Thursday, June 21, 2012

The haters

Some people have a deep-seated suspicion, fear and hatred of the U.S. Government—they say it's big federal government they hate—and they listen to those who have the same hatred, suspicion and fear. The hatred is often in the abstract—even the haters use government benefits just like everyone else. (Read how presidential candidate Ron Paul, who believes Social Security is unconstitutional collects Social Security.) The haters can be billionaires or working class folks. Sometimes they are radio personalities like Glenn Beck.

Glenn Beck forgets the old saying, "When you point your finger three more are pointing back at you."

This election cycle the haters have more than a hatred of government in the abstract. Along with that hatred of big government they hate Barack Obama, something shared by most, if not all, of Glenn Beck's regular listeners. Beck has said things like:

''Barack Obama ... chose to use his name Barack for a reason -- to identify, not with America -- you don't take the name Barack to identify with America. You take the name Barack to identify with what? Your heritage? The heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical? Is -- really? Searching for something to give him any kind of meaning, just as he was searching later in life for religion.''
—Glenn Beck, ''The Glenn Beck Program,'' Feb. 4, 2010

(Glenn Beck was also looking for religion when he converted to Mormonism.)

''So here you have Barack Obama going in and spending the money on embryonic stem cell research. ... Eugenics. In case you don't know what Eugenics led us to: the Final Solution. A master race! A perfect person. ... The stuff that we are facing is absolutely frightening.''
—Glenn Beck on his radio show, March 9, 2009

(A cure for Parkinson's or spinal injury makes a master race? Glenn, you've been reading science fiction.)

''This president I think has exposed himself over and over again as a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture....I'm not saying he doesn't like white people, I'm saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.''
—Glenn Beck, on President Obama, sparking an advertiser exodus from his FOX News show, July 28, 2009

(And of course, none of the people like Beck who hate Barack Obama are racists, are they? "This president . . . has a deep-seated hatred for white people . . . I'm not saying he doesn't like white people . . ." Beck, one thing about your inconsistency is it's so consistent.)

Beck is a radio guy and while he's spewing bile or promoting paranoia he's also selling advertising. He's so successful that he just got a raise from $10 million to $20 million a year. I'd think that would put him out of the league of the poorer people who listen to him, but obviously they don't think like that. They align themselves with Beck and therefore place themselves in a position of being against their own self-interest. Do you think Glenn Beck is for making millionaires and billionaires pay more of a fair share of taxes? Do you think he cares if you take on the entire cost of government, the government he rails against?

Beck has his, and those who listen to him and support his advertisers have put that money right in his wallet.

Glenn Beck invokes God and religion but he's not a preacher in the conventional, ordained sense. Those preachers who are preaching hatred for Obama are also supposed to be Evangelical Christians, "love thy neighbor, do unto others, let he who is without sin cast the first stone" kinds of Christians. The New Yorker had an article on Bryan Fischer* in its June 18, 2012 issue. Author Jane Mayer gives us some background on Fischer, who had congregations in Idaho,a state which is no stranger to right wing hate groups, including American Nazis. Fischer is now director of issue analysis for the American Family Association of Tupelo, Mississippi (a state not that far removed from its image as Ku Klux Klan territory), a "pro-family ministry . . ." which "promotes Bible-based social conservatism and criticizes what is regards as sinful popular culture." Fischer is host of a radio program called "Focal Point," which like Beck's program, plays to an audience of so-called Christians, paranoid malcontents and racists.

From Mayer's article:
The A.F.A. is a tax-exempt charitable organization, and it is supposed to remain strictly nonpartisan. Yet Fischer has spread doubts about the authenticity of Obama’s American birth certificate and Christian faith, and has claimed that the President’s aim is to “destroy capitalism.” Obama, he has said, “despises the Constitution” and “nurtures a hatred for the white man.” Fischer recently accused the Administration’s Department of Homeland Security of buying so much ammunition that it was causing a shortage. His source on this, he said, was a law-enforcement officer. “Who are they going to turn that ammunition on?” he asked his listeners. “They’re going to turn it on us!”

Fischer thinks that Islam is a violent religion, and argues that Muslims should be stopped from immigrating and barred from serving in the U.S. military. He believes that the country was a Christian nation when the Bill of Rights was written, and therefore non-Christians “have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.” He has said that Native Americans are “morally disqualified” from ruling America, and that African-American welfare recipients “rut like rabbits.”

Many evangelical leaders, meanwhile, have begun casting fiscal conservatism as a religious imperative. Ralph Reed says, “On a multitude of fronts, the economic wing of conservatism and the social-policy wing is now a false dichotomy.” David Barton, the author of best-selling Christianity-infused books on American history—and a favorite guest on both Fischer’s and Glenn Beck’s radio programs—argues that capital-gains taxes, collective bargaining, and minimum-wage laws are contrary to the Bible’s teachings.
These Bible-belt bigmouths have to get attention, and Terry Jones, of Gainesville, Florida's Dove World Outreach Church is no stranger to notoriety. He held the government and media at bay with plans to burn copies of the Quran. His stunt put his name on the front page of every newspaper, and his face on every national news program. The furor over the burning has subsided, so his latest publicity ploy is to hang Obama in effigy.

I do not believe this is protected free speech. This is a hate crime.

It's hard to fathom why anyone would do this, but it just puts into sharp focus the real reason for the attacks on Obama. They're less about his stand on gay marriage, or being progressive, the economy or his fights with an impossible and irresponsible Republican Congress, and more about Obama being African American.

To the news media's credit, they have apparently figured this guy has had his fifteen minutes of fame (or notoriety) already, so there hasn't been a whole lot of coverage of this atrocious display.

So let's call all of these attacks on Obama by Beck and his posse of fellow radio blowhards, or so-called "Christians" like Fischer and Jones, what they really are, ugly racism. That's the agenda of the right wing, to get a black face out of the White House and a white face back in. By playing on the worst prejudices and biases of their audiences they hope to achieve that goal.

*Went to Dallas Theological Seminary, holds a 1973 Bachelors Degree in Philosophy from Stanford.


Kirk said...

The more they hate Obama, the more sympathetic I am to our President. I know a lot of progressives and liberals are disappointed with him, and maybe I should be, too, but all the hatred just makes me want to cut him more slack.

Postino said...

Kirk, I agree 100%. Yes, I'm disappointed Guantanamo is still open, I'm disappointed we still have troops in Afghanistan, but I don't see a problem with Obama as much as I do with those who hate him, by their obstructions keeping him from doing more.