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