On The Election and It’s Aftermath: Now let’s squelch the hate talk. By George Drake

I cried.
Most of my compatriots from those days of strife called the sixties say the same thing. We grew up in the aura of hate that racism was, and remains, in some quarters, today. We cried with joy at proof that, at least for the majority of Americans, the weight of the dark blanket of hatred that once cloaked this land has been lifted. Bill Moyers said on Fresh Air that only one in six Southern whites voted for Obama. If that’s true, then the South still has far to come. If you didn’t hear that interview, I suggest you go to the NPR site and get it off the internet (11/5/08-Fresh Air).
But frankly, I’m thrilled just to see the evidence that the nation as a whole rejected the hatred the McCain campaign, especially near the end, tried to foist on Obama. But, if I’ll give them anything, the right wing has to be recognized for its pit-bull nature. Lipstick or not. These people will not go quietly into the dark.
It’s also good to remember, they are not a small group, nor lacking power. The popular vote split almost down the middle. The vile legacy of right wing talk shows featuring hair pulling ideologues is with us today, and has far too much resonance. I heard a clip from Rush the day after the election and they, despite their claims to be good Americans, have already begun a despicable campaign to undermine the new President-as if that weren’t the essence of “un-American.” Apparently a hate filled robo-call went out to many cell phones within hours of McCain’s concession. One wonders where it all crosses over to treason. The right claims we are at war, don’t they? If they mean that even a little bit, they should join us in making America stronger, not tearing our President down. In war time, isn’t such talk seditious?
There is a way that the average American can cut these agents of evil off at the knees. Stop listening to them. If anyone quotes them to you, point out the fact that talk show hosts are often just hatemongers. Tell them you’ve decided to never, ever, listen to hate stations again. Boycott sponsors and write a letter telling them that you are. Likewise boycott the station and tell them. Point out that they are actively creating division at a time when our very national security depends on our healing our rifts.
But, what is perhaps most important, we have to be more pit-bullish than the right is. We’ve got to hold on longer and more tightly than they do. I’ve seen them come back from even worse defeats, to give us Nixon (following Johnson), Reagan (following Carter) and GW (following Clinton). And every time they’ve bounced back, they did it through persistence. In the times the left has come back from a period of “the right wing’s watch,” it’s always been because their extreme actions have jolted us into paying attention. We tend not to notice as they slowly sidle back into power. But we can’t let complacence lead us to the same place again.
The cost of freedom is, indeed, vigilance. Don’t ignore the small little gains made with the help of their vast network of think tanks, media control and unlimited money dished out from obscenely rich exploiters of the capitalist system. Above all, don’t spread their venom via reiterating, or even tolerating, their cute little jokes that are, at their heart, mean spirited and designed to divide us (I’m thinking of how humor eviscerated Clinton, here). Label the spoilers as exactly that. And let nothing pass. Be rude, if it comes to that. The very future of this country depends on all of us doing that. The discourse in this nation needs to be brought into civil bounds. Divided we fall, remember? Run the Limbaughs, O’Reily’s, Hannity’s, Coultiers, etc., off the air. They are the greatest national security risk we face today.
On a related topic: the future of the Republican Party, in itself, is at an interesting crossroads. Where it goes from here will affect America’s future in profound ways. If the extremes that have dominated it recently unite behind Palin and take their Party further out of the main stream, we may be seeing the decline of the GOP into third party status. That they may be attempting this effort is apparent from the resistance of many in the Republican leadership to stepping down, as would normally follow such a bad rout as the Party suffered November 4. If they succeed, I think responsible Republicans may finally be so fed up with the takeover of their Party by the right that they will be ready to abandon the old label altogether. As they cast about for new affiliations, now might be exactly the time for one of the minor parties to come into its own. Opportunity for the idealists I opposed so vigorously as this election approached may at last be significant.
All very interesting. All requiring our full attention. Please, remain vigilant. Remain engaged. Don’t let the bulldogs come back. Let’s relegate that crowd to the trash bin where they belong, by simply doing the right thing and watching them self-destruct. But also by aggressively stopping what they try to do with their jokes, innuendo, speculation, and misdirection. Stay on top of this. We’ve seen now what we can accomplish by working hard together. Don’t stop working now. Stick together. Yes we can.

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4 Responses to On The Election and It’s Aftermath: Now let’s squelch the hate talk. By George Drake

  1. Jim says:

    George –

    I could not agree with you more on these points. Limbaugh is a scurge upon just and free societies everywhere. BTW, I would suggest not referring to him as “Rush” since that may make him seem more human and, hence, credible. “Limbaugh” dehumanizes him to some extent.

    I heard Limbaugh (see how that works) call both Rahm Emanuel and Obama “thugs” only 3 days after the election. He didn’t imply that they are thugs. He used the word directly and individually when he said their names.

    I also agree about being aggressive in going after the hate
    spreading “personalities” of the right. Coulter is second only to Limbaugh on what should be a Democratic hit list. Every time they open their mouths and spit out their venom we need to hit back very hard with the truth and pointing out the hate and dishonesty contained in what they have said.

    But to do that we need to get a press that has some backbone and not the indolent and incompetent press we have today. We need to bring back the investigative reporter, 70% of whom have lost their jobs over the last 20+ years. We need to take the media out of the control of just a few people and make its ownership serve the public good. We need to bring back the fairness doctrine that was revoked under Ronald Reagan.

    I do want to point out one thing regarding your previous comments on votes for 3rd party candidates being thrown away. To quote you from this thread: “As they cast about for new affiliations, now might be exactly the time for one of the minor parties to come into its own.”

    Voting for a 3rd party keeps the party alive for without votes they have no political reason to endure. So while those votes can effect a close race if we want a country that is not dominated by just two parties, then voting for a 3rd party candidate has benefits.

    – Jim

  2. Myrna says:

    Almost half of the nation feels different. Remember that… This is a time for healing. “A Nation divided will fall.” We have enough enemies outside of this nation to create them from within.

    Curtailing freedom of speech in the land of the free is never a good idea. We have to respect our differences. We have to respect the right to express a difference of opinion. If not, people will rally against it. I’m sorry that I do not share your views.

  3. George says:

    Jim:

    Yes, when the election isn’t in the balance and the issues don’t depend upon the outcome, then I think making a statement and supporting a minority party may have positive effects. I think that is consistent with my earlier position, as this election (and 2000) was one of those where both were very much at issue, despite the eventual electoral college landslide.

    Myrna:

    I didn’t mean that we should attempt to withhold their rights. I meant that, by their own rantings, their position is condemned as seditious. I don’t think it appropriate to describe most of what we’re currently engaged in as “war,” and don’t think a new McCarthyism would honor the Constitution any more than you do. I’m not suggesting they be locked up, or even blacklisted. But the hate mongers insist on calling this a “war on terror” and throw the word around far too liberally, including with such activities as trying to control drug use.

    I do think they must be squelched, though. And the best, and perhaps only, way to squelch these people is to come back into their faces at least as aggressively as they come at you in the first place. Enforcement of standards by peer pressure is not the same as censorship. Driving them off the air through boycotting the sponsors is not a government intervention.

    In particular, I think it entirely appropriate to point out the contrary nature of hate talk and vows of no cooperation with the new President to the of claim of such a dire status as “engaged in a war.” I don’t think Limbaugh, O’Reily, Coultier, Hannity, or any of the others of their ilk are being seditious, because I think this is a battle which is best fought on the basis of law enforcement. If I thought we were truly at war–if there had been a formal declaration of war–I might think differently. But their own words imply that they would maintain that any effort to disable America in this time of “war” should be considered anti-American and seditious. The seniments they’ve been expressing against Obama, if directed at Roosevelt in Hitler’s day, would have deserved a full assault from the FBI. I suggest pointing it out as a tool to use to discredit them.

    I think your point about the need for healing is right on, and I wish I were better at expressing love and understanding when confronting people who support the positions of the hate mongers. It is only they that I will ever, in fact, confront, for I no longer listen to the principals so I’ll never call in. I’d be open to suggestions as to how to respond when I hear someone mouthing some cute quote from one of these clever demagogues. It doesn’t seem to be enough just to not laugh at an off color or racist joke. But how to go beyond that and still be civil is not always that easy for me. Yet both seem to be called for. And, then, sometimes not. Rudeness is not always inappropriate, either.

    George

  4. Lee says:

    I have to agree with George on this. Limbaugh, O’reily, Colter, Hannity, Savage are all in the entertainment business not journalism or news businss. Limbaugh in particular is just using his radio show to pay for his drug habit. They remind me of cartoon characters that are like balloons being popped. They get louder as the air escapes until ultimately that have no more air and simply drift away. Lets work to get Air America back in SLT.

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