Before I saw it, I was reeling.
Rick Esenberg and others were pummeling me on Rick’s post and the comments. I was "lathered up", a "poor student of history", a purveyor of "vituperation", "the angriest white man in Milwaukee" (really!). I need to "take instruction", says the oh-so-presumptuous visiting assistant professor of law, who generally takes his instruction from the likes of fellow Federalist Society members, the WMC and others in the right-wing, business-side legal community. In the comments, I am "seriously unhinged", not to be "dealt with", not worthy of a discussion that would include intellectual heavyweights like George Mitchell and Dad29.
As I drafted a comment that maintained my vituperous facade, I was crumbling inside to think that I had not met the lofty standards of the nut-right Milwaukee commentariat. I was searching my soul – assuming I had one – wondering how I could question the assignation of leftist characteristics to Nazis, white supremacists and anti-choice murderers. My failure to see the obvious evil in Al Gore’s movie, the threats in (Sen.) Al Franken’s comedy routines, the depravity of Michael Moore’s documentaries – it was all too much for me. Of course! I see my folly now! Looking around the house to make sure no one else was paying attention, I turned to The O’Reilly Factor to begin my long-delayed re-education.
Then I saw this:
As the story goes, an executive assistant for the Republican caucus chair of the Tennessee State Senate circulated an e-mail with a .jpeg attachment of apparent great hilarity. Titled "Historical Keepsake Photo", the file was a compilation of images of every U.S. president. And there, in the 44th spot, instead of Barack Obama, was a racist image of a black face with spook eyes. The staffer who sent it out to at least 20 people around the statehouse "only felt bad about sending it to the wrong list of people".
You can bet that, since she didn’t claim to create it, this thing has been in thousands of willing e-mail boxes before it got to her, and was never disclosed. Why? Because the extent of hate, racial and otherwise, for President Obama lies barely under the surface in certain segments of our society. Those in the right-wing media know this and stoke the fires of anger by stirring the pot, every hour of every day. Their intentions are political – they hope to win with irrational hatred what they cannot by political argument. But the more immediate results of the dehumanization of the "enemy" and the taunting by the wing-nuts for the powerless to strike out are things like the murder of Dr. Tiller and the Holocaust Museum murder.
And, let’s not forget the comments on my own blog that I highlighted in a post earlier this week, relating to violence against the President himself:
Please SOMEBODY take Doyle and the Obomination out. A Clear MAJORITY of this country will cheer when that happens.
someone please shoot the nigger and his wife in the head!!! PLEASE ANYONE?
LMAO, his mellon will be split open with a assassins bullet sooner rather than later is my bet
Where is that crazy lone gunmen when we need one, that is hope and change I look forward to
I suppose Esenberg would try to excuse the racist photo and the cheering for the President’s assassination as the work of possibly leftist sentiments. Perhaps thinks he could dig up something from a Democratic staffer somewhere that is as blatantly racist (he’d be wrong) or find similarly offensive assassination encouragement, perhaps during the Bush disaster (he can't).
More likely, Rick would try to pooh-pooh the sources of the e-mail from the Republican staffer and the comments on my site as of insufficient status to matter, clearly not representative of clear Republican "thought". Perhaps not. But these are the targets of the mainstream right-wing mouthpieces that so foul our political discourse. These are the people they neither reject or discourage.
You’d think that after a few assassination shout-outs, some racist e-mails, a couple of murders and whatever else lurks beneath the dark underbelly of right-wing hate, a respectable guy like Esenberg might want to encourage the people on his side to take a pill and chill, maybe take a step back. Instead, he is the Apologist, making excuses for the worst of it, blaming it on a leftist perspective that doesn’t exist and trying to say that our side does the same, and worse.
Like the great Professor Kingsfield in The Paper Chase, Esenberg seeks to shroud me as so much insignificant piffle. "But the stone stupid enthusiasm for the idea that people like me encourage hate and murder has gotten to me," muses the professor in his comments. "It's made me question whether talking to these people is worthwhile." Yes, the ivory tower of Marquette University is no place for such uncomfortable thoughts. Let us put it out of our mind as we prepare for the next inevitable example of right-wing violence and racist hatred by repeating our mantra:
Not Our Fault....Not Our Fault...