Saturday, March 27, 2010

Deterioration of discourse, the Tea Party.

Debate on and passage of the Healthcare Reform Bill last weekend brought out the worst in some people.
The Tea Party demonstrators in D.C. being urged to "punish" Democrats in November by Republican congressmen that spoke to them.
This in itself would not have been unusual; the GOP has been pandering to the Tea Party extremists to varying extent since the election of Barack Obama. What was unusual was how this incitement deteriorated into uncivil action; Rep. Emanuel Cleaver being spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a 'ni--er.' And Rep. Barney Frank was called a "fa--ot," as he was walking down the halls of congress.

During the late evening debate on the House floor Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer screamed "baby killer" or "it's a baby killer" at Rep. Bart Stupak, as the later was voicing his opposition to an anti-abortion amendment.
After the late night passage of the bill things got worse. Death threats against President Obama on twitter, death threats left on voice mail for Democratic members of congress that voted for the bill.

There is a very widely held sentiment that “special rights” are given to African-Americans, or women, or members of the LGBT community, or liberals, or ethnic groups, or whatever that “regular Americans” can’t get or don’t qualify for.
Writing off these concerns as simply racism or ignorance is the easy way out - I'm guilty of it myself in the past- The fear of being left out or left behind is so deeply ingrained in Americans that they usually don’t recognize it as racism or anything untoward and often justify their concerns by laying on economic and security arguments.
Defaulting to a racism argument is almost always counter-productive and fuels the right side’s sense of indignation and victimhood.

The shows of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are loaded with themes that tap the fears of many Americans that things are changing too fast and that they are being left out or left behind.
The RNC is well aware of this, and has made it part of their national fundraising plan. See pages 29 through 30 of the document embedded below.

We must decry overt racism, as well as denounce institutionalized racism; at the same time we must realize that there are other things driving the deterioration of political discourse.

RNC 2010 Finance Meeting Feb 18, 2010

1 comment:

sweet dreams said...

Great observation Claus and your very very right.