Fighting Injustice & Whining Are Not Equivalent

A diary in which I propose to unite Donohue/Catholic League, the Civil Rights Movement, and celebrating Ronald Reagan....

Consider [ http://www.boston.com/news/local/article s/2007/02/12/patrick_wont_commemorate_da y_for_reagan?mode=PF ] :

"Governor Deval Patrick decided not to sign a proclamation recognizing Feb. 6 as "Ronald Reagan Day." A month into his term as governor, snubbing the Gipper's birthday has left Patrick open to partisan sniping.

A prominent conservative said Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer declared the holiday.

"It's the difference between a little more sophisticated guy who's governor and a guy who's still playing partisan politics after a campaign," said Grover Norquist, founder and chairman of the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project.

Thirty-three governors -- 20 Republicans and 13 Democrats -- inked the agreement to recognize Reagan's birthday in their states, Norquist said. The 17 remaining governors either didn't reply or refused outright; Patrick was a frank "no," Norquist said.

State Republican Party Chairman Peter Torkildsen said he felt disbelief.

"To me, Ronald Reagan is one of the great figures of the 20th century, and not only that, he carried Massachusetts twice, which no Republican for president had done since Dwight Eisenhower," Torkildsen said in an interview."

I think what is going on in the Torkildsen et al arguments for a Reagan Day is very similar to the phenomenon at work with the Donohue Catholic League rage [against the bloggers, and in general] machine.

Basically, GOPers hate being accused of bigotry, insensitivity, etc....

And they really want to be seen as victims, not victimizers.

And they believe that liberals only invoke those concepts for tactical purposes.

So they don't get that when, say, African-Americans (or, to be more precise, anyone of goodwill) complain about Rush Limbaugh's racism, they are... you know, right.

And so they, with some complicated admixture of cynicism and confusion, call people bigots, urge affirmative action in honoring dead politicians and within academia, etc... without realizing that their opportunism is simply qualitatively different.

They genuinely, oddly, and wrongly believe the civil rights movement was about some technocratic notion of "color blindness," as opposed to promoting justice for all, which of course includes acknowledging the consequences of genuine injustice...

All in all, they pursue a "conservative correctness" that they might acknowledge to be hypocritical after enough drinks... but I don't think they actually realize it's biggest problem is that it is, you know, substantively wrong.

[And, yes, I write this while reading hate e-mails from people who say they understand why people are anti-Semites when a Jewish organization like NJDC [ http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/2/12/142349/166 ] has the gall to criticize Mitt Romney for associating himself with an "innovator" like Henry Ford, who did indeed lead the way in American support for Nazi eugenic principles.]

Tags: Deval Patrick, donohue, henry ford, Mitt Romney, Reagan, wingnuts (all tags)

Comments

2 Comments

when the angry men are victims

My experience talking with Republican rank and file is that they DO feel like they are victims  - threatened by women and minorities when we just try to eck out a fraction of what they have always had.

Demagogues like Donahue and Dobbs totally play in to the Conservatives sense of victimization. The honest truth that progressives need to acknowledge now is that those white middle class guys are economic victims-- victims of the same bad policies that hurt everyone but the richest. The "angry men's" jobs are being outsourced, they cant afford college for their kid etc.. Rather than blaming the people in power who cut student aid and allow banks to charge usurious interest rates they blame minorities for getting minority only scholarships.

The brilliance of the conservative tactic you describe is that takes the angry white men's sense of victim-hood and ignores its economic causes choosing instead to posit them as cultural victims.

by Our Gal in Brooklyn 2007-02-12 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: when the angry men are victims

I think the economic explanation is potent, but doesn't explain everything -- you see this sort of whining on elite university campuses where economic strss doesn't exist as an explanation.

Some of this is people born on third base want to defend the idea that they are, indeed, self-made men (and, to be honest, I think some righty whining can be found among women as well -- it's surely more male than female, but Malkin/Coulter/Ingraham are not entirely anomalous).

The loss of entitlement can be painful, even when cushioned by wealth....

by Hauser 2007-02-12 02:03PM | 0 recs

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