Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Read: The Howls of a Fading Species

From: "moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG" <moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG>
Sent: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 9:40:18 PM
Subject: The Howls of a Fading Species

The Howls of a Fading Species

By Bob Herbert

New York Times - June 1, 2009

One can only hope that the hysterical howling of right-
wingers against the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to
the Supreme Court is something approaching a death
rattle for this profoundly destructive force in
American life.

It's hard to fathom the heights of hypocrisy currently
being scaled by the foaming-in-the-mouth crazies who
are leading the charge against the nomination. Newt
Gingrich, who never needed a factual basis for his
ravings, rants on Twitter that Judge Sotomayor is a
"Latina woman racist," apparently unaware of his
incoherence in the "Latina-woman" redundancy in this
defamatory characterization.

Karl Rove sneered that Ms. Sotomayor was "not
necessarily" smart, thus managing to get the toxic
issue of intelligence into play in the case of a woman
who graduated summa cum laude from Princeton, went on
to get a law degree from Yale and has more experience
as a judge than any of the current justices had at the
time of their nominations to the court.

It turns the stomach. There is no level of achievement
sufficient to escape the stultifying bonds of bigotry.
It is impossible to be smart enough or accomplished

The amount of disrespect that has spattered the
nomination of Judge Sotomayor is disgusting. She is
spoken of, in some circles, as if she were the lowest
of the low. Rush Limbaugh - now there's a genius! - has
compared her nomination to a hypothetical nomination of
David Duke, a former head of the Ku Klux Klan. "How can
a president nominate such a candidate?" Limbaugh asked.

Ms. Sotomayor is a member of the National Council of La
Raza, the Hispanic civil rights organization. In the
crazy perspective of some right-wingers, the mere
existence of La Raza should make decent people run for
cover. La Raza is "a Latino K.K.K. without the hoods
and the nooses," said Tom Tancredo, a Republican former
congressman from Colorado.

Here's the thing. Suddenly these hideously pompous and
self-righteous white males of the right are all
concerned about racism. They're so concerned that
they're fully capable of finding it in places where it
doesn't for a moment exist. Not just finding it, but
being outraged by it to the point of apoplexy. Oh, they
tell us, this racism is a bad thing!

Are we supposed to not notice that these are the
tribunes of a party that rose to power on the filthy
waves of racial demagoguery. I don't remember hearing
their voices or the voices of their intellectual heroes
when the Republican Party, as part of its Southern
strategy, aggressively courted the bigots who fled the
Democratic Party because the Democrats had become
insufficiently hostile to blacks.

Where were the howls of outrage at this strategy that
was articulated by Lee Atwater as follows: "By 1968,
you can't say `nigger' - that hurts you. Backfires. So
you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights, and
all that stuff."

Never a peep did you hear.

Where were the right-wing protests when Ronald Reagan
went out of his way to kick off his general election
campaign in 1980 with a salute to states' rights in, of
all places, Philadelphia, Miss., not far from the site
where three young civil rights workers had been
snatched and murdered by real-life, rabid, blood-
thirsty racists?

We've heard ad nauseam Ms. Sotomayor's comments -
awkwardly stated but hardly racist - about what she
brings to the bench as a Latina. But how often have we
ever heard the awful, hateful position on race offered
up by William F. Buckley, the right's ultimate
intellectual champion? He felt comfortable declaring,
in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education decision
ordering the desegregation of public schools, that
whites had every right to discriminate against blacks
because whites belonged to "the advanced race."

Right-wing howls of protest? I think not.

Ms. Sotomayor's nomination is a big deal because never
before in the history of the United States has any
president nominated a Latina to the highest court. Only
two blacks have ever been on the court, and the one
selected by a Republican has been like a thumb in the
eye to most African-Americans.

The court is a living monument to America's long
history of exclusion based on race, ethnic background
and gender. Where is the right-wing protest against

It was always silly to pretend that the election of
Barack Obama was evidence that the U.S. was moving into
some sort of post-racial, post-ethnic, post-gender
nirvana. But it did offer a basis for optimism. There
is every reason to hope that we've improved as a
society to the point where the racial and ethnic
craziness of the Gingriches and Limbaughs will finally
have a tough time finding any sort of foothold.

Those types can still cause a lot of trouble, but the
ridiculousness of their posture is pretty widely
recognized. Thus the desperate howling.


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Peter S. Lopez ~aka: Peta
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