And Speaking of -Isms

I’m really glad to see bloggers taking down the racist dribblings of the egregious Jonah Goldberg and his henchman Glenn Reynolds, who seem to think that Democrats are supporting Barack Obama because they fear that “certain segments of American political life” will “become completely unhinged” if Obama loses. As Glenn Greenwald points out, it’s pretty easy to figure out which segments Jonah purports to fear in his racist dog-whistle post:

I wonder: in Jonah Goldberg’s “imagination,” which (ahem) “certain segments” of the American population exactly will “become completely unhinged” if Obama loses and thereby spawn “social unraveling”? And who are the people who are going so deeply to fear this “social unraveling” that they vote for Obama just in order to keep those “certain segments” in line and well-behaved?

Goldberg, of course, doesn’t have the courage to say explicitly who he means — he just implies it with ugly innuendo — but Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds helpfully fills in the gap, approvingly quoting and praising Goldberg’s warning (“He’s right”), and then adding that if Hillary “outmaneuvers” Obama to win, “that’ll probably alienate a lot of people and cause them to stay home in November.” Just to make sure the meaning is clear, he then links to one of his own prior posts warning that a Hillary win might anger “black voters” and cause them to abandon the Democrats.

Glenn and Steve Benen also note that the most recent example of unhinged certain segments doing a little social unraveling was the bourgeouis riots that followed the 2000 presidential election. Glenn quotes from the Village Voice:

The “bourgeois riot” celebrated by Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Gigot helped stop the announced manual recount of the 10,750 undervote in Miami-Dade County. Instigated by an order from New York congressman John Sweeney to “shut it down,” dozens of screaming GOP demonstrators pounded on doors and a picture window at elections headquarters. The canvassing board, which had already found a net Al Gore gain of 168 votes, reversed a decision it had made a couple of hours earlier to begin a tally of the undervote.

The mob gang-rushed a local Democrat carrying a blank sample ballot. They threatened that a thousand Cubans were on their way to the headquarters to stop the count. Several people were “trampled, punched or kicked,” according to The New York Times. The canvassing board chair at first conceded that mob pressures played a role in the shutdown — which cost Gore the 168 votes as well — but later reversed his position. . . . .

Instead of condemning the Dade tactics, W. himself called the victory party that night to praise them, and Republicans invoked the specter of Jesse Jackson, who’d merely led peaceful protests outside election offices.

And Dave Neiwert notes that Jonah is looking in the wrong direction for the segment of the population most unhinged by Obama:

There in fact already are “certain segments of American political life” that have become completely unhinged by Obama’s candidacy itself, not merely the (now rapidly diminishing) prospects of his defeat: they’re called the lunatics of the racist right, who have in fact gone so far as to promise his assassination — which is why Secret Service security around him has been so tight…

…Meanwhile, maybe the rest of us should be holding those in the public realm who indulge in ugly race talk about Obama accountable — because we all can see that they’re whipping up this kind of violent hatred. This includes right-wing pundits who sneer at Obama’s white supporters as acting out of racial guilt and smug superiority. This is dog-whistle politics, and we know who they’re whistling to. It’s those fellas with the pointy hats.

By avoiding racial epithets and blatant threats, Goldberg and his ilk think they’re distancing themselves from the crazies who believe that even the possibility of a black president justifies violent action. They’re looking for plausible deniability, but we shouldn’t grant it. We need to call them on their rhetoric now, not later.

ADDENDUM:  And how could I forget to link to Pam’s powerful post on Obama and the toxic role of race in politics?  That’s what happens when I try to finish a post by carpool time.

2 Responses to “And Speaking of -Isms”

  1. bhmhomeboy says:

    Thanks for posting this.

  2. Kathy says:

    You’re welcome.

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