Sunday, September 03, 2006

Putting Partisan Politics Before Opposing Racism

Local left-wing blogger Wege at Norwegianity has taken offense to a top 11 list I did regarding George Allen’s allegedly racist comment to an opposing campaign worker. The purpose of that top 11 list was not to propose new racist codewords or to apologize for George Allen’s comments (which were inexcusably impolite even if they weren’t delivered with racist intent). The purpose was to illustrate my view that the outrage from the left was more of a cynical attempt to score partisan political points than a visceral reaction to racism.

I believe that a more conclusive indication of racism than Allen’s remark would be, say, a history of organizing for the Ku Klux Klan. Yet one rarely comes across left-wing denunciations of Senator Robert Byrd, who got his start in politics by organizing for the Klan (see this Washington Post story).

I will grant Democrats a courtesy that the Wege does not reciprocate for Republicans: I do not believe that the failure of most Democrats to denounce the continued presence of this despicable character in the United States Senate proves that they are all racists. However, I do believe that it proves that they are willing to overlook racism when it suits their partisan ends. Why were the so-called progressives perfectly willing to throw everything into a primary challenge to incumbent Joe Lieberman and not Robert Byrd? I can see two reasons (other than naked anti-semitism):

1) Byrd votes the way they like.

2) They know that the Democrats would keep the Connecticut seat no matter the candidate, but thought that the West Virginia seat was vulnerable without Byrd.

I guess the ends justify the racist.

So Wege, do you have the nads to go all out in opposing the Senator Byrd? It is too late now for a primary challenge and Byrd has a huge lead in the polls, but you and your allies can put pressure on the Democratic leadership to strip Byrd of his seniority and even refuse to seat him in the Senate. Republicans were quick to denounce Trent Lott and strip him of his Senate leadership position on a lesser offense than founding a Klan chapter – and rightly so. We will see whether the Wege is a man of principal or a merely another Democrat who abhors racism only when it suits his partisan end.


Anonymous John F Not Kerry said...

"We will see whether the Wege is a man of principal or a merely another Democrat who abhors racism only when it suits his partisan end."

I will not be holding my breath.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Swiftee said...

The wedge really enjoys typing "n*gger" and is always on the alert for any opportunity to engage his fetish.

I'm guessing he especially appreciates seeing it written by someone else (it leaves both his hands free)...happy to have made your evening a romantic one wedge.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Norwegianity said...

Your post did none of the high-minded things you've suggested here or in my comments. Your post mocked "political correctness" and failed to acknowledge that "macaca" is, in some parts of the world, "the" n-word for that region.

You are now trying to make this about something else. My post was an off-hand jab that took no more effort than you put into your post. Was I fair? No. Why, should I have been?

Calling someone a "macaca" is not a joke, and neither was your post. If this is the discussion you wished to have, you went about it in a very odd way. If you want to talk seriously about race and Robert Byrd, do so. I'm sure lots of folks are dying to rehash sixty-year-old racist family histories, especially when the sinner in question reformed nearly ten years before Mississippians tortured Emmett Till to death.

The right has scapegoated Robert Byrd for being what most Dixie racists aren't: modern day Republicans. He stayed with the Democrats instead of following the race hate to the GOP because he has outgrown his misinformed youth and less than enlightened earlier years in Congress. Would I like to replace him with a better Democrat? Sure, but as it stands he is certainly no worse than Trent Lott, George Allen or Conrad Burns, and just isn't very high on my list of priorities.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Sisyphus said...

The trouble with satire is that it is easy for people to miss the point. That is the risk those of us who attempt it have to take. If we explain in detail our point, satire loses its bite. In this case I thought it was important enough to write a separate post explaining my point in more detail.

I now see that Norwegianity still has failed to understand my point, although his comment proves it: Democrats are hypocritical when it comes to race. Robert Byrd gets a free pass because staying in the Democratic party proves that he has reformed (I’m sure political opportunism had nothing to do with it). Republicans are automatically racist; all you have to do is decode the codewords to "prove" it.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Norwegianity said...

Jeezus. You fabricate a post that mocks Democrats for being sensitive to race which implicitly defends George Allen by its very nature. I satirize you and suddenly it's all about Robert Byrd.

This is beyond PC: before I can criticize your kid glove treatment of Allen apparently I must first address your subsequent points on Robert Byrd which weren't made until AFTER I had satirized your Allen post.

So here, let me jump through your hoop:

For my part I have made it quite clear that I am not a Robert Byrd fan, but apparently I have insufficiently denounced him. Let me try again and maybe this time I will accomplish your new goal of helping everyone to forget about your initial comments.

I Mark "The Wege" Gisleson renounce Robert Byrd, all his works and all his ways. I shit in his face. He is a former Klansman and has done bad things. Unlike ALL of his peers, he refused to go along with Nixon's Southern Strategy and instead of hauling his sorry racist ass into the Republican party along with Strom and Trent and all the other southern-fried racist coalition-building turds, Byrd remained in the Democratic party and sits there to this day, stinking just like Strom Thurmond did.

Now, care to get back to your original point which I believe was something along the lines of liberals having problems with words that have offensive meanings? Or is there another after-the-fact rhetorical hoop I have to jump through before you'll take a hard look at your own writing and defense-by-misdirection of Allen's racist name-calling.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Sisyphus said...

Now, was that so hard? Just append that to all of your future posts. Maybe next we'll get you to denounce the anti-Semites on your side too.

To return the favor, I denounce Trent Lott and Strom Thurmond and place George Allen on double-secret probation.

Unfortunately, I am a little busy today and won't have time to go into much depth with respect to the original question, but I will say this:

Actually, I am not against political correctness. It is simply common decency not to offend someone unnecessarily. George Allen offended common decency by calling someone “Macaca” when the English language provides plenty of other terms that are unequivocally polite that may be used to refer to someone.

But it is also an affront to common decency to go out of one’s way to deconstruct or decode someone’s comments looking for any possible way to take offense, not out of a regard for common decency, but as a way to score partisan points. Needless to say liberals rarely place their allies under such scrutiny.

I chose to go after the latter in my post rather than the former. Allen’s lack of courtesy was criticized in many places (go back and read some of the posts in the Corner from that day). I felt that satirizing those scrambling for Portuguese dictionaries looking for ways to be offended was reasonable (although I admit not very funny or effective) and did not think that it implied approval of Allen’s actions.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Swiftee said...

Suggested top 11.

Top 11 toys MG uses to titilate himself while writing racist garbage:

10...6...4...1: His Mega Nipple Stimulator..."Comes with batteries already installed!"

Guess that's important when you're a bum.

Hahaha...What a piece of work!

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The big question for Wege is does he have the NADS to put his life on the line for the revolution still?

2:23 PM  

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