Part 4—Joan Walsh pours it on: Last night, viewers of Hardball got themselves played again.
Joan Walsh was asked about Ted Cruz’s chances of reaching the White House. By her own admission, she was sorry to say what she said:
WALSH (10/10/13): I don’t think he will get the nomination—he could, because there is that hatred afoot in our country. I’m sorry to say it, but there is. And there is that hatred of government. And there are people—people really, far-right people believe that they were pushed, they were sold a bill of goods, a moderate in John McCain, a moderate in Mitt Romney, and that this time is their time. 2016, it is their turn.Joan was sorry to say it. But as it turns out, there are a lot of nihilistic haters out there. We don’t know how destructive they are.
And he’s popular in Iowa. He really—I don’t think this is going to happen, but it could happen, because he really is giving voice to a very nihilistic, very angry, anti-government, out-of-touch sector of our society. And we don’t know how destructive they are or how many of them there are, but they are the true believers. And he could go farther than we think just on that.
It hurt Joan Walsh to say those things, but she was determined to serve. A few minute later, she forced herself to make a few more comments:
WALSH: But you know, you asked what these people believe in. I wanted to be mean and say “secession.” I mean, there are these people who have been crusading against the government going that far back.She wanted to be mean and say those things. But she made herself stop!
Moments later, though, she blurted. According to Walsh, “these people” are nihilistic haters who long for secession. Their attitudes go that far back! All the way back to the days when a war was fought in support of enslavement of people!
Last week, Walsh offered a further insight—when those people look at Barack Obama, thoughts of miscegenation pop into their heads! Walsh knows all, and is willing to tell, concerning those very bad people!
Over on Fox, those nihilistic haters were getting misled once again (see our next post). But how fitting! We liberals were getting conned by Walsh, on our own cable channel!
On Hardball, we liberals were being trained in the hate that dare not speak its own name. It's the hate that says the other guy hates, the hate that says it hates to hate. The hate that says it bit its tongue a moment ago, even as it blurts now.
We’ll assume that Walsh may have been a decent person at some point in the past. Perhaps she could reconnect with that person by revisiting an old book.
This morning, we took that book to the bagel joint, along with Amanda Ripley’s embellishment-driven text. We flipped the pages of Stride Toward Freedom, the 1958 book in which Dr. King, then 29, explained the process by which he became the last century’s great moral giant.
And its greatest achiever.
Once again, we’ll strongly recommend Dr. King’s book. In its very first paragraph (see below), we think it will take you into a surprising and different world.
For today, let’s skip ahead to Chapter 6, Pilgrimage to Nonviolence.
Dr. King grew up in a world which was drenched with actual hate. This is the start of the chapter in which he explains his belief in the practiced of nonviolence:
DR. KING (page 90): Often the question has arisen concerning my own intellectual pilgrimage to nonviolence. In order to get at this question it is necessary to go back to my early teens in Atlanta. I had grown up abhorring not only segregation but also the oppressive and barbarous acts that grew out of it. I had passed spots where Negroes had been savagely lynched, and had watched the Ku Klux Klan on its rides at night. I had seen police brutality with my own eyes, and watched Negroes receive the most tragic injustice in the courts. All of these things had done something to my growing personality. I had come perilously close to resenting all white people.Dr. King says he “grew up deeply conscious of the varieties of injustice in our society” (our emphasis). Even as a teenager, Dr. King understood a basic fact—a fact Walsh is happy to throw down the stairs in the process of pleasing us liberals.
I had also learned that the inseparable twin of racial injustice was economic injustice. Although I came from a home of economic security and relative comfort, I could never get out of my mind the economic insecurity of many of my playmates and the tragic poverty of those living around me. During my late teens I worked two summers, against my father’s wishes—he never wanted my brother and me to work around white people because of the oppressive conditions—in a plant that hired both Negroes and whites. Here I saw economic injustice first-hand, and realized that the poor white was exploited just as much as the Negro. Through these early experiences I grew up deeply conscious of the varieties of injustice in our society.
Omigod! Even as a teenager, Dr. King understood that some of “those people” are being misled and misused by other groups of “those people.” And sure enough! Last night, we saw some of those nihilistic haters being misled by Greta Van Susteren, even as liberals were getting told to study war by Walsh.
Whatever! As the chapter proceeds, Dr. King explains his “intellectual quest for a method to eliminate social evil.” It starts when he is at Morehouse College, from which he graduated at age 19.
“During my student days at Morehouse I read Thoreau’s Essay on Civil Disobedience for the first time,” Dr. King writes. “Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times. This was my first intellectual contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance.”
Dr. King describes his subsequent reading of a string of major philosophers as he continued his search. Eventually, he is led to the writing of Gandhi. In this passage, we recall a forgotten fact—the actual Dr. King, who wasn’t a clip from a Pepsi commercial, came from a very unusual spiritual and intellectual world:
DR. KING (page 96): Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of non-violent resistance. I was particularly moved by his Salt March to the sea and by his numerous fasts. The whole concept of “Satyagraha” was profoundly significant to me. (Satya is truth which equals love, and agraha is force. “Satyagraha,” therefore, means truth-force or love force.) As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished, and I came to see for the first time its potency in the area of social reform. Prior to reading Gandhi, I had about concluded that the ethics of Jesus were only effective in individual relationship. The “turn the other cheek” philosophy and the “love your enemies” philosophy were only valid, I felt, when individuals were in conflict with other individuals; when racial groups and nations were in conflict a more realistic approach seemed necessary. But after reading Gandhi, I saw how utterly mistaken I was.Dr. King wouldn’t cut the mustard as a Hardball guest! Eventually, he explained the part of nonviolent resistance that might help Walsh reintegrate with the person she may have been long ago:
Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale. Love for Gandhi was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation. It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and non-violence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking.
DR. KING (page 105): A fifth point concerning nonviolent resistance is that it avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him. At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. The nonviolent resister would contend that in the struggle for human dignity, the oppressed people of the world must not succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter or indulging in hate campaigns. To retaliate in kind would do nothing but intensify the existence of hate in the universe. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.We know—it’s embarrassing to hear someone speaking like that. We avert our gaze as a courtesy to this naïve, silly person.
In this case, though, the silly person is the last century’s greatest achiever. In opposition to this approach stands the hater Wash, describing the crazy thoughts of tens of millions of people she can’t name.
They’re nihilistic haters who just can’t stop thinking about miscegenation! Somehow Walsh thinks she knows all these things. Plainly, though, she knows how to hate, the posture Dr. King rejected.
As he continues, Dr. King explains what kind of love he’s discussing. (It’s agape, not eros or philia!) There’s one last point in his rumination that strikes us as key at the present time.
We’ll post a fairly large chunk. But the highlighted point speaks to the person Walsh has ceased to be:
DR. KING (page 105): Another basic point about agape is that it springs from the need of the other person—his need for belonging to the best of the human family. The Samaritan who helped the Jew in the Jericho Road was "good" because he responded to the human need that he was presented with. God's love is eternal and fails not because man needs his love. St. Paul assures us that the loving act of redemption was done “while we were yet sinners”—that is, at the point of our greatest need for love. Since the white man’s personality is greatly distorted by segregation, and his soul is greatly scarred, he needs the love of the Negro. The Negro must love the white man, because the white man needs his love to remove his tensions, insecurities and fears.As you can see, a great deal in that first paragraph was rather unusual, especially given the times. But for today, we will recommend Dr. King’s “willingness to go to any length to restore community.”
Agape is not a weak, passive love. It is love in action. Agape is love seeking to preserve and create community. It is insistence on community even when one seeks to break it. Agape is a willingness to sacrifice in the interest of mutuality. Agape is a willingness to go to any length to restore community. It doesn't stop at the first mile, but goes the second mile to restore community. The cross is the eternal expression of the length to which God will go in order to restore broken community.
How might an adept of this greatest achiever perceive the current scene? Last night, we pictured people in a million homes getting misled by Van Susteren, for the ten millionth time. The previous night, we were watching Fox as those same people got misled by Sean Hannity.
They’ve been misled ten million times; the haters will quickly say this proves how amazingly dumb they are. But then, how dumb does a liberal have to be to read the crap that appeared in Salon last week, penned by Walsh and O’Hehir?
News flash: We humans are often rather dumb, especially in thrall to the tribe.
Like Mr. T, Dr. King knew how to pity the fools! He tried a little tenderness, just like Gandhi said.
Even as a teenager, he saw that some of the people who behaved badly were getting conned by more powerful people. He felt sorry for those people too. He fought against hating, especially against hating groups.
The haters take a different approach. They can’t wait to call those people the ugliest names they can muster. They look for the ugliest possible way to perceive and describe the very bad folk they oppose.
They’ll even invent absurd ideas about what’s in everyone’s minds! As Walsh explained last week, "this crazed minority see in the face of Barack Obama everything they’ve been taught to fear for 50 years. Start with miscegenation...They can’t get their minds off the circumstances of his conception and birth.”
Actually, yes. That actually is what Walsh crazily wrote.
Dr. King was our greatest achiever. Walsh is a climber who kissed Matthews’ ass when Matthews was at his most destructive.
Today, she serves as a walkin’ boss on Hardball and at the new Salon. As a teenager, Dr. King saw the bosses misleading the rubes. We see the same thing today.
Do you believe Walsh was “sorry to say it” last night? Or were slightly more gullible Hardball viewers perhaps getting conned once again? Getting shown how to study war?
How the book begins: In our view, Stride Toward Freedom’s opening paragraph takes us to a different world:
“On a Saturday afternoon in January 1954, I set out to drive from Atlanta, Georgia to Montgomery, Alabama. It was a clear, wintry day. The Metropolitan Opera was on the radio with a performance of one of my favorite operas—Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. So with the beauty of the countryside, the inspiration of Donizetti’s inimitable music, and the splendor of the skies, the usual monotony that accompanies a relatively long drive—especially when one is alone—was dispelled in pleasant diversions.”
Dr. King turned 25 that month. He was going to Montgomery to interview for his first job as a minister.
Did you know that Dr. King had favorite operas? There are many things about Dr. King the “liberal” world has forgotten and abandoned as we try, in various ways, to mimic those we hate.