Monday, April 16, 2007

I wasn't going to do this, but . . .

I was going to pass on the whole ugly Imus mess. The target was too easy, the preaching too likely, and the other comments too good. But there I was, minding my own business on Sunday when Pat Buchanan used the Imus mess as another excuse for him to smear civil rights leaders with the worst kind of mockery.

Defending his friend and fellow-racist on the McLaughin Group, Buchanan said that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton acted like a "lynch mob" out to get Imus. "Lynch Mob"!? The words could not have been more inappropriate. Think what you will about Sharpton and Jackson, they are leaders in the African-American community and in the American civil-rights movement.

For Buchanan to defend Imus is one thing -- that's what friends (even racist pals) do. But to take the opportunity to unnecessarily smear two of the leading civil rights figures in our country by comparing them to the white mobs who murdered thousands of blacks in this country is an abomination. And not one person on the show called Buchanan on his reprehensible, insensitive, racist simile.

On Meet The Press this weekend, Gwen Eiffel patiently explained it to NBCtool Russert (who still doesn't get it). But Buchanan doesn't need Eiffel to explain anything to him -- he gets it, he knows what he is doing, and his comparison of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to the Ku Klux Klan was a knowing one.

Newspaper reports since Reconstruction account nearly 5,000 lynchings -- mainly of black men -- in the United States. There are many more, unknown and uncounted. They were grisly affairs, the deaths horrible and terrifying. In many areas of the country the lynch mobs practiced their deadly brand of racism with impunity.

With this historical background, Buchanan's smear is, on several levels, worse than Imus' thoughtless attack on those young woman. He invoked one of the uglier aspects of American treatment of minorities, to smear minority leaders, for no other reason than that they powerfully expressed their indignation over a racist attack by one of Buchanan's friends.

Buchanan is a pig and deserves a fate worse than that meted to Imus -- Buchanan deserves to be ignored as the passe, ignorant, ranting relic that he is.

(Image Credit: William Blake's "A Negro hung alive by the Ribs to a Gallows", via The Bridgeman Art Library)


Andy D said...

I think it is a travesty to consider Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton civil rights leaders. These two are no where near the level of other important civil rights leaders. Jackson and Sharpton have mad a business out of racism. Jackson and Sharpton have invested themselves financially in ensuring that racism stays alive in our country.

A Big Fat Slob said...

You're entitled to your opinion about the men, their tactics, and their motivations.

But to deny that they are leaders in the area of civil rights, to deny that they speak with a powerful voice in the American African-American community in particular, and in the sociopolitical world in general, is to deny fact.

It also conviently avoids dealing with Buchanan's ugly, insulting slur in defense of his racist pal's ugly, insulting slur. Imus can a least assert his was uttered in an attempt at humor. Buchanan's was proclaimed seriously and in earnest.

Andy D said...

I think it is a travesty that these two (Jackson and Sharpton) could be considered leaders in any group. I am seeing more and more people step forward and saying these two don’t represent the black community.

Like you said, you are entitled to your opinion. I don’t think what Imus said was that bad. It definitely pales when compared with things said about other people in and out of the media. I don’t think the Buchanan comment is terrible. He would have been more accurate to say that Jackson and Sharpton were rabid to get rid of Imus.

A Big Fat Slob said...

Your sightlines notwithstanding, they are irrefutably leaders in their communities and important voices in the civil rights movement.

To be likened to KKK lynch mobs is an outrageous comparison for a certified racist like Buchanan to make.

As far as the attack on the young African-American, women who just wanted to enjoy their championship, with a bigoted slur as not being "that bad", I am too obtuse, or the justification too subtle, for me to understand.

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