Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Good Fight and the Pedagogical Moment

Donna Brazile, who appears on our talk shows all too often repeating Washington Conventional Wisdom--you know, the WCW that we should invade Iraq, the sage opion that the smart people of Wall Street know what they're doing and should be trusted, the wisdom that trickle down economics works, you know that conventional wisdom--well, the real Donna broke through today, and she got to the heart of the matter.  She said that she sensed something deeply troubling in the Republican ranks, something truly wicked, something beyond the pale, something truly, deeply, madly racist.

Indeed, we have:

Sit down, boy.

Then there are the enlightened souls screaming, at the planned mention of Barack Hussein Obama (emphasis on Hussein), "terrorist," "kill him," and "traitor."

Update, and thanks to youtube, you can see these Republican supporters talking about Obama's "bloodline," his "muslim background," and say that he's a "one-man terror cell": (h/t digby)

Nevermind that Sarah Palin's husband was/is a member of a separatist/secessionist group.  (Though we should remember that abortion clinic bombers and militia members and the various Timothy McVeigh's of the world are never anti-American, they're anti-government.  I repeat: these killers are never anti-American, they're anti-government.)

So we have people like Sarah, people like John conducting, orchestrating events attended entirely or almost entirely by white people and, let's be honest, encouraging their crowds to jeer at the mention of the name Hussein.  This is not about policy or politics.  It's not even about personality, though some in the punditry might use such terminology to gloss over the situation.  This is about hate, this is about wanting to kill, imprison or humiliate someone because they have a different name, a different color skin.  Go ahead, say it--growl it, scream it: "Hussein."  This name, apparently, is supposed to make you mad.

While it is perhaps true that John and Sarah may not hear the remarks from the podium, they have by now heard of them.  They know this is happening.  We thus have what might be called "a teachable moment."  One of these prospective "leaders" of the United States could and should plan on interrupting their speech when they or one of their entourages hears the epithet.  They should interrupt their speech and show themselves to be above this and to signal to these crowds that its wrong, just plain wrong, plain un-Christian to act in such ways.

This won't happen.  As Digby says:
"This is the kind of thing that really makes me fear for Obama. They are already screaming "terrorist" at Palin's rallies and shouting "kill him." The whole "Obama is a muslim" thing is bizarre, but with his name and childhood spent partly in a Muslim country --- and the fact that he's black, which makes everyone flash on Louis Farrakhan --- makes the right wing lizard brain twitch uncontrollably. They will use this, I have no doubt. There is an entire wingnut industry devoted to stirring up tensions in the middle east and another on devoted to character assassination of Democrats. Obama brings them together in serendipitous loathing and paranoia. It's going to be ugly."


Or, as Josh Marshall quips:

"Shorter McCain Campaign: He's definitely black; probably Muslim; and maybe a terrorist."

So, Donna, thanks for the reminder.   Now do this on teevee!