This is a beautifully-written observation about a recent column from National Review contributor, Quin Hillyer. It’s a great read, and I’d like to expound on some of what the author, Jonathan Chait, says.
In the article, he points to this offending quote from Hillyer:
“Every time decent people think the scandals and embarrassments circling Barack Obama will sink this presidency, we look up and see Obama still there — chin jutting out, countenance haughty, voice dripping with disdain for conservatives — utterly unembarrassed, utterly undeterred from any assertion of power he thinks he can get away with, tradition and propriety and the Constitution be damned. The man has no shame, no self-doubt, not a shred of humility, no sense that anybody else has legitimate reason to question him or hold any other point of view.”
This excerpt really struck a chord for me because I actually so strongly relate to it. I remember feeling this way throughout George W. Bush’s presidency. I remember clenching my jaw through eight years of his dumbuckery. I felt this way after he lied us into war, bumbled Katrina. I remember thinking “Finally! The people will get it. They’ll see what a dumb, horrible man this is.”
I see Sarah Palin, the Fox News crew and various teabagging Repubicans being mocked relentlessly the “The Daily Show, “ “Colbert,” “SNL” and the late night shows. I keep thinking that at some point some of these psychotic asshole morons will feel a modicum of shame or remorse. That they’ll finally learn some humility. That they’ll understand the error of their ways. But they never do. So I suppose I share Quin Hillyer’s frustration, in a way.
Moving on, Chait says this:
“Before plunging further into a poisonously defensive racial debate, I should note that I feel certain Hillyer opposes slavery and legal segregation, and highly confident he abhors racial discrimination, and believes in his heart full economic and social equality for African-Americans would be a blessing.”
I disagree with Chait here because I’m not at all sure that Hillyer believes these things. It’s hard to believe that full equality for Blacks would be a blessing if you feel like that wish has already been fulfilled. And it’s quite clear that Hillyer and his ilk think that racism is some silly annoyance that only exists in our foggy memories, like, say super-huge boxy cell phones. Furthermore, to the Hillyers of the world, racism doesn’t exist in any form outside of concrete acts of terrorism. So, if you’re a bigot, but you’re not lynching someone as I write this, that means liberals are the real racists.
This may seem like faulty math to you, but it’s the only math conservatives know. And any discussion of the more ephemeral but institutional racism that persists today means that liberals are “obsessed” with race.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s really swell that some of the mouthbreathers wearing racist t-shirts and brandishing racist signs are (sometimes) asked to leave teabagging events. And it’s marvipoo that NRO has fired…two?…unabashedly racist writers (at last count). But at what point will it not make me the real racist to ask: Why do so many racists feel so at home in the Republican party (and conservative movement)?
May I ask that question now? Or will I be accused of being “obsessed with race?” It’s a conversation-stopper. Or at least it’s intended to be–the “you’re the real racist, nanny nanny boo” charge. But I’m happy to be charged with it. Honestly, I don’t mind being accused of being obsessed with race. I’m ok with being obsessed with race. I’m not ok with being racist.