Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dog Whistling Dixie

Because apparently nothing else is going on but some snow in the north, the interwebs have been all over the 18 million Republican nominee "debates" and the 3 election circuses. Presumably something like this overabundance of airtime happens every recurrent season, but in my lifetime, I've never, ever, seen anyone be as blatantly racist* - then double down on it! - than the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

When I first heard NPR rebroadcast Newt's "food stamp president" speech , my jaw literally dropped open. It was a good thing I'd just finished parking or I might have run clean off the road it was so awful. I'm not going to repeat all his shockingly hateful comments here, you can find them online if you want. He's so proud of them, they're in his ads now. And NPR just went blithely on their merry way, not even saying boo. I don't think they should have abstained from the clip, but I would have liked someone to come on and give context and call it out for the hate filled rabble rousing that it is. (The interwebs are also firing up about journalists now being stenographers, and I can only say it's about damn time.)

Republicans railing against "food stamps", if you're one of the 3 people out there who didn't know, is code for "those freeloading blacks who aren't like us good white folks who have have to bail them out with money the gov'ment snatches from our hardworking hands to give to those lazy mofos". The choice of words was not accidental. Codes like these are known as "dog whistles" because it tells the in-crowd what they mean with plausible deniability. "I didn't say Obama's a useless taker, we all know there are lots of people using foodstamps". We know that anything to do with actual foodstamps wasn't your point. You know that wasn't your point. And certainly the crowd that went crazy with anti-black-person rhetoric got your real point. And this anti-black speech was given on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. WTFMFWTHAYT?

What shocked me even more was that the crowd LOVED it. (I guess that's what he was thinking...) Yeah, these are southern base Republicans (which these days means pretty much Christianist bigots), but this, this truly shocks me. I'd thought the dog-whistles would be pitched higher, and they'd at least know better than to be openly racist on camera, at least. Not so much. I'd be surprised if Newt doesn't slip up and call President Obama "boy" in the near future. Maybe give him a nickel to go hang up his coat.

I think it says something about your party's idealization of "real America" rather than truly wanting to help ALL of America when in a state that's 28% black, only 1% of the Republican primary voters were black. And the venom isn't just leveled at the black "usurper", but the Mormon too. Romney lost by 15% or so to this foul serial adulterer who was run out of Washington for ethics violations. Yes, there are other factors like Romney isn't lockstep Republican even if he says the right words, he's from librul Massachusetts, etc, etc... But once again, exit polling showed that people who thought religion matching was important in their candidate (again, a base Republican primary notion) overwhelmingly voted for Gingrich or Santorum and Gingrich wound up with quite a lot of votes. (The youngin's went for Ron Paul, and the wealthy went for Romney.)

I'm not a Republican voter. I don't watch Fox News (except via Daily Show clips or blogs). Mostly this is because I find their definition of "real America" insufficiently inclusive and their policies to overwhelmingly favor the really really rich at the expense of the health and wealth and welfare of the majority of our citizenry, our environment, and our ideals. So I was going to bitch about these candidates no matter what. But I might not even have mentioned them on the blog at all - and there's plenty bad to say about the hypocrisy and bad governance of Gingrich. But I probably wouldn't have bothered to give them that much of my attention.

But this behavior is unacceptable in a leader of the so-called "free world". You can think whatever you want, but if you're running for President, you'd better not be in the habit of making casual racial slurs against large swaths of your populace. I'm not sure if I'm just able to determine bad actors better now in my (gulp) middle age, or if the pitch I can hear at increased, or if this pack of morons is just an exceptionally bad group of bad actors. But based on the openly racist rantings from one of this group gaining a 15% leading win, I wonder what we mean when we say we "won" the civil war. It's been 150 years, when will we believe that the pursuit of happiness and equality under the law applies to all Americans?

*Someone more eloquent than I wrote well on this topic. If you want to argue whether or not these racist words were racist, go read those linked posts first, do a little Googling, then come back.


farmwifetwo said...

what I found more frightening is the Gringrich (sp??) won the SC primaries... WT??? Not surprised they didn't go for Romney but could you pick someone else.... I'm surprised those supposed anti-everything marriage people like the guy who thinks their marriages should be "open"... or should I be??

farmwifetwo said...

Forgot, big in autismland is the new DSM V. Going to get rid of the ID's on the bottom, the maybe's in the middle and the "autism is a way of being" at the top.

See me do a happy skippy dance....

CrankyOtter said...

Yours is the second comment I've heard about changes to the mental health designations. These little things can be really big deals. So does the change take the eldest off the spectrum? Or give a more positive prognosis (assuming intervention/therapy)?

I think the big problem with the R candidates is that they're reaping what they've sown - and found that the people willing to step up to what they've asked for aren't people they'd want to run the country. I don't like any of them or want any to be president, but of the lot I know who I think would be most benign. But their malign/benign-ness would be dependent on their ability to get stuff done, and I'm not sure if "most benign/likeliest to be effective" would be more or less bad than "most malign/least likely to get stuff done". I would be quite afraid if any of them actually won the high office. (How *is* Canada doing these days...)

CrankyOtter said...

How Newt Won.

farmwifetwo said...

Out of the lot of them I think they should take Romney. They need to get the moderates to win and they won't with the "Tea Party" group nor the womanizer. Although in politics stranger things have happened.

In Ont we have a minority with the Libs (cringe) back in power by one seat which means all 3 have to play nice. IMO, there is no difference btwn the 3 of them.

In Fed's we have a majority Conservative gov't and so far.... no complaints.

2012 is going to be the year the Unions realized the corporations really do write their cheques. See the dollar is par, fed taxes are low, prov are high and the hydro costs in Ont are getting out of control... so high wages here won't fly. In the US they are willing to work for a good wage for a no-education job. Plus unlike the CAW the UAW believes in profit sharing. Lots of screaming, lots of jobs returning south of the border in Ont.

Russ will keep his dx. Greg doesn't need one anymore. It's not perfect, but he can manage without major issues.

CrankyOtter said...

That's great news about Greg, I know you worked very hard to get him to this point.