GOP Denial Won’t Solve Image Problem
“You’re not one of us, you’re one of THEM, the liberal lovers, the flag burners, country haters, the ones who want to kill god and put Stalin in his place and see this nation destroyed by a sea of brown people and gays. Do you secretly date black men, Parker? You make me sick you sickening sick witch!!!”
That’s what a very - uh - passionate conservative e-mailed to Kathleen Parker after writing a column declaring Sarah Palin to be “out of her league.” Parker has been warning about exactly the same hateful tendencies that I have. Needless to say, I’m apparently now in her traitorous boat. Oh well, I’d rather be in bed with Joe Scarborough, Parker and Chris Buckley than Sarah Palin, Haley Barbour or Michelle Bachman.
In his excellent book Wingnuts, “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” John Avlon wrote of a “joke” posted by Richland County GOP chairman Rusty DePass in which he posted a story about a gorilla gone missing from a local zoo, referring to First Lady Michelle Obama, “I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors - probably harmless.”
There are many, many more examples. This sort of stuff doesn’t get said in America’s big cities, and the GOP is not helping its case with minorities by having this sort of stuff in its midst while maintaining an overwhelmingly white base, and then subsequently disregarding all those who bring it up as “treasonous” or “liberals.”
From some of the harsh criticism I got to my piece “My Disappointing Experience with Conservatives” on my Facebook page, pointing this out apparently makes me a liberal who thinks that all who are against national health care are racists. The absurdity of this claim is self-evident and reflects a simplicity and black and white view on those who wrote it. But I do think that Republican governors who dismiss slavery, those who joke about the First Lady being descended from apes, write screeds against Kathleen Parker about dating black men and carry confederate flags to tea party rallies are racists. If that makes me a “liberal,” so be it. Apparently “liberal” is a less exclusive club than conservative these days.
Republicans need to face the fact that they have, as Michael Medved illustrated in his column, almost no representation in non-white America. That’s quite a low for the party of civil rights champions Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, and even Jackie Robinson. What is the cause of this? Are minorities misinformed? Or maybe they feel really uneasy about the GOP due to some of the things I just listed?
Republicans can keep going on in denial about how they’re perceived, but that won’t alleviate the problem. If standing up to demonization of brown people makes me a liberal, to turn a phrase by our own Jason Pye, then I’m a liberal. Attacking the messenger won’t change anything.