Part 3—Grayson removes all doubt: Conservative voters are often misled by their political leaders.
(In recent weeks, they were told it wouldn’t matter of the debt limit didn’t get raised!)
They’re often misled by the people they hear on the radio, by the people they see on TV. They’re badly served by our biggest news orgs, who tend to avert their gaze from this conduct, who let the dissembling go.
These voters have been aggressively misled for decades now. Increasingly, though, we liberals are being badly served by our various leaders:
In our view, liberal voters were badly served by Gail Collins’ latest column.
In our view, liberal voters were badly served by the way Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell opened their programs on Monday.
Liberal voters are badly served by the intellectual squalor which continues to grow at Salon. Also by the first cousin to hate speech which is on wide display at that site.
First cousin to hate speech? Surely we jest! That’s where Grayson comes in!
It’s always harder to see The Hate and The Crazy when they appear within one’s own tribe. It’s amazingly easy to see The Hate when it seems to pop up over There. Traditionally, it’s harder to see The Hate within one’s own ranks.
For that reason, we liberal voters have Rep. Alan Grayson to thank.
Grayson became a liberal hero in 2009. In recent years, we’ll have to admit, the bloom came off the Grayson rose for us here at this site.
Now, in a repellent fund-raising pitch, Grayson has removed all sensible doubt. In this highly tribal time, the liberal world is being drawn toward the most repellent types of conduct.
Yesterday, at USA Today, Catalina Camia reported what Grayson has done. We had the misfortune to see the visual on TV this morning.
Be sure to note the standard boast of the classic demagogue:
CAMIA (10/22/13): Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida sent a fundraising pitch equating the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan, which includes an image of a burning cross for the letter "T."We had the misfortune of seeing the visual on TV this morning.
The fundraising e-mail plays off an interview Grayson did last week with Al Sharpton on MSNBC after the federal government reopened following a 16-day shutdown. "The Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan," Grayson said in that interview—a transcript of which the Florida lawmaker posted on Twitter Monday night, along with link to a donation page.
“Ask yourself this: Who else in American public life today is as honest and as blunt as this? Congressman Alan Grayson deserves your support, like no one else," reads the end of Grayson's message. "He, and only he, is saying the things that you are thinking, and so much need to be said.”
In fairness, this mailer serves an important purpose. It helps us see where we’ve been headed, what we liberals seem bound to become.
To state the obvious, there are no hard and fast lines defining an act of “hate speech.” That said, if you can’t see that mailer as such an act, your vision may be a bit clouded.
Grayson’s mailer is hard to distinguish from vintage hate speech. It’s accompanied by the standard boast of the strutting demagogue:
No one else is willing to say what you and your tribe have been thinking!
So how about it—is Grayson right? Is that what our tribe has been thinking? Have liberals been thinking that the Tea Party is just a form of the Klan?
Grayson says that’s what you have been thinking. Is his statement correct?
Alas! We’d have to say there’s a good deal of merit to Grayson’s claim about the liberal world’s current thinking. In our view, his mailer is hard to distinguish from classic “hate speech.” But, as we have repeatedly noted, this has been the unmistakable drift of a great deal of pseudo-liberal expression in recent months.
In our view, that mailer is one step over from the conduct of people like Salon’s Joan Walsh. We would say it’s two steps over from Collins’ most recent column, which we’ll examine tomorrow.
We’d even be inclined to mention this front-page report in today’s New York Times. This morning, the Times gives us Bubba in his overhauls, in full glory and in full color, right on the paper’s front page.
He’s standing next to the grave of his wife, who he buried in the front yard. Inside the paper, we find four more photos (4) concerning this matter, and a map of Alabama.
Do we really not understand the message that’s being conveyed?
Is that front-page report a form of “hate speech?” We’d say it’s several steps over, but leaning. To use a term Walsh loves to employ, is it a type of dog whistle?
In a highly tribal time, what constitutes an act of “hate speech?” For a starter, we’ll offer two basic ideas. With apologies to a famous redneck, you might be flirting with hate speech if you satisfy these requirements:
You might be flirting with hate speech if:You might be flirting with hate speech if you satisfy those requirements! In this instance, Grayson slimes the entire Tea Party with an image of the Ku Klux Klan.
You adopt the ugliest possible explanation for the other tribe’s beliefs and actions.
You apply your theory indiscriminately—if you apply the ugliest possible explanation to tens of millions of people at a time.
He says this is what you have been thinking. Is this classic demagogue right?
It’s very hard to distinguish that mailer from classic “hate speech.” But that mailer isn’t a whole lot different from the work which has routinely been appearing at Salon.
It isn’t hugely different from the speech being pimped by the red-faced Matthews, who used to direct his spittle-flecked speech at major Democrats. We’d say it’s two steps over from Collins’ column, which we’ll review tomorrow, along with the many depressing comments the column inspired.
All through the Clinton/Gore years, we liberals slept in the woods. Even as we dozed, we laughed at the haters and ditto-heads found in The Other Tribe.
Finally, after Iraq, we managed to rouse ourselves from sleep. In that mailer, Grayson removes all sensible doubt:
He shows us where we’ve been headed of late. He shows what the Walshes, who may be “well intentioned,” would have our world become.
Tomorrow: Two steps over from that
Update: When we typed this post, we weren't aware of this report by Salon assistant editor Elias Isquith.
Isquith quotes Grayson's reaction to criticism. “If the hood fits, wear it,” the fiery fellow concludes. We strongly recommend reading the comments.
More on this topic tomorrow. In our view, liberal exceptionalism is flagging badly at this point in time.