Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Goombah is Suspended—but the hate goes on

Hate speech must be exposed as hate speechAs of today I have not held a guitar for a month, and the condition of my hands has improved some—but not much. So I will not be publishing The Goombah for a week or so—or at least not writing new posts—to see if a rest from typing helps.

I will leave you with this: It is probably more important today than at any other time in the last half century for us to speak out against bigotry, lies and intolerance. There seems to be a peculiar reluctance on the part of Americans—liberals in particular—to compare the hate speech which permeates the ultra right in this country today with the the rhetoric used by the Nazis in Germany during a similar period of economic distress early in the last century. When I say that Sarah Palin is using the same fear-mongering propaganda tactics that Josef Goebbels used to bamboozle one of the most civilized countries in Europe into turning it's back on it's great life-affirming artistic and philosophical traditions and embrace ignorance and hatred and death, it does nothing to further the dialog to quote Godwin's Law to me or say that the Germans killed 6 million Jews. Until Hitler became Chancellor the Nazis hadn't killed any.

Once we say "they" (meaning Muslim Americans) are responsible for 9/11, or "they" want to destroy us, it is the exact same thing as the ultra-right-wing Germans in the 1920s saying "they" (meaning the Jews) caused the defeat of the Fatherland in World War I and "they" (Jews again) want to destroy Germany. No difference. Once we say Christian Fundamentalism is the only way to salvation and Islam is a Satanic cult, it's the exact same thing as the Nazis saying we "Aryans" are the master race and the Jews are vermin. No difference. Once we have defined "the other," once we have divided ourselves into us and them, it's easy to justify calling them names that imply their subhuman nature—names like Wop, Kike, Spic, Wetback, Redskin, Chink, Dago, Honky, Jap, Polack, Nigger, Faggot, Camel Jockey. And after that it's an easy matter to infect blankets with smallpox and massacre women and children because the only good Indian is a dead Indian, or tie them up and burn them with a red hot branding iron because "the other" is our property like our cow or our hog, or grab a rope and wrap it around some young boys neck and beat him to death and keep beating till that boy no longer looks like a boy any more but like a bloody piece of roadkill that's been out on the highway all day with cars and trucks running over it because that black boy looked at a white woman and made a joke, or lock up an entire group of citizens in "internment camps" because we can't trust people who don't look like us, or deny basic First Amendment rights to a people of faith because that faith is, after all, the wrong faith. And if they have a different skin tone than we do or talk with a funny accent, that just proves they are "the other."

And from there it's simple enough to convince ourselves we need to exterminate them, the vermin other, before they exterminate us.

To those who say "We will let them build a mosque when they let us build a church on their holiest sites in Mecca," I say "Do you hear yourselves? Do you really want to be that kind of nation? A nation like Afghanistan under the Taliban or Iran under the Supreme Leader and the Council of Guardians? An intolerant theocratic police state? Because that's what you're words imply." To those who say "it can't happen here," I say look objectively at American History. It already has. More than once.

And it will again if we're not vigilant.

The point I've been trying to make the last month or so is that a charismatic figure spouting the most despicable ignorance and hatred has arisen in our midst and, with talk radio and Fox news (along with Rupert Murdoch's other media holdings) and the disgraceful timidity of the mainstream media, a propaganda machine beyond anything imagined by Goebbels or Hitler is already in place for her. And the Republicans, with very few exceptions, have made clear that they are willing to adopt and promote the extremist agenda of the most ignorant and bigoted among us—to the point of inciting violence against sitting U.S. Senators and calling the President a liar during his State of the Union Speech—in order to regain power. And the Democrats, with very few exceptions, have shown a disturbingly consistent cowardice that makes me fear for my country's future.

Those who valued the civil rights of their fellow citizens of a different faith were silent in Germany in 1932. We do likewise at our peril.

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Thanks for reading. Hope to be back soon.


TPartier said...

Just stumbling in here from NPR. Neat video there.

As the drum beating over the non-Mosque (and really, if they had legal lease to Ground Zero itself - too bad for those who did not seek to preserve it) rose, I wrote both Voinovich and Sherrod Brown, here in Ohio. As you likely know - the former is a Dem and the other counts himself among the Grotesquely Obtuse Pigs.

As a veteran (USN 76-80), I asked them how they could send our youth off to fight for our values - as they so often like to say - to risk life and limb, yet they can't even open their mouths to speak to educate and lead those less enlightened about the real values projected by our Constitution. I asked them why they couldn't point out how every other period in the past that saw unfettered disdain and worse to various groups are today looked upon by 80% or more of the adult population as examples of what grotesquely misguided people have done in the past.

"It's not like anyone is asking to you stick your head out of a foxhole and get shot - like you've asked so many others to do". I also noted that they were violating their duty to protect and defend the Constitution. At this point - since they both gave pantywaist excuses for their silence - I find them both to be criminally negligent, given all that has occurred as a result of the faux conflagration.

oh - I was TPartier long before any of those morons ever thought they were being clever. I chose it based on some stuff from the past.


Well said, TPartier. Your editor too is a veteran—Vietnam, USMC 67-69.

TPartier said...

crap - Brown is the Dem above and Voinovich the Pig - shoulda reviewed before posting.

Either way - they both demonstrate the difference between statesmen and politicians. You just know that pusillanimous (and its crasser short form) starting with the same letter as does politician is too uncannily apt to be mere coincidence.

On behalf of my many leatherneck relatives and friends, "Semper Fi".

Given the strength Brown had shown in other debates - I was floored by the excuses he gave for not speaking.

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