“To cheapen the lives of any group of men, cheapens the lives of all men, even our own. This is a law of human psychology, or human nature. And it will not be repealed by our wishes, nor will it be merciful to our blindness.”
You might have already seen the story about the rodeo in Missouri that had a clown dressed up in an Obama mask and proceeded to engage in a disgusting display of hate. At least one of the attendees was shocked and posted about it on his blog and then the national media got a hold of the story. The attendee said when the announcer asked the people if they wanted to see the Dummy Obama get run over by a bull, the crowd screamed with such enthusiasm that he actually felt fear. Not fear for his own safety but fear of that level of hatred. He characterized it thusly,
“They mentioned the president’s name, I don’t know, 100 times. It was sickening,” Beam said. “It was feeling like some kind of Klan rally you’d see on TV.”
I first read the story a few days ago and it made me feel sick to my stomach too. I’ve always been so shocked by how the conservative power structure is so willing and capable of whipping their flock into a lather of hate against Democratic politicians. Remember the fervor with which they pursued Bill Clinton (and his wife and poor teenage daughter)? The ongoing loathing of the House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) mystifies me as well. Conservative TV and radio hosts have vilified her for years. They’ve been focusing their bile on President Obama since he first declared himself a candidate for the White House. The jokes about Hillary, Chelsea and Pelosi were and are often sexist. So it’s no surprise that the hate-filled propaganda against the President tends to be, more often than not, racist. After all, in their view, his skin color is the most obvious thing about him.
Rallying conservatives at public gatherings with some good old “dog whistles” is , unfortunately, as American as apple pie. Some politicians wisely came out and denounced it because ultimately to use such rhetoric is demeaning to us as a country and well, it’s just plain wrong. Others, however, jumped right into the fray and have not only enthusiastically supported the rodeo producers and clown but have offered to give the clown more gigs performing the same routine in their home state. One of those is Steve Stockman (R-TX District 36). He felt sorry for the radio clown, who had been banned for life from the Missouri State Rodeo, and invited the guy to perform in Texas.
You might remember Stockman–he’s done and said some wacky things over the years. He’s the asshole who lied on Twitter saying that female spectators planned on throwing tampons at Texas State Legislature while they debated and voted on an abortion bill last month. He’s also the gem of a guy who thinks that arming fetuses is the solution to abortion. He proposed legislation to defund any school that punishes kids for pretending to play with guns. He’s even praised Ted Nugent as being a patriot and had him as his guest at the 2013 State of the Union. For those of you who don’t know, Nugent is a washed-up musician posing as a politically involved citizen who is in reality a pants-shitting draft dodging piece of crap who threatened Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama on stage in such a ugly and convincing fashion the Secret Service had to have a little talk with him. This is just a tiny sample of Steve Stockman’s character, or lack thereof.
And now Stockman is saying that the rodeo clown wasn’t wrong but the liberal reaction to it was.
“The liberal reaction is straight out of Alinsky,” he continued. “They want to crush dissent by isolating and polarizing anyone who questions Obama, even if it’s a rodeo clown with a harmless gag. The idea to create a state of fear and make people afraid to trivialize Obama.”
There’s so much nonsense in this quote, it’s ridiculous. First, Stockman clearly doesn’t understand the First Amendment. Second, his assertion that liberals are trying to create a state of fear is pure projection. Stockman and his ilk are the ones running around calling the President everything from a fascist dictator to a Muslim socialist usurper who is going to take everyone’s guns and force Sharia law on the country.
Third, the clown (and the rodeo announcer, the enthusiastic crowd, etc) weren’t “questioning Obama”, they were fantasizing about hurting him. Have you ever been in a large crowd that gets all frenzied focusing their anger at a single individual? It’s pretty damn chilling and creates a state of fear–just ask the poor man and his family who first reported the incident to the world. How many other citizens in that crowd sat silently through the event quietly horrified by the level of hate but too fearful to speak up. Anyone with any sense knows that to speak out against something like that risks having the frenzied crowd turn on you in mob fashion.
Fourth and finally, name dropping Alinsky is laughable. Only conspiracy theorist nuts and avid listeners of conservative shock jocks (like Beck, Limbaugh, Jones, etc) will recognize that name. Most liberals that I know never even heard about Alinsky until the right started to use him as some kind of leftist symbol of the devil in recent years. The reference to Saul Alinsky, the founder of modern “community organizing”, is important though because it also implies a few things. Stockman is implying that liberals coordinated their reaction to the rodeo event and that this is just one part of a larger subterranean campaign to crush dissent against the Obama Administration. When he says “right out of Alinsky” he’s saying that there is some kind of playbook written by Alinksy that liberals are following. He is also trying to link Alinsky’s politics (which the right think were horribly extreme) to the President and liberals in general. And finally, there’s the implication that the Jews are behind it all. Had Alinsky’s name been Wyatt McWhitey, I’m pretty darn certain the right would never have used him as a symbolic cudgel.
In any case, Stockman (and anyone else on the right) using this situation to stir up anti-Administration fervor should be ashamed of themselves. Of course, they’re not. This kind of hate mongering has actually kept the Stockman’s, Gohmert‘s, and Issa‘s of the world in power so why would they be ashamed. It’s kept them famous (infamous in my eyes), wealthy, and given them seats in our governmental power structure. The fact that Americans keep electing someone like Stockman is the most disgusting and disheartening aspect of the whole thing. The voters in Texas’ 36th Congressional District have some serious ‘splainin to do to the rest of us and so does the Republican Party that tolerates this idiot.