Several times I have commented that hatred felt long and deeply enough no longer feels like hatred, but more like tradition, economics, religion, what have you. It is when those traditions are challenged, when the entitlement is threatened, when the masks of religion, economics, and so on are pulled away that hate transforms from its more seemingly sophisticated, "normal," chronic state—where those exploited are looked down upon, or despised—to a more acute and obvious manifestation. Hate becomes more perceptible when it is no longer normalized.
Another way to say all of this is that if the rhetoric of superiority works to maintain the entitlement, hatred and direct physical force remains underground. But when that rhetoric begins to fail, force and hatred waits in the wings, ready to explode.
- Derrick Jensen from The Culture of Make Believe
If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you've seen me use that quote before. I believe it captures exactly what we're witnessing in our political culture today. Women, people of color, LGBT folks are threatening the entitlement that for the last 50 years has been masked by "religion, economics and so on." And we're seeing the hate explode in its final death throes.
I felt it today as I traveled around the internet reading stories. For example, the one where the Breitbart group will now attempt to revive the Jeremiah Wright story from 2008 by attempting to smear Professor Derrick Bell, and, by several degrees of separation, President Obama. Sure, their premise is laughable. But that won't stop them from dragging Professor Bell's name through every shade of mud their diseased minds can dream up.
And then there was the cartoon Zandar wrote about at Angry Black Lady Chronicles. Go take a look if you haven't seen it already. It's the worst of Limbaugh's sexist smears with a big dose of racism thrown in.
But it was reading what the folks at Powerline (warning: wingnut link) wrote about the Limbaugh hate fest that really set me off. In a way - its pure unadulterated irony. In the midst of all this, their claim is that its President Obama who is driving the hate.
Millions of Americans voted for Barack Obama in the hope that he would be a trailblazer who would conduct the presidency in a new way. Well, he has: Obama has been the most divisive president in our modern history, unabashedly stirring up hate against not only his political enemies, but against private citizens who exercise their right to participate in our democracy. The most recent hatefest has been directed against Rush Limbaugh, and Obama has personally stirred the pot...
Barack Obama has been a terrible president in many ways, but perhaps his most poisonous legacy is his cynical fomenting of partisan hate to advance his own political interests. After three years, we have learned that “hope” is not the word that we should associate with the Obama presidency.
In the most twisted display I've seen yet, they end that article by posting this graphic (no, its not a link to their site and I WILL NOT post it here on my blog!)
So as the hate explodes amongst their colleagues, rather than call it out - these folks project it onto the most visible object of their own hatred. I can only react by marveling at the ability of the human mind to contort itself rather than face an ugly truth.
I would suggest that we on the left have a very important choice to make in light of this. Do we join them in their hate-fest and give as good as we get? Or do we recognize it for what it is, call it out, and keep our eyes on the prize? I know what those who came before us would counsel.