In a rather curious and confused way, some white people are starting almost to think like a minority, even like a persecuted one. What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? Who wakes up believing that there is no appreciation for our veterans and our armed forces and that without a noisy speech from Sarah Palin, their sacrifice would be scorned? It's not unfair to say that such grievances are purely and simply imaginary, which in turn leads one to ask what the real ones can be. The clue, surely, is furnished by the remainder of the speeches, which deny racial feeling so monotonously and vehemently as to draw attention.
There’s nothing in the world more tired than a progressive blogger like me flipping out over the latest idiocies emanating from the Fox News crowd. But this summer’s media hate-fest is different than anything we’ve seen before. What we’re watching is a calculated campaign to demonize blacks, Mexicans, and gays and convince a plurality of economically-depressed white voters that they are under imminent legal and perhaps even physical attack by a conspiracy of leftist nonwhites. They’re telling these people that their government is illegitimate and criminal and unironically urging secession and revolution.
Dennis G. is also correct about the Confederate implications underlying all this talk of "honor" that needs to be restored by Beck's overwhelmingly fishbelly-white faithful. And as I was just saying to Frequent Commenter Noel, one of the oddest things about it is watching how angrily these people deny being motivated by any sort of racial animus. Why do they even bother pretending? I've heard people call the cops on Latinos for sitting in a parking lot listening to music in their car, then "joke" with the cops about shooting them on sight, preferably before they cross the border (because they're all here illegally, of course). Me, I found it a little more threatening to my existential security to hear the cop respond, "I wish we could!" I know people who think all their taxes go toward providing welfare for people who are inevitably stereotyped as speaking with an Ebonics accent, for some reason. I hear them blame lower-middle-class blacks for the housing market crash, deride them for being too stupid to leave New Orleans ahead of Katrina, and obsess over ACORN supposedly committing massive voter fraud to get Obama elected. But don't dare suggest there's a common theme here. All I can honestly figure is that they think they deserve credit for tolerance by not literally lynching anyone or dragging them to death behind a pickup truck.
Hell, it's not even limited to race. I remember once laughing at someone who told me that if Hillary got elected, it would mean "the end of the white male!" She, of course, has long been accused of being a closeted lesbian, even as she was supposedly having an affair with Vince Foster, who she supposedly murdered, no doubt because he was going to reveal her clandestine clam-licking. (Or something. The mind reels trying to hold all this together in one coherent narrative.) I even heard someone just last week grousing about the New York Times fall fashion magazine, because it represents just one more way they glorify homosexuality in their quest to destroy the traditional family. It's got to be exhausting, seeing comic-book supervillains with plans for world domination and destruction lurking in every shadow.
It occurs to me that a simpler way to encapsulate the point Taibbi was making in that passage I've quoted a couple times before is to say that insecure people are simply compelled to pick fights in hopes of assuaging those fears. People who are confident in their abilities and their place don't constantly need to prove things to themselves. I don't think they "get off" on it, I don't think they want the neverending arguments; they're just slaves to their inchoate fears and unable to keep from lashing out. Maybe we need to stop wasting time trying to argue at all and just start slipping some pharmaceutical assistance into their drinks.