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Evening Focus – Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize as the Hate Explodes

March 9, 2012

Our Evening Focus

Evening Focus – Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize as the Hate Explodes

Entitlement is being threatened and as a result, the hatred is exploding. What should our response be? (More)

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 my 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’ve felt it 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 – it’s 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!)

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.

Cross-posted from Smartypants

3 Responses to “Evening Focus – Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize as the Hate Explodes”

  1. NCrissieB Says:

    Thank you for this wonderful essay, Smartypants, reminding us both of what’s happening and what we can do about it. I especially like the opening quote, which really captures how hate becomes invisible when it is institutionalized as something else – religion, tradition, law, etc. – and most starkly visible when the institutional cover is stripped away.

  2. winterbanyan Says:

    This is a wonderful article, Smartypants. :) Thank you for sharing it here.

    You have precisely captured what I’ve been feeling. The stuff that was pushed underground for so long by “political correctness” has been driven by rage to emerge into the light. It is an appalling display, and a reminder to every decent person what it is we have to fight against.

    I don’t usually think in terms of a battle of good vs. evil, but there is evil afoot right now and it needs to be cleansed. Joining the hate fest will not help us. We must indeed keep our eye on the prize: a better future for everyone, not just a few.

  3. asiangrrlMN Says:

    I struggle with this because I’m not a hater by nature, but the last few years have really tested me. I’m a threefer in that I’m Asian, female, and bi, and the hatred seems to come at me from all sides. Every time I blog about the latest outrage, I feel the cold fury overtake me yet again.

    Personally, I think anger is a very legitimate response to all the nastiness and truly heinous laws emanating from the right – however, I can’t become so steeped in the rage that I debilitate my ability to respond with positive (in terms of what I want to accomplish, not mood, per sea) action.

    When I feel absolutely overwhelmed by it, I take a break. I do no good to anyone when I’m completely depleted.