Buchanan, Kristol, Hannity and those ungrateful negroes: a banner month in race relations

I guess there’s probably nothing Earth-shattering about revelations that FOX News “journalist” Sean Hannity was BFFs with a white supremacist. I mean, even if you don’t expect it, it’s not the sort of information that’s going to turn your whole worldview upside-down, you know?

But the latest screed from Pat Buchanan almost buckles the knees. We don’t exactly look to Pat for enlightened thinking on race or, well, on anything. But even by his standards these March 21 comments are barely to be believed.

Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America.

Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.

This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks — with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas — to advance black applicants over white applicants.

Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

Goddamned ungrateful negroes.

Fortunately, Dave Neiwert has some lucid thoughts on the subject.

Damn, I’m sure most black people forgot to be grateful for segregation, the lynching era, sundown towns, and the continuing discrimination they face both in employment and in residence.

And Pam Spaulding notes the willful hatefulness required to so badly distort the Obama speech in question.

How could people like Buchanan listen to the same speech and walk away with this level of vitriol in their heart and purposeful ignorance of history? Our country suffers an incredible sickness when it comes to race relations. The point of Obama’s speech is that we all have work to do, and share responsibility in opening up an adult dialog. The above does nothing to advance understanding, and shows no desire to do so either.

As I say, Buchanan is a known quantity, although his 2006 book, State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, suggests that maybe he’s slipping even deeper into the clutches of the racist pathology that now define his public persona.

In fact, the book reflects racial views that have now veered to the extreme. White America is changing color, Buchanan argues — “one of the greatest tragedies in human history.” The Mexican government is involved in a plot to take over the Southwestern United States, and parts of this country already look like the “Third World.” America, despite what its founders wrote, was a nation formed not on the basis of creed but rather a homogenous ethnic culture. To put it plainly, State of Emergency is a white nationalist tract. The thesis is that America must retain a white majority to survive as a nation. It is rooted in a blood-and-soil nationalism that is more blood than soil. The echoes of Nazi ideology are clear and chilling. As Buchanan helpfully explained to John King, who was interviewing him in one of his several CNN appearances: “We gotta get into race and ethnic questions.”

Another non-role model, Bill Kristol, had this to say on the subject in his NY Times column yesterday.

The last thing we need now is a heated national conversation about race.

What we need instead are sober, results-oriented debates about economics, social mobility, education, family policy and the like — focused especially on how to help those who are struggling. Such policy debates can lead to real change — even “change we can believe in.” “National conversations” tend to be pointless and result-less.

Or worse. Especially when they’re about race. In 1969, Pat Moynihan, then serving on Richard Nixon’s White House staff, wrote Nixon a memo explaining that “the issue of race could benefit from a period of ‘benign neglect.’ The subject has been too much talked about. … We may need a period in which Negro progress continues and racial rhetoric fades.” Moynihan, who was reacting against the wild escalation of racial rhetoric on all sides, was unfairly pilloried when the memo was leaked in 1970. But he was right then, and his argument is right now.

There are perhaps multiple ways of reading Kristol’s remarks, and his well-established track record as a reactionary hack might lead us to cast them in the worst possible light. But let’s take him at his word for the moment.

If he’s saying that we need deeds, not more empty rhetoric, it’s hard to argue. America needs to put its race troubles to bed, and we’ll never get there without informed, actionable policy that removes racial and class dynamics from our national opportunity equation. Show, don’t tell, I always say.

But let’s note two things. First, he seems to be calling for debates, not action. I’ve never been one to disparage the value of an intelligent, good-faith debate, but it’s 2008, not 1958. Don’t we know enough about what drives race and class-based inequality in the US to suggest that the debate has been had and won and it’s now time to move forward into the action phase? Also, don’t thoughtful progressives have good reason to be suspicious of the word “debate” when it comes from the hard right? Is Kristol calling for a real debate, or is he proposing a rigged quagmire along the lines of a “global warming debate” or a “creationism debate”?

Second, where does the halfwitted idea come from that “national conversation” and “informed debate” (or “actionable policy”) are mutually exclusive things? Mr. Kristol, this isn’t an either/or, it’s a both/and. We should stop talking about race when it ceases to have relevance in the conduct of our collective social life and not a second before. The conversation, the debate and the action should, and must, occur together, with each informing and correcting the other.

It’s instructive that Kristol, when he needed an example of what he stands for, invoked the Nixon White House. Nixon’s march to Washington, of course, hinged on the race-baiting, divide-and-conquer campaign we now know as the Southern Strategy. And his solution, such as it is, eschews both hard action and Obama’s call for thoughtful discussion in favor of a “debate,” which we know from experience means “a gamed process used to forestall progress.”

In what way have Kristol, Buchanan and their ideological allies moved America closer to a solution for the racism endemic in our political, economic and social systems? And where they’re concerned, what reason do we have to believe that the future holds something different from the past?

Right. Moving on…

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18 thoughts on “Buchanan, Kristol, Hannity and those ungrateful negroes: a banner month in race relations”

  1. Pingback: www.buzzflash.net
  2. Pat, this may be considered ‘low brow’ humor but it speaks volumes of truth ..
    ———————————

    News Alert: Obama just took a big dump.

    In an unprecedented move only equaled by his last damage control speech… I mean “The Speech of the Century”, Obama dropped a big turd on the stage floor. He did it with the backdrop of 10 American flags to prove his patriotism.

    Politico reports: Response to the turd has been overwhelming!

    Obama supporters are calling it a ‘home run’

    ‘Still steamy’ cried one ObamaBot hungry for change

    ‘Very Presidential’ said another supporter. I almost wept…

    Nancy Pelosi again trying to make up rules as to how the super delegates should vote said the Clintons would be ‘stealing’ the nomination unless it was based on who used the most corn for texture.

    Obama sighted a heart-felt similar story from his youth. I remember the first time I got diarrhea. My grandmother tried to scare me by saying I was melting.

    In what has been characterized as clearly racist statement, Sean Hannity said he didn’t like it too much.

    Bill Richardson was seen at Taco Bell wolfing down bean burritos in order to squeeze out a turd of vice presidential caliber.

    Geraldine Ferraro again attacked – He is just ~lucky~ to have irritable bowel syndrome

    The nerd community was disappointed. They heard about Klingons but then found out the turd was not a clean snap.

    Senator Clinton was joking that the media should put it on a pillow but was shocked when she saw Copper Anderson and Keith Olbermann roll up their suit coats to make it comfortable

    Obama supports were going to move it to Washington among other national treasures but unfortunately Oprah thought it was chocolate ice cream and ate it.

  3. What interests me is the fact that stats on African-Americans are often less eye-popping than stats on Irish, Italian, and even Jewish immigrants (although stats from those eras are unreliable and may understate substantially).

    I did a paper a long time ago on vigilante justice in the US, and what surprised me was to learn that Irish gangs, Italian gangs and the US Mafia, and Jewish gangs were all vigilante efforts and, in that sense, had much in common with the Ku Klux Klan. The issue in all cases was the sense that their ‘group” could not receive justice, so they made their own justice. In the KKK’s case, the idea of justice was distorted. But in the case of the Irish, Italians, and Jewish immigrants, justice was quite literally denied them in most cases, whether that be justice in the courts or simply day-to-day justice of having a shot a decent jobs, decent housing, or what have you.

    Those other groups assimilated into mainstream US culture because their offspring acquired local accents and because they didn’t look very different from everyone else. They were allowed to assimilate. African-Americans have not been allowed to assimilate in many cases, though it has gotten better. Unfortunately, this is a group in which many people no longer believe justice is possible for them.

    Reading Pat Buchanan is not going to change their minds.

  4. What’s the difference between a “white nationalist” and a white supremacist?

    Beyond that, Buchannan is clearly upset that blacks don’t have more regard for the “shelters” white America has provided for them. Maybe Buchannan thinks of blacks as America’s pets, right along with dogs and cats?

  5. That Dave Neiwert quote pretty much sums up my feelings on the situation. Good thing Pat Buchanan has stepped in to provide us with the batshit craziness so clearly missing from this election season.

  6. The only thing they fear more than the Mud people is that somebody might be getting something for nothing. Thanks for citing and quoting my friend Alex Zaitchik’s work.

  7. This excellent discussion sort of renders my musings on Obama and Wright and McCain and Hagee kind of redundant – or does it…?

    Maybe we’re reaching a tipping point where the race hatreds that the Republicans have cultivated since the days of Nixon are about to bear terrible fruit.

  8. Did Pat’s family get ‘brought’from somewhere too? Hope he’s appropiately grateful.
    Does he really believe that this country set up Welfare, food stamps, section eight or any other benefit program on black people’s account? He is apparently no historian. No benefit programs were started in America until the needs of white people were recognized.

  9. All the benefit programs Buchanan refers to are benefits for the POOR. The white reletives I have who used these programs including WIC ,which he didn’t mention, aren’t black people last time I looked.

  10. This is about the only time I agree with Pat but he told the truth. There are million’s more spent on black’s than they contribute and white men are discriminated against more than anyone especially in the work force

  11. yeah, well, regarding the previous;
    “The last thing we need now is a heated national conversation about race.”
    because that will make it harder to insult black people and get away with it.

    different topic:
    It was bad enough before Obama’s speech, but afterwards, if there are still folks who think “I’m not against a black president, but we need one who’s less angry at white people than this guy”, just who the hell are they waiting for? “this Jesus fellow is just not presidential material; there was that radical violence with the moneychangers you know” And i say that as somebody who’s not particularly an obama supporter, though i think he would be a fine president if he gets elected.

  12. If America needs a discussion about race, it has to be over whether we believe in integration or multiculturalism. I think that the current stalemate over race relations is the result of being caught between these two positions. If you suggest that we need to integrate you are accused of being culturally insensitive, if you allow racial and ethnic groups to remain distinct you are accused of racism. So are we attempting to integrate racial groups into so-called “mainstream” American culture, or are we allowing “cultural diversity”? If the later, are we prepared to allow homophobia, sexism, and other cultural practices we consider abhorent in the name of “cultural diversity”? Or are we going to be in the absurd position of allowing cultural diversity as long as as there is no homophobia, sexism, animal cruelty, etc, i.e., diversity is fine as long as everyone behaves the same? These are the question a national dialogue on race needs to address.

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