Reacting to the faux outrage on the part of conservatives in America that by denouncing a reckless anti-Islam film, President Obama was somehow abandoning the value of free speech, I wrote the following for Salon:
A month ago, when an armed man attacked the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., conservatives blamed the fact that the organization had been labeled a “hate group” for inciting the attack. Never mind that the hate group label was intended to condemn the sort of violence that the Family Research Council’s extreme homophobic vitriol encourages. Tony Perkins, head of the FRC, said that groups that labeled his organization a hate group should be “held accountable for their reckless use of terminology.”
But now, when an offensive anti-Islam film promoted by a right-wing Christian preacher is clearly to blame for violent riots spreading thought the Middle East and appeared to have played a role in the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, the far right in America is defending extremist rhetoric against Islam and attacking the Obama administration for condemning the inflammatory film.
I hope you’ll read the rest — and join me in marveling at the hypocrisy.
The always incredibly un-credible Ann Coulter has a new column out and it’s a doozy. Coulter argues that Democrats have historically been anti-gun rights because they have wanted to keep guns out of the hands of blacks who wished to defend themselves from the KKK (which, Coulter argues, began as part of the Democratic establishment). In her concoction column even claims that the National Rifle Association is “America’s oldest and most august civil rights organization.” That statement right there would give most reasonable people pause, but knowing how these sorts of crazy Right wing arguments tend to corrupt and corrode our public discourse, I thought a few facts would be in order:
1. Coulter’s celebrated Republicans are now called Democrats!
This has got to be a big face palm for anyone with even a lick of historical knowledge reading Coulter’s piece. Until the Civil War, the Democratic Party was the major political party in America. But in the mid 19th Century, anti-slavery Democrats fled the party and the Republican Party emerged. Abraham Lincoln, he of the Emancipation Proclamation and social liberal attitudes of the time with respect to abolishing slavery, was a Republican. White Southerners burning with racial resentment indeed backed the Democratic Party in Reconstruction. But then, as any eighth grader can tell you, as the 20th Century emerged, Republicans shifted to become the party of big business, white industrialists while Democrats became the party of the New Deal and Civil Rights legislation.
2. One can’t ascribe the attitudes of the 1800s racist Democratic Party to today’s Democratic Party
Yes, the so-called Democrats of the mid-1800s were rabidly racist and tied to the Ku Klux Klan. But given the profound ideological flip-flop between the two parties over the last two centuries, it’s about as absurd to attribute 1800s Democratic Party attitudes to today’s Democrats as it is to suggest that the Republican Party is “the Party of Lincoln”. If people like Ann Coulter are so damned proud of what anti-slavery Republicans stood for back then, why aren’t they standing up for those same values now?
3. The “civil rights hero” Coulter hangs her argument on exiled himself to Cuba and China and inspired the Black Panthers
This is the best part. Coulter writes about Robert F. Williams, author of the book “Negroes With Guns” (from which Coulter takes the title of her piece), who apparently formed the Black Armed Guard in Monroe, NC, with a charter from the NRA. In other words, ignoring about a hundred year gap in her narrative, Coulter tries to portray Williams as a Republican joining forces with the NRA to fight against the Democrats’ KKK. Ms. Coulter must not have known that one of Williams formative experiences was, at age 11, witnessing a black woman being dragged and beaten by a police officer named Jesse Helms, Sr. (father to future Republican Senator Jesse Helms, Jr.). And she must have missed the part where Williams delivered a speech at the 1965 International Conference for Solidarity with the People of Vietnam Against U.S. Imperialist Aggression for the Defense of Peace. Doesn’t sound like a Republican, eh Ann?
4. The “Negroes With Guns” premise assumes a persistent racism in America that Ms. Coulter and Republicans are otherwise quick to deny.
Let me see if I get this straight: The existence of persistent, implicit racial bias in America is a sufficient argument to exploit when making the case for the NRA and 2nd Amendment rights but when making the case for everything from equal funding for public schools to ending racial profiling to affirmative action, suddenly racism is a thing of the past that liberals are inventing?
5. And lastly, does Ann Coulter really want to arm black folks now?
It seems to me, the leading argument that conservatives make for lax gun laws is that “criminals” (read: black people) have guns and, therefore, law-abiding citizens (read: white people) need guns to protect themselves. By seemingly embracing Robert F. Williams’ arguments, is Ms. Coulter seriously suggesting she wants to see more black folks take up arms today? Apart from being refreshing if true, is she aware that a resurgence of Mr. Williams’ Black Armed Guard-type movement today would likely go after not the Democratic establishment but Republicans — the party that repeatedly suggests problems in the black community are the fault of “black culture” and not deep-seated history and public policy, the party that wants to cut food stamps to give more tax breaks to the rich, the party that won’t even pass the Violence Against Women Act because it might help immigrants and gay people? Oh, yeah, and the party that is constantly blowing its dog whistle about the “New Black Panther Party”?
Perhaps Ann Coulter thinks she can pick and choose from history and biography and tell only the parts of political party history and Robert F. Williams’ life that fit her narrative. And perhaps Ann Coulter also thinks that unicorns poop glitter.
I’ve had the honor all this week of guest blogging on the American Prospect TAPPED blog. Proud to contribute to their excellent legacy of progressive thought and analysis.
Here are links to all my posts:
Violence Helping Chris Brown’s Career?… “when we give abusers like Brown and Sheen obscene media attention while downplaying their atrocities, we just create role models for the little abusers of the future who will perpetuate violence against women.”
Stephen Lerner vs. the Real Economic Terrorists of Wall St.… “for the vast majority of working Americans struggling to pay their bills, in or on the brink of foreclosure, sacked with astronomical credit card debt and interest payments, stifled by student loans and the rising cost of education — Lerner’s plan is a beacon of hope. Disrupt corporations and the economy as it currently functions to make it work for working people!”
McCain, Liberman and Gadhafi Walk Into a Bar… … “One has to wonder if McCain and Lieberman were thinking about “what is best for the world as a whole” when they were patting Gadhafi on the back.”
Republicans Hate Obama … “It’s time for President Obama to stop worrying if Republicans like him. In fact, it’s time for him to stop worrying about being liked, period. His pattern of trying to be all things to all parties has led to policies and actions that, while they look bipartisan on paper, ultimately end up pissing off both his base and the opposition. Give up the ghost, dude!”
U.S. Isn’t Broke: Ask Gadhafi & Raymond Davis … “We have plenty of money to bailout Raymond Davis and bomb Gadhafi. In fact, ask America’s big-business executives, and they’ll tell you the only spending problem our government has is that it’s not spending enough money on them.”
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