Posts Tagged ‘New Right’
I came upon this image on Facebook last night. It says so much, so quickly, but none of it is very positive.
- Tea Party Birther's are not racist?
First, just to be critical, let’s look at the image. What it is implying is that President Obama is a Kenyan citizen and not a valid president. The innuendo in the image is quite obvious. He is wearing a Kufi, which is often considered a Muslim hat, but is predominant in West African heritage (and African Americans). It says “Africa Kenya” on the “Birth Certificate.” There are bones on his necklace. The Obama button is now earth tones, instead of Red, White and Blue. The imagery is just degrading.
The Kufi is not a “Muslim” hat, but typically West African. Kenya is in East Africa. That does not mean they do not wear such adornments in Kenya, only that it is “stereotypical” of the West. It would be similar to showing a Virginia teenager with a surfboard and a VW Bus. Farther, the year Obama was born, Kenya was part of the United Kingdom. The correct name of the country in 1961 was “Colony and Protectorate of Kenya.” Prior to this, it was just officially called East Africa Protectorate, as part of British East Africa.
Then we get to those bones on the necklace. This is just racist imagery. The portrayal of the “African Savage.” And is he sitting on hay? I can’t even figure that one out. How is this not a depiction of racism? It demeans the character of the President of the United States because of the colour of his skin. It attempts to invalidate he capabilities simply because he has a West African phenotype.
On Tuesday, a man was convicted in Knoxville, Tennessee of using a firearm with the intent to “create civil disorder.” This man was incentivised by the ideology that President Obama is not an American born citizen. People still believe this crap. Why is this funny? What year is this?
When people say, “Politicians are afraid to [say what they think, act as they wish] because they will not get re-elected.” How do they think democracy works? If politicians do things that are against the will of the majority, either they should be protected by checks and balances that protect the minority, or they should not be re-elected. Politicians are elected to do the will of the constituents they represent. If they do not represent their constituents, they are not doing the job they were elected to do. If 90% of the population wants the government to make Friday the day of Jell-O, then it should be. But do they have the right to force vegetarians to eat Jell-O? (It contains gelatin.) Of course not.
This is often used by the Right in America… but, sometimes, by the Left as well. What this complaint is usually about is principle, or morality. What I do not understand, is why we believe political representatives should be legislating out of personal conviction.
I thought we all hated autocratic regimes. I thought we disliked a dictatorship. I thought we fought against authoritarianism and tyranny. Rulers that rule based on personal conviction, regardless of their constituency, are all of these things.
Having a broad vocabulary and being able to illustrate points and topics is a wonderful skill. In politics, this is essential. The ability to convince is one of the qualities that makes a politician successful. But, what happens when actions do not match the words? I notice this all too often in contemporary American politics.
The most obvious example is the recent Tea Party Movement and their vocalization for “smaller government” and less entitlements. This movement, supposedly, began as a movement that felt “Taxed Enough Already.” They were against excessive taxation without proper representation. This is a common grievance that goes back centuries and is typically a warranted feeling. The Tea Party coalesced into a movement that mandated “smaller government” (or “Constitutionally Limited Government”), less taxation and less regulation.
Meanwhile, many Tea Party members, who supposedly support a “limited government” also support government intrusion into whom can marry (only heterosexual, monogamous marriages), when a woman has the ability to terminate a pregnancy (if ever), who the government gets to execute, what churches and religions get to do what and where, and what steps should be taken in regard to “national security.”
I could honestly write a six thousand word rant just on how much contempt of I have for the TSA. It is taken every ounce of restraint and focus only on the political topic. The TSA and airport security has made the news recently as, first, a man in San Diego basically told the screeners he refused to go through the “body scanner” and told them during a pat down not to “touch his junk.” Then it was disclosed that pictures from the body scanners were stored and leaked. Something we were told could not happen. People like Limbaugh, Drudge, Palin, Beck, and so on, refer to Janet Napolitano, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security, as “Big Sister”, referencing her to “Big Brother.” What is interesting is that many of the policies of the TSA and Homeland Security were issued by Michael Chertoff, her predecessor. (Chertoff has a security firm called the Chertoff Group. One of their clients is Rapiscan Systems, one of the only 2 manufacturers of this technology.) Chertoff was the co-author of the Patriot Act. Bob Cesca wrote a good piece on the topic entitled “When Your ‘Junk’ Is Touched at the Airport, Thank A Republican.”
What I’m getting at with the Napolitano/Chertoff thing is that the Tea Party Movement seems to only have a problem with Big Government when it is counter to their personal beliefs. To be fair, I gave this a lot of thought and I do think this occurs on both sides of the political spectrum. Many on the Left claim that we need to promote healthier lifestyles, better education, better home environments for children, higher educational standards, and other issues that effect a personal lives. Yet, when it comes to personal privacy, there is an issue of violating a person. (I can be included in this logic.) Why is it ok to control what people eat and how they raise their children but still claim they have a right to personal privacy? It is a valid question. (A question that I could honestly answer but it would take a while.)
When looking at the message versus the actions, the Tea Party and the New Right really do take the contradictory cake. The most obvious issue is the stance for Capital Punishment but against abortion. The case against abortion is that “all life is precious.” Then, these same people want the state to take someone’s life. (And the only thing a state execution provides is that the person executed will never do anything, ever again.) If all life is precious, why does the state have the right to take a life? It is a contradiction in ideology that cannot be reconciled. (And you can argue the opposite direction, it works on some levels.)
I think this can be seen from the very namesake they have chosen. And, now, for today’s history lesson:
Bill O’Reilly was on The View yesterday. In the discourse, he was discussing the concept of “Pinheads and Patriots” and how there are both in America (and the title of his book). The event, for anyone who does know know, went like this:
BILL O’REILLY: LET ME BREAK THIS TO YOU. 70% OF AMERICANS DON’T WANT THAT MOSQUE DOWN THERE, SO DON’T GIVE ME THE “WE” BUSINESS.
JOY BEHAR: WHERE IS THAT POLL? I WANT TO SEE THAT POLL.
O’REILLY: YOU WANT TO BET ON THAT? YOU WANNA BET? I’LL SHOW YOU THAT POLL IN A MINUTE.
O’REILLY: 70% DON’T WANT IT DOWN THERE.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: WHY IS THAT?
O’REILLY: BECAUSE IT’S INAPPROPRIATE.
GOLDBERG: WHY IS IT INAPPROPRIATE WHEN 70 FAMILIES DIED…
O’REILLY: BECAUSE MUSLIMS KILLED US ON 9/11, THAT’S WHY!
GOLDBERG: NO! OH MY GOD! THAT IS SUCH [EXPLETIVE DELETED]!
O’REILLY: MUSLIMS DIDN’T KILL US ON 9/11? THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE SAYING?
GOLDBERG: EXTREMISTS DID THAT!
O’REILLY: I’M TELLING YOU, 70% OF THE COUNTRY…
BEHAR: I DON’T WANT TO SIT HERE. I DON’T. I’M OUTRAGED BY THAT STATEMENT.
O’REILLY: YOU’RE OUTRAGED ABOUT MUSLIMS KILLING US ON 9/11?
[BEHAR AND GOLDBERG WALK OFF THE SET]
Transcript from Fox Nation
In the spirit of fairness, when confronted with his comment being “offensive,” O’Reilly then responded, “ALL RIGHT. IF ANYBODY FELT THAT I WAS DEMEANING ALL MUSLIMS, I APOLOGIZE.”
My problem with all of this is the rhetorical devices being utilized by the O’Reilly’s, the Becks, the Hannitys (how do you pluralize Hannity?) . . . et al. What happened in that instance on The View? Well, the conversation quickly devolved from “What is a Patriot?” and the context of the discussion to an argument about how ‘appropriate is Islam or a Mosque’ in the vicinity of the site of the Twin Towers in NYC.
The Right wing methodology is similar to playground arguments.
A: Why do you feel the need to make me play with you every day?
B: Why do you feel the need to complain every time I want to play?
A: Can you play with someone else?
B: Can you make your mom stop being so fat?
A: My mom isn’t fat. She is 5’4 and 120 pounds.
B: Well, you look like a flying wombat.
A: Wombats don’t fly . . .
B: I never said wombats can fly, you did . . . I just wish you would not try to play with me every day.
What started out as a discussion about a person’s actions devolves into an argument on the merits of Wombats flying and the weight of a person’s mother. Rhetorically, these are brilliant argumentative moves. Nothing gets resolved. Let’s take a look at the most common devices used.