A Double Dose of Poison

In a recent Diary called "The View From Ferraro's District," the author writes with some sensitivity about the people in Geraldine Ferraro's district.  We are told that it is a "middle class Italian, Irish and Jewish-American community;" the people there are at least  40% "white, Italians" but there are also "Filipinos..., Hispanics, West Indians, Polish, Irish, and Arab...and one pro-Clinton African-American family." They are "good people... anti-war, pro-choice, homosexuality doesn't bother us," and they don't like Bush.  The author observes that "there is excitement for Hillary Clinton, or no one at all. Obama didn't even crack 30% here."

And then, the point of that Diary:  After Ferraro's comments "the whole community seemed to rise up and scream 'Thank you Congresswoman, at least somebody had the gall to say it!'"  The author concludes that these people are racists, not "blatant racist," but "much more the feeling that minorities get special treatment because of other people's racism." I respectfully disagree.  I think the author is looking down on those people, patronizing them, as if their feelings are not valid.  But their grievances are real and so is their pain, and I do not think they are racists, blatant or any other kind.

Many "liberals" have fallen into the habit of assuming that all statements about race are racist.  This is why allegations of "political correctness" have teeth.  People can see with their own eyes that it ain't so, and it makes them distrust the whole liberal agenda.

Think about affirmative action for example.  Now, to some people -- and I'm one of them -- this means programs designed to ensure that African Americans are given a fair chance at jobs and promotions, particularly in places where that has not been the case in the past.  It might even mean, and sometimes should mean, quotas.    

But to other people -- and sometimes I'm one of them, too -- it means giving jobs to people because of their race and denying those jobs to other people because of their race.  Be honest:  we've all seen this happen.  It's certainly not the rule, but it does happen.  And well-off white "liberals" and "progressives" who have never felt the sting of being denied -- people like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry -- can be damn irritating when they lecture working-class stiffs about how racist they are for being angry about being cheated out of a job or a promotion.

And that is what Ferraro's people, rightly or wrongly, see happening now.  They see their candidate getting trashed while Obama gets a free ride, but they are not supposed to say what they see, because if they do, they are racist.

Obama's white "liberal" handlers have used the race card - and he himself has used it - to de-legitimize his opponent, to stop her from making any kind of unfavorable comparison between his record and hers, because that would be "negative." They have ruled out whole categories of words.  She can't mention great black Americans like Martin Luther King.  Her campaign can't use words like "fairy tale" or "unqualified," or any words that amount to fighting back, because that's racist, and negative.  Her ads can't show white mothers caring for their sleeping children (What would they say if the ad showed black children?!) because suggesting that Obama can't keep the country as safe as she can is racist, and negative.  Everything she does and says is viewed through the assumption of her racism; everything he says and does is viewed through the assumption of his legitimacy.  In the end, her crime is that she is running against a black man. "His time has come" and she is just in the way.

I know this is hard for his followers to see.  They are understandably excited by the historic meaning of his candidacy - and that's real.  But it's also real that his whole campaign is based on "belief," essentially religious belief, unexamined belief.  He is a box of detergent with the label "NEW" slapped on and no one is supposed to look at the ingredients to see if they are changed from the old detergent.  It doesn't seem to matter that if he were a wealthy liberal white man - like John Edwards - making passionate but content-lite speeches about change, instead of a wealthy liberal black man making passionate but content-lite speeches about change, he would have had to drop out before February.

The irony is, it turns out that Obama is the racist.  Videos - apparently there are lots of them - are now hitting the public showing the pastor of his church preaching hate.  He preaches that America deserved what happened on 9/11.  He preaches "God damn America!" and that's only the top of the iceberg.  Of course, Obama will say he does not agree with this, but for twenty years he attended the church - was married by that pastor, had his children blessed by him - and he never spoke out against the preaching of hate.  But now, when he is running for President, he suddenly says he does not agree with that and that he will bring us together.   How can someone who has never stood up against hate when it was right in his own church bring us together?

We've come to a sad pass in this country when working people are supposed to just shut their mouths and not notice unfairness or even hate, when racism is exclusively a one-way street and something that only white people can be guilty of, when we have contests over whose suffering has been worse - blacks or poor whites, women or African Americans, working-class whites or middle-class blacks - and the arbiters of who has suffered most are the wealthy and privileged who haven't suffered the sting of denial at all.

There is something else ugly at work here.   Along with the racism - I won't call it "reverse" racism; there is no forward or reverse to racism.  Along with the racism, there is something else.  That something else is sexism.  Oh yeah, I can hear the moans already.  The "progressive" boys are laughing now.  "Oh you're not going to mention THAT, are you?" 

Women are not supposed to ever mention sexism.  It's whining.  It's the little girl in the playground falling down and crying just because you hit her.  But you see, the reason she falls down and cries is that she is supposed to.  The role that is definitely not okay for her is fighting back.  Let me remind you that women - including black women -  did not get the vote in this country until 70 years after black men, and to get the vote it took the work of four generations of women; it took a grueling state-by-state struggle, hunger strikes, prison, and the greatest organizing effort in the history of this country, although you would never know it from our schoolbooks.

We women are not supposed to mention sexism even though we have a President who holds hands with the leader of a country where a woman cannot vote or go outside without a bag over her head, and a "progressive" Presidential candidate who accuses his opponent of letting her "claws out" when she dares to try to win, and who is ready to sit down with the leader of a country that has thrown women back into the dark ages.  We are not supposed to acknowledge that the candidacy of a woman for President of the United States is a historic event of immense significance not only for our own country but for the entire world, a world that still has nations where girl babies are routinely killed, nations where teachers who teach girls may be killed, nations where infibulation is widespread, nations where polygamy is common, nations where mass rape is a common tactic of war, nations where women are confined to segregated areas of public places and denied the most basic rights of employment, nations where a woman cannot travel without her husband's permission.

And we are not supposed to mention the sexism that has come out of the woodwork right here in America, out in the open like roaches caught in the light.  Roaches like Chris Matthews, who gets "a shiver up his leg" when he sees Obama but identifies Clinton as a "she-devil" and a witch, David Shuster, who calls Clinton a pimp and implies her daughter is a prostitute, Jesse Jackson, Jr., who hates Hillary for shedding tears about the wrong things, Tucker Carlson ("I mean it's not missiles in Cuba; it's a WOMEN'S conference."), Tim Russert...  The whole "progressive" community is piling on, in places like DailyKOS, which last week was trashing Hillary for making Obama's skin look darker (really,  I'm not making that up).  And there are more than a handful of aggressor-identifying women like Samantha Power ("You just look at [Hillary Clinton] and think, Ergh") who are camp-followers after the "progressive" sexists.

I'm not starry-eyed about Hillary Clinton.  She has faults.  Real ones that matter.  There are no perfect candidates.  There is no politician that I "believe in." But if a comparable statement to any of the above were made about blacks it would generate a national firestorm.  For anyone in the media it would be career-ending.  But the dirty truth of America is that it's perfectly okay to disrespect, to slur, to slander, to sneer at, and to denigrate women.  And women are noticing.  Many women are more than just angry.  They are seething.  

This will have long-term fallout for the progressive agenda in America, because women now know that they are not included.  The favored ones like Power and Huffington and Dowd can go on their way, over the cliff, but for millions of women they and the whole "progressive" community - and the media - have lost all credibility.

We have a double dose of poison here.  It pervades the Democratic party; it corrupts "liberal" America; it stinks up the whole "progressive" community.

I wish I had a good wrap-up for this, but I don't.  Maybe we need to lose another election, or several, before the lesson sinks in.  Is that what it will take?  Can we afford it?  Can America afford it?

Tags: clinton, hate, Hillary, obama, racism, Reverned Wright, sexism, Women (all tags)

Comments

31 Comments

Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Excellent.  Thank you.

by cmugirl90 2008-03-13 03:20PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Super fantastic post that really says it all.

david

by giusd 2008-03-13 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Really gets to the point. Excellent, thank you.

by DaleA 2008-03-13 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Excellent diary - this is the intelligent discussion that is sorely needed among media and party "thought leaders."

by Informed in Illinois 2008-03-13 03:28PM | 0 recs
to be fair

1. The issue with the 3am ad was not brought up by Obama or his surrogates.

2. The reason Edwards never gained traction is partly because he had already lost in '04, and because people thought he was a phony ($400 haircuts etc).

3. One thing that gives me great relief is that the vast majority of people in this country are too busy with their lives to get too involved with blogs. The kind of intra-party hatred that has been going on in here the last couple of weeks is such that I'm sure we would become a permanent minority party within a few election cycles. It's really mind boggling.
 

by highgrade 2008-03-13 03:29PM | 0 recs
Re: to be fair

1.  We don't know.  But it is of a piece with a lot that they have done.

2.  Point is, Obama would not have gained traction either.

3.  People will find out about Obama's record.  The word about his pastor and his lack of objection will get around.  Just pray that he's not the nominee, because if he is, the Dems will lose another one.

by PlainWords 2008-03-13 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: to be fair

Now you're being really silly.  Obama is not the nominee.  And I don't think he will be, fortunately for the party and the counry.

by PlainWords 2008-03-13 03:52PM | 0 recs
Re: to be fair

1. That is your very subjective and biased opinion. Opinions don't substitute facts. Is some right-wing nuts writes that everything in Hillary Clinton's history makes him believe that she indeed killed Foster, I would call foul. And I will call foul here as well.

3. That is just wishful thinking from your part. If destroying the Democratic nominee is what you intend to do, go with it. If not, think for a second about what you are doing. His pastor is crazy. So what? Does this really tell us anything about Obama apart from guilt by association? Is this really where you want to go? Do you think Clinton would look any better if Obama supporters on this blog would look into the details of her private life and blame her for every minor thing that happens around her? He already distanced himself from his pastors opions, you cannot expect any more without infringing his religious privacy.

by marcotom 2008-03-13 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: to be fair

1.  It's not an opinion.  I said I don't know.  It wouldn't surprise me, though, based on what's come before.  But again, we don't know; I don't know.

3.  Again, Obama is not the nominee.  We do have a process here, and it's not over.  As for what I'm doing, I am objecting to the preaching of hate, and I don't want a President who for 20 years never raised his voice against it, and who is even teaching it to his children.  Finally, Obama supporters have ALREADY blamed Hillary for every minor thing and every major thing that happens around her or anywhere within a thousand miles of her.  Frankly, I don't give a damn what they do.  Obama will never be President.  He is not fit, and the public will see that.  If the Dems nominate him, they will lose another election.  

by PlainWords 2008-03-13 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: to be fair


where we really want to go is not the point.

the point is where we will be going; and it's not going to be pretty in the general election with republicans  playing O's pastor (the same pastor who gave him "the audacity of hope") clip of "God damn America" over and over.  not going to play well with a majority of Americans.  and what kind of pastor would be spewing damnation of anything anyway? that doesn't sound like a very loving faith.

by moevaughn 2008-03-13 04:50PM | 0 recs
Re: to be fair

Dude,

Do you find Wrights comments more or less troubling than GF's.  If he was a HRC supporter what do you think the media and KO would be saying?

Just wondering.

david

by giusd 2008-03-13 05:01PM | 0 recs
Re: to be fair

To many people, the public damning of America talk by a co-hort of a would-be President is quite disturbing.  It is also very disturbing to see the Republicans roll this whole thing out to a broader general audience in the fall.  In my mind, this will make 1968 and 1972 look mild for the Democrats.

by christinep 2008-03-13 06:09PM | 0 recs
traction issue

I disagree. If Edwards had a campaign that was increasing voter participation and energizing the youth, not to mention raising hundreds of millions of dollars (many from small donations), he'd probably already be the nominee.

by highgrade 2008-03-13 03:59PM | 0 recs
Re: traction issue

Okay, I'll give you that one.  His campaign was a lot more substantive than Obama's.

by PlainWords 2008-03-13 04:07PM | 0 recs
Re: to be fair

The one thing you are soo right about is if BO loses the GE the dkos crowd will spend months and months trashing HRC and blaming her for his lose.  My guess is years from now attack threads will still be recommended that smear HRC.

This crowd is worse that FOX.

david

by giusd 2008-03-13 04:59PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

I realize that you can't see this but I am on my feet clapping, screaming and whistling.

Bravo! This is without a doubt one of the best pieces of literature I have read in a long time. Your words are pure poetry, your points so salient.

Beautiful!

ENCORE

by Fleaflicker 2008-03-13 04:08PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Thanks, Fleaflicker.  I'm about to log off for a while and that really makes me feel good.  I like your stuff too.  I look for it.

by PlainWords 2008-03-13 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Wow, where to begin, how about with the comparision between Obama and Edaward's while pretending that Hillary is this massively experienced individual-- newsflash, Hillary if she wins the nomination will be the canidate with the least time in elected office of any Dem. nominee in recent memory, Obama has nearly twice the experience in office that she does. This brings me to my larger point, the blindness of Hillary supporters attacking Obama, or saying he's only still in the race because he's black--this is an amazing case of projection: do any of you seriously think Hillary would be a Senator much less a presidential canidate if her name was Hillary Smith instead of Hillary Clinton? She reminds me a lot of Bush in this way, basically riding the coattails of a much more accomplished relation into an office (Senator from New York, Governor of Texas) despite having no prior, lower-level training, then using that as a launching pad for a presidential campaign in which you have the support of the establishment, the difference is that Obama's not John McCain, and unlike Maverick McStraighttalk Obama didn't let the party Big Wigs stack the deck, but fought back and won.

by Socraticsilence 2008-03-13 04:59PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

YAWN,

Hillary lack experience?????

WTF.

And this comment is an insult "saying he's only still in the race because he's black". HRC supporter say this.  Like how many?  This is a typical BO supporter introducing race into an argument and then using race to smear HRC supporters.  Funny thing.  The HRC is a racist meme has happen twice.  Right after NH and right after super Tuesday.  INTERESTING dont you think.

And if my memory is correct the wed morning after super tuesday (and HRC huge wins in TX, OH, and RI) the first thread on dkos was the HRC darkened the clip.  Funny dont you think.  And then over the next few days the "the 3 am ad was racist".  Fairytale is a racist comment?

So lets examine your post.  It only takes you four sentences to bring up race and then you write "blindness of Hillary supporters attacking Obama, or saying he's only still in the race because he's black".  Funny you went a whole four sentence until you accuse HRC supporters of being racist.  I mean seriously why did it take so long.  IMHO you should have introduced race in the first sentence.  WHY WAIT until sentence four.

david

david

by giusd 2008-03-13 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Read what the Author wrote, she basically said that if Obama was a white man he would have bowed out in February, what else should I conclude from that statement?

by Socraticsilence 2008-03-13 06:04PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

I am not commenting on the thread but only on your post.  The post where you wait a whole four sentences before you play the race card.

What can i conclude from you post???

It is late and i dont have the energy to address another race baiting comment.

david

by giusd 2008-03-13 06:21PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Don't try to twist my words like you've twisted Ferraro's and HRC's.  I did not say what I "basically" said.  I said what I said.  YOU and the Obama campaign are the ones who want this to be about race.  You twist everything into race.  I'm sick of you and your racism.

by PlainWords 2008-03-13 07:23PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Thanks for the great diary.  You really nail the inconspicuous problem in America.  We are not as progressive and as tolerant as we perceive ourselves to be.   We still have a long way to go to achieve an  equal right for all.

by JoeySky18 2008-03-13 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison
A lot of good points here.

Speaking of fairy tales, I've got one for you. It's called: "A Progressive America". Oh wait, that's not a fairy tale... it's just an oxymoron. And it's not necessarily the GOP's fault, either.

Damn.

by sricki 2008-03-13 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Word,

david

by giusd 2008-03-13 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

To the Author of this Diary: Thank you for the finest article on this subject that I have seen in many months reading the blogs.  Your words radiate sincerity. Beautiful.

by christinep 2008-03-13 06:12PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

""His time has come" and she is just in the way."

-Well, a few months ago she was inevitable, he was down thirty points everywhere, and that was that......

"He is a box of detergent with the label "NEW" slapped on and no one is supposed to look at the ingredients to see if they are changed from the old detergent."

-I think that is great analogy for the situation.

I don't think either candidate is sexist or racist, but I think that they've both injected it into the race(sometimes by not responding to it and letting it blow up) to gain an advantage.  It happens.

by venavena 2008-03-13 06:27PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

EXCELLENT diary.  Brutally honest. Thank you so much for posting this.

by costanoan 2008-03-13 10:15PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Super diary!

by roseeriter 2008-03-14 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Wow...plain words...this is great...now could you possibly get the talking heads to get this "out there"? Thank you...too wise, perhaps for the media to pick up on, but you have eloquently voiced my thoughts. Exactly. -susanclare

by susanclare 2008-03-14 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: A Double Dose of Poison

Please keep writing diaries, this was one of the best! Thank you.

by Apostle 2008-03-27 01:10AM | 0 recs

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