Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Herbert's "Howls of a Fading Species"

I have a morning routine which includes doing the crossword puzzle and suduko in the LA Times, scanning a few local papers and then going to the NY Times to look at the Op-Ed page.  Yesterday morning I read Frank Rich's op-ed piece which Grandmère Mimi so ably commented on yesterday called Whose Fault, Dick.  As I was going to sleep I thought of George Lakoff's book, "Don't think of an elephant." The words people use makes a big difference and the political and religious right have gotten used to hijacking the debate with their inflamatory words.

I mentioned in a post a few weeks back how it takes a lot more positives to overcome a single negative.  I quoted from The Atlantic article on the Grant Study. Negative words, ideas, and emotions are useful in the short term because they elicit our basic need for survival.  Positive words, ideas and emotions are more useful in the long haul.  However there is the right time to fight fire with fire.

If what we focus on becomes our reality, as the Appreciative Inquiry folk tell us, then those who focus on the words of the likes of Cheney, Rove, Gingrich and Limbaugh will continue the insane craziness going on in our country, blaming the current administration for the actions of the last and trying to pull us back into the darkness of those eight years.

Today's NY Times op-ed piece by Bob Herbert called "The Howls of a Fading Species" continues the criticism of the right.   He takes on Gingrich, Rove, and Limbaugh and their despicable attacks on the Supreme Court Nominee, Sonia Sotomayor including calling her things like  "not necessarily smart" and a racist.  In Herbert's words:
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 enough.

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.
I do like the way Herbert uses their kind of words against them, even though it undermines my argument for the positive. Sometimes, I just get angry, too.  I have bolded the ones I found particularly apt. 
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.

I recommend you read the whole column.  Herbert ends with: "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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