Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dissent is the Highest Form of Racism?

During the Bush years we were assured that "Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism" oh how times have changed...

In the ever escalating battle over whether critics of the President are motivated by racism columnist Mary Mitchell has weighed in to endorse Jimmy Carter's sentiments that indeed yes Obama's critics are simply racists.

From Mitchell: "Say what you will, but former president Jimmy Carter is too old to lie. At 85, he's seen the best and worst of human nature. So, when he says the "You lie!" shouted at President Obama during his address to Congress last week was "based on racism," he is speaking with wisdom... Would Wilson have heckled a Reagan, or a Bush or a Clinton while these white men were delivering a speech before Congress? No matter how bad things were going in this country, Bush was respected as the president of the United States."

I have written to Mitchell to express my problems with her conclusion. Here is the text of my e-mail:

I have so many problems with your column - let me focus on but two:

You write: "No matter how bad things were going in this country, Bush was respected as the president of the United States."

I ask: Where did you live during the 8 years that George Bush was in the White House? In his 2005 State of the Union address President Bush was booed and heckled by Democrats - there was no respect there. Senator Harry Reid called President Bush a "loser" and a "liar" - no respect there. Representative Pete Stark called Bush a liar on the floor of the US House - no respect there.

You write: "These people show up at so-called Tea Parties with racist signs that depict Obama as a Nazi and a witch doctor."

I ask: And what of the multitudes of anti-war protesters who regularly compared George Bush to Hitler? What of Al Gore referring to conservatives on the web as "digital brow shirts"? What of Democratic representative Jerrold Nadler referring to a "whiff of fascism in the air" during the 2000 recount in Florida? What of the multiple posters and representations of Bush dead or being killed proudly displayed by protesters?

Your attempt to portray as racist those who protest President Obama is disgusting. You are using the charge of racism to stifle dissent and intimidate critics into silence. It is a disservice to American political discourse and, frankly, a sign of desperation.

The simple fact is, President Obama is on the receiving end of the same type of hate and vitriol heaped upon George Bush by the left - the difference is you didn't have a problem when people hated and disrespected President Bush.

That's the real double standard. As an educator I am obligated to present a fair and researched presentation of the facts to my students (even when I don't like the facts that I'm sharing) - too bad so few in the media feel a similar obligation.

I'll let you know if she responds.

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