. The very first George to be president shared great wisdom and insight into human nature in his Farewell Address to the Union. It is too bad that 99% of US citizens haven't read this extremely important document. I would bet that 95% of all high school history teachers haven't read this amazingly important and still relevant document.

Farnsworth68 said...

Where did I say it was only Republicans? Democrats have some explaining to do as well, but not since the civil rights battles of the 1950s have the Dems come anywhere close to the institutional racism celebrated by the Republican Party. And that's partly because of the passage of the civil rights laws, all of the racist Democrats beat feet as fast as they would go to join the Republicans. It's historical fact.
--The F Man