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Glenn Beck. Lou Dobbs. And Rush Limbaugh, most of all. I've listened to their hate-filled screeds on & off for years (always keep an eye on your enemies), but with their latest rantings, they've gone over the top, far beyond the limit of "polite" political discourse, or political rabblerousing...

Aw, hell, let's call it what it is: hate speech, said with the intention of inflaming racist attitudes towards our first black president. TPM listed the angry white men falsely attacking President Obama:

• Above all others, the real celebrity here has been Rush Limbaugh. He's done this kind of thing before -- remember the "Barack, The Magic Negro" song? But in the wake of the Gates incident, he's managed to become even more hard-edged about it. "Here you have a black president trying to destroy a white policeman," Limbaugh declared this past Friday. Yesterday, he shared a dream he's had about the dangers to capitalism: "I had a dream that I was a slave building a sphinx in a desert that looked like Obama." And he joked that food-safety advocates will go after all the unhealthy foods people like to eat, one by one -- but they'll have to wait until Obama is out of office to ban Oreos.

• Glenn Beck said this today on Fox News: "This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture. I don't what it is. You can't sit in a pew with Jeremiah Wright for 20 years and not hear some of that stuff, and not have it wash over."

• During his new crusade of Birtherism, Lou Dobbs suggested on his radio show this past Wednesday, right before the Gates flare-up, that Obama could be an illegal immigrant, tying this into his usual preoccupation. "I'm starting to think we have a document issue," Dobbs said. "You suppose he's un-- no, I won't even use the word 'undocumented,' it wouldn't be right."

Hey Rush, don't you know that "oreo" is an insult? Or will  you next be calling the President a "jive turkey" in another lame attempt at humor? Glenn Beck frankly, is on the verge of an on-air nervous breakdown--and I fully intend to post the video here when it happens. And Lou Dobbs is just......sad.

It's the Southern Strategy all over again, the divisive Republican political strategy designed to stoke racial fears and take white votes away from the Democratic Party, first successfully employed by Richard Nixon, enthusiastically adopted by Ronald Reagan, and perfected under Karl Rove and George W. Bush.

Lee Atwater, Karl Rove's political mentor, once said:

''You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' -- that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

''And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me -- because obviously sitting around saying, 'We want to cut this,' is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than 'Nigger, nigger.'''

It's 2009, but crying "nigger nigger nigger" seems to be coming back in style once more. As Rachel Maddow pointed out tonight, it almost seems that Public Enemy should update and re-release "Fear of a Black Planet." The fear amongst these wingnut pundits is vibrant and palpable, yet their attempts at stoking racial hatred seem almost....quaint, to borrow Alberto Gonzales' infamous expression. In the wake of the Gates arrest, America seems less "post-racial" than it did a few weeks ago, but I can't help but wonder exactly how many people are going to fall for this line of bullshit, this time around.

Tough economic times have always been a time of opportunity for race baiters and sowers of hate and discord. The recession and the health care debate have more people worried about the basics of life more than any time since 9/11. This doesn't excuse or condone the words and deeds of these far-right demagogues, but it does give us a glimpse at their worst fears: a time in which the primacy of white men will no longer be. Fortunately, they in truth have no say in that matter, and they no longer possess the power to forestall that time.

I believe that at the end of the day, a majority of Americans will not fall for their heinous lies. More and more people are intelligent and informed enough to be immune to the propaganda coming from Rush, Beck, and their ilk. These frenetic wingnut pundits, and their increasingly desperate and panic-stricken outrage can only, as Lincoln said, fool some of the people some of the time.

It's getting to that day that's the hard part.

* "It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!"

--Oliver Cromwell MP's speech on the dissolution of the Long Parliament, given to the House of Commons, April 20, 1653.

Originally posted to NorthernDragon on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:28 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    "Bunbu itchi": pen and sword in accord

    by NorthernDragon on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:28:04 PM PDT

  •  Oliver Cromwell (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaolin

    was eloquent..I think his speech should be heard more often. Tips for using it..very original.

    If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama

    by ohcanada on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:46:25 PM PDT

  •  Fuck Cromwell (4+ / 0-)

    I'm sure Hitler and Mao had plenty of quotable lines while commandeering their own country's governments. But quoting these tyrannical butchers as if they're some kind of standard for reforming government is a hideous insult to history and the people who suffered them in it.

    Just because Olbermann ignores Cromwell's evil to quote him doesn't make it OK to do so.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:50:45 PM PDT

    •  Cromwell the butcher, indeed (4+ / 0-)

      What he did to his enemies among the English was bad enough; what he did to the Irish was unforgivable for his brutality and attempt at genocide.  I'll never forget a professor's words on the "troubles," as he recited part of a conversation he'd had with an IRA man:  "When did the 'Troubles' start?"  "When Strongbow invaded Ireland."  "When will they end?"  "When Cromwell crawls out of Hell."

      Hope is a good thing--maybe the best of things--and no good thing ever dies.

      by Gemina13 on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 10:21:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Down with King Edward I! (0+ / 0-)

      He was no slouch in that department either.

      "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

      by mbayrob on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 11:19:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "the curse of Cromwell upon you" (0+ / 0-)

      I'd be curious what you think of the treatment this Wikipedia article gives to the issue.  I've known for a long time that the Irish hate Cromwell something fierce; they don't say malacht Cromail ort for nothing.

      But it doesn't sound like the comparisons with Hitler or Stalin are really fair to Cromwell either, and the position that what he was doing was 'ethnic cleansing' seems to be controversial among historians.  It sounds more like the routine sort of religious murder Europeans did to one another during this period of Reformation and Counter-Reformation.  That's not to make light of it (parts of Germany got depopulated by these wars in the 17th century), but it does suggest that Cromwell is less unusual than you imply.

      "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

      by mbayrob on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 01:12:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Degree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leftist vegetarian patriot

        Mass murder that eliminates large enough tribal groups is genocide. That's the category reserved for Hitler and his ilk. Cromwell qualifies, including literally enslaving, exporting and diluting to elimination among other larger slave populations large fractions of the survivors. "Religion" was a code for clan much the way that "race" is a code for class today (as is religion still, as race also was).

        That Wikipedia article is far too "fair and balanced" to minimize Cromwell's responsibility for the further abuses that were executed under his authority, even if despite some of his unenforced words. But hell, Nixon and Kissinger are now "statesmen", Kissinger's never left power, and they genocided only a couple of generations ago. The Irish aren't as forgiving in their media, which is still mostly word of mouth by people whose families were pushed to the brink - or over it.

        I didn't imply Cromwell was unusual. I stated unequivocally that Cromwell was and is despicable, not to be quoted adoringly any more than is Hitler, another powerful public speaker. The frequency of Cromwells is an even worse problem than any single Cromwell. And enabled by the treatment they get later, especially when they actually win their wars and eliminate the victims and witnesses.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 05:19:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Unlike his behavior in England, (0+ / 0-)

        in Ireland Cromwell put several cities and towns to the sword, on at least one occasion killing defenders who had surrendered after he had pledged them quarter. Between 1641 and 1652, Ireland's population was reduced by over half a million, one third of the prewar population. Under Cromwell, three quarters of the Irish population was forced on pain of hanging or transportation to relocate with a pittance of their former property to the least fertile counties in Connaught, itself the poorest and least developed province in Ireland at the time. This was to clear land for English settlement and investment (any Irish who returned years later had to pay exorbitant rents on land that might have once been theirs, but by law were not allowed to buy it back). The number of Irish transported by Cromwell's explicit policies and decrees to the Barbados as slaves, in every sense of the term, or as indentured servants (a minority), treated far worse than in the American colonies, was 50,000 at the least computation and some historians have put the number as much as twice that amount. The number transported to the West Indies as a whole and to other parts of North America was definitely over 100,000.

        Cromwell has often been portrayed as a great man by historians (especially English historians). Cortez and Pizarro have their admirers as well. I believe I once read something by historian and writer Hilaire Belloc defending Torquemada. But I would hope we have reached a point in time in which men are no longer admired for their expertise and enthusiasm for butchery and genocide.

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
        --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

        by leftist vegetarian patriot on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 08:52:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So I should say fuck Jefferson too? (0+ / 0-)

    --since he was a slaveowner, and I'm the descendant of slaves? Should I be offended every time I hear the Declaration of Independence, since I'm African-American? Or should I recognize and acknowledge the truth in those words, truths that even Jefferson himself couldn't fully realize when he wrote those words?

    Thomas Jefferson said and wrote more than a few quotable words, yet he was a slaveowner. Does that undo the impact and universality of his words? And frankly, if I were to adopt the attitude I see here towards Cromwell, and apply it to Limbaugh, Beck, and a few others, they'd all be roasting in hell by Saturday evening at the latest. But is that the right way to deal with their malice?

    You say "I would hope we have reached a point in time in which men are no longer admired for their expertise and enthusiasm for butchery and genocide." Where did I admire Cromwell's butchery? Quoting Cromwell does not mean that I either admire or condone his actions. Like Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence, his words fit the imagery I wanted to evoke with my words.

    (BTW, Olbermann's somewhat recent usage of that Cromwell quotation doesn't mean that I first heard it from him. He's neither my source nor inspiration for using that quote.)

    Following the reasoning I see here, and because of the African and Native American blood in my veins, should I then find reason to despise all of you? What good would that accomplish? Time to let the old hatreds go, I say. We're all here now, together, in this place and time. If you want to spend your time hating what someone did to your ancestors, by all means have at it!--but I intend to keep working to improve the present.

    "Bunbu itchi": pen and sword in accord

    by NorthernDragon on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 01:02:54 PM PDT

    •  I don't know how I missed your last post (0+ / 0-)

      and apologize for the long delay in this response.

      Yes, Cromwell's words are very quotable, and were in fact relevant to your thesis. Had someone else said them, I'd have applauded your quote. But it's a bit like quoting something unobjectionable said by Pol Pot or Hitler--for too many, the man's deeds will always overshadow his words. In my opinion, the counterexample you provided of Jefferson is not really equivalent--he was a slaveowner, but didn't institute slavery (for the Irish, Cromwell did) and wasn't responsible for a genocide. I might not much like Jefferson (actually, I think he was a brilliant hypocrite), but he wasn't even near to being in Cromwell's league. As a counter-counterexample, a few of the leading men of the Confederacy said some very quotable things regarding human freedom and the rights of man when attempting to justify secession. Nonetheless, given their actions, I wouldn't ever quote them, except ironically.

      Even if almost an eighth of my own ancestry weren't English, I'd have zero interest in fomenting ancient Irish grievances against living Englishmen, blameless of their forebears' actions. But just because Cromwell is centuries dead he doesn't get a pass. We should hold onto our grievances against all of history's monsters, lest we forget what monsters are capable of.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
      --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 03:10:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  cromwell ethically challenged (0+ / 0-)

    but probably a saint compared to the snakes in parliament!

    why? just kos..... *just cause*

    by melo on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 04:20:20 PM PDT

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