Calhoun’s Can(n)ons for July 30, 2010
O.K., America, are we done yet? Embarrassing. That’s what it’s getting to be – Embarrassing. Throwing our little tantrums right there in the middle of the world with all the neighbors watching. It’s alright. Mother Calhoun understands. We fell asleep at the wheel, fell in love with a false Wall Street siren song of trickle down wealth when what was really going on was a wholesale 20-year trickle up national asset-stripping and generalized looting. Some made out like bandits; the rest got the shaft. It was a repeat of an old familiar, boom and bust American tale.
Then there was Osama bin Laden. He understood how easy it would be to ju-jitsu America into destroying ourselves. 9/11 scared us silly and in that fearful state it was so easy to lose our bearings and get buffaloed and conned and demagogued into disastrous decisions. And then the whole house of cards crumbled. And our usual default, knee-jerk reaction showed up right on schedule: xenophobic, race-baiting idiocy fueled by self-serving politicians and special interests that benefit from divide and conquer.
In flush times, nobody complained about the illegal Mexican in the kitchen washing up the pots and pans. Or picking carrots. Or minding the baby. But come hard times, the Mexican in the kitchen serves as a useful political tool for pandering politicians. And so we see Arizona pilloried and praised for trying to solve a problem that nobody wanted to deal with, in part because it was thick-laden with an ugly subtext: How do you track down and get rid of illegal Mexicans without looking like you’re tracking down and getting rid of all Mexicans? That racial profiling subtext was simply too toxic to deal with in a sensible way.
Especially a racial subtext that had already been stirred up by the election of a black man, followed by the astro-turf, corporate-lobbyist-created “Tea Party,” with tea partiers showing up wearing guns and carrying posters of President Obama with a wooly Afro and a bone through his nose. Racist? Who, us?
And once again history repeated: a fearful, economically hammered populace out of which oozes the dark ugly stuff of our history. Aided and abetted by a corporate media that has utterly failed to understand even basic Journalism 101, bat-shit crazy right-wing punditry, and the changing demographics of this country. Notes Cesar Perales, president of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, “Large numbers of Latinos, particularly darker-skinned Latinos, [are] coming into the country . . . [And] having a black president makes it worse because that is evidence to [many] Americans that their world has changed.”
Toss in wholly owned corporate politicians who get political mileage from stirring that dark divide-and-conquer pool of racial fear with one hand while denying its existence with a straight face and you have the set-up for the latest drive-by shooting du jour: Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart (already on record as wanting to destroy “liberals,” whatever that means), took comments made by Shirley Sherrod totally out of context, the bat-shit-crazy right wing ran with the fake narrative, the White House administration, apparently terrified of bat-shit-crazy Glen Beck, fired her without question, the mainstream media ran with that story until the truth finally came out but by then it was too late. Poor Shirley was already road-kill in an ugly, but historically familiar American narrative: In hard times, the dark, night spirit of the KKK rides free while we cower in fear and nightmare anger until our better natures wake up and we come out of our houses and into the light of day to send the uglier parts of our natures and history back into the darkness.
And ask ourselves and one another: Jeesh! What were we thinking?
And so the Question: Are we done yet, America? Do we understand that we’ve finally lost our marbles and have jumped the shark? Are we now ready to take a deep breath and get a grip and get down to work with clearer eyes? Good.
Meantime, this snippet from the L.A. Times: “The Republican National Committee has invited conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart to participate in a private GOP fundraiser in Beverly Hills with party Chairman Michael Steele next month.”
Ah, well. Lay down with dawgs, git up with fleas. The only question here is, Will this bunch once again end up in that weird S&M whip-kitty Hollywood night club stuffing hundred dollar bills into the dancers’ butt-thongs while swilling down champagne and then send the bill to the RNC? Oh, Mother Calhoun hopes so.