I got a note from a good friend yesterday expressing shock, and anger, about Drudge and Malkin's usage of that alleged racial beat-down on a school-bus. On some level, I wonder if something's wrong with me. I'm neither shocked, nor angry. This is exactly how I expected these fools to respond to a black president.
If anything, I'm a little giddy. For black people, the clear benefit of Obama is that he is quietly exposing an ancient hatred that has simmered in this country for decades. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of us grew tired of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, mostly because they presented easy foils for Limbaugh-land. Moreover, again rightly or wrongly, they were used to define all of us.
It's intensely grating to live say, in Atlanta, and have some dude in Harlem crowned as your unelected leader. It's even more grating if said dude's agenda seems, in large measure, come down to standing in front of cameras and tweaking his opponents. It's no mistake that O'Reilly and Sharpton would break bread together at Sylvia's--they feed each other.
But Barack Obama, bourgeois in every way that bourgeois is right and just, will not dance.He tells kids to study--and they seethe. He accepts an apology for an immature act of rudeness--and they go hysterical. He takes his wife out for a date--and their veins bulge. His humanity, his ordinary blackness, is killing them. Dig the audio of his response to Kanye West--the way he says, "He's a jackass." He sounds like one of my brothers. And that's the point, because that's what he is. Barack Obama refuses to be their nigger. And it's driving them crazy.It's about time.
It's gotten to the point where I have to keep a cleaning cloth next to my computer, because I spit every time I see or hear Limbaugh's name. Never mind Malkin, she's an even bigger waste of skin. I deeply loathe the way the far-right wingnuts want to resume the culture wars. The dinosaurs on the right refuse to admit that the country changed underneath their feet; notice the number of town hall disrupters and "9/12 Project" marchers who say they "want their country back." What they don't understand is that they're asking for an imaginary country to return.
I've been hearing this shit for a long time, now. What they really want is a return to a time when old white men ran everything, and people like me "knew their place." Pat Buchanan insisted on MSNBC a few weeks ago that "this country was founded and built by white men for white men." Oh. yeah? Then who worked in the fields, built the railroads, and manned the factories? Who raised the children, nursed the sick, and took up the slack in the factory when the men went off to war? Who had their land stolen from them to make this country in the first place? How's that again, Pat?
The wingnuts aren't getting "their country" back, first of all, because it wasn't just their country to begin with; second, because the rest of us aren't giving it up; and third, because even those idiots with the "Obama=Hitler" signs are better off than they would have been under the previous status quo. I worry, though, about the level of virulent hatred and fear--and the sheer stupidity!-- that I'm seeing in these great unwashed masses. The anger and violence of the 1960s is not something I want to see happen again. I don't ever want to become accustomed again, as I did in the 1960s and 1970s, to reacting to every breaking news flash with the thought, "who's been shot this time?" I don't want to see homeless people on every corner again because a heartless government tossed them out on the streets, as happened in the 1980s. And I don't want to see vital, necessary changes in our government and society thwarted because some people want to hold on to their power, like the way health care reform was killed in the 1990s.
Limbaugh and his ilk are playing a dangerous game. It doesn't take much to push an already unstable person over the edge into violence, and I really worry about this trend of bringing firearms to political meetings. President Obama, so far, has refused to play their game and not responded to their race baiting and provocation, taking the power away from their demagoguery. But take a deep recession, two wars, multiple crisises in the financial, manufacturing , and health care industries, and you get a volatile mix that can go up with just a spark. Do these fools really want a race riot?
It's very difficult to do, but I think we should start ignoring them. Let Beck and Limbaugh and Malkin piss & moan about what we progressives do; let's do everything that needs to be done, and piss them off even more!