Up from the Woodwork

Posted on August 23, 2010

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Please read Glenn Greenwald’s excellent piece about the importance of confronting the bigotry on display yesterday at the “anti-mosque” rally. As he astutely points out, these hate-migrations are not just sideshows better left ignored. They are the real engine that drives political strategies designed to disenfranchise the very people whose hatred they enable. And, of course, the rest of us.

I’d rather pity these ignorant, brainless schlubs. But I have to be honest, that that’s an emotion 180 degrees opposite from what I feel when I watch spectacles like this. In fact,  such rallies are why it’s so easy for first generation immigrants and their families to, in return, hate Americans. If you want to see a recruitment video for so-called “radical Islam”, as well as general “radical” antagonism towards Americans–especially Anglo Americans—at home and abroad, take a look ta this video:

In an amazing feat of negligible self-awareness, someone in the crowd that just happily harassed an African-American because they believe he’s Muslim says “they’re going to try to make us look like we’re a bunch of racists…it’s not happening, not happening.”

That’s what makes this movement so attractive to angry people with ambient grudges. They offer minimal investment of intellectual energy, allowing people to use the essentialist logic they learned in Disney cartoons when they were a child. Good guy, white; bad guy, dark.  In return for coming out and embarrassing their children, right wing hate-mongers offer these people the fruits of bigotry. The last added feature, the aperitif that brings the meal together, is the  power, amplified by right-wing media, to simultaneously claim to be oppressed victims who are poorly understood by unjust elites who represent shadowy groups of swarthy, mean-spirited foreigners. That’s what the right-wing is selling this election cycle. And they’re lining up around the block for second-helpings.