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Reaping the whirlwind

Dr. Conspiracy

This web site is about conspiracy theories involving Barack Obama, focusing on ones concerning his presidential eligibility and there we run across our share of people who can’t quite color within the lines. However, there is a broader movement in the United States with some pretty crazy ideas too. While keeping track of the “birthers” I can’t quite avoid the other eccentric wings of the conservative movement. The most recent label assumed by the “wingiest” of the right wing is the Tea Party–not so much a ideological movement as it is a clustering of angst.

“Some of these Tea Party people are nuts. … about 10 percent … are just loons, out of their mind.” Bill O’Reilly.

One of the things I ran across was a newspaper editorial from the Charlotte West Virginia Gazette this past week, providing more information about the Nashville “Tea Party” convention. The editorial comments on the racial makeup of the crowd:

The lily-white Tea Party movement seems laced with unspoken racial prejudice against America’s first black president, the [New York] Times noted. Barack Obama is endlessly depicted as “not one of us” and even as an African witch doctor. He’s called an agent of the New World Order, covertly bringing “socialist tyranny” to America through plots such as universal health care.

Now I for one hesitate to isolate racism as the key factor. I personally think racism is on the way out, as soon as the majority of the racists die off. I think the issue is more of “me vs. them.” They want to protect people like them, their jobs, their freedom, their way of life from what they fear is an onslaught of change and dominance by strangers they don’t understand.

I for one don’t think Obama’s election made these people crazy. I think he just provides a focus for their fear, anxiety and anger. And let’s face it: these are anxious times. Somehow we have functioned as a country at some level with these folks, probably since the beginning. The Internet helps them become more visible, and perhaps helps issues to crystallize.

I would just remind folks like Bill O’Reilly that they make their living fanning outrage what the Bible says: they who sow the wind reap the whirlwind (Hosea ch. 8).

7 Responses to Reaping the whirlwind

  1. avatar
    Lupin February 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Mostly for argument’s sake…

    “I personally think racism is on the way out, as soon as the majority of the racists die off.”

    I wish I could believe that. The BBC (I think?) had a series of powerful documentary last year, something like “Hate in America” (one of your exports, I believe) with each episode devoted to a loony group: KKK, Aryan Nation, Skinheads, New Black Panthers, etc.

    There was an awful lot of very young racists on camera.

    “I for one don’t think Obama’s election made these people crazy. I think he just provides a focus for their fear, anxiety and anger.”

    Isn’t that the chicken and the egg? Yes, the election may have been the trigger, but you’ve got to be crazy to begin with. I think.

    And the Clinton years weren’t “anxious” and they were just as crazy then.

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

    Yes, we have young racists. On the other hand, you see folks of all races having lunch together all the time.

    The key was school integration in my view.

  3. avatar
    SFJeff February 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    Maybe its a long term vantage point. Compared to the 1960 or 1970’s, there is a very noticeable difference in the amount of racism now.

    While my perspective is slightly skewed because of living in San Francisco, I do travel a fair amount, including to South Carolina and really- night and day from 30 years ago.

    Still exists, but racism as an institution is dieing out. New racism created by economic tensions will pop up as long as there is economic stress.

  4. avatar
    aarrgghh February 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    today in freeperville, in a thread not about racism, titled “obama’s imperial presidency violates constitution”, the very first commenter volunteers:

    “Obama was our first affirmative action President. No serious background checks, no release of college transcripts, etc. You can’t criticize him because his is black.

    He will be reelected (I will bet anyone on Freep) because the affirmative action mantra is drilled into our heads. Because he is black, Liberals will hold him to low, low, low standards. And same will the middle of the country. Perhaps not as big a victory as over McCain, but he will win nonetheless. We are terrified about what happens if we criticize a black.

    Now, I am a conservative and have never uttered a racial comment in my life. Nor do I have any racial hatred or bigotry. Therefore, I can criticize Obama’s performance in the same light as Mark Levin.

    I just have lost confidence in the American voter who are cowed about racism even when there is a good reason to vote against a President who just happens to be black.”

    the commenter’s username? “whitedog57”

  5. avatar
    Black Lion February 23, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    Good Article regarding the media and their attempts to legitimize the birthers and tea baggers….

    http://mediamatters.org/columns/201002090002

    “But this past weekend in Nashville, at the first National Tea Party Convention, the Beltway press did just the opposite with regard to Sarah Palin’s keynote address, which did follow a prime-time speech by “birther” nut Joseph Farah, who over the years has carved out a uniquely hateful and demented corner of the right-wing blogosphere. Because, yes, at the Tea Party convention, Farah, a proud Muslim-hater and gay-hater, did receive a standing ovation from the conservative crowd after he unfurled his thoroughly debunked birther garbage. (i.e. Obama “doesn’t have a birth certificate.”) And Farah did brag in the weeks leading up to the event about his chance to share the stage with Palin, to associate with Palin. (”Sold out! Palin-Farah ticket rocks tea-party convention,” read the headline at Farah’s discredited right-wing site, WorldNetDaily.com.)

    Worst of all, though, the press played dumb about the whole thing.

    Fact: Virtually nobody in the corporate media said boo about Palin helping to legitimize Farah by sharing the same stage with him. She was given a total free ride.

    And I mean nobody. According to Nexis, there were more than 150 newspaper articles and columns published in the U.S. last week that mentioned both Palin and the Tea Party. (Combined, The New York Times and The Washington Post published 18 of them.) Yet out of all those articles and columns, exactly two also mentioned Joseph Farah by name. (Congrats to the Philadelphia Daily News and New Hampshire’s Concord Monitor.)

    And keep in mind that lots of scribes, even after listening to Farah’s rambling rant, filed dispatches from Nashville stressing how mellow and mainstream the Tea Party convention was turning out to be. According to the Post, the mood at the Nashville confab was “festive, even giddy.” And no, not a single word in the Post dispatch mentioned Farah’s high-profile birther harangue.

    Bottom line: The birther movement embarrasses most conservatives. Yet even when they invite a birther nut to speak at their conference, the press still won’t ask tough questions. Instead, journalists politely look away.”

  6. avatar
    Black Lion February 23, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    I guess the battle will continue between the GOP politicans that will pander to the birthers and the individuals that don’t want anything to do with them….

    http://www.mainjustice.com/2010/02/20/officials-dropped-out-of-cpac-panel-that-devolved-into-birther-forum/

    “A panel called “Saving Freedom and Due Process from Oppressive Justice Department” devolved into a forum for the so-called “birther” movement on Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

    Two panelists dropped out rather than appear alongside a leader in the “birther” movement, which believes that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.

    Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Scott Bullock of the Institute for Justice both dropped out of the CPAC forum because of the presence of Gary Kreep, according to the knowledgeable person, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    “Unfortunately Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has had to decline today for a variety of different reasons, and because it is that season in Washington, D.C., Scott Bullock who is my good friend, has had a family emergency unfortunately he’s just had to rush back out, so I apologize for that as well,” said Andrew Langer of the Institute for Liberty, who was moderating the panel.

    Kreep, director of the United States Justice Foundation, is behind a birther infomercial and has filed lawsuits demanding an original copy of Obama’s birth certificate. For viewers who donate $30, Kreep will send a fax in their name to the 50 state attorneys general and Attorney General Eric Holder that demands that Obama produce his “real” birth certificate.”

  7. avatar
    Black Lion February 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    Scott Brown is now not the most popular guy in birtherland…

    http://www.rumproast.com/index.php/site/comments/first_they_came_for_scott_brown/

    “This is why Jane Hamsher and Cenk Whateverhisnameis writing posts about progressives needing to find common ground with teabaggin’ loons was some of the stupidest shit I’ve ever read in the leftosphere. The WE WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK!!! howler monkeys might be good for a short-term GOP victory or two, but these booger-eating morons, their numbers ridiculously over-amplified by the internet (just like the Paultards and the PUMAs in ‘08), are going to ultimately obliterate whatever kind of “comeback” the Republicans appeared to be mounting with their utterly inflexible (and ill-informed) purity test(s). I, for one, hope they never shut up because they’re one of the best presents the Dems have been handed in years.”

    http://www.rumproast.com/index.php/site/comments/ma_sen._scott_brown_joins_dems_to_derail_filibuster_on_obamas_jobs_bill/

    “Hottie McAwesome uses his buns-of-steel to moon the Teabaggers on a 62-30 cloture vote, with a little help from kindred Pubbies Collins, Snowe, Bond and Voinovich. Freepers are aghast.”