I came across an article today that one which I feel the need to comment. Bill Maher, talk show host and progressive guest blogger on HuffingtonPost.com, put to words much better than I could, the things I’ve been thinking and feeling at least since the health care debate started heating up this summer, if not since Obama took office.
Its also been my major complaint with the Democratic Party since they took back control of the U.S. House in 2006; right off the bat, House leadership proclaimed impeachment was ‘off the table.’
An article came to my attention yesterday on which I would like to comment. In this year’s fall issue of the Intelligence Report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) there is an article titled ‘Prejudice in Paradise,’ which discusses racism against whites by Native Hawaiians. It refers to and discusses racial slurs, like ‘haole,’ both verbal and physical harassment, and the State’s response, or lack thereof.
As is suggested in comments on the story at both iLind.net and Volcanic Ash, I think the SPLC article is awkwardly one-sided. Does prejudice exist in Hawaii? Certainly. Do I need the SPLC to tell me that? No. The matter is far more complicated than a native culture breading violence against white people.
This is an absolutely brilliant term for the outspoken and occasionally violent movement that’s begun to spring up in opposition to health care reform. It, of course, refers to ‘grassroots’ activists by making a conscious distinction between the organized tea parties, angry mobs at town hall meetings (astroturf organizing), and true grassroots movements.
Mainstream media has begun to pick up on the differences. I’ve seen both CNN and MSNBC make references to astroturf organizing and while I doubt FOX News would call it that, I have to admit to not knowing for sure, seeing as watching a minute of FOX News creates a growing desire in me to stick sharp, pointy objects in my eyes and ears.
Any reasonably sane person will admit this ‘birther’ movement is comprised entirely of nut jobs. I understand in any number of circumstances, calling activists ‘nut jobs’ does quite a bit to damage the activist voice, from either side of the isle, in a country dominated by a sensationalist new media which picks and chooses its message.
Still, it seems everyone but the very, very far right group of insane people can agree that this claim that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii is distracting responsible people, as well as the news media, from more important issues… like health care reform!
Admittedly, I haven’t paid real close attention to the ‘birther’ news cycle simply because its a stupid argument to make. Its been proven. Its been proven more than once. And don’t even get me started on self-proclaimed ‘Mr. Independent.’ Lou Dobbs is a right-wing groupie posing as a responsible journalist. You think I’m wrong? Hell, even FOX’s Bill O’Reilly lends no credence to the ‘birther’s’ claims.
Here’s a pretty entertaining mash-up, of sorts, from Media Matters: