Saturday, September 19, 2009

"Racism" and the paucity of spiritual language to describe mean-ness

There's a lot of buzz these days about racism and the off-the-wall protests against President Obama. At these rallies we see signs that are outright mean, to the point of calling for the President's assassination. In this culture, there's also a disconnectedness from reality-- from "death panels" to the false controversy about whether he is a citizen. This crowd has been called "birthers" because they doubt Obama had a U.S. birth.

Now the talking heads, religious and secular, are talking about the issue of racism in these rallies. Are the birthers inherently racist, or is race merely a factor among some of them, the talking heads ask. I think that this is ultimately a flawed approach, because I am sure that all the birthers can point to a black politician they admire, or a personal friend who is black and shares much of their culture and political aspirations. We have this litmus test that if you don't hate EVERY black man, then we call off the karma police and leave you alone. That is the problem.

Take South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson. Before he shouted "You lie!" at the president, he was involved in the following:
  • Fomenting resentment at illegal aliens,
  • Defending the flying of the Confederate Flag over the state capitol,
  • Not only supporting the invasion of Iraq, but also getting really upset, to the point of questioning a man's patriotism, when someone pointed out we'd sold weapons to Saddam Hussein.
Now ladies and gentlemen, there's nothing wrong with being a Republican in order to advance a libertarian point of view, but what Joe Wilson does are simply things that good people do not DO.

Everyone knows what liberals do when they are evil-- they do drugs, spread venereal disease through promiscuity, then have an abortion as birth control. (Republicans might do these things, too, but these things are understood by the public to be the immoral "extremes", the fruit, of liberalism.) At the rallies against President Obama, and in the work of Joe Wilson, we are seeing the evil extremes of conservatism. We need better language to describe this than the word which means hatred of every person with a different skin color. We need to go back to the old social statements of the church.