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The Rise of A Postmodern Racist Movement?

A Friday email cited by Ta-Nehisi Coates, at the Atlantic...

Yesterday evening I was to attend to the Health Care summit with(D) Rep Betty Reed and(D) Rep Kathy Castor, I'm a Precinct Captain (203) in Tampa and we received our talking points to rebut any NEGATIVE GOP talking points on healthcare. I never made it in the building. I've never in my life really experience outright racism in a public place. Signs of Obama hung in effigy, racial slurs on signs, people chanting negative words ( too many to list) and outright screaming at Obama supporters. The hatred was in their eyes and they actually scared me for a moment. At first I was shocked, then a little scared and then I got outright mad in the span of 1 minute.............. I actually left (the "hood" would have come out).  I was totally blown away it was a mad house. I'm kinda mad at my self now, because I left. I'm still shaking my head in awe....................I'm still cold inside.


There seems little question that something odd is going on with the healthcare debate. Foremost is the ridiculous extent to which the debate has been entirely commandeered by flagrant, outright lies -- things about euthanasia, and death panels, and the like, abject propaganda peddled directly from House and Senate offices. We have had lying in our discourse since the beginning of that discourse, but it has been a long while since the fabrications have been so blatant, so absolutely without even the smallest grain of truth. To take a Republican-sponsored healthcare provision that rather innocently and uncontroversially extends insurance coverage to those that want to create their own living wills and turn it into a declaration that the government will decide every five years whether or not you should be euthanized is something out of the Protocols, or out of Saddam's Iraq, or a mimicry of the worst and most stupid and most absurd of North Korean propaganda towards their own citizens.

Likewise, the explicit instruction to protestors not to debate, but to aggressively attempt to shut down the meetings entirely -- not normal. It is perhaps the best possible approach for insurance lobbyists to take, if their goal is to protect the profits of their industry -- but it is still not normal. We have always had the fringes of such speech, but I cannot recall a time it has been so celebrated as the formal solution to political debate. Certainly not by a major political party, coupled with the majority of their most popular pundits and talking heads, coupled again to lobbyist groups with long histories of corporate astroturfing. And the proud shuffling just-up-to-the-line-of-violence, right in the very faces of their own representatives of Congress, requiring police protection in order to escort those elected representatives safely from the meetings -- that part is new. That part is not normal.

It is more than a little troubling that each of the recent, most explicitly aggressive and loud and factless "movements" to appear on the scene since our first black American president took office appear to be, in large part, made up of the same people. Categorizing them informally there are the birthers, people who do not believe President Barack Obama is truly an American. There are the teabaggers (our name for them, cough, not theirs), a group that suddenly came to the conclusion that a tax structure that was begrudgingly tolerable in 2008, under Bush, is now the highest form of tyranny a mere handful of months later. There are the deathers, those that seem to quite firmly believe the propaganda of eugenics and euthanasia being cheerfully peddled to them by national leaders, and who take the conspiracy theory to absolute heart as being the nearly unavoidable result of any attempt to reform the straining, hyperexpensive and increasingly incompetent American healthcare system.

But these are not three disparate movements with three different practitioners, three different conspiracy theories that simply happen to share the same summertime stage. In practice and organization they are one movement, a single collection of the same set of animated citizens and televised leaders, and their signs decrying fascism, Naziism, communism, taxes, euthanasia and outrage over 1960's-era Hawaiian government paperwork mingle freely at every protest. If you find a newly minted tax protestor, you are as likely as not to find a birther and a deather as well, all tucked neatly inside the same polo shirt. They are nearly exclusively white, predominantly middle aged and elderly, and unambiguously conservative. Many of those shouting against their government are already participants in the same "socialized medicine" they decry, but to a person will not consider their Medicare to be of that evil ilk.

It is, in short, a movement made up of the enfranchised and enabled; people who have gained every benefit from the politics of America and yet who feel in their very bones that they are the oppressed ones, the ones who have nothing left to lose, so rapidly is America falling away from them. It is rare to run across any movement so deeply angry -- or more to the point, a movement which explicitly celebrates anger as the primary mission of their activism. They are not willing to listen to any factual evidence that contradicts their own beliefs in whatever dark conspiracies have been peddled to them; they have in fact made it their publicly proclaimed mission to block any such explanations from even being attempted.

That seems the operative element of discourse, of late. It is angry beyond any objective rationale. It is actively hostile to fact. It finds the mere premise of debating a political argument to be deeply offensive.

And as a movement, it is large.


Pondering the email he was sent, Coates writes:

One thing to keep in mind is that race, and racism, have rarely ever acted alone. One of the best points that Phillip Dray makes in his classic history of lynching is that epidemics of lynching often coincided, not just with an expansion of black rights, but with increased labor mobility among white women. So fear of white women, and their independence, as well as fear of sexual competition, all worked in concert. It wasn't simply "I hate niggers" -- it never is. It was "I don't much like black people, and prices are going up, and I have to let my wife work, so I can survive, and I'm scared she won't stay with me if she's not dependent on me and I'd die if she left me for a black guy." Or some such.

Ditto for the Civil Rights Movement. It wasn't just racism -- it was class also. In the South you had this black middle class that always had to be deferential to the most poorest white person in the world. The prospect of losing that deference, of already being lower than the white aristocracy and now also being lower than a class of blacks too, wreaked havoc.

It seems at first a bizarre thought, a mere freeform hiccup of the brain, but between a half-dozen different commentators I am apparently already far from the first to have it: it seems to me like the last time we saw public discourse be as intentionally devolved as it is today was during, of all things, American desegregation.

That was the last time you had deeply conservative southern governors and states yelling about secession because the federal government was forcing things on them that they couldn't tolerate, and making belligerent anti-federalism statements over the slightest little thing.

That was the last time America so prominently saw, on television, shouting white mobs and the threats against lawmakers, all explicitly intended not at debate, but as efforts of pure intimidation in order to stop the debate from ever taking place.

That was when you had phalanxes of very dumb but very loud people weeping in front of the cameras that the fabric of America was being destroyed, though they couldn't begin to actually tell you why or how, only that it involved black people rising above their place in the world and the subsequent corruption of their government.

That was when you had men with fervent political beliefs walking into "too-liberal" churches and murdering in cold blood those who they disagreed with.

Why on earth would a southern governor choose to raise the specter of secession over something as asinine as a policy dispute over nuances of a financial stimulus package? Is that all it takes, is that the end-all issue of issues, over these last long decades, the final thing that brings the rallying cry of "too much!" from the head of state of, well, a state? And we are to believe that the American public, which wants a public option in heath insurance by margins ranging from sixty to eighty percent or so, in various polls, is at the same time is so enraged that the government would dare offer such a thing that they want nothing to do with even holding meetings on the subject? And we are to believe in government-mandated Death Panels, now, if government dares assure you that your health insurance will optionally cover living wills, if you desire to have one?

Now, how it is that a healthcare reform debate has managed to raise a viciously angry, assertively fact-hostile and debate-hostile political climate that brings back national memories of American desegregation seems outright baffling. Except that many of the paranoid healthcare protestors are "teabaggers" as well, and many of those "teabaggers" are "birthers" besides, and the whole parcel is, from polling, clearly a fringe movement based most substantially in the southern states, the only remaining stronghold of the party that contains them. And -- there is no way around it -- America has just now elected the first black president. The very first, after two centuries and then some, and even though I am in the terribly liberal, very nearly socialist hellhole of California I can still go no more than a few miles from my home and see the confederate battle flag hanging from a living room window, or stuck to the bumper of a worn and battered truck.


Before we ever had healthcare town halls, the teabaggers-now-eugenics-protestors were purportedly all about taxes: they had large, conservative-promoted protests about how unfair the entire affair was, and Obama held prominence as the be-all, end-all cause of it all. Now, their taxes under Obama were actually going down, not up, but that major, presumably all-deflating fact didn't make so much as a dent in the movement. It simply didn't matter: they still insisted that under Obama, taxes were suddenly at socialist comma fascist comma Europe-like levels. The same people, all denizens of far-right conservatism, didn't have fits about their taxes under Bush -- it only came up as prominent, so-called "popular" movement at the exact moment Obama became president.

Likewise with the birther movement. There is no documentation that can deflate it; there is no final number of reporters from the right, the left and the center who have, can or could go see the original certificate and report back that all is in order; there is no number of public birth announcements or assertions from the officials of the state of Hawaii that can dim the candle of their beliefs. Some of the them hold up signs with the President's name misspelled, Barrak, or with swastikas or sickles or other emblems of past tyrannies: they seem to be less than serious in their grounded explorations of the man's origins.

We didn't have a nationwide epidemic of people buying up weapons and ammunition under that terrible menace to the nation, Bill Clinton, though those years saw far more substantial gun legislation than anything any Democrat has proposed this decade. But when Barack Obama was elected, it started immediately, and continues to run full speed.

The last poll this site commissioned was startling. From a prominent and credible pollster, it showed beyond question how very explicitly racial the birther movement is, and it cannot help but raise questions of motive. Maybe this fight is a postmodern segregationist one after all, postmodern because it is not even about the thing it is purportedly about, but fought through weird three-times-removed proxy issues that even the participants themselves don't really grasp and heaven knows have no actual information on.

The mere continued presence of ingrained racism is nothing surprising. We had strong rattles of the old segregationists during the Reagan years, and over and over in every "immigration" debate from then until these last summer days, where people like Pat Buchanan moan about how we're becoming a not-white nation, thereby destroying their own visions of America, and  where Lou Dobbs pivots seemingly effortlessly from virulent anti-immigration rhetoric to being one of the few talking heads to give televised credence to allegations of suspicious foreign-ness against a mixed-race President.


That may be the difference; this time we've got a black president, the first one ever, and one that received not a bare minimum of votes but delivered a true political spanking to the conservatives that rallied against him, and maybe that one small fact turns out to be the only thing it takes to turn the usual muttering about federal meddling and states' rights and incipient brownness-slash-socialism into full-on talk of secession and eugenics and organized intimidation explicitly plotted to discredit even the concept of discussing national issues. Because it seems to be the same people -- white, ultra-conservative, mostly from the south and from rural areas -- and the same general arguments, and the same climate of aggressively irrational, proudly uninformed, thoroughly paranoid fury.

There is not a conservative politician or talking head in the country that would not deny it up and down, of course, and be red-faced that anyone would even suggest it. But the current climate is the current climate, and has been documented on every television screen. We've got governors yelling about secession, and major politicians peddling stories of imminent threats to your family and your children by the very government they are supposedly a part of, and every day the town hall footage just seems to look more and more like a modernized version of the mob attacks against citizens and legislators during old anti-desegregation rallies, and we don't need to say "sooner or later someone will be shot" because it has already happened, and multiple times, and in truth it never really left us, these last fifty years.

As of yet it is only an idle, troubled thought, good for nothing. But as Coates says, even during racism it wasn't about racism, it was always about a nebulous something else. Given how readily every lie is latched on to, and how furiously everything to the contrary is shouted down, one wonders if even the protestors truly know what they are protesting against.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:00 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i met the enemy long ago (32+ / 0-)

    and he's STILL us.
    and Pogo is still forlorn.

    The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche.--Sachem

    by greenbird on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:03:50 PM PDT

  •  gop brownshirts....assholes.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, Pris from LA, MariaWr, MRA NY

    In the land of the G.O.P. the man with one brain cell is king.

    by Molotov on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:03:55 PM PDT

    •  If I can trust half of what I am reading about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anthony Segredo

      Dick Durbin pooh-poohing the public option in favor of the predestined to fail co-op schemes then it looks like the fix is in on health care reform and we are spinning our wheels.

      It looks like Obama and friends punked us.

      We either fight back harder or we're done.

      Durbin story

      Better than 30 pieces of silver, eh Rahm?

      Is Obama even capable of delivering anything, including healthcare?  Read the article, it is thought provoking.  

      Today, 8/1/09, 4328 Americans, and untold Iraqis are dead, tens of thousands more maimed. Bush lied; President Obama, it is your war now.

      by boilerman10 on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:20:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can probably trust about 5% (5+ / 0-)

        so get over it and get your jaw off the ground and keep making calls.

        Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

        by anastasia p on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:42:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm with you on keep calling... (0+ / 0-)

          but after so much work to see this come down this way is depressing.

          Today, 8/1/09, 4328 Americans, and untold Iraqis are dead, tens of thousands more maimed. Bush lied; President Obama, it is your war now.

          by boilerman10 on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:19:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  This is off topic. Better for open thread. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jezreel

        And is right on the edge of hideable.

        "If you can't afford a boat, and are standing tiptoe in the water, the rising tide goes up your nose." -- Barney Frank

        by JanF on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:05:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My post plays directly into (0+ / 0-)

          both coates' article, Molotov's post, GOP tactics, and perception ranging from Bromwich to Frank Rich.

          I am worried, both from the misinformation, and growing concern that Obama appears to be detached far too detached...I base that on Rahm's actions, which I think are counter-productive.

          Other than that thank you for your concern...I'll keep calling, how about you?

          Today, 8/1/09, 4328 Americans, and untold Iraqis are dead, tens of thousands more maimed. Bush lied; President Obama, it is your war now.

          by boilerman10 on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:26:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I wouldn't trust the author of that last op (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tommyfocus2003, blindyone, Jezreel

        ed, he doesn't have a clue about Obama:

        Alongside Obama's reticence sits a curiously incompatible trait, a certain grandiosity. This showed recently in his second statement about the Cambridge police. Offered a chance to concede that matters of local law were ultimately outside his province, he replied that in his view such things were "part of my portfolio." Psychologically, this may be so. But Obama is mistaken if he thinks many Americans want to see that portfolio carried into many other towns and cities. People like to think a president is too important for that. He stands at the very head of the dignified part of government (as Walter Bagehot called it). He can't at the same time enter into the efficient part of government at the level of the city police.

        Spoken like a truly clueless white guy. I'm sorry, but this is just nonsense.  Of course it's part of Obama's portfolio, he had to comment because he was asked to respond to the question as the curiosity he is to white people everywhere, as the first black President.  The fact that Obama understands this and accepts it as part of his job is not grandiosity, by any means.  It does take a certain amount of grace and should be seen as a national embarassment.

        I have no idea why you are linking an article like this to this diary, except that perhaps you don't see the irony in it.

  •  Thank you. (34+ / 0-)

    The "blacks are gonna kill us in our beds if they're in charge" emotion has been in our country since before the Civil War. It stoked the fears after John Brown, it was a justification for slavery and now it's being used to do away with health care reform.

    That these folks don't even understand the history behind their consternation is the really scary thing.

    "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

    by grannyhelen on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:04:03 PM PDT

  •  The photos of the birthers et al (24+ / 0-)

    conjure up images of the Dallasites who spat upon Lady Bird Johnson during a visit here shortly before the Kennedy assassination.  They were primarily middle class people who were being egged on by a right-wing Congressman, Bruce Alger.

    Cause we find ourselves in the same old mess singin' drunken lullabies--Flogging Molly

    by dalfireplug on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:04:43 PM PDT

  •  Believe me... she will leave one way or another.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, on the cusp

    Women are leaving the former East Germany in droves, b/c that region is habited by Neo-Nazis and women are getting better and more educated than men in Germany.

    That's why I say, a women dominated society will prosper more than men dominated in the 21st century.

    Democrats keep the US from becoming Third World. :)

    by The Simple Canadian on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:05:17 PM PDT

    •  That's a bit of a non-sequiter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      minachica

      In several ways.  One, it doesn't follow from the main article.  Two, self-contained, it doesn't follow.  The women are fleeing eastern Germany for western Germany.  Sure, fine, and I get why they would do so.  Then, claiming that once they're in charge, life will be better.  That doesn't quite follow.  I think we should be striving for egalitarianism, and the battle-of-the-sexes BS is only another way for us to be at each others' throats unnecessarily.

  •  I hope this is the death rattle of racism. (10+ / 0-)

    Racism is in it's last throes, as Vice President Cheney might say.

    The weird part is that nothing has happened yet. This is all based on FEAR of what might happen to white people.

    I hope that we can demonstrate that our way of helping all Americans works and is good for everyone.

    Fingers crossed.

    I wasn't sure how to spell "hypocrisy" until I started blogging about Republicans.

    by mungley on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:06:13 PM PDT

  •  This reminded me of something (31+ / 0-)

    from a long time ago.  That is,

    In the South you had this black middle class that always had to be deferential to the most poorest white person in the world. The prospect of losing that deference, of already being lower than the white aristocracy and now also being lower than a class of blacks too, wreaked havoc.

    reminded me of something vaguely remembered from more than 50 years ago when I first read Huckleberry Finn -  I have memories of Huck's father being very upset because he saw a black man wearing a white shirt on Sunday, and somehow that made him feel inferior, and it brought out all of his racism.

    Which reminds me of how badly some have misinterpreted the book itself, which is one of the most profound statements about racism I have ever encountered.  After all, Huck decides at the end rather than in any way betray Jim ("Nigger Jim") he would rather burn in hell.

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:06:23 PM PDT

    •  Taking this a bit further... (12+ / 0-)

      I think there are some people, very poor, very unsuccessful, who think, Well, no matter how bad I'm doing, I can always look down on minorities and feel superior to them.  And then Obama comes along and shows them a black person who's brilliant and caring and very popular, and not only that but introduces them to other minorities who are also smarter and more educated than they will ever be -- Eric Holder, Sonia Sotomayor, the guy in charge of NASA (forgot his name), Michelle Obama, of course, and they can't keep thinking this anymore.  And so either they can start feeling less superior, or they can start screaming and listening to other crazy people.  And of course the easier thing to do is to scream.

      Some of it isn't even their fault (though it is their fault for being so willfully ignorant and racist).  A lot of their failure has to do with lack of education and opportunity, but it's always easier to blame someone else.

    •  It's in Dickens, too. (9+ / 0-)

      Coincidentally, I've been reading Barnaby Rudge for the first time, Dickens's first historical novel, which treated the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of 1780. I got to the passage describing the descent upon Parliament by the "no Popery" crowd the day after the Tampa town hall disturbance, so it's no wonder I was hearing echoes:

      [Lord Gordon's] followers pouring in at the same time, the lobby and all the avenues were immediately filled. . . . Thus the members were not only attacked in their passage through the streets, but were set upon within the very walls of Parliament; while the tumult, both within and without, was so great, that those who attempted to speak could scarcely hear their own voices: far less, consult upon the course it would be wise to take in such extremity, or animate each other to dignified and firm resistance. So sure as any member, just arrived, with dress disordered and dishevelled hair, came struggling through the crowd in the lobby, it yelled and screamed in triumph; and when the door of the House, partially and cautiously opened by those within for his admission, gave them a momentary glimpse of the interior, they grew more wild and savage, like beasts at the sight of prey, and made a rush against the portal which strained its locks and bolts in their staples, and shook the very beams.

      Granted, we've seen nothing approaching the riots in the streets and the destruction of Catholic property that Dickens is writing about. But the desire to derail the orderly democratic process via intimidation and the shouting down of opposing viewpoints is too sadly similar. And the Gordon Riots came at a time when the English self-image had been shaken by the failure to suppress the American revolt, and when the relaxation of penal laws against Catholics was seen as a blow against the "real England" by bigots and those in whose financial interest it was to maintain the status quo.

    •  that same quote reminded me of this scene (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pris from LA, kfd313, OrganOfThought

      from the Great Debaters:

      those of a "hog farmer" mentality in this country are freaking out because there is a black man in the White House.  they have to do everything they can to tear him down to a level that lets them feel superior to him.

      but he is the President of the United States, so the birthers have to deny that he is a citizen, and the teabaggers have to say that ACORN stole the election, and the deathers have to compare him to Hitler.

      it's not just Obama, it's all the other educated people of color who suddenly seem to be running things and who do not agree that the skin color of the "hog farmers" makes them superior to any person of color regardless of the latter's educational, financial or political achievement: "all that fancy book larnin and uppity ways don't make yew better than me, boy!  I can still whip up a mob agin yew and yors any time I want to!"

      i've said before and I'll say it again this Sunday night... sometimes it takes all the spiritual power within me to keep from hating these people--to keep me from returning hate for hate.

      because if I do that, then they really have succeeded in bringing me down to their level.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 06:56:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Uncle Buddy (13+ / 0-)

    They remind me of Uncle Buddy in the south who would spend the afternoon complaining about blacks using food stamps and driving fancy cars.  It was a cold "culture" war that is in danger of going hot.  I wrote it off as mental illness and moved far away to protect my children.

  •  What I find truly disturbing about all this is (32+ / 0-)

    the thought that the right has found a way to focus all these working class fears and aim them with such deadly accuracy. This is a far more powerful and dangerous type of organizing than I have seen in my lifetime.

  •  They are protesting per rush and co. (7+ / 0-)

    ..who feed their fears and inner bigot.
    It doesn't matter WHAT it
    is, they will be against it.

    I don't think we can effect any change with them, they have to do it themselves... and they won't.

    Work around them.

    Whatever the Repuglicans say, the opposite is the truth .

    by MariaWr on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:08:25 PM PDT

    •  National Anthem for the Party of NO (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MariaWr

      I don't know what they have to say,
      It makes no difference anyway --
      Whatever it is, I'm against it!
      No matter what it is or who commenced it,
      I'm against it!

      Your proposition may be good
      But let's have one thing understood --
      Whatever it is, I'm against it!
      And even when you've changed it or condensed it,
      I'm against it!

      I'm opposed to it --
      On general principles I'm opposed to it!

      Chorus: He's opposed to it!
      In fact, in deed, now he's opposed to it!

      For months before my son was born,
      I used to yell from night till morn,
      Whatever it is, I'm against it!
      And I've kept yelling since I first commenced it,
      I'm against it!

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 07:57:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The power of mocking: "The Dippies"? (12+ / 0-)

    The only way to combat these loons is to mock and ridicule the shit out of them.  That's why the Birther and "Tea Bagger" labels were so powerful at neutralizing the crazy.

    If there's one thing that drives these racists and fearmongers crazy, it's being laughed at.  

    It's when we take them seriously, when we debate them on the merits, that their nutjobbery becomes legitimized.

    I'm not sure "Deathers" is mocking enough.  

    ideas:

    The Mob
    The Mobnuts
    The Moby Dicks
    Birthentologists
    The Dippies?

    I kind of like calling them "Dippies" -- it's got a Hippie connotation and could inspire a whole series of Hippie-1960s art satire of what fucking lunatics they are.

    Psychedelic images of birth certificates?  Instead of "Peace and love" signs, we could depict them with "Pieces and hate" signs.  

    Dunno.

    We need to keep brainstorming.  Mocking the shit out of them is the only way to combat the crazy.  They are not worth legitimate discourse.

  •  Excellent "something" you wrote here, (8+ / 0-)

    Hunter!

    I am sad that is is where we are... shouting and accomplishing little.  I hope we can get past...
    if we knew what the nebulous "something else" was that had everyone in a wad, maybe...

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:09:22 PM PDT

    •  We do know, and Hunter has laid it out (16+ / 0-)

      most excellently.

      The 'something else' is the 'something different', which has always been the reason for torches and pitchforks mobs run rampant - in this case, it's the 'black'.

      Seriously, there are just too many old, white people who refuse to see that a new day has dawned, that the black and white world that they matured in is now a full-color spectrum reality.

      These people still think of african americans as 'negroes', and still believe that they (due to their white skin) are superior to anyone who is not like them - even if they say it is not true, it is.

      During the presidential campaign, my own mom, who at 69 is a child of the 40s, never warmed to Obama as a candidate, and could never tell me just what her problem with him was.  She eventually voted for him, but only because she was convinced that Sarah Palin as VP was as sure path to insanity.

      She still refers to blacks as 'negroes', and wants the president to get off her TV.

      This is a fairly liberal, old white woman.

      Now, what do you think a conservative, old white woman is thinking and saying about our black president?

      I for one am not one teensy bit surprised by all the flagrant racism and bigotry being displayed in living color 24/7 on television and the internet.

      I'm just surprised they waited until the election was over to start it!

  •  In retrospect (6+ / 0-)

    I don't know what else we should have expected after electing a black man to the highest office in the land.

    If God hadn't wanted us to fly, he wouldn't have given us Bernoulli's Principle.

    by HamillianActor on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:10:37 PM PDT

  •  What to do? (11+ / 0-)

    Honest question.

    How do you combat crazy?

    "What has science DONE!"-Dr.Weird

    by jds1978 on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:11:54 PM PDT

    •  You Palinize it (4+ / 0-)

      you mock it.  If they suggest Obama is going to kill people who are too old like Logan's run, you suggest that they turn those folks into Soylent Green to feed the hungry.  If you respond with laughter to their crazy, they look crazy.

      You also make sure the crazy has no corporate sponsored platform.  If Fox wants Glenn Beck to spout racist drivel and incite angry mobs, they can pay for his show out of pocket because no company should want their products associated with that sort of hate and insanity.

      •  Re (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueMajority, pgm 01, jds1978, indyada

        But that's just beating it politically.  Yeah, it will be easily marginalized in the ballot-box, as more an more people recoil from the hideous nature of this reawakened beast.  Getting enough poor Southern whites to realize that they're being used by profiteers and would-be despots to funnel more money toward them is what's hard.  This is an old, old trick, too.  Split the lower and middle classes into warring camps to prevent real reform.  I think it works pretty often.

      •  Sort of like this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pgm 01, jds1978, OrganOfThought
        •  in all seriousness (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pgm 01, OrganOfThought

          there is a psychological reality about teabirthers and those who agree with them:

          they cannot stand being laughed at.

          they feel powerful when you argue with them.

          they draw energy when you return hate for hate.

          but being laughed at really scrapes at a raw nerve--that secret place inside themselves where they feel inadequate and insignificant.  being laughed at goes very deep for these people.  it hits them where it hurts.

          ridicule is a powerful thing aimed at people who already have a deep fear of being "nobody" in this world.  comedy is one of the few weapons we have that they have been unable to turn against us.

          so when we can't ignore them, we have to laugh at them.

          there's an Old Trek episode Day of the Dove where the Enterprise is taken over by the Republican Party an amorphous entity that feeds on hate and violent emotion.

          They eventually drive it away by laughing at it.

          I think about that episode a lot lately.

          Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 08:42:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  well, you don't try to reason with it (0+ / 0-)

      which too many Democrats are still trying to do.

      you can't reason with a toddler having a tantrum and you can't reason with the mentally unhinged and you can't fight raw emotion with facts.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 08:01:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  it's not about race (15+ / 0-)

    it's about power

    the right is USING race as a lever of power...if nothing else, as a way to distract from policies which otherwise would be broadly acceptable to the voting public

    the real danger is that the lessons of this form of participatory fascism will be too well learned, and will give birth to another movement...a movement which rejects democracy utterly because democracy failed them and produced President Obama

    I don't sense a conspiracy here; I sense desperation, and a paucity of alternatives

    the danger is that the right -- the opposition party, and every democracy requires a loyal...LOYAL...opposition has nothing to embrace but hate, and yet, to a point, hate works

    it doesn't govern, but it surely distracts from the process of governing, and it scares the hell out of those who it is wielded against

    I fear we are looking at the rise of a new political movement, the kind of movement which gave the world Hitler...and if that's a little hyperbolic, I'm sorry, but that's what it feels like

    "Good Lord, how can the rich bear to die?" -- Nikos Kazantzakis

    by Shocko from Seattle on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:13:48 PM PDT

    •  Given the history of race in this country (10+ / 0-)

      I don't know that you can necessarily separate it from power and the folk who wish to acquire it.

      "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

      by grannyhelen on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:22:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  For the puppetmasters it is about power. For the (8+ / 0-)

      puppets it is about race.

      I like President Obama. I think I understand his vision for the country and I'm all in.

      by Blogvirgin on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:05:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The power has been in the white column (0+ / 0-)

      Obama must never be seen as a competent leader of white people.
      If he does a better job than Bush...omigod!!!!

      Cowards die many times before their deaths... Shakespeare, Julius Ceasar, II, 2

      by on the cusp on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:19:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree - they are just now showing themselves (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TrueBlueMajority, Nellcote, Dunvegan

      I saw it change when Nixon was elected.  Whoever "they" are found out they could lie, cheat, and steal to win an election and people didn't care. As a matter of fact they voted for him again!

      "They've" been in the background every since and their playbook has been the same.  It's just that they were thrown for a loop when Obama ran and won.  Now they are out from under a rock and showing their true natures.

      It seems to me the reason is that they aren't afraid anymore.  Are the ownders of the media consolidated in some way so that they aren't really challenged?

      I remember reading something about Nixon later saying that he found out there was a power behind the presidency.

      This is a brilliant post, Hunter.  If we are aware of what is going on, then we can truly focus on solutions. Obama's power when he was running was that he was focused on solutions and people thrived. I'd like to know who owns the media and what is going on behind the scenes in Congress re money.  Just shine the light in the darkness.

      I've read others saying this and I too want to watch Obama's back.  I've thought for some time that he wasn't only dealing with an incredible economic and political situation, but probably other pressures behind the scenes that we don't know about.

      I have no idea what he has to deal with but I believe in him and his ideals and trust that he does what he can. It's up to us to be the change we want to see in the world.

    •  Race-terror is not a last-ditch tactic, (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, Dunvegan, brein, Jezreel, etbnc

      it is a real, primal motivation for some people. Race-based slavery might have begun as a way to identify indentured servants among the poor of the American colonies, but it plays so well with certain personalities that it survives in society two hundred years past its economic usefulness.

      In the race-terrified, the fear overpowers self-interest, it overpowers altruism, it overpowers religion, it overpowers patriotism. It is more than a button to be cynically pushed, it is an granite outcropping of the lizard brain.

      •  I guess what I'm saying is that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueMajority, Dunvegan, Jezreel

        the cynical use of race by the Democrats from 1850 into the 20th century, and the Republicans since then, has run its course.

        With race-terror draining out of the mainstream, race-baiting isn't working as a shield for the corporate scam artists, and the corporate scam artists are running away from the race-terrorists because they are desperate to find a new political machine that will work effectively. They'll probably find it in the Democratic party, of course, but at the moment the scam artists are shorn of some of their tools.

        The mainstream corporate interests are abandoning the birther, deather, teabagger nutjobs. The only money backing for these groups are going to be the billionaire racists.

        The racist billionaires, however, aren't clever enough to hide what they are. I'm pretty sure the fight will break them, but they are saying the same thing about us. I take heart in being on the reality-based side.

      •  granite outcropping of the lizard brain (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueMajority

        Great phrase!

    •  Using EVERYTHING as a lever of power. (4+ / 0-)

      I think Hunter's question of "secession over the stimulus program?  Really?" and your statement are one in the same: the point is to deal a political death blow with SOMETHING.  

      I don't think health care became so important until the cons decided that THIS was how to simply kill progress, Obama, democrats and the future.  So they pulled out all the stops. They aren't saving any lies for the future.  They don't have any program and don't want one.  They want to WIN so that they can get back into power and do what they thought Bush was going to accomplish: a permanent conservative agenda despite being a minority agenda.

      "Argle bargle wooorahraarh NO NO NO graparargh shisnak SOSHALISM nazi NOBAMA Oaoooh gansiki gWRAR HUH? HUH? HUH? ANSWER ME"

      by Inland on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:48:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  where's the video? the pictures? we need 'em! (0+ / 0-)

    "He's like any other president -- he's a politician and he's got to do what politicians do." Rev. Jeremiah Wright

    by PhillyGal on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:15:55 PM PDT

  •  The rise and fall of Hitler (8+ / 0-)

    Will tell you almost everything you need to know about what is happening.  It's easy, leading ignorant people astray, actually, because they want to be led, it makes their lives simplier, easier.

  •  In a way this is comforting (6+ / 0-)
    because for all the segregationists' bullying and bloviating, in the end they couldn't do a damn thing to stop what they feared. Ultimately, I think they'll be just as unsuccessful this time, when the dust settles.
  •  What really angers me (12+ / 0-)

    is that powerful Republicans have just sat back and let this happen.  They may feel that this irrational anger benefits them, but it could easily spin out of control and backfire against them, too.  I'm afraid that it will just continue to escalate until something truly tragic happens.  Then everyone will ask how things cold have gotten so far out of hand.

    "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Nespolo on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:18:38 PM PDT

  •  "post-modern" racism (16+ / 0-)

    I think that's an important coinage... it's racism, working very hard to seem like anything but racism, and emphasizing that its opponents are the real "racists" and "Nazis".

    On some level they are pursuing a racist agenda using many non-explicitly racist issues... and carefully attacking their opponents as "racists."

    This means that they do understand that racism is something very bad, that must in no circumstance be allowed to apply to themselves, and in all circumstances must be ascribed to their opponents... all the while as Hunter says, pursuing an agenda that in the end and at bottom is about the symbolic power of a Black man in the position of ultimate leadership.

    The question is does this make their racism stronger and more enduring, or does its inability to acknowledge itself to itself somehow weaken it.  Can you really pursue a racial and racist agenda unconsciously and be effective about it?  Or does that weaken you as a movement?

    Is it enough that the leadership understands that it has a racist agenda, while the followership just has inchoate feelings?  

    As someone said recently "the election 'broke their brains' ".

    •  I believe this kind of thinking makes it all (7+ / 0-)

      more volatile.  If one is holding oneself to be above such "bad" business as bigotry, one's actions are all the more "pure".  
      And I'm no psychologist, but I don't see how a problem can be corrected if it can't even be identified or acknowledged.

    •  The problem with "post-modern..." anything (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brein

      is that "post-modern" means looking back over an ideological revolution to describe what it means for real people. Post-modernism is backward-looking analysis, not forward-looking denial.

      Call it denialism -- we're not racists, we pasty, pudgy white people (of which I am a proud[ish] one) who are just as scammed and betrayed as everyone else, but too dumb to make common cause. We just want what's ours (which is everything), or was ours, or what our parents were promised would be ours, or... um.

      Nope, they're just crazy.

  •  The "southern strategy" on which conservatives (14+ / 0-)

    relied to retain power always had two prongs.  The first involved keeping the base in line with promises of preference and protestations of support for their special status.  The second involved depressing and decreasing civic participation by everyone else.
    How else were they going to register electoral success once universal suffrage became the law of the land?  Intimidating various minority voters on election day wasn't going to make enough of a difference.  People had to be persuaded that civic participation was either useless or a "dirty business" that nice people didn't want to be involved with.

    When Buchanan and friends talk about going back to their base and reviving the winning strategy, that's what they are aiming at--to keep the ideologically pure and discourage the rest of the electorate with violence and other outrageous behaviors.  Smearing candidates with lies is part of the process.  The idea is that if candidates look weak (inevitable since there's no way to defend against lies), then the citizen support will falter.

    Why doesn't it work to turn the tables and expose the moral failings of conservative politicians?  Because valid accusations are easy to deal with.  The politician merely pronounces a mea culpa and the issue is settled.  See, easy.

    That's why we put the burden of proof on the accusers in a criminal prosecution.  The innocent have no effective defense.  How would you prove something you haven't done?

    Where we have gone wrong is in assuming that "everyone's guilty of something" and "where there's smoke, there's fire."  While the latter may be true for a real fire, an accusation has no relationship to guilt ab initio.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:20:05 PM PDT

  •  The Conservative Dilemma (9+ / 0-)

    If you don't believe in government, and aren't interested in policy details, you're pretty much left with no ability to participate in the conversation.  You end up feeling marginalized and angry and don't see any option but to stand on the sidelines whining and tossing rotten tomatoes at the people who are actually trying to make things better.  On top of that, the corporate media is all too eager to take advantage of your unfortunate mindset in order to advance their agenda, and thus they feed you all kinds of bullshit which you eagerly swallow.  This is the dilemma of the modern "conservative."

    Regulate banks, not bedrooms

    by Eagleye on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:20:08 PM PDT

  •  Like a magician (8+ / 0-)

    The right has to use misdirection, so the opposition to health care can't about health care-they're transparently wrong on the issue based on facts, so they have to mislead. They've found fertile ground for their tactics in people whose economic circumstances are shakey and whose self-image is wrapped up in a perceived superiority to non-whites.  They can't have the attention where it belongs, so they have to shift the attention of the crowd to someplace else.  

    They've done a great job, and make no mistake, the leadership of the Rethuglicans know what they're doing and why they're doing it.  They are using these people with malice aforethought.

    No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. H. L. Mencken

    by jim0121 on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:20:38 PM PDT

  •  I like this, much here to think about (6+ / 0-)
  •  Former Wingnut Frank Schaefer - video (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, Dunvegan

    Regulate banks, not bedrooms

    by Eagleye on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:22:05 PM PDT

  •  You Can't Say That! Oh, You Already Did.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bablhous, ems97007

    ....in which case, I can only hope that no one gives you cause to understand why some of us on the left keep shotguns of our own.

  •  Brilliant Hunter (6+ / 0-)

    You have hit the nail precisely on the head.

  •  Probably not racism FIRST (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank, bablhous

    Imagine if Hillary Clinton was President instead, and she was doing the same things.

    The same protests would be occurring...guaranteed.

    Would we call it sexism first?  Probably not, just like under President Obama, it is not racism FIRST.

    That's not to say there aren't racists in the tea-party crowd, of course.  But racism is not the number one reason.  

    How do I know?

    Because if Hillary was President, the same crap would be going on.

    •  Misogyny is real too, and she'd get plenty. (9+ / 0-)

      But, no, I don't think the protests and threats would have the same emotional intensity.

    •  Sorry, when Barack and Hillary ran for President (10+ / 0-)

      Barack was the only one who had to have early, concentrated Secret Service protection. In fact, he was the only one of all the candidates who had to have Secret Service protection.

      What sets him aside from the other candidates? Is it his height? No, it is the color of his skin. Although the right hated Hillary Clinton they hated her as a White woman and would have preferred her to President Obama any day.

      The Secret Service has published that this President has received more death threats than any other President in American history. What sets him apart from the other Presidents at this stage? Race. I have lived in the USA for 64 years. I have seen these faces before. It is race.

      I like President Obama. I think I understand his vision for the country and I'm all in.

      by Blogvirgin on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:13:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're talking about different things (0+ / 0-)

        Of course, Barack Obama is the victim of more threats, violence, etc.

        I was simply talking about the vociferous opposition to health care alone.  If Joe Biden was president, people would still hang Congressmen in effigy, disturb town halls, and yell at their Senators.  No difference.  Steny Hoyer would still have people hollering at him if Joe Biden was sitting in the White House.

        Now, it's all hypothetical, but can you really imagine people sitting quietly while Steny Hoyer explained health care, just because a white man was president instead?  Perhaps you can, but I certainly can't.  Why?  Because they're not at those townhall meetings to yell at their Congressmen because of racism (primarily).

        However, for everything else, I, of course, agree with you.  If it was Joe Biden who was president, he'd be receiving a lot less threats, violence, etc.

  •  What is it going to take (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miles, Dunvegan, ParkRanger

    for the mainstream press, the so-called journalists who have been whoring themselves to corporate America for decades now, to call the corporations out on this?
    What will it take for them to say "Look, we know you're our bread and butter.  We know you spend billions of dollars buying advertising time and space from us.  But we've got a duty to point out to the public just what type of movement you've wound up funding, whether it was your initial intention or not."

    Don't let sleeping blue dogs lie.

    by jazzmaniac on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:25:24 PM PDT

    •  Public pressure (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hester, Dunvegan

      If the public deserts them in mass numbers or protests them loudly enough to make advertisers uncomfortable, they'll change their habits right quick. The only thing they care about is the bottom line. It's what causes us so much trouble with them, but it can also be their weakness.

  •  There was a Nationwide Poll in early Nov 08 to... (10+ / 0-)

    determine which direction we wanted to take. The LEFT won, I don't want to discuss it any longer. I don't want rallies and meetings and conferences and town halls.  The people have SPOKEN, the right failed at the economy, foreign policy, civil right and common decency. They have their own reality, their own schools and universities, their own media and can't be reasoned with or presented with data that contradicts their world or end of world view.  

    IGNORE THEM WHEN THEY ARE NOT CONSTRUCTIVE
    ATTEMPT TO BRING THEM WITH US INTO THE 21st CENTURY
    'LEAVE BEHIND' THE ONE's THAT DON'T WANT TO COME

    Change sucks but it happens anyway. Some can handle it, and some want it to stay 1957 forever.

    Into the future, Kossacks!!

    •  70+ million to be exact!! (0+ / 0-)

      Never never count US out! We just watchin our Prez bob and weave, we are very impressed with his quick left jab. The opposition to date has not landed a body shot yet; maybe a glancing arm blow?! Remember we can be mobilized in hours if need be.

      Let the little bullies use up their energy and "crazy power" now, a year from now the recovery will be in full swing, even the crazies will be workin from job creation and the GOP in severe comatose state in fetal position.

    •  hey, 1957 was a very good year! (0+ / 0-)

      i was born that year :-D

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 08:46:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ta-Nehisi Coates point about class (14+ / 0-)

    Ta-Nehisi Coates writes:

       Ditto for the Civil Rights Movement. It wasn't just racism -- it was class also. In the South you had this black middle class that always had to be deferential to the most poorest white person in the world. The prospect of losing that deference, of already being lower than the white aristocracy and now also being lower than a class of blacks too, wreaked havoc.

    There's no anger quite like the anger of someone who is afraid that he or she might no longer have someone to look down on, that everyone might treat them like they have always treated those who are "naturally" less than they are.  Of course they're angry -- they're terrified, and anger is nearly always redirected fear.

    "All progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw

    by Bearpaw on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:25:47 PM PDT

  •  To answer Hunter's question (23+ / 0-)

    one wonders if even the protestors truly know what they are protesting against.

    They are protesting against the existence of people like Hunter and web sites like Daily Kos, against a Democratic Party capable of winning elections, against a federal government they do not control absolutely, against a liberal president also happens to be half African American.  They are protesting their own powerlessness. They are protesting change. They are protesting democracy.

    Or, to quote Mussolini:

    "The democrats of Il Mondo want to know our program? It is to break the bones of the democrats of Il Mondo."

    There is nothing mysterious about this. It only appears mysterious because most people really can't accept the obvious fact that the land of the free and the home of the brave now has a large, reasonably well-organized and increasingly militant fascist movement.

    •  No question. (5+ / 0-)

      When I first got interested in blogging, had some email conversations w/ David Neiwert, who's pretty much the best there is at stuff like this. I think my question/argument at the time was that we should measure whether something is a fascist movement (early Bush presidency, w/ Cheneyism, Limbaugh, and the like) not by how many of the fascist planks the movement has been successful at bringing into mainstream discourse or policy, but how many of them they advocate for.

      I'm not sure there's any argument to be had about the current popular "uprisings", though. I think they fit any objective definition of the term.

      •  The irony of it (0+ / 0-)

        is that you have a movement that looks, talks and increasingly acts like a fascist movement, but which proclaims that its real agenda is to protect individual liberty against the power of the state.

        It just validates the deep truth of what Huey Long said when he was asked whether fascism could ever come to America: "Yeah, but here they'll call it anti-fascism."

    •  This fantastic essay reduced to one sentence... (6+ / 0-)

      They are protesting democracy.

      <sigh> I'm going off to grieve for America now.

    •  nail hit driven deep, billmon (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ipsos

      They are protesting against the existence of people like Hunter and web sites like Daily Kos, against a Democratic Party capable of winning elections, against a federal government they do not control absolutely, against a liberal president also happens to be half African American.  They are protesting their own powerlessness. They are protesting change. They are protesting democracy.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 08:48:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What about _class_? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, alisonc, Square Knot

    I actually don't entirely agree with this:

    In practice and organization they are one movement, a single collection of the same set of animated citizens and televised leaders, and their signs decrying fascism, Naziism, communism, taxes, euthanasia and outrage over 1960's-era Hawaiian government paperwork mingle freely at every protest. If you find a newly minted tax protestor, you are as likely as not to find a birther and a deather as well, all tucked neatly inside the same polo shirt. They are nearly exclusively white, predominantly middle aged and elderly, and unambiguously conservative. Many of those shouting against their government are already participants in the same "socialized medicine" they decry, but to a person will not consider their Medicare to be of that evil ilk.

    It is, in short, a movement made up of the enfranchised and enabled; people who have gained every benefit from the politics of America and yet who feel in their very bones that they are the oppressed ones, the ones who have nothing left to lose, so rapidly is America falling away from them.

    Are they predominantly middle class?  And if they are are they from the part of the middle class that is getting squeezed?

    I think a lot of the anger comes from the kind of crossroads of privilege in which a lot of the most vicious racism in our society occurs. As I see it, these people are getting economically squeezed by our current crisis and so they cling to the privilege they can find in their race and political position.

    Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House. - Bob Herbert

    by GreenSooner on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:28:07 PM PDT

    •  heart of the matter (6+ / 0-)

      As I see it, these people are getting economically squeezed by our current crisis and so they cling to the privilege they can find in their race and political position.

      There is no way to neutralize fear of poverty until the economy improves to the extent that people feel comfortable once again, and that won't happen for a long while. The kind of complacency and bonhomie that was around during Clinton's administration, and the imitation of it under Bush will be next to impossible to achieve. I suspect the war on terrorism was an excuse to channel the building rage that people felt as they realized that both power and wealth was slipping through their hands. Now that target is being withdrawn, so they are focusing on, well, us.

      If nothing is very different from you, what is a little different from you is very different from you. Ursula K. Le Guin

      by northsylvania on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:37:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The answer, such as it is.... (0+ / 0-)

        ....is to sell healthcare reform as (gasp) a social program.  

        I think the "New Democratic" tendency to avoid saying that government can do positive things for individuals, as well as the technocratic way of understanding healthcare reform in terms of making the system more cost effective rather than helping individuals have crowded out what could be a clearer message: this will help most Americans' pocketbooks directly.

        That message won't reach everyone by any stretch, but it's important to try.

        Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House. - Bob Herbert

        by GreenSooner on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:58:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Fear of poverty (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northsylvania, 714day, rlharry, Dunvegan

        plays its part in this, definitely.  However, I think racism and ignorance are profound causes of the current scary mob behaviors. For most of my life I did participate in this society (USA) with middle class privileges.  Then, more than ten years ago, my personal financial security devolved into poverty. For reasons I choose not to explain, I had few outside resources to correct the dire situation. It was and remains a horrible shock.  What I am eternally grateful for, however, is my education both formally and scholarly,  as well as having been taught to be an empathetic and compassionate and loving person who actually devoted my professional life/career to helping others, resulting in a kind of wisdom that forestalls any hatred or resentment of the other.

        What the thugs that Hunter describes so well lack, in my view, is that empathy and understanding of the greater good and the world beyond the self.  So many Americans do no have that capacity.  Being privileged and materialistic often restrains the development of that empathy and those other sustaining qualities.  So, not being racist and not being absolutely ignorant of the social contract disallows the thuggish behaviors we are discussing.

  •  our name for them, cough (0+ / 0-)

    is that turn your head and cough

  •  I'm going to scrape the Obama sticker off my car (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp

    an incident Friday night along with the increase in craziness I read about here has led me to think  that it just isn't wise to leave it on there any longer.

  •  Absolutely brilliant, chilling, and now (5+ / 0-)

    It needs to be stopped. This is not therapy for a race. This is about money and deference and women who have long ago stopped being controlled or even entertaining the idea of answering to these people. This is why they kill doctors and nurses in abortion clinics. This is why they do not want sex discussed or taught to young adults who could then protect themselves and lead healthy lives. This is why they used to buy big cars. It's why they bought all the guns.

    Without a real Public Health Option we all will quickly get sick and poorer.

    by Reliefpitcher on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:30:39 PM PDT

  •  Your piece failed to... (15+ / 0-)

    ..address the very active role corporate America is playing in all this.

    How right wing corporate media places unhinged  demagogues (all of them avid & proud racists) in front of radio microphones & TV cameras &, in turn, provides them carte blanche to use hate speech.

    Hate speech used to rally the ignorant around anti-American, potentially catastrophic causes.

    Just a little constructive criticism tossed into an otherwise outstanding assessment.

  •  excellent summary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, bablhous, Remillard, brein

    Some people seek an enemy at all cost, even when it doesn't exist.  I think there's been a lot of emotional upheaval right now at the economy, the reforms proposed, the way that things have changed from how they were before, but there isn't just any one focal point or cause that can easily be pointed to and scrutinized.  Not only that, the problems that created this downturn are very complex and the average person can't easily understand them.  

    I think people are genuinely scared, annoyed, or otherwise preoccupied with things not going well for them in their own lives because of the recession and they are looking for some means to vent and let off steam.  They aren't going about it in the best of ways, but then again, during the Depression, isolated pockets of people responded in this fashion, too.      

    I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I lead you in, some one else would lead you out. - Eugene Debs.

    by cabaretic on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:34:46 PM PDT

  •  Excellent. Excellent. Thanks (4+ / 0-)

    I would add that many members of Congress and the Senate, many journalists, and others in positions of power feel the same way as that crying woman, who said, "I want my America back."  This is why Obama is having such a hard time.  It is not just organizing the rabble.  It is the people actually in charge, supposedly on the side of the people, who also feel this way. It is racism.  There is no logical explanation, except that. Maybe some residue anger for what happened under Bush that has found expression at the Black man who must clean up the mess..."work faster, boy, work faster..." But basically anger that their Old boy network may be gone for good.  They are out there with everyone else, no special privileges for at least being white.  It is ugly.  The more we confront it, the better it is.  The more we condemn it, the better it is. Don't be scared.  "Keep your eyes on the prize.  Hold on."

  •  This is one of the best articles (10+ / 0-)

    I've read on here this year, and that's saying something from a site that regularly carries articles that wow me. Thank you for this, Hunter.

  •  I know what it is, why they are like this (7+ / 0-)

    I know you are not supposed to tout a diary so I certainly won't and I can't tell you how much I agree with this diary. This is beyond bizarre and like something is really wrong that we have not seen before.

    It is exactly this: The reason anyone tolerates a Michelle Bachman is that most of the Senate is full of religious fanatics who plan to take over America. People keep telling me I'm over reacting but honestly, they are there. We interrupted their little plan to literally make this a church run state.

    They lost because mainstream America does not agree with them. That is how we elected Obama. But they are powerful and in high places in government. They told George Bush that he was chosen by God to be KING. That's why he looked so stunned when he left. They didn't quite get this sociopathic plan in place before the election. And now their very mad preachers are whipping them into a frenzy. We have got to organize.

    Support President Obama so his coattails will sweep Democrats into Congress in 2010. Help convince Independents!

    by Plain Speaking on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:39:39 PM PDT

  •  Since you mention "deathers" (0+ / 0-)

    there's someone with a diary up right now pushing the idea of health care reform as a secret population control plot by the administration.  

    Just fyi, in case anyone's interested in contributing a few donuts his way.

  •  I've mentioned more than once in these threads (3+ / 0-)

    that I am horrified by the rise of the racist mob.  I hadn't kidded myself that this was gone from the society but I had no idea how prevalent it was.  It is even more terrifying that Republicans play this crowd like a violin.  I'm sure that's partly because they are genuinely racist themselves but also partly because they are assholes and can't see the monolithic nightmare they are stirring up.  I really think it may get violent and regular.

  •  Hunter! I don't know what you're talking about! ! (0+ / 0-)

    There are debates going on all over town, and the few teabaggers that show up get shown the door when they try to shout, disrupt or otherwise commandeer the debate. There are some meaningful questions about paying for it - who will pay higher taxes and such - and politicians are addressing them. My own Congressman is holding meetings at his offices in order to dispel any disinformation that has been spread by lobbyist-polemicists. What the f^^k is the problem with the rest of America that works so right and so well in my city?

    They ignored us. Then they laughed at us. Then they fought us. Then - on July 2nd 2009 - we won! [ht: Mohandas K. Gandhi]

    by ezdidit on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:43:56 PM PDT

  •  Beautifully Written. Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tommyfocus2003, on the cusp

    This is a vewry sad situation.

  •  I cannot believe how timely this is. (22+ / 0-)

    I just hung up the phone from my mother-in-law.  I'll call her Susie.  Susie and I have always gotten along.  She lives in the south, as do we (though my husband and I were born and bred up north, moved here for job reasons).  I've always known Susie had a big racist streak in her, but it only came out when she was angry with someone who was black, and even then it was brief, and not packaged too ugly.  In fact, blacks are "colored people" to her. She's college educated, and lived a charmed life.

    But, you knew the racism was there.  Susie loves golf, but always, without fail, roots against Tiger Woods, and anyone else "colored".  You get the picture.  

    Ever since the election Susie has taken to "jabbing" my husband and I about Obama and "his" policies quite often.  We dodge and dart to try to avoid getting into it with her.  She's 83 years old, and we'd like to just coast with her to the end if possible.  But, she makes it very difficult.  

    Today she called, and we were talking about indigestion she was having, which led her to say to me out of the blue..."If Obama has HIS way, he'll be giving me a pill to end my life".  I said, "Surely you don't believe this", and she said squarely, "I certainly do".  It went downhill from there, with me attempting to set her straight, and her not having it.  I finally knew I was going to lose it with her and handed the phone over to my husband without even saying goodbye.

    So, yes, Hunter, Susie is elderly, conservative, and southern, and I'm just about done with her.  I avoid talking to her now because it seems to always come to this, and I find myself too compassionate to go tell my husband's 83 year old mother to go f*ck herself after getting along with her for 37 years.  But, she's become the other team now.  It makes me sick that it's come to this, but we're on two different teams, and I wanna beat the shit out of the other team.  My kids lives are at stake.  

    So, this afternoon, for the first time in years, I got off the phone and began screaming my head off to my husband that I hated that woman.  He agreed.  We almost wept at how this is destroying families all across our land.  And the worst part is....

    WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?

    They will never see it our way.  We will never see it their way.  To me, they are hateful, selfish, liars.  And to them, I'm a socialist America hater.

    I guess that's all.  I still feel nearly ill.  The hatred I'm seeing is poisoning my spirit everyday, and I want it to stop.  That's all.

    Thank you for a very relevant and interesting piece, Hunter. And for giving me a place to rant again after my awful phone call today.

    •  What? (0+ / 0-)

      "In fact, blacks are "colored people" to her. She's college educated, and lived a charmed life.

      Uh, hello, we are "colored people". Your mother-in-law said nothing wrong. Yeah, I know we say "Black" or "African-American", but it doesn't make it any less wrong. Perhaps you're thinking it's along the same derogatory lines as "nigger" or "porch monkey"? Believe me, it ain't.

      •  maybe you are too young (0+ / 0-)

        to remember the move from colored to Negro.

        Negro was the polite enlightened term and unreconstructed folks persisted in saying colored.  This was a 50s/60s/70s thing, although as Shelley99's m-i-l along with many other folks never gave it up.

        that said, I think the construction "people of color" is awkward and idiotic and I predict within the decade that "colored" will come back--not as a term for black people alone but encompassing the entire non-white majority.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 09:20:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, I don't think it's along the same lines. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ipsos

        However, I think white is a color, too.  I prefer to think of us all as human beings.

    •  I'm very sorry to hear this. (0+ / 0-)

      Might I suggest that you give her a few books or essays to read? Maybe Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk?

      "Americans wish to be settled. Only so far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them" -Emerson.

      by kfd313 on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 07:47:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anger may be at people who voted BHO in... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, hilmera

    ...and that it was their neighbors.

    From Hunter:

    ...this time we've got a black president, the first one ever, and one that received not a bare minimum of votes but delivered a true political spanking to the conservatives that rallied against him, and maybe that one small fact turns out to be the only thing it takes to turn the usual muttering about federal meddling and states' rights and incipient brownness-slash-socialism into full-on talk of secession and eugenics and organized intimidation explicitly plotted to discredit even the concept of discussing national issues.

    I wonder if it is simply the up-until-now-pretty-much-sublimated confederacy that someone poured water on and re-constituted.

    It definitely feels like racism.

    "If you can't afford a boat, and are standing tiptoe in the water, the rising tide goes up your nose." -- Barney Frank

    by JanF on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:48:33 PM PDT

  •  It's about race, and about what race has always (5+ / 0-)

    been about:  class.

    this black middle class that always had to be deferential to the most poorest white person in the world

    Invaluable system for keeping the have-nots from storming the big house.  Give them a group of people that the very least of them can feel superior to.  A group of people they can threaten, beat or even kill for acting superior.

    And now, one of those people is the absolute top dog of the whole system.  It shatters so many assumptions that the class system itself feels under attack.  As in a biological system, the defense may prove more violent that the "disease."

    Gesundheit, America.  Get well soon.

    Songs up at da web site! Also. . . It's Kostown, Jake. . .

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:50:05 PM PDT

  •  I didn't see this coming. (19+ / 0-)

    I thought the election had permanently marginalized the racists. After all, even in Iowa, we voted for Obama in both the caucuses and the general.

    But, I remember the last time I saw this level of hatred. I was 10 or so. A Sheriff in Mississippi named Bull Connor brought out the dogs and fire hoses to disperse a crowd of black and white integrationists. I saw it on TV. My parents had already taught me that the cops were wrong and the protesters were right, but I was afraid, because I had seen what happened to "nugget-livers" in my sixth-grade schoolyard.

    I never thought today's Bull Connors would be national television personalities. That worst part of it is, the President is a bit powerless to combat them. If he addresses it directly, he's lost his message, and probably his agenda - our agenda. If he ignores it, which he HAS to do, there is no Martin Luther King outside of politics to leafy the charge against this evil.

    So, it is up to us, the committed, the energized, the young and young at heart who care enough to, once again, put our personal comfort and maybe our lives on the line to keep our country from sliding into a fearsome and ignorant place wher the people that shout the loudest win the day.

    I cannot be at NetRoots Nation 09, but I have a request of those of you do. No matter what panels you attend, nor whatcelebs you meet; no matter what parties you attend, know we are under attack, and that there is smething more than work to do. We must fight, and we must win.

    To do this, we must speak up with civility, but also insistently. We must call out the new Bull Connors, wherevere they are - in the media, in the press, in our daily lives wherever they appear.

    Our issues - healthcare, ending war, saving the climate, creating a just society and restoring our special moral imperative, all of these depend on how willing we are to fight and win the battle many of us may have thought was won last November.

    Thais to Hunter for this stunning essay pointing out where we are.

    Now, let's work to get where we need to be.

    Educate yourself. Think for yourself. Be yourself. Act for others.

    by DHinIA on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:51:11 PM PDT

    •  I didn't see it either (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TrueBlueMajority, 714day, Remillard

      I thought the victory was won and we would just sit back and enjoy the new toys that having a Democratic majority would bring.

      The climate is so ugly...I am simply not sure if there is a way to, as Robert Gibbs put it, bring the temperature down.

      "If you can't afford a boat, and are standing tiptoe in the water, the rising tide goes up your nose." -- Barney Frank

      by JanF on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:54:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh please (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alisonc

        My thought was "This is amazing, and now we've got work to do." My state rep. had a luncheon today. Democrats took over the state House in January. She is now chair of the health committee; her workload is staggering . The Speaker of the House — rep. from the next district south of us — was there too and when someone mentioned the monthlong legislative break, he laughed and said, "I'll be working."

        Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

        by anastasia p on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:06:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wishful thinking, then? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hester

          I am too old to fight all these battles again. I hope people with more energy than I are up for it. Glad to see you have a plan.

          "If you can't afford a boat, and are standing tiptoe in the water, the rising tide goes up your nose." -- Barney Frank

          by JanF on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:15:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Lots of African Americans felt this would happen. (9+ / 0-)

        As one gentleman told me before the election,"... if Sen. Obama actually wins, there are White people who are going to be really upset, and they will set out to make sure he doesn't accomplish anything only serves one term."

        I am willing to work as hard as necessary to make sure that they are not successful.

        I like President Obama. I think I understand his vision for the country and I'm all in.

        by Blogvirgin on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:32:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We have had many Black diarists (5+ / 0-)

          here who have been ridiculed, challenged and had their warnings about the increasingly loud racist dog whistles pooh poohed because they were "too sensitive" and saw racism everywhere.

          Now that the important people are noticing- it is real instead of imaginary, I guess.

          Landscape, with its basis of aridity, is both our peculiar splendor and our peculiar limitation- Wallace Stegner

          by blindyone on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:55:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I remember. I was often one who was accused of (0+ / 0-)

            reading racism into everything. I only saw it where it existed. Being able to recognize it when it exists has kept many of us alive.

            I like President Obama. I think I understand his vision for the country and I'm all in.

            by Blogvirgin on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 11:43:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  What an intelligent post (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanF, Remillard, DHinIA

      Too bad you won't be at NN.

    •  I don't know (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TrueBlueMajority, rlharry, brein, Jezreel

      I didn't think it would disappear that rapidly, although I'm shocked at the role of the media and national-level GOP officeholders in encouraging and abetting it.

      I remember Bull Connors. Closer to home, I remember the angry anti-busing mobs and I remember the black family being fire-bombed out of their home when they moved into our mayor's resolutely Irish Catholic neighborhood. I remember our mayor refusing to talk to Dr. King during the open housing marches. There was so much fear and anger everywhere.

      Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

      by anastasia p on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:05:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Conserve-a-what? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanF

    What's conservative about deliberately trashing democracy?

  •  The Wallet The Wallet The Wallet (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alisonc, brein, StateofEuphoria

    If anything trumps their fear of "the other" it's the fear that Somebody Will take Their Money Away. Is this Depression Era thinkiing? I don't know. But I see it in my town - completely clear - the elderly residents against the younger ones time and time again. They no longer care about schooling, recreation, amenities unless it concerns them directly. I think with age you get very self centered. I see it in my parents, and they are lib dems.

  •  Between this & "Idiot Nation"... (7+ / 0-)

    ...you have posted two of the best pieces I have read anywhere about the unleashing of the toxic and vile hatred of an ignorant minority by powerful corporate interests for cynical political purposes and the cost that we may all have to pay for such an evil game.  Keep up the excellent work, Hunter!

  •  It might be better to let GOP kill reform (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ParkRanger

    Durbin just tossed the public option under the bus. Obama cut a secret deal with drug companies.  BusinessWeek documents the $1T bonus for insurance companies.  We see Medicare/Medicaid cuts at state level.

    As GOP stategist Dowd noted, if GOP is tagged with defeating reform, it worsens their position with voters plus it makes chance of real reform much more likely.

    Trick for Dems is give GOP what they want and let them take credit for no reform.

  •  It's like sharing a border (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wanda517

    with the Old Soviet Union, or any closed non-democratic society. It's galling to be lectured by southern senators who are proud of their scapegoating history, their "special" culture. The south has more in common with fundamentalist theocracies, than the rest of the country.

    It's Texas where juries have sent thousands (!) to death row, regardless of rules of evidence and basic critical thinking skills. If you are not white, your evidence of innocence is seldom believed. A black man whose alibi was dozens of friends and relatives at an all day picnic was found guilty of murder by a Texas jury, later executed.

    Texas executes juveniles and foreign-born with no English or consular help; it executes the schizophrenic and the actually innocent. Texas DOJ has an international reputation for racism. Check out reports from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. When I was there as a death penalty abolitionist, the people fighting for justice were lovely, the best friends you could ever want. Otherwise I was constantly teased for being a liberal, a Yankee, an outsider, a fool, a foreigner - from Seattle.

    "They would rather see us all lose than admit defeat." Frank Schaeffer to Rachel Maddow

    by mrobinson on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:58:34 PM PDT

  •  Hunter, everything you have written the past few (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karma for All

    days, is excellant.  Keep up the great work!!  These teabaggeers /912 whatever they are  are always Looking for something Neagative.  When the stock market was low, it was Obama's fault too.  It will always be something that they attach too to distract people from their racist motives...

  •  Hunter has only the tip (15+ / 0-)

    Google these few things and you would be surprised.

    when was the last year there was a lynching?

    how many senators voted against lynching laws?

    levels of hate crimes in America.

    I live in the state that lowered the flag at Jesse Helms death. I live down the block from a bar BQ place that has pictures of lee atwater playing guitar on the walls.

    this is not something that has suddenly popped up.

    We the brown have lived with this all our lives. Its our little dirty secret, we don't the police cause it may get us a wiping for opening our mouths. We don't yell at white people in political rallies cause they have the power.

    Now I got my man in the high office and things are starting to change. Its like the light has been turned on and the roaches are running all over the place. Now you are starting to see how we have lived in this country. Great as you may have thought know you know we've had roaches all over our food all this time

    Fear Accompanies the possibility of Death, Calm sheppard's it's certainty

    by rageagnstmach on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:59:17 PM PDT

  •  Wow. Just wow. Really insightful. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miles

    One of the typical characteristics of post-modern action is that the journey is as important - if not more important - than the destination. It's about process, not product. That may be why the movements are almost random anger rather than just directed at our black president. Maybe it will be enough for these folks to be angry at taxes, birth certificates, and insurance reform proposals and not directly act on the object of their racism.

    Good Lord, I hope it will be enough.

  •  The rise of a post-modern racist movement? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dunvegan

    Yes.

    As I just wrote elsewhere, there is a black man in the White's House and white people, especially southern white people are getting hysterical.  Again.

  •  I wrote yesterday about, being fed up. (6+ / 0-)

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    But to this point, I use when at a Town Hall and "Protesters" start in.

    You attend Tea Parties with Nazi’s, KKK, Skin Heads and White Supremacy Groups, as they were at Palin & McCain Rallies and when we pointed them out all over the Net and in the Media, the Press and on the Networks, you go even crazier.

    One thing we on the Democratic Party side are historians and realist, even through Conservatives Republicans, try as they might to claim this mantel alone.

    Back when Lynching’s were all the rage, I noticed this similarity, I see video of the " Tea Parties," with Swastika’s, Nazi imageries, more signs, Satanic and Devil imagery and it reminded me of the many, many Photos of those smiling faces around their handy work, after they "lynched" some anonymous negro, Hung, Burnt, Castrated and Naked.

    I know not all of those smiling faces were in on the good-old lynching, but they all smiled and wanted to be there with the lyncher’s and it was one big Party.

    I see the same thing in the faces of those at Tea Parties, Palin & McCain rallies and now at these once passionate but discussion filled Town Halls.

    Just think and remember the faces and the imagery?

    My point is, they knew these hate groups were there and they all... all wanted to be there with them... never once denouncing them and to think and remember  back in the day, my ancestors got hung out of it and they got a Photo opt for posterity.

  •  Throw gay marriage and a latina Justice into this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deep, Dunvegan, Jezreel

    and watch the wingnuts go crazy. I knew we were going to see some frightening backlash from them, I just didn't know what form it would take. As much as I would love to go mano a mano with a teabagger, we have to show the muddle in the middle who the adults are.

    The racists of the 60's appalled most of the country with their actions and I think the same could happen here. We counter their lies with truth whenever we encounter them and we'll win.

  •  Brilliant writing and analysis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, Jassmine

    Hunter - You have written an amazingly insightful, thorough and troubling diary.  I commend you for your skills in reaching out, grabbing and showing us the ugliness.  Thank you.

  •  Stop trying to make this about race (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North, ParkRanger

    If you keep ignoring reality, you (and we) will lose. This has nothing to do with Obama's skin and everything to do with his politics. The anger was just as intense during the Clinton term, but it wasn't as widespread because the right wing crazy movement hadn't really built up the infrastructure it has today. They will shout racist slurs, but only because it is one of the tools they have at their disposal. It's NOT about race. Don't let them distract you from the real reason they are afraid - they have been told for decades that government is a bad thing. The right has effectively been shutting down government programs for 8 years. They thought they had won. They thought that the government was doomed to just shrink until it was "small enough to drown in a bathtub". But Dems are now working towards a program that will increase the size of government involvement in our lives more than anything since The New Deal. They are terrified, irrationally and completely. Not because Obama is black - because he is effectively doing something they are afraid of.

    Don't let them distract you with racist slurs. The man in the e-mail did, and look what happened - he never had a chance to counter their lies. He left. They chased him away. We need people to stay and focus on the issues: getting a decent healthcare plan in place. Requiring the insurance companies to provide fair service for a fair profit, not poor service for an obscene profit. Making sure that "the right to life..." is not a meaningless phrase.

    •  Those may be the issues, then why the attacks (6+ / 0-)

      on birth certificates?  illegitimate president?  The teabaggers were protesting tax policies that actually cut 98% of peoples taxes...

      •  This isn't new (0+ / 0-)

        They were protesting taxes long before we had a black President, even when taxes were cut, even when the tax increases didn't effect them. That's not new. I suspect that a lot of people around here are too young to remember our last Democratic President. It was ugly. Really ugly. and that was long before we had the kind of organized noise machines that we have now.

        These people have been brainwashed to believe all kinds of nonsense. It started long before Obama and will continue long after.

    •  bull shit (9+ / 0-)

      We do need to stay focused.  But to say this is not a racist backlash is bullshit.

      Cowards die many times before their deaths... Shakespeare, Julius Ceasar, II, 2

      by on the cusp on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:32:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See "Clinton Era" (0+ / 0-)

        Just look up what happened during Clinton's terms of office, then try to tell me that what is going on is worse or even different. The insults were slightly different (although they overlapped a lot), but the basics are the same. They hate the Democratic President and all of his policies, blindly and completely.

        •  Way worse now.NO COMPARISON.n/t (0+ / 0-)

          Cowards die many times before their deaths... Shakespeare, Julius Ceasar, II, 2

          by on the cusp on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 06:13:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You don't remember... do you? (0+ / 0-)

            The daily updates on whatever scandal of the week was happening... accusations of murder, rape, and treason... are you too young to have experienced it or have you simply forgotten how much hatred was directed at Clinton? Many of the right wing pundits who are now household names cut their teeth on "Monica-gate". Do you remember the "Whitewater" fiasco, where we spent millions investigating ... nothing?

            The right is still frothing at the mouth that they couldn't actually pin anything serious on Clinton. They have transferred only a small amount of that anger to Obama. They will transfer more, I suspect, as time goes on. But it isn't racial hatred - it's color blind. They would hate Obama no matter what race he was.

            •  Sweetums, i am not young (0+ / 0-)

              I still wear a t-sirt with Clinton-Gore on it, and my dog is named William jefferson Clinton (my last name.)
              Not onlydo I remember all of what you mention, I have 2 very close friends who are very close friends of Bill's and Hillary.
              Either one of them could call Bill on their cell phone, and both of them have slept in the Whitehouse as his guests.  
              and I am 57 yrs old, not a youngster, and you are trying to be an asshole, just not quite making the cut.
              Try harder.

              Cowards die many times before their deaths... Shakespeare, Julius Ceasar, II, 2

              by on the cusp on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 07:05:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  LOL. I had a cat name Hilary (0+ / 0-)

                She came into a house with 3 curious dogs and just stared them down while licking a paw. This was during the health care fiasco, when Hillary was showing a lot of spunk. She was a Tough kittie.

                If you lived through Clinton, then you must remember how awful it was. So imagine how much more awful it could have been with the 24 hour attack cycle that passes for cable/radio news that is going on nowadays. The kooks were pretty much at the edges of society back then. Now they are in the middle - spreading their lies to moderates as well as fellow wackos.

                I'm not trying to be anything. I'm just pointing out that there is nothing new happening right now. The politics is the same, only some of the faces have changed. Clinton wasn't black, so he was attacked for being an ignorant hick from the south. An uncontrolled lothario/rapist. Obama has a foreign father who gave him a foreign sounding name, so that is his biggest vulnerability. They'll use whatever they can, just like they did with Clinton. It has nothing to do with Obama's skin any more than it had to do with Clinton's sex life. It was all politics.

                Do you remember when Clinton bombed Afghanistan and the right claimed that he did it to distract from the current pseudo-scandal they had manufactured? Later they criticized him for not bombing often enough and hard enough, but at the time they needed to distract people from his effective actions. That's why racism is creeping into this. They need to use something to distract us, and racism hits our buttons every time. Right now, on this site, during the most critical time of the health care debate, when congresspersons are home talking to their constituents, we are talking about race. I'd say that they are succeeding in changing the message.

    •  I don't think you're entirely wrong. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dianem

      I think that race is just another button they are trying to push, and they are trying to push them all.  

      Some are honest to god racists: some are trying to exploit racists; some are just trying to be as insulting as possible because if the country is in the middle of a war over race, nothing gets accomplished and that's how they win.

      As I said above:

      I think Hunter's question of "secession over the stimulus program?  Really?" and your statement are one in the same: the point is to deal a political death blow with SOMETHING.  

      I don't think health care became so important until the cons decided that THIS was how to simply kill progress, Obama, democrats and the future.  So they pulled out all the stops. They aren't saving any lies for the future.  They don't have any program and don't want one.  They want to WIN so that they can get back into power and do what they thought Bush was going to accomplish: a permanent conservative agenda despite being a minority agenda.

      "Argle bargle wooorahraarh NO NO NO graparargh shisnak SOSHALISM nazi NOBAMA Oaoooh gansiki gWRAR HUH? HUH? HUH? ANSWER ME"

      by Inland on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:52:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bingo (0+ / 0-)

        "if the country is in the middle of a war over race, nothing gets accomplished and that's how they win"

        I believe that the vast majority of these people don't care about racial issues, they just want to scream something insulting and distracting. Some racists are probably joining in because it gives them an opportunity to be publicly racist, but the majority don't give a damn about Obama's skin shade. They just want him and every other Dem to go away.

    •  This is about race same (5+ / 0-)

      as PUMA movement was about race. Long-time Democrats wenr and voted for McCain/palin because their party chose a black guy. You are in denial for whatver reason if you can't see the things that are right in front of you.

    •  Of course it's about racism. We're not trying (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      714day, Jezreel

      just stating the facts as they are.  This trumps politics, IMO.    

      •  You're missing the point (0+ / 0-)

        In baseball, the catcher often insults the batter in an attempt to distract him so that he doesn't hit the ball. Maybe he includes some racial insults even if he is the most egalitarian person in the world off of the field. His job is to distract, and if he thinks that a racist jab is the best way to do it then he will use one, not because he is a racist but because it's the best way to do the job.

        And the hitter: His job is to focus on hitting the ball, whatever the catcher says to distract him.

    •  So it's just a "distraction" then? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Karma for All, blindyone

      Don't let them distract you with racist slurs.

      The racist slurs are just a ruse?  Give me a break.

      •  The e-mail writer LEFT (0+ / 0-)

        It worked. They distracted him into leaving by making the environment so hateful that he couldn't focus on the importance of what he was there to do - speak out against right wing health care plan lies.

        This is no different from a catcher baiting a batter during a baseball game. They will use any insult they can get away with - the ultimate goal isn't to insult the batter, it's to distract him so that he misses the ball.

  •  Nominated for Best Front Page Diary of the year (7+ / 0-)

    Bravo, sir.

  •  Privilege (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dunvegan, brein, Jassmine

    I think that the more fundamental issue is the belief that society ought to be, must be, organized around a privileged class of "betters", whose status and position is society and the economy is secured, absent some massive degree of wrongdoing, while a servile laboring class provides the wherewithal to support that privileged class.  While it is true that in the history of this country the boundaries of those classes were defined by race, it is the belief in the two classes which is prior.  The modern "conservative", or more accurately the "birther" mentality is fixed on the belief that this is the way that society must be organized.  

    I hardly need to add to folks reading here at Kos that the liberal position is that there should be no privileged nor no subservient positions under the law, and society should recognize nothing of the kind based on anything other that a person's individual talents.

    In today's world, I think that this view of things is also tied to a belief that facts and truth are determined by gut reaction and then evidence is evaluated as being valid or invalid depending upon how it supports the gut reaction.  This is, of course, impervious to argument.

    •  White privilege=racism. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      714day, brein

      That's the point.

      •  True (0+ / 0-)

        But there are some folks, like our last President, who don't have a problem with a Colin Powell or a Condelezza Rice as part of the privileged society.  They are driven, not by theories of racial superiority, but by a desire to protect their own privilege.  Many others are driven by theories of racial superiority.  It was that distinction I was making.  But yes, the privileged white society is, fundamentally, racist.

        •  Colin Powell, CondoLIEzza Rice, Clarence Thomas (0+ / 0-)

          Michael Steele, Armstrong Williams, JC Watts, Michelle Malkin, Alan Keyes, et al. have one thing in common:

          they all agreed to internalize and live by the thinking of the powerful white people around them.

          So they are non-threatening.  They have no interest in disturbing the status quo or rocking the boats of the privileged.

          look how quickly they turned on Powell after he said he supported Obama.  then suddenly Powell was no longer one of them and their criticisms of him were all about race.

          Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 09:29:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Age (6+ / 0-)

    An important aspect of this movement is that it is made up of old people. If you are in your 70s now, you were well into adulthood growing up under Jim Crow. This movement on average is literally dying off. I think much of the rage is that "their" America is nearing a population tipping point on the road to extinction. Not only are the same race/class issues at play as always, but now also they are beginning to see themselves as outnumbered and cornered.

  •  This is extraordinarily well done. (3+ / 0-)

    Really fine analysis.  Thank you.

    "Two things that were left out of the bill of rights: the right to leave and the right to change one's mind" --Veronika, in Eustache's La Maman et la putain

    by ed k on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:06:14 PM PDT

  •  Meanwhile America is setting up free medical (5+ / 0-)

    camps much like those that "Doctors Without Borders" provide at Refugee Camps around the World.
    Speaking of the free medical, dental and eyeglasses, it will be in Los Angeles this week at the Forum. For more and to see if there will be one in your State...
    http://www.ramusa.org/...

  •  Fight them with photographs. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, deep, brein, StateofEuphoria, Jassmine

    Take pictures of the most egregious examples of racism. Nice, clear pictures, in which you can see the bigots' faces. Post them online. Post them here. Caption them, "They don't want to listen to us? Fine. We don't want to talk to them."

    Send them to the local newspaper. Tell the local newspaper, "This is not legitimate, thoughtful political opposition. This is barbarism. Please treat it as such."

    Send them to Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann to use as background graphics.

    Blow the lid off.

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:12:52 PM PDT

  •  We are not talking about intelligent people here. (3+ / 0-)

    In a different time and place these people would have been Nazis.  They do not think for themselves are are very angry that their lives are changing and are not under their control.  They are easily led.  They do not question.  They are very dangerous.  Do not underestimate them.

  •  Hunter you're right its not normal (8+ / 0-)

    its because of the volume of money on the line.

    Think about it, if health care reform passes, the insurance companies (eventually, it may take a couple decades) die. And that death means over a trillion dollars a year that stops flowing into the pockets of the rich. And that's just the direct flow.

    From their perspective, this is worse than a 25% marginal tax rate hike. It doesn't surprise me one bit that all the stops have been pulled out.

    Member, The Angry Left

    by nosleep4u on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:22:41 PM PDT

  •  good diary, I think you have come as close as any (5+ / 0-)

    I have read to hitting the nail squarely on the head in your analysis of this new disturbing trend that has  some similarities and foundation in previous events in the history of this nation.

    It is becoming increasingly apparent that some people owe Pelosi an apology

    by GeeBee on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:23:19 PM PDT

  •  They show anger because (10+ / 0-)

    it's what immature people do when frustrated - have tantrums. When you didn't grow up, but instead learned to scapegoat your faults onto others, that's what you look like, a raging maniac.

    Are they angry - or do the show anger as dramatic display? They don't know what they feel. They weren't educated to tell one emotion from another or to trust emotions. Instead they learned to scapegoat everything bad onto . . .The Other.

    The African American was the hardest worker in the south and who built fortunes for others, and thus spared landowning whites from labor. Yet, who was called "lazy" in the south? That's projection. Whites who were too lazy to work their own land, out of shame pointed to the hardest working people in the south, and blamed them. There, that's the lazy one, not me. Southerners have a history of scapegoating and projection to avoid shame. It's racism alright, but the racism isn't the goal, it's the tool for avoiding growing up, being accountable, taking responsibility for all your thoughts, feelings, actions, and especially your respectful dealings with others.

    I won't be harangued by angry mobsters, lectured by southern hypocrites in Congress, and my congressman, Dr. Jim McDermott, knows I have his back.

    "They would rather see us all lose than admit defeat." Frank Schaeffer to Rachel Maddow

    by mrobinson on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:26:24 PM PDT

  •  This is brilliant... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank, Dunvegan

    but I think there is more fuel than the racism alone (although there is plenty of that). After all Clinton supposedly murdered Vince Foster, among other atrocities, and was actually impeached by a gaggle of politicians who also blamed the Columbine shootings on the teaching of evolution! There is no doubt that the same political sociopaths are pulling the strings here, and I fully agree there is a fury to this that is hard to explain outside the obvious racism. The roots of this are as weird as they are dangerous, and they have been around a long time.

    You can't have freedom of religion without freedom from religion.

    by zerone on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:26:53 PM PDT

    •  Consider though that Clinton didn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brein

      even get 51% of the vote (because of Perot) and he did mess around with Monica and lie about it.

      I voted for Clinton both times, and supported him up until the end but he did give ammunition to the Right Wing.

      Obama had a clear victory in the national election- popular and electoral vote. And he has only been in office a little more than six months, and has some clear policy successes.

      There is a big difference here, and it starts with Obama's race, and how some people cannot abide Black people in leadership positions.

      Landscape, with its basis of aridity, is both our peculiar splendor and our peculiar limitation- Wallace Stegner

      by blindyone on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 05:05:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are differences, but (0+ / 0-)

        Clinton had quite high approval ratings all the way through the end of his presidency. There is no doubt, however, that Obama's race is central to the blaze we are seeing now. That's kind of the point of the brand of crazy we are discussing.

        You can't have freedom of religion without freedom from religion.

        by zerone on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 07:00:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  class, culture, too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dunvegan

    First thouhgt, it's ot healthcare reform, it's "health insurance reform" according to POTUS.  It's a more realistic description.  One for Barack.

    To say "there's something odd going on" in Washington about "healthcare" is selling the Kos readers short about all of Washington for a long time, imho.  

    For "times removed issues" try impeachment over a blo; job, and look at the Brooks Brothers Riot for when mob mentals was used long ago to stop debate.

    It seems as much culture and class as racism.  I see the way Applachians are being assaulted for speaking out against mtr, which precluded the current town meeting flap by months.  It's no surprise.

  •  Tea-Baggers-Birthers-Deathers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dunvegan

    As much as I have come to personally and politically feel offended at the fraud I perceive Obama perpetrated to get elected, I am violently against what is occurring by the crazies. I agree more or less 100% with the above blog. The movement is clearly racist, violent and fundamentally repulsive. What I would add is that it is absolutely American. It is being led by corporate interests and political interests whose only focus is on power and money. The mobs are incited to racism and violence as a tactic, regardless of the harm it does to the body politic. As revolting as the no nothing klan like racist protester may be, it is the leaders, the coporate interests and the political operatives, that regardless that ones not supposed to use this comparison, that they bring to mind, national socialism and the brownshirts. Additionally, the corporate press is aiding and abetting by not raising a howl about the overt racism, and outright craziness. By focusing on this shit as if it is not what it is, but just another fun way to get ratings, the corporate media is in bed with all the racists.

  •  To the birther/screamers (0+ / 0-)

    Obama = Nat Turner.

    "Never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce."

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:42:36 PM PDT

  •  Brilliant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, jeepdad

    Best diary I have ever read on this site, by leaps and bounds. Profound, terrifying, important, and what we have all been thinking put into a stunning piece that should be read by every sane person in this country.

  •  my brother is one of these people! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dunvegan

    He won't accept fact's,swear's everything he see's on fox news is real,he's part of glenn beck's 9-12 deal.
    It's scary to see the racism in my own family that i never saw before.

    Crank up the crazy and rip off the knob!

    by Dugits on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:45:29 PM PDT

  •  This is a minority of assholes (4+ / 0-)

    They are given equal airtime under the false belief that they represent the sentiments of a significant number of Americans. The fact of the matter is they represent the rump as in the horses rump. Of course it is only the rump which watches the networks which give them airtime. And the fact that it is the rump which attracts the most viewers means nothing to most Americans in the same proportion they to not constitute the rump.

    Healthcare is a human right, not a commodity.

    by nomorerepukes on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:46:55 PM PDT

  •  This type of racism is anthropological. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dunvegan, tommyfocus2003, brein

    It's simply the "other". It takes very little to
    ignite fear and hate.Language (propaganda) is the
    historical trigger reaching down into the primeval.
    Truth is overwhelmed by adrenalin. Ancient tribal instincts are very flammable. Dr. Strangelove is quite at home today. The thought that Palin could have become vice president (or president) is simply put: SURREAL. It truly takes anthropology to comprehend this. The fact that she could get twenty  million plus votes today says it all. I know bright people in my town who are birthers and teabaggers.
    They have this inexplicable fear and hatred. They have devolved from making explanations to slogans.
    The slogans are part of a visceral reaction. They are rabid animals who can talk.

    •  It is fear of the unkown, fear of the other. (0+ / 0-)

      They seem to be in a continuous fight/flight state.
      Which can be dangerous for them as well as for others.

      There is no pacifying them.  Right wing talking heads did not suborn their id, they only stoked the embers into a fire and keep supplying the fuel.  For that part they are definitely to blame.

      What, I wonder, does the rest of the world think?  We are supposed to be a beacon of democracy.  We are supposed to be a shining city on a hill.  We are supposed to be the example of government of the people, by the people and for the people.

    •  someone said on another site that (0+ / 0-)

      the reason Rs use the word Dem as an adjective is that it sounds like the word THEM

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 09:31:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That women's lib coincidence (0+ / 0-)

    It isn't at all "I'm afraid my wife will leave me, godforbid with a mandingo."

    The connection with racism is the simultaneous loss of a class of people whom white men dominated.  Feminazis, civil rights nazis, health care nazis. The nerve of those it is my birthright to oppress, becoming independent and powerful.

  •  They have their own facts (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank, hester, TrueBlueMajority, Krush, brein

    I live in one of the most conservative areas in America in Northwest Oklahoma and my experience has been that you can't tell these people otherwise.  By in large they don't trust anything that doesn't come from Fox News or Limbaugh.  Telling them that there is no "death panel" just elicits a strong rebuke.  Conversely, anything, no matter how insane that comes from Fox or chain emails, that says something negative about a democrat or democratic piece of legislation is believed as though thoroughly established without so much as a hint of skepticism.  They are inclined to believe anything negative about a democrat.  To make matters worse all the local media attempts to mimic the national right wing media.  One of local broadcast affiliates has their own Hannity wannabe with a weekly segment wherein he espouses his "common sense" based almost entirely on half truths and false equivalencies.  No matter how bad it gets economically or how expensive health becomes, these people won't change so long as they are living in this right wing media blackout.  

    •  that is true (0+ / 0-)

      there are people in this country who have no alternative but hate talk on every non-music radio station in their area.

      hate radio morning noon and night:  Boortz, Hannity, Limbaugh, Savage, Ingraham, Beck, Levin...

      at work.  in the coffee shop.  at the gas station.  in the barbershop.  everywhere, all day, every day.

      how do we fight back against that saturation bombing propaganda and brainwashing?

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 09:40:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reason is the right's enemy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, 714day, rlharry, brein

    Good stuff, Hunter.

    For the last thirty, thirty-five years the conservative movement has been exclusively about lighting matches and seeing if anything catches fire.  The movement has been very heavy on emotion, principally anger, and very light on thoughtful discussion.  They believe that they are right – and that is that, so no reasoned debates are necessary.

    The right wing authoritarian followers perceive anyone who disagrees with them as an enemy, one who must have ulterior motives or simply malice towards them.  The Bush/Cheney foreign policy based on constant threatening of other nations and view of diplomacy as weakness exemplified this view at the highest levels of government.  The town hall hooligans vary from Bush/Cheney only in terms of coarseness and loudness.

    •  This is perhaps the saddest part (for me) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brein

      They are not willing to listen to any factual evidence that contradicts their own beliefs in whatever dark conspiracies have been peddled to them; they have in fact made it their publicly proclaimed mission to block any such explanations from even being attempted.

      I made the mistake of trying to engage some wingnuts on the subject. They would cite a section of the House health care bill, saying "free coverage for ILLEGALS!!!" when in fact, it said no such thing. When I pointed that out, they would change the subject to something else. It was intellectual "whack-a-mole" and a total waste of time.

      "You can't have everything; where would you put it?" - Steven Wright

      by frsbdg on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 07:17:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fascism Anyone? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, tommyfocus2003, brein

    Fascism Anyone?
    The 14 characteristics of Fascism
    by Dr. Lawrence Britt
    Free Inquiry magazine, Spring 2003
    Dr. Britt, a political scientist, studied the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile). He found the regimes all had 14 things in common, and he calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. ]

    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism -- Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
    1. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights -- Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to 'look the other way' or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
    1. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause -- The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
    1. Supremacy of the Military -- Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
    1. Rampant Sexism -- The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and antigay legislation and national policy.
    1. Controlled Mass Media -- Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or through sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common.
    1. Obsession with National Security -- Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
    1. Religion and Government are Intertwined -- Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
    1. Corporate Power is Protected -- The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
    1. Labor Power is Suppressed -- Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely or are severely suppressed.
    1. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts -- Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
    1. Obsession with Crime and Punishment -- Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses, and even forego civil liberties, in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
    1. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption -- Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions, and who use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
    1. Fraudulent Elections -- Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against (or even the assassination of) opposition candidates, the use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and the manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/...

  •  This is something that should be linked back to.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, Dunvegan

    ..from other sites everywhere.  Not that all the answers can be found in one point of view.  But this is the level that truly connects the dots.

    If you can, link back to this one in other threads on other forums.  It is worth the discussion.

  •  I think that President Obama should deliver a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, Dunvegan

    prime time address on health insurance reform, explaining his plan, and putting an end to the propaganda.  Not a press conference, but a prime time address.

  •  Republicans hate to lose (0+ / 0-)

    Really really really hate to lose. So do corporate entitled types hate to lose their millions. The Republican Party has been taken over by greedy crybaby corporate hate-to-losers and raging tantrum exploding no-brainers.

    "They would rather see us all lose than admit defeat." Frank Schaeffer to Rachel Maddow

    by mrobinson on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:58:34 PM PDT

  •  Racism is about Class. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dunvegan

    So is Homophobia.  

    Keeping the "other" at a disadvantage by whatever means -- legal or otherwise -- is the entire point of both mindsets.  

  •  And it is about class warfare more then anything. (0+ / 0-)

    This really is a power struggle.  And 1/2 of one side is being played against the other 1/2 by the other side.

    Racism etc., are just justifications used to focus the hatred, negativity, frustration etc.  

    The truth is, that there are those with power and those without.  And to maintain power, both sides of the coin without are played against each other in whatever way possible.

  •  it's talk radio + FOX/Beck (5+ / 0-)

    It scares me, but I try to joke about it.

    At church today, I had to listen to a sermon about how we need to stay strong in the face of a socialist government. This is why I stopped going to church. EVERYTIME I go I get some political mini-sermon based on one of Glenn Beck paranoid fantasies, that has NOTHING to do with Christ or spirtuality. I can handle the crazy from the TV and radio, and my wingnutty neighbors and family, but it disturbs me when it comes from the pulpit.

    I am surronded. I am so moving asap.

  •  Not normal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dunvegan

    If the president [this may be a good time to stop calling him Obama and start calling him The President] gives a prime time speech, I want him to read Hunter's diary here. Then President Obama should talk about what is normal.

    It is rare to run across any movement so deeply angry -- or more to the point, a movement which explicitly celebrates anger as the primary mission of their activism. They are not willing to listen to any factual evidence that contradicts their own beliefs in whatever dark conspiracies have been peddled to them; they have in fact made it their publicly proclaimed mission to block any such explanations from even being attempted.

    One thing I agree with on this thread: These haters really hate it that he is president and they have to call him the president.

    "They would rather see us all lose than admit defeat." Frank Schaeffer to Rachel Maddow

    by mrobinson on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:05:52 PM PDT

  •  Addicted to Amygdala Stimulus (6+ / 0-)

    What Fox and Limbaugh offer is a continuous stimulation of the amygdala in the brain. That's the part that handles fear, aggression, hatred, and it is directly wired into the part that controls obscenities.

    Sometimes, it is called the reptilian brain, but far be it for me to refer to these individuals as Lizard People.

    Remember that parable that is so often told, about the wise elder telling a story to a child about the two animals that live within us and fight one another--one that is good and one that is vicious? The child asks which one wins. The elder says: whichever one you feed.

    The people who join these mobs chose to feed the vicious critter. They got all the nourishment they needed from daily hits of Limbaugh and Fox.

    The actual issues don't matter much. By now, they're addicted to whatever emotional high it is that they get from hatred, anger, fear, and aggression.

    •  Yes - normal people avoid angry feelings (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      True North, TrueBlueMajority, brein

      and angry display. We pull back, we apologize for our loss of temper. Not these people.

      And the proud shuffling just-up-to-the-line-of-violence, right in the very faces of their own representatives of Congress, requiring police protection in order to escort those elected representatives safely from the meetings -- that part is new. That part is not normal.

      "They would rather see us all lose than admit defeat." Frank Schaeffer to Rachel Maddow

      by mrobinson on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:10:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I blame Republican leaders for this (3+ / 0-)

        sorry state. It's so awful, so not normal, so disrespectful of democracy that is, after all, difficult to make, easier to destroy. Very bad children breaking your precious things. Very very bad Republican bully boys egging them on - from a distance. Like Palin.

        "They would rather see us all lose than admit defeat." Frank Schaeffer to Rachel Maddow

        by mrobinson on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:15:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  YOUR Bambism is appalling. These f'king bigots (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dunvegan

    have been there all along -

    NOT particularily visible in the leafy neighborhoods of lexington ma or newton ma or longmeadow ma or queen anne wa or any 'typical' upper middle class leafy neighborhood, BUT

    it has been there.

    It has NOT been particularily visible to the 22 million with money income OVER $75000 a year because most of them live in the leafy neighborhoods.

    What about the rest of the country? ya know, those 186,000,000 making under $75000 a year? ya know, those 160,000,000 making under $50,000 a year?

    The lies stirring up the resentment, the lies stirring 30 or 40 million Americans to vote AGAINST their self interest and vote fascist, the lies helping another 30 or 50 million say 'fuck it - I ain't wasting my time voting'

    These lies have been here since BEFORE nixon went after his silent majority.

    Today's Adventures of Looney Tune WingNutters is EXACTLY what should be expected ... BUT

    too many of the Democratic opinion leaders live in the leafy neighborhoods, come from the leafy neighborhoods, GET THEIR FUNDING FROM THE LEAFY NEIGHBORHOODS, and in the leafy neighborhoods it is NOT nice to say that Nixon and RayGun and Newt and Cheney and Mitch and ... are as close to be martial law fascists as they can get away with.

    What these bastards do IS appalling at first exposure. Who the hell could think of doing such things? BUT, when we look at the right wing sons of bitches and their history, 3000 milliseconds after being appalled we should transition from being appalled to figuring out how to knock the flat earth sons of bitches back into their stone age.

    IF we want to change the world, we need to recognize that politics is NOT the adult Barney show, it is NOT the grown up Sesame Street, and it is NOT the big people Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. Politics is about time and money.

    rmm.

    Federalis 10 and Faction

    The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:14:19 PM PDT

    •  Given all the facts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dunvegan, seabos84

      It is no longer possible to believe that the country is split down party lines.  The true line is much different, and the more you look at it, the more you can see that we all make up the vast majority of the population, yet the absolute minority in the places of power.

      As I said in a different thread, those that have the power play both sides against the other.  Sure, there may be honest people voted into positions that have some influence.  But, obviously not much.

      •  Well, if it is supposed to be some derivative of (0+ / 0-)

        the word "bombastic" I wanted to see that I fail to see how what you've argued here and what Hunter argued above is very different.  

      •  Bambi - the pretty little deer ... whose mummy (0+ / 0-)

        was killed by the meanies?

        kind of like most of the Democratic party strategists?  If they're not sold out, intentionally screwing us over, then they're staggeringly incompetent in politics.

        rmm.

        Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

        by seabos84 on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 05:56:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And you think Hunter suffers from this trait? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TrueBlueMajority

          I thought his diary not only works in concert with every point you made in your comment, I thought it was timely, truthful, and absolutely in touch with the reality of the situation.  It sounded to me like you were classifying him amongst your "leafy" people or whatever.   If you re-read his last paragraph it is totally in keeping with what Madison had to say about factions.    

    •  Leafy green Democrats like Terry McAulliffe? (nt) (0+ / 0-)
  •  Two things.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, Dunvegan, brein

    First of all, it is obvious that there is racism on display here. But we also shouldn't fall in to the trap of going for the easiest explanation: we have a black president, so those who hate him must be racist. Undoubtedly that is true for some of these people, perhaps even many of them, but this kind of hate has been out there for a while. I do think that racism is making it more intense.

    I think that perhaps a good way to see these people is as a cult. They have lost touch with reality. They blindly believe what their leaders (Beck, Limbaugh) tell them. It doesn't matter if it is easily verifiable as false.

    We are all vulnerable to that kind of dynamic. A (much milder) version of is often on display during the primaries, where people will easily believe negative things about candidates they don't like, while positively explaining everything the candidate they support does.

    Of course, for the teabag crowd, it is much, much worse. They don't even get to the stage anymore where they look at the data and explain it the way that they want. They don't look at the data period. Democrats are evil, so every negative and crazy thing that Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck says is true.

  •  This is an excellent analysis. (5+ / 0-)

    It is the best thing that I have read on this topic, and I hope it is widely disseminated.

  •  Another favorite from above (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dunvegan

    Health care reform is the president's test. Is he a Corporate Democrat or is he a man of the people, like FDR? Time will tell, and if we get a public option.

    You know it's a fascist state when...

    Corporate Power is Protected -- The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

    Labor Power is Suppressed -- Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely or are severely suppressed.

    "They would rather see us all lose than admit defeat." Frank Schaeffer to Rachel Maddow

    by mrobinson on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:21:00 PM PDT

  •  Ragers, Teabaggers, Birthers (6+ / 0-)

    I was inside the hall in Tampa.  Your analysis is accurate. This is not about health care.  The rage that has been unleashed is all consuming. The parallels drawn to the white mobs during the civil rights movement are accurate.  The teabaggers, birthers, ragers are the same people - angry people in search of a cause, or at least a cause that can be publicly acknowledged.  

     

  •  Hunter ... one of your best posts, ever. (4+ / 0-)

    Very well written. Thank you.

    Don't Legitimize Fox News.
    "Democrats have the heart to care."

    by jeepdad on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:43:35 PM PDT

  •  But it's not just racism . . . (4+ / 0-)

    I agree that racism is a huge part of this, as we've seen throughout the campaign.  People who are quick to believe that someone who does not look like them must be a foreigner.

    But this is also a symptom of the culture wars continuing to play out.  The vitriol is directed at "liberals" as a group, spat with venom and usually coupled with some perjorative term.   The anger is also directed at those perceived to be in the "elitist" intellectual crowd, and certainly history gives us numerous examples of where the "intellectual" class is immediately targeted and vilified when there is breakdown in the social order, or the gulf between haves and have-nots becomes intolerably wide.

    I agree with Bill Maher who recently wrote about the dumbing down of Americans.  A lot of these teabaggers want to disrupt and shut down the town hall meetings because when it comes to intelligent and respectful debate, or critical thinking and analysis -- they simply don't have those skills.   Like children who do not have the skills to deal with their frustrations, temper tantrums are ever so much more cathartic.  Name-calling, insults, throwing of metaphorical crockery, plugging the ears and singing "Na-na-na can't hear you," acting out and garnering publicity -- why that's FAR less work than calmly laying cogent arguments or being willing to keep an open mind long enough to listen to someone else speak.

    Remember what happened to The Dixie Chicks when they DARED voice an opinion that differed from the mainstream thinking among their audience.  People went ballistic, their heads exploded with the strain of actually having someone voice a differing opinion.  No, the Dixie Chicks must be punished, must be ostracized, must be silenced -- some wackos even sent them death threats.

    That level of intolerance manifested in these actions goes much deeper and racism is just one component.  What we have is a culture of very dysfunctional adults, many of whom still operate at an adolescent level.

    •  The heart of it is racism. That is why they hate (3+ / 0-)

      liberals as well.  

      A while back, when I still argued with my Mississippi in-laws, I pointed out that my husband had changed his mind about black people after having been educated in a Mississippi college.  My step-mother-in-law replied, via e-mail:  Well, they don't call it LIBERAL arts for nothing.

      The stupidity runs deep, and they equate liberal politics with allowing black people to have equal rights in this ignorant faction of society.

    •  too true, leebot, too true (0+ / 0-)

      Like children who do not have the skills to deal with their frustrations, temper tantrums are ever so much more cathartic.  Name-calling, insults, throwing of metaphorical crockery, plugging the ears and singing "Na-na-na can't hear you," acting out and garnering publicity -- why that's FAR less work than calmly laying cogent arguments or being willing to keep an open mind long enough to listen to someone else speak.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 09:47:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why not gas taxes? (0+ / 0-)

    No one blinks twice at a carbon tax for industry, so why not for individuals.  A gasoline tax is a better program than C4C.  The added tax truly represents a societal cost to gasoline consumption and the money can go toward mass transit, high speed rail, etc.

    I will not speak with disrespect of the Republican Party. I always speak with respect of the past. -Woodrow Wilson

    by Gangster Octopus on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 05:00:00 PM PDT

  •  Video Cameras, Video Cameras, Video Cameras (0+ / 0-)

    Everyone needs to take their video camera to these events.  Film these nuts from 100 angles and post them on youtube.  A picture is worth a 1000 works, a video of crazy racists (think Birmingham and Bull Conner) can change history.

    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter - Martin Luther King

    by Do Something on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 05:06:10 PM PDT

  •  How very Barthesian (0+ / 0-)

    Healthcare as a proxy for racism as a proxy for class conflict as a proxy for personal insecurity as a proxy for lord knows what. Mythologies, I knew you not.

    --- Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, I'm a Freeper. - HollywoodOz

    by opendna on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 05:15:16 PM PDT

  •  Great insight, beautifully expressed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, smellybeast

    I know these people Hunter is talking about. I grew up with them. I call it the "Tin God Syndrome."

    When they were born, by virtue of being white men in a certain culture, they became Tin Gods. "Better" than anyone of color and any woman whatsoever, privileged from their first diaper change.

    In the small town culture I know too well, sons are better than daughters, and white was better than anything. They didn't have to do one thing more; and they don't.

    Now, that automatic privilege is crumbling, and they are as angry as a baby who doesn't understand who took the lollipop.

    It may seem absurd to those of us who live in a wider world. They are not movers and shakers, titans of industry or particularly well-educated. And they held power nonetheless; women folk were supposed to defer to them, and others are supposed to "know their place."

    It was stupid, and I'm glad it's gone. I even understand their confusion and anger.

    But it's wrong, and at least this thing has a sell-by date.

    WereBear
    Pootie fan? Me too! Check out my cat advice blog.
    The Way of Cats

    by WereBear on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 05:48:01 PM PDT

  •  I logged in just to recommend this wonderfully (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, sully18, brein, hilmera

    written diary only to discover there was no recommend link. How sad.

    Nevertheless, I want to commend the Diarist for writing such a deeply thoughtful, informative, refined, mature and seriously reasoned piece.

    I consider it a treat to have followed the scope and depth of the Diarist's thought process while reading this article.

    Thank you; Hunter for this offering of brain candy.

    We must use time creatively... and forever realize that time is always ripe to do right. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Jezreel on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 05:51:59 PM PDT

  •  Where are the disorderly conduct arrests? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sully18

    Seriously?  What's the deal?  Why no police presence, or at the very least rent-a-cops?  

    The guidelines for civil debate are clear enough:  say your piece when it's your turn, and let the other people speak.  If you can't do that, you have to leave.  Simple, right?

    So what the fuck is going on?  Aren't these teabaggers violating the civil rights of those who want to assemble?  Or at the very least, being disorderly enough to arrest?

    •  as I have said repeatedly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dackmont

      a disorderly conduct arrest is only appropriate for a distinguished black scholar talking back to the police in his own home.

      understand now?

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 09:59:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure, the irony is overwhelming.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueMajority

        ... but seriously, I've been reading about these teabagger disruptions for days now, and not a peep about law enforcement for disorderly.  Why?  I'm gonna call my congresscritters and ask.

        •  Update: At least some disruptors kicked out (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          adrianrf

          http://www.youtube.com/...

          My comment on YouTube:
          Looks like Mr. Sola was extremely rude and disruptive in that meeting.  Good thing he was kicked out for such terrible manners.  Let's see more of that.  Civil conversation doesn't mean shouting down others.

          I don't buy the BS about the scary visit in the middle of the night any more than I believe the ignorance he spouts about health care reform killing old people.  Just because you're the parent of a disabled individual doesn't make you immune from being a wingnut extremist.

  •  Great diary,Hunter (0+ / 0-)

    The previous poster wants to know where the disorderly conduct arrests are.T

  •  TO CONTINUE.T d/c arrests are the same place... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dackmont

    the Wall ST. indictments and the Cheney/Bush treason indictments are.

  •  Well then, isn't there a black (0+ / 0-)

    business executive in the health care industry who should stand up and say 'enough'?  Where's the Colin Powell in the health sector?

  •  U forgot the role of evangelicalism - which, as (0+ / 0-)

    practiced by right wing churches, both primes and feeds the anti-fact, no-knowing, holier than thou anger.  Irrationality and hatred, proudly marching hand-in-hand to the New Nuremburg rallies.

    Digusting

    •  I've never seen evangelicalism less Christ like (0+ / 0-)

      than at this moment in history.  There is almost nothing about Christ's church that you will find in this unholy mess of racism/nationalism/capitalism that anyone from the Middle East 2000 years ago would have recognized.

  •  another stunning essay (0+ / 0-)

    all my life Republicans have been exploiting the people who need something to be riled up about in order to feel like their lives have meaning.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 06:25:15 PM PDT

  •  Of course it's about race...and change and fear (0+ / 0-)

    George W. Bush was so bad, they let a black man win.  Now, six months on the spoiled generation wants to keep all of what's theirs.  

    I'm all about not having old ladies eat catfood, but the spoiled generation is all about gobbling everything up.

    They are afraid of growing old, and afraid of dying and they have always had their way before.

    •  I don't know about the "spoled generation" (0+ / 0-)

      epithet, though I know exactly who and what you mean by that term.  I think what's abominable is that the Repug hacks are playing on the visceral (racial, social, economic) fears of the ones who find that the only thing they have left to be "proud" of - their white ancestry - such as that may be, may not be worth that much anymore now that the President of the country is a black man.  (And I'd bet that they aren't thinking of him as a half-black - or half-white - guy.

  •  Use of race for other ends (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smellybeast

    Has been with us since the formation of America. And recent history has a constant replay of virulent anti-progressive, know-nothing populism with vicious rhetoric, often racist and anti-Semitic.

    So this is nothing new. In recent history it played out in the absolute crazy lies about the "murder" of Vince Foster, by the Clintons.

    Farther back in time, there were the southern Dixiecrats, Joe McCarthy, the anti-busing, anti-school immigration riots by whites. It is a deep strain in American history, society, and body politic.

    Obama, no matter how intelligent he is, no matter how skillful a politician, no matter how reasonable, cannot make that go away.

    As they say, there is method to the madness. Right now it seems to be the only card in the Republican deck, and they have no compunctions about playing it.

    It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. Jimmy Carter

    by coral on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 06:58:41 PM PDT

  •  Hunter, excellent article...much food for thought (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, kfd313, smallgal

    I too sense the "something underneath"...It is amazing to me to talk to people I knew from my past (I am 68 and recently saw people I had not seen in 50 years at a high school reunion).  Some of my friends from that time period moved along the same path as I...forward into exploring the changing times around us...and some  apparently planted their heels and clung to old ideas of "their world" and reinforced their world-view by remaining in closed circles of like-minded friends, reinforced by their "moral" or "religious" ideas and sense of self-righteousness.

    I taught at a community college for 33 years, and during the last 15 or 20 years I saw a resurgence of the "me" generation among some of the students, coupled with a sense that they were "paying for an education" and deserved a good grade no matter what their scores reflected.  I blame much of this on a deteriorating educational system where teachers are no longer encouraged to encourage thinking and learning but to teach to tests to get "results" that will keep their administrators in good graces.  The attitudes became belligerent and demanding from many of the students (more of a phenomenon among the spoiled "haves").  I had many students complain when I wanted them to "think"...and tried to show them how to deduce things rather than spit back things from rote memory.

    I see a failure to understand logic or reason among the wingnuts at these Town Hall meetings.  An IGNORANCE that they are clinging to as much as a drowning person would cling to a life raft.  I had lunch with a young woman in her early 40s a few days ago who is a Republican but "can't stand politics" and who doesn't really want to focus on what is going on.  Her assessment was that the people on the left are just as nutty in their statements as the people on the right.  I told her that though we Dems may not always agree...at least we have facts to back up our statements and that we do not rely on empty rhetoric...and that she could check out the information for herself.  She is a smart person, but does not seem to grasp the complexities of what is happening.  I heard some of the "talking points"...which I tried to dispel.  I fear that our public schools (as well as post-secondary education) is failing to empower people to think for themselves and be able to critically evaluate events in light of history.

    We have more access to information today than ever before, but even our news "analysts" don't seem to have any idea how to evaluate it.

    I am 68 as well as a white southerner, so I remember being a bit confused when the Civil Rights movement started because I had no idea what blacks were going through or had been through because of the enforced segregation.  I began to see racism emerge it its vilest form during that time among people referred to as "die-hard" southerners (racists who were still angry about the civil war).  I think that it is this group of individuals who have held onto their fossilized and archaic ideas, and who have tried to pass them down to others (often disguised as "white power, or "Aryan Nations", or KKK, or Objectivists, or Republicans, or "the Country Club set"...whatever group they cared to associate with).  IMHO, they are truly being left behind in a more progressive world, but because some of them have managed to accumulate the power and wealth through abusing our political system and destroying anything that protected mainstreet Americans, and paving the way for the powerful corporate interests.

    During this election, we surprised them by our grassroots movement and support of a candidate who was not bought and paid for by the powers that be.

    I heard "Jane" on one of the cable stations tonight starting a battle cry against the internet under the guise of people being able to obtain weapons, etc....I am sure there will be an organized move against the internet use because this is a powerful tool for communication and it is a threat to the far right.

    Anyway, didn't mean to get on such a roll...but I think you are correct in your assessment...this tide of mob activity seems to be a marriage between the mob of old and ignorant racist people who are easily brought to an emotional boiling point.  They are much fewer in number than we are but we have to figure out a way to be able to be heard above the vitriolic rhetoric and out-right lies.

    "As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever." -- Clarence Darrow

    by Bluedoc on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 07:07:19 PM PDT

  •  The enemy is not US, they just think they are (0+ / 0-)

    The screamers aren't going away but they are about to scare away pretty much all sensible people in US. Unfortunately this means we will have to learn to live with them even more bitter and angry at us - the America which rejected them.

    They were told they were the "Real America" and they believe it. They will get really mad when they realize they've been had all this years.

    Gates gets arrested, townhall mobs get to walk as they wish ? "Disorderly Conduct" only counts if you are black or liberal

    by lawnorder on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 07:09:54 PM PDT

  •  taking action (0+ / 0-)

    The whole thing (birthers, etc.) makes my blood boil, and I honestly can't stand by idly--I want to stand up for Obama with just as much passion, and with an equal impact that the town-hall crazies are making.  I can't believe that we've come all this way--through 8 years of Bush, regaining majorities in both houses of Congress, and now the Presidency, just to fall short now.  Someone on the left--a non-politician--needs to organize a cogent counter-argument to these thugs.  Who will do it???????????????? Kos?????????????

    Help me (or us, if there are more of me), I'm going crazy.

    •  Suggested Responses (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smallgal

      Be prepared with law enforcement to get people to sit down and shut up.  Tell them they will have to take their turn or be escorted out  Tell them if they don't believe in government health care they can sign a list on a clipboard (hold up  clipboard) to refuse social security and Medicare.

      Tell them they are being used by insurance companies that will abandon them when they get sick. They are being played and they need to wake up.  Tell them rage is an addiction and to get help.

      Consult law enforcement early on how to enforce decorum. Tell them they have no idea what America is about if they can't appreciate the function of a town hall meeting.  Freedom and Democracy are not just words.

  •  Why is it that the White House does not seem (0+ / 0-)

    to understand what is happening out in the streets?

    Why is the push-back against the most egregious lies so weak or non-existent?

    It is high time that some leadership against the Luddites takes place. Or surrender the streets to the Know-Nothings of the day..... ... ... ...

    •  They certainly aren't going to (0+ / 0-)

      "play the race card."  Can you imagine the hullabaloo that the Repugs will make of that?  
      But they should certainly counter that the opponents are using vile and twisted rhetoric in very strong and clear terms.

  •  Thamk you sir (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority

    May I have another? Yesterday's tease included "Hunter 'writing' something."

    You're my Kurt Vonnegut these days, dude. And that's sayin' sumpin.

    Sha-na na na na-na-na-na-na. Nanana na-na. Hey Jude. Judy judy judy judy judy Owww

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 07:49:32 PM PDT

  •  What do we do with our racists if we win? (0+ / 0-)

    What we don't address in liberal circles is what is to happen to those people who are racists, raised racist and who clearly find value in being a racist when we win power and keep it.

    We kind of chortle at their antics and pat them on the head, but I don't for a minute think these people are ever going to go away.  They may diminish in their electoral influence (MAY) but I believe we will always have a frightened, belligerent, armed group of white people ready to take matters into their own hands if they are denied power for too long a period of time.

    Rather than simply marginalizing these people in favor of the small government/balanced budget conservatives, the GOP has decided they must stoke their fear and sacrifice its very soul to their stupidity.  

    How do we permanently marginalize the racist voter, and more importantly, what do we do socially to prevent blood in the streets when we succeed?

  •  Careful with those brain hiccups (0+ / 0-)

    You might end up with Nazism or a new Gouda cheese.

    Big brains frequently create little ends.

    One of these days I'll have a NYC literary agent and steal Hunter's voice, get rich, and retire.

    If you'd occasiionally dissapoint, I'd consider you human with all those inherent foibles.

    So far..

    Wow.

    Does this stuff just flow from your keyboard or is there a thesaurus involved?

    Sittin' here resting my bones. And this lonliness won't leave me alone. Otis has been following me everywhere today on the radio.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 09:58:51 PM PDT

  •  5 stages of grief and loss - birthers=denial (0+ / 0-)

    teabaggers = anger [one wonders if even the protestors truly know what they are protesting against]. grief for the loss of white dominant hierarchical society - as the election of Obama symbolizes the transition to/ implementation of an egalitarian society even if we're not there yet. The birthers deny Obama is president, the teabaggers are angry about even they don't know what. Kubler-Ross's other stages are bargaining, depression and acceptance. so it's not motivated by racism alone, but as your discussion points out, it's motivated by a shift in how race-gender-class function. my 2cents.

  •  Real life examples help (0+ / 0-)

    To help debate health care in a civil manor, I think real life examples help ease tension. Here is mine: When my mom at 78 had cancer and pulled her sitches from her stomach after whipple surgery in her sleep and got staph infection and then went on a ventilator, I had to decide in accordance with what we talked about together before her surgery, to pull the ventilator. She was in pain. She did NOT want to be on a ventilator and I hated that ventilator. I prayed to God for strength and live daily with that choice. Was it right? I think so. Some days I know so. Please let's talk. These are tough times. Let's carry each other's burdens instead of fighting. That's American.
    http://www.medleymeadows.com/...

  •  Motives (0+ / 0-)

    This is really getting scary. The republican'ts have motives for most of what they do.
    Just look at Palins Face Book comment and remember that she belonged, or probably still belongs to the Alaska Independence Party. They advocate to secede from the Union. They also advocate taking up arms. And we all know how well armed America is. It's just that most of the good guys are not gun nuts.
    Think she has a motive? I do. Remember her campaign events? Even after the Secret Service and McCain told her to tone it down, she kept right on riling up the racist haters. Add all this together with her "Death Panels". The white sheets will be the next step. Having more rallies where ever when ever they can.
    History repeats itself. We haven't had a revolution in a long time. But this time, they are revolting for the wrong cause. This is not about health care. This is about Republicans losing to an intelligent, charismatic black man.

  •  Race. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhutcheson

    I just had to say that is a really fine post, Hunter.  I think you've got it and it couldn't have been said better.

  •  I'm thinking of that older white woman (0+ / 0-)

    sobbing into the cameras at a town hall last week, saying "I want my country back."

    Hunter Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72:

    Off in a corner three old [George] Wallace workers were having a reunion...

    "We might get our country back," said the construction man...

  •  Recommend linking the poll you reference (0+ / 0-)

    makes it easier, and it'll help when my rhetorical adversaries come to read this.

  •  Immigration restriction should unite EVERYONE (0+ / 0-)

    It's a shame Pres Bush did such a great job of ruining the economy but fear and frustration are everywhere.  We actually have some issues which really should be uniting us.  In particular we're all at risk from too much immigration.  

    Aren't you a bit worried about policies which can practically double our population in just a few decades?  A whopping 82% of our population growth will be from immigration under present trends.  If we think we have trouble now with public school funding, healthcare costs and finding good jobs just wait.  Our present policy hurts the whole country except for employers.  This especially includes poor Black and Hispanic Americans.  

    I've read much criticism of Republicans and the white majority here.  For a minute ask yourself why so many people still want to live here.  Hint:  It's not because we're worse than many other places around the world.  There is still much good in this country.  It's why I doubt any of the critics here will ever seriously consider living somewhere else.  

  •  Very good post (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks!

    "The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and to his fellow-men." (Robert Green Ingersoll, 1833-1899)

    by cod3fr3ak on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:55:42 AM PDT

  •  Yes, but (0+ / 0-)

    Despite the similarities to an earlier era, what is no doubt genuine rage of many of these people, already addled & confused by long term exposure to the Right Wing Noise Machine, is being concocted by and directed for corporate interests.
    The Town Hall Riots? Originate with Conservatives for Patients’ Rights-lead by Rick Scott who is a millionaire investor and formerly head of the Columbia/HCA health-care company.
    The teabaggers have a similar background.
    And its not hard to see why they're angry when you look at whats been happening to at first the working class and by now the middle class for the past 30+ years. Real wages stagnated, living conditions stalled then reversed, long hours bad pay, people atomized and disconnected, and so on - is it any wonder they fall under the sway of the extreme right ring, or fundamentalist religion, or conspiracy theories or "militias" when looking for an explanation for what on Earths gone wrong.
    Especially since these are the people who were taught that they're privlaged: first of all that they're Americans, then that they're decent hard working christians, and most of all white.

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