A SPLENDID LITTLE RACE WAR
In response to Rush Limbaugh's take on the school-bus incident in Belleville, Illinois ("It's Obama's America, is it not? Obama's America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now"), Rod Dreher, writing from the right, says:
...if the Limbaughs of the world are going to be doing this kind of thing, and trying to blame, with no logical grounds whatsoever, a black president for black-on-white violence, and if they're going to do this in an increasingly hysterical atmosphere of protest against that black president, I don't want to talk about these things at all. Now is not the time. With this kind of inflammatory rhetoric, they are quite simply tearing the country apart.
Where do they think this is going to go?
Where? Well, it certainly isn't going to go anyplace bad, is it, in Limbaugh's eyes? It could become a war -- so what? It's just like a foreign war -- what could go wrong?
I think Limbaugh's racism is deep-rooted, yet I also think this new racial rabble-rousing -- on Limbaugh's part and on the part of Beck and the rest of the Murdoch media and all the others -- is deeply cynical. Its primary near-term goal is winning back the House for the GOP by increasing the anti-Obama turnout among racist and racially suspicious members of the white population.
If starting a race war seems to Limbaugh et al. to be the most effective means to that end, well, they're going to have the same reaction that they had to the Bush administration's saber-rattling: War is like Hollywood war! In a Hollywood war, once the people deemed the good guys start fighting, only bad guys get hurt, until ass is kicked and glorious victory is achieved!
Among Limbaugh and his allies, I don't know which ones would take simple racist satisfaction from a brutal pogrom or even ethnic cleansing of America's non-whites and which ones hope only that the "bad" non-whites, the Van Joneses and the Barack Obamas, are brought low, violently or nonviolently. But hardly any of them ever saw war or even stateside violence firsthand; they can't even imagine that a race war would do harm in any way even to people they'd deem innocent.
On his deathbed not too many years ago, a relative of mine confessed to having been part of a white lynch mob in the 1930s, which strung up a black man after he was caught having sex with a white woman. She accused him of rape. The sheriff led the lynch mob. There was no need for a trial; what a black man did to a white woman was considered so horrifying that nobody could wait for a trial and a verdict. After the black man was murdered, the guilt-stricken white woman confessed that the man had been her lover, and she called him a rapist to protect her honor.
None of us ever knew this about my kinsman, until in his dying days, he admitted it because it tortured him. It had been on his heart all his life. I pray that his repentance in the face of eternity helped him find mercy. It unnerved me, though, to think that that kindly old man had once fallen under the sway of race hatred to that degree, a race hatred that was part of the society into which he was born and raised. It still does, because that world seems like a thousand years ago. But it only seems so far away because many people worked too hard -- and some even gave their lives -- to drive those demons out. And now here is Limbaugh, of Palm Beach, and his ilk, calling them back insouciantly, for political advantage. This is evil.
But Limbaugh and his ilk can't imagine that, because they were never on either side of a real race war, and they're constitutionally lacking in the empathy that would allow them to imagine what one would be like.
In this as in foreign adventurism, they're chickenhawks.
Sorry -- I should have held this post for a while to give aimai's latest post a bit of breathing room.