Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A clarification.

Yesterday I quoted from Richard Cohen's column in the Washington Post and noticed later that he took a lot of heat for it. Wow! Everywhere I looked the old guy was getting beat up.

But I think I read the piece, not as most people did, but rather as it was intended to be read. And what I heard Cohen saying was that the average tea partier is not necessarily a bad person, just nostalgic for an earlier America, i. e., the one of their childhood.

Andrew Sullivan had a post on it in which he said:

The argument that the GOP is fueled by cultural bewilderment at a multi-racial, multi-cultural, gay married, multi-faith America is a vital one if you want to understand our irrational politics right now.

And I think that's how I read it too: the tea party, or the Republican Party base, is bewildered by the cultural changes that have taken place in their lifetime. Again, I don't see them as inherently bad individuals, just people who are having trouble processing rapid change.

P. S. If and when the economy comes back the tea party will fade away anyway. People will go back to watching their kids' Little League games instead of marching on Washington to protest health insurance for those who can't get it. I'm still convinced that the whole phenomenon is just a byproduct of the Great Recession. Fear has a way of manifesting itself that way.

3 comments:

Ed Crotty said...

"just people who are having trouble processing rapid change" - The "rapid change" is women, people of color and gays getting equal rights - the "rapid change" is having a black man in the White House. These folks are "bewildered" that their cultural view - which is that white, straight, christian men should be in change and everyone else should "know their place" - cannot just be chalked up to "nostalgia" - it IS racism and bigotry. Yes, it is a softer racism than hood-wearing Klansmen, but it is racism nonetheless. I agree it is mainly driven by fear and not hatred. It is driven by fear - fear that the people who were shut out for so long will turn around and treat white, straight, Christian males as "less-than" - which is how minorities, women and gays have been treated for centuries. They fear equality for those they have treated badly and even more they fear retribution.

Ed Crotty said...

P.S. Sullivan and Cohen are BOTH racists or at the very least apologists for racists. Both have a long history -

http://gawker.com/5863453/a-readers-guide-to-andrew-sullivans-defense-of-race-science

http://thinkprogress.org/media/2013/11/12/2927381/richard-cohen-worst/

Ed Crotty said...

and TNC from the atlantic slams it home:

The problem here isn't that we think Richard Cohen gags at the sight of an interracial couple and their children. The problem is that Richard Cohen thinks being repulsed isn't actually racist, but "conventional" or "culturally conservative." Obstructing the right of black humans and white humans to form families is a central feature of American racism. If retching at the thought of that right being exercised isn't racism, then there is no racism.

As they say, read the whole thing:
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/11/richard-cohen-in-context/281426/