Friday, September 7, 2012

Racist America

Cartoon by Carlos Latuff, originally published in Palestinian Think Tank, 2010.
There are one or two blogs I follow whose authors are American, and whose content generally I find to be insightful, intelligent and amusing.  Over the last six months, however, I have noticed a couple of things that have clearly stepped over the line as far as decency and fair political criticism is concerned.  Okay, I have been surprised to find that some of these people are Republicans, but I can live with that.  I can also live with the fact that some of those bloggers are at times irrationally critical of their President - not that I am by any stretch an Obama apologist.  All too often, however, I see criticism degenerate into the base and offensive realm of overt racism, and I can't help but wonder about any so-called 'gains' made in the post-MLK society of the United States.

As we see too often, political debate in the Western world (not monopolised by the US) devolves into childish name-calling, accusations of ineptitude that have no basis in reality, allegations of conspiracies that don't exist, the spreading of lies without recourse or responsibility and trial-by-media-interests.  There is no accountability for any side of the political spectrum as the system has become dominated by those who have the loudest voices.  In the US the Tea Party has assumed the role of the righteous Right indignants, screaming down any opponent with nonsensical and irrelevant ravings about debt, the economy, war, values and so on.  In Australia we have the dominant Right of the Liberal Party (O!  The irony!), headed by the insufferable, bumbling and semi-literate Tony Abbott, who very much follow the drivel of their American political cousins.  There is no debate of ideas, no attempt at philosophical reasoning, no focus on progression, problem-solving, peace or social welfare in the public arena.  What we get as voting adults is a low-grade pubescent debating match complete with name-calling and misinformation - and worse, as we see in Australia as well as the US, the degeneration into racist and sexist imagery.

Larry Pickering steeps to a new low.
The rubbish that I keep seeing about Obama is really starting to piss me off.  This has nothing to do with whether or not I agree with his politics.  Usually when I see any of the type of cartoons pictured above I do not respond or comment - their offensiveness is plain to all who have a functioning brain.  The time has come, though, to stand up to this kind of filth and decry it for what it really is:  unintelligent, base and inhuman attacks on democracy and a mockery of the values of free speech that we in the West prize so much.  It has become the last refuge of the scoundrel to fall back on the free-speech defence.  These types of attacks that summon ideals held dear by 19th Century imperialists and 20th Century fascists have no place in the modern world.  Whenever we see it, we must stand up to it, name it for the excrement and dumb propaganda that it is, and remind ourselves that the price of freedom is constant vigilance.

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