Thursday, February 15, 2007

Send in the clowns

Actually, the clowns are already here.

Where do I start with the week's recap of bigotry? Well, you may remember Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), the immigrant and Muslim hater. He's back. In the midst of the House debate on the Iraq war resolution (not an ACLU issue), Goode said
supporting the anti-escalation resolution would "aid and assist the Islamic jihadists who want the crescent and star to wave over the Capitol of the United States and over the White House of this country." Moreover, he said, "I fear that radical Muslims who want to control the Middle East and ultimately the world would love to see 'In God We Trust' stricken from our money and replaced with 'In Muhammad We Trust.'"

Then there's Senator Barack Obama, who took shots this week that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann described as "sleek racism" from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Fox News' hilarious new yuk-yuk show The 1/2 Hour News Hour.
So are we to conclude here that he didn't define himself as black, that the way he looks does? (Sigh.) Okay. We’ve got Obama's wife in here. We've got John Howard from Australia coming up, but, "I'm not sure I decided it"? Well, if you didn't decide it, then how did it happen?

Well, when you look like that, that's what you are.

Well, renounce it, then! If it's not something you want to be, if you didn't decide it, renounce it, become white!


RUSH: Okay, back to our Barack Obama Audio Sound Bite Marathon. What are we up to now? Let's see. Oh, yeah. Obama just said he wasn't sure that he decided he was black, that if you look African-American in this society, you're treated as an African-American, and when you're a child in particular that's how you begin to identify yourself. If you don't like it, you can switch. Well, that's the way I see it. He's got 50-50 in there. Say, "No, I'm white."

I was driving in today, and I was seeing -- because I saw this piece with him on 60 Minutes -- and I thought to myself, he is -- he's very white in many ways.


BECK: And I thought to myself: Gee, can I even say that? Can I even say that without somebody else starting a campaign saying, "What does he mean, 'He's very white?' " He is. He's very white.

And the comedians at Fox News:
But in a shocking (to use one of FNC's favorite terms) contrast to Joseph Biden's controversial remarks about Obama being clean, FOX joked about a new magazine called "BO, Barack Obama magazine." With video.

But bigotry isn't just for the racists. No, sirree, the homophobes had to have their turn.

Retired NBA star Tim Hardaway, in response to the coming out of former NBA player John Amaechi:
"First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team," the former Miami Heat star said. "And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that is right. I don't think he should be in the locker room while we are in the locker room."

When show host Dan Le Batard told Hardaway those comments were "flatly homophobic" and "bigotry," the player continued.

"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people," he said. "I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

The NBA removed Hardaway from its upcoming All-Star festivities this weekend.

And no lineup of hate would be complete without yet another visit by Fred Phelps to Pennsylvania, who visited us last weekend when York Suburban High School did a production of The Laramie Project. Thankfully, the community responded with a rousing reception for the play and more than 100 counter protesters.

Of course, as defenders of free speech, we support the right of these people to say these things. And we will use that same right to say loud and clear that no one deserves to be hated or intimidated on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation (among other things).

Now, I want to believe that this is the sound made by a dying animal. But today I was in a meeting that I regularly attend and learned that membership in "white supremacist" groups has gone up markedly in the last year. The reason, according to the person presenting the information, is the volatile debate over immigration.

We have come a long way, but there is still plenty of work to be done.

Andy in Harrisburg

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