On the Ted Rall "rascist" comic strip, there are some people among those whom I respect a great deal who found it offensive. With them, I would engage in serious, open-minded discussion. I could be persuaded. On the rest, not a chance, and here's why.
The vast majority of the members up in arms over this have a history as staunch supporters of the administration and the Party establishment and the established culture, all of which are engaged in massively financially disenfranchising the vulnerable on a global scale through economic, environmental and military policies, actions and inactions--cumulatively further diminishing the support and influence of these people with every second they breathe.
These people whose hair is suddenly brilliantly aflame over their interpretation of a comic strip and its offense to the vulnerable have absolutely no problem supporting ubiquitous established activity that materially and increasingly imperil, harm and further weaken these same vulnerable people every day. To the contrary, moderates seem barely (if at all) aware that the vulnerable have been under attack for the past thirty years while the rich have tripled their share of the wealth, and the moderates mock those of us who do find these matters so compelling we refuse to accept token incrementalism and vehemently oppose the negotiating away of the bare minimum safety net protections they have today. [read my sig]
I find it pathetic, this pretention to compassion for the vulnerable over a comic strip in the face of such blatant disregard for their welfare
, whether it be in response to proposals for Chained CPI or their complacent participation in and support of a mainstream culture and ruling establishment that so brutally disadvantages the vulnerable more each day.
This is just as pathetic as thinking you can crash or are crashing the gates to a representative government to make material progressive change when the electoral gates and that "representative" government are so obviously and completely under the control of a plutocracy fully capable of out-maneuvering every conventional challenge there is.
Voting in this system for material progressive change is like droning for security or siphoning money up in order to trickle it down, which is why I suppose all seem to make at least some sense to the same people who will indefinitely accept these things as a way of life.
Electoral politics needs to be done like changing your underwear, but for godsake don't think for a moment that you are fighting the good fight for the Democratic Party platform in so doing, especially when virtually all of your candidates and incumbents support or can be influenced to support the very institutions of neoliberalism and neoconservatism that are designed to obliterate that platform and exploit those vulnerable people of whom you consider yourself so "concerned"
that your hair catches fire if and only if you think they have been verbally or pictorially abused.
I mean, really. Talk about a white privilege way to interpret the real concerns.
If the effects upon the vulnerable of
1) The ongoing concentration of wealth beyond the Gilded Age to neofeudalism,
2) The non-Recovery for the 90%,
3) The impending disaster of Climate Change
don't set your hair on fire for the sake of the vulnerable (if not all of us, since we are all connected and thus affected)--or if you think it's sufficient to GOTV as a means of dealing with these conditions--then please don't expect me to take you seriously when you do light up. In fact, expect me be there to express justifiable disgust.
When it gets right down to it, these are mostly the horse-race "progressives" and "moderate" types who do not, by definition, embrace too many unpopular positions, at least not very strongly, certainly not enough to expose themselves to sacrifice.
When Civil Rights was unpopular in the mainstream, pretty much right up until the Act was signed and even then for a time thereafter, horse-race "activists" and moderates were not the people engaged out front in the Movement, blazing the trail. Not only would most moderates not even hold these unestablished views, they certainly would not champion them in public where family, friends, bosses, peers, employees, suppliers, customers, spiritual leaders, etc. could spot them, where there might be consequences for them personally. Moderate views and actions, after all, see and respond to these things in a fair and balanced way, waiting for radicals and time, inordinate amounts of time, whatever time it takes, really, to pave the acceptable way.
Horse-race progressives and moderates are people who prefer the comfortable anonymity of a small donation or some phone banking or canvassing, preferably of strangers. (If they do engage publicly, say, as a campaign official, they do so in the perfectly constrained, choreographed, predictable, acceptable ways written and unwritten in the rules of the plutocracy, embraced by the establishment, again for minimum sacrifice.) These are people who, like Barack Obama, will support a cause, such as GLBT marriage rights, vociferously, uncompromisingly and most importantly publicly when the hard work and real sacrifice is done and public opinion has been shifted to make it safe. Which is also when credit is taken.
To me, that's how the people doing the most jumping up and down appear. Here they are valiantly fighting racism--carrying the Civil Rights' torch, if you will--when and where it is completely safe to do so, and when, coincidentally, it is transparently political to do so. And even more than that, when no sacrifice whatsoever is required.
These are the same people who most likely either would NOT
1) Perceive a problem (such as the Class War that is afflicting the vulnerable far more than the moderates seem to recognize or are willing to publicly admit, and sure as hell a lot more than a damn comic strip) until it is almost universally safe (especially as regards employment, income, social status...)
2) Publicly engage in an effort to address it when and where--say, visible to the public mainstream, such as Occupy--it is not safe to do so. If anything, they will attack it while doing very little if anything to deal with the problem themselves.
Bravo. Well played.
So the vulnerable whom the moderates so self-righteously are proud to come to the aid of in certain safe ways and situations--such as comic strips--did not, would not and do not concern the moderates when and in the form that the vulnerable most need.
Did I mention the white privilege thing?
For far, far more than the support of moderates when comic strips are published what the vulnerable need is for the moderates to grow some eyes and a friggin' spine, recognize the destructiveness of neoliberalism, re-organize their lives so they can live their conscience and march on Wall St. and D.C. to uncompromisingly refuse the exploitation until the vulnerable are actually safe.
That would be compassionate.
That would respect their dignity.
That would protect them from discrimination.
So spare me the poutrage over comics.
As I mentioned, there are those who took umbrage with the strip, such as MB, with whom I would entertain discussion with an open mind, because I know how deep their conviction runs.
Conversely, while I would acknowledge, consider, debate and possibly even ultimately accept the claims of the moderates regarding the depiction of Obama in Rall's strip if I thought for one minute that their concern was authentic--if they were on the barricades for the vulnerable over CEO Pay, Wall St. regulation, Wall St. convictions, a path to a $15 minimum wage, additional top-end tax brackets, closing offshore havens and other loopholes, TPP, Climate Change, for example, ALL OF WHICH AFFECT BLACKS MUCH, MUCH MORE EVERY DAMN DAY THAN ANY CARTOON--but they aren't, so I won't.
Put one last way: it's like being told by a Republican that the reason we should go to war with Iraq was because Hussein gassed his own people. As if we really believed that a massive Human Rights violation they overlooked twenty years prior could really be a vital, fierce-urgency-of-now concern to them. No, really, what's your real reason?
I give Ted Rall the benefit of the doubt because I know him well enough to know that he would go to the barricade for the vulnerable, because that's where I met him.
Conversely, if you asked a horse-race "progressive" or a moderate if they would go to the barricade for the vulnerable the reply would be, essentially: "Nah, I'm good."
Simpsonian Obama that looks ape-like and offensive to blacks? AHHHH!!!!!!
Class War destroying the lower and middle classes? Nary a peep.