Only someone with a severe mental impairment could not realize that when Ted Nugent, the right wing's leading intellectual, called President Obama a "subhuman mongrel," he was reverting to Ku Klux Klan racism. He later apologized for his particular words, but doubled-down on reasserting all the old racial stereotypes about black people that the KKK held so dear and many, many people still do.
Like many people, I made the fatuous assumption that the election of a black president meant that the nation had finally matured out of its racial and class bigotry and that such factors no longer shaped the character of the country. Ted Nugent, many GOP leaders in Congress, and numerous people on the Internet, in saloons, and in church sanctuaries proved us all wrong. The election of Barack Obama inspired a resurgence of racism, and with the likes of Nugent, it is there to stand as part of the American legacy.
The service that Nugent and his kind perform is to disabuse us of the notion that the nation leads the world within matters of equality, freedom, and justice. Jim Crow has us by the short ones. If Congress had any, it would have them by the cajones. But they have demonstrated to those of us who struggled with civil rights that the struggle is far from over, and we need to renew our resolve, recognize that some of our neighbors are enemies, and deal with them more realistically.
In a recent news report on the chances of Mary Landrieu to get re-elected to the U.S. Senate in Louisiana, NPR recorded the reasoning of a man named Beau Broussard. Landrieu faces stiff opposition because she voted for the Affordable Care Act. Broussard reveals the real reason for his hatred of this act in the NPR report:
Broussard has all kinds of problems with the law itself — that it's wrong to force people to buy insurance, that it will make businesses hire less. But there's something else that bothers him: The law is the signature achievement of a man Broussard never wanted to see become president.To the NPR reporter, he explained:
"I don't vote for black people, lady," he says. "No, ma'am. I don't vote for black people. They got their place, I got my place. That's the way I was raised."The right wing has taken to equating its hatred, its lust for discrimination, exclusion, and defamation with patriotism and Christianity. The latest ploy is to exercise bigotry and hatred as part of their religious faith, which they claim the right to do. There are people who define themselves by who they hate and wish to exclude from any claims to liberty. Madville Times took on a South Dakota blogger who insists that the exercise of his KKK hatred is a matter of religious devotion and Constitutional right.
These are the latest examples of American exceptionalism. They list those people they would like to except from civil rights and human dignity. But what is most galling is those among us who insist that the we live in the land of freedom and tolerance, while so many people are conniving ways to destroy any movement toward freedom, equality, and justice for all.