Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Dog Whistler

Dear Madame L,

Did you watch the latest Republican debate in South Carolina? I was surprised at the crowd which booed the moderator and cheered candidate Gingrich. It made me not just surprised but sad and ashamed to see the crowd and Gingrich, as well as the other candidates, who said and did nothing to distance themselves from the racism, behave in such a shameful manner.

Or did I miss something? What's your feeling about this, Madame L? 


Ashamed to Be Part of This Process

Dear Ashamed,

Madame L thanks you for your comment. You and Madame L have no reason to be ashamed of the behavior of those people---unless we condone it by not responding publicly.

Madame L didn't see the entire debate, but saw the following day, on several news shows, clips of the parts you reference. Madame L was, like you, appalled. This use of the language of racism, carefully veiled in supposedly non-racist expressions, such as "the food-stamps president," the offer to teach the NAACP how to be proud of getting paying jobs, and the proposal to let poor kids work as janitors in their own schools, this language is like dog whistles: other people supposedly can't understand it, but the intended audience hears it loud and clear.

But here's the thing: The rest of us also understand it now, and we say:

Shame on you, Mister Gingrich! You have gone even lower than Madame L thought possible, appealing to the basest of the base of the Republican base.

Then Madame L saw today, on another news show, a clip of an audience member thanking Gingrich for "putting Juan Williams in his place." The audience cheered, and Gingrich modestly bowed his head and thanked the woman.

Shame on you, Republicans of South Carolina!

And thanks again, Dear Reader, for giving Madame L the opportunity to vent. 


Madame L

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

Ah, what's the bother? Gingrich is a well-documented sociopath, racist, serial adulterer... so why should anyone be surprised? Certain older parts of the population (north AND south) are racists - hangers-on to a long discarded and very un-Christ-like cultural black spot in our history. To my shame, they are mostly my age.

Notice how Moses kept the Twelve Tribes in the Sinai desert for 40 years? It was to allow these types to die off, so the younger and un-spoiled generation would inherit the land of Israel.

We're getting there.

Oh. There is a Non Sequitur cartoon today: Two angels in heaven are looking down at the Earth. One says "Punishing them with plagues or floods was too messy, so now He just tells a few of the nuttiest ones to run for president."