The latest few items to cross my social media threshold have gotten me a bit riled up … enough so to post. My “inner Grinch” has been tickled.
Racism may be one of the real problems with conservatives, and it continues to show, at least in the US.
Consider the recent Wall Street Journal piece (behind a pay wall, so see, for instance, this commentary). It basically bemoans how the country is in trouble because the WASPs aren’t in charge any more.
Or, consider the comments by Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) that included some racially insensitive comments, as well as the homophobic ones that have garnered so much press, including:
I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.
Ah, the good old days when Jim Crow ruled the land! Clearly our problems started when we gave “them” the right to vote.
A&E, the producers of the Duck Dynasty show, suspended Mr. Robertson. The conservatives —including Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Rush Limbaugh everyone on Fox News, and others — have jumped to Mr. Robertson’s defense while being careful not to mention the racist comments.
(As an aside, it strikes me as both illustrative and tragic that so many of these people — current and former lawmakers, many of whom are lawyers — label A&E’s suspension of Mr. Robertson as a violation of the 1st amendment. What a load! The 1st amendment says that the government will not do anything to infringe the free exercise of expression or religion — it says nothing about employers, media, or other private entities reacting to offensive comments. It is the same reason those blowhards can talk about a “war on Christmas” freely, even though it is utter nonsense. I would be outraged too, if the state or Federal government arrested or detained Mr. Robertson, but I applaud A&E’s decision to suspend him.)
Notably, Mr. Robertson’s defenders are the same people who are doing everything to make our first non-white President “fail” and who kept fixated on the idea that he couldn’t be an American (i.e., born in Kenya); who conjure up images of unemployed inner city “welfare queens” (i.e., black mothers) living off food stamps and unemployment insurance (which is incorrect in several dimensions); and are working at the state level to restrict voting to only the “right kind” couched as preventing (non-existent) voter fraud: basically a return to Jim Crow laws. Of course, Fox News reports it all with their unique spin… including stating that Jesus and Santa were white.
I am sure there are other examples, but those are so current and obvious.
This behavior needs to be called out for what it is. It is not a matter of religion or philosophy, unless you agree that the religion and philosophy espoused are based on racist ideals (e.g., the “Jesus was white” view).
Of course, racism isn’t the only contempt for “others” — conservatives are also really uncomfortable with any sexual identity other than straight male, and with poverty or bad luck of any kind. Basically, any existence other than their own desired state of being.
The sexism isn’t difficult to see, either: fear of women asserting themselves, making their own choices, having control of their sexuality. I’m not even bothering to include links — the examples are everywhere. The ultimate conservative nightmare is probably a wealthy black lesbian with a Spanish accent. I suspect the extreme conservatives are not that far from embracing the concept of public stoning of women who commit adultery or seek to have an education!
Meanwhile, these same conservatives rally around Christmas and religion, claiming they are good Christians (Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jainists, and atheists are all the heathen underclass, of course), while also expressing outrage that the new Pope is a Marxist for saying that the greed of the rich is a problem. Yet, their own Scripture (which they quote from so very selectively) states in Matthew 19:24 “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” And as they try to defund healthcare, food stamps, unemployment insurance and more, perhaps they should keep in mind their Matthew 25:40-45 (New International version; follow the link for other versions):
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Note that this does not mention the color of skin, or sex, or gender orientation. I guess Matthew was the first Marxist, eh?
I have separated from a few former friends who, among other things, refused to acknowledge any of the bigotry and ignorance present in the conservative movement (one, in particular, became a fan and apologist of Sarah Palin). I have several other acquaintances who claim to hate President Obama in every way, but deny any racist feelings. Pressed on this, they can’t point out why they have such a visceral dislike for the President, but invariably they come back with “I have several black friends” or “because he’s a socialist [sic].” They also can’t come up with good reasons why they are opposed to homosexuals other than it is an “icky choice” — showing ignorance in at least two dimensions. (1. There is increasing evidence it is not a choice, but an orientation from birth; and 2. all sex is icky if you don’t like it…viewpoint matters. Which reminds me of a favorite line by Woody Allen: “Is sex dirty? Only if it’s done right.”) A few of those people have tried to excuse notable individuals (e.g., the Koch brothers) by saying “You don’t know what they are doing individually” (as to charity or acceptance of others). No, but I can see what laws and candidates and causes they support. If they are not bigots then they are hypocrites of the worst kind.
I’m all for tolerance, but I can’t abide glorifying stupidity and bigotry. That may seem contradictory, but I never claimed I was perfect! I will not support government suppression of speech or religion (except in extreme cases — human sacrifice as a religious act is not something I support, unless it is Rush Limbaugh or Rick Santorum :-), but neither will I excuse it when it demonstrates continued acceptance of repression of others.
It’s Christmas. It is a time to celebrate family, peace, and joy. (Oh, and unbridled consumerism, too — spend all ye joyful. :-). Or, it is Saturnalia or Festivus, or Kwanzaa, or pick some other holiday. Whatever it may be, it is generally held to be a time to reflect on our own blessings and think of others.
Want to celebrate the true meaning of this holiday season? Find at least one family with limited income and buy them a holiday meal and toys for the children. Find some homeless people and treat them to a hot meal. (I advise against giving cash — too many homeless have addiction problems and they’ll spend it on their habits rather than their well-being, and some are actually scam artists.) Reluctant to engage with these people or don’t know where to find the needy ones? Then find a local food bank or other charity and make a substantial donation. (I now avoid the Salvation Army after my daughter pointed out their anti-LGBT stance; similar reasoning with most religious-based charities.)
And if you really want to carry the meaning of the holidays through the year, stop supporting bigots — whether they are on TV or running for office or preaching their brand of religion to you. Lend your voice — and your votes and support — to people who are not seeking to penalize or repress others simply because they aren’t white, or straight, or male, or healthy, or lucky. Odds are you or someone you love is, was, or will be one of those, so it is more than simply the right thing to do, it is the practical thing.