Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fear Of A (color=x) Planet

Okay, the whole day goes by and I still can't shake Dobbs.

It's not just him. Check out this O'Reilly quote:

But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you’re a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have.
A few months back Charlie John Gibson was on a similar bandwagon, without the left bashing, calling for white people to have more babies or by 2050 "we" will be in the minority. Lou Dobbs continually insists that he has nothing against Mexicans as a people, only that their increased numbers in the country will cause economic disaster, leprosy and, uh, I dunno, a gradual shift to different national holidays.

I have said it before, but white people, black people, Jewish people, Muslim people, female people, Swedish people - they're all people, dude. The differences between are pretty tiny compared to the similarities. If the country were 90% Mexican, it would actually be run about the same as it is now. It's a big concept to wrap your mind around, because we focus on superficiality - skin color, accents, peculiarities in the way we worship - but ultimately, as groups there are few important differences.

As individuals of course, the differences between two people are often vast. I'm just talking about us vs. them, not me vs. you.

So racism is, to use an inelegant metaphor, no more than being afraid of your own shadow.

I think this is true of politics as well. My first urge is to believe Republicans are too stupid to understand the world like I do, but that's stupid. They're intelligent people who are getting different information than I am. They want the same thing I do too, a better America which is fair to its citizens, only we disagree about the best ways to accomplish it.

The dangerous meme that's making its way around Republican circles this generation though is the idea that the non-Republicans are so far gone that they must be stopped by any means necessary. Hence the willingness to cage votes, to fix elections, to cheat. Of course it's wrong, but to them it's better than the alternative. The history of politics in the last 30 years (probably much, much longer) seems to be one of stacking up the wrongs in hopes of eventually making a right of some kind. In practice, it virtually guarantees a never-ending assembly line of revenge plots. Viva L'Acme!

This fear of the other is so deeply ingrained in human nature that I suppose only evolution will rid us of it. Glad I believe in evolution, or I'd see no hope at all.

By the way, creationists - what a buncha jerkoffs.


Skot said...

Alright, you and I are going to part company on Lou Dobbs. I let the previous "orange" crack go because let's face it, we laugh at what we will become.

The fact you're lumping him in with Bill O'Reilly tells me you don't watch his show. Lou Dobbs is-- for lack of a better term-- A Lou Dobbs Democrat. Down on Bush, down on the war, down on government's cozying up to oligarchs. His stance on immigration has much more to do with it's effect on the American working class than the more base objections of the hard right, who are terrified at the prospect of losing cultural ground.

I've watched his show for quite a while now and believe me, his view of illegal immigration is that it's simply another symptom of large corporations getting cheap labor courtesy of Bush. For those who know of Dobbs by what other people say about him, he looks like an isolationist no-nothing. But the man spends quite a few minutes every broadcast essentially re-explaining he isn't Bill O'Reilly.

If anyone is going to find a decent reason to oppose unrestricted immigration, let it be for the middle class, who have an unfortunate history of being the first economic sector to take a hit when things get tough.

Finally: "I have said it before, but white people, black people, Jewish people, Muslim people, female people, Swedish people - they're all people, dude. The differences between are pretty tiny compared to the similarities." This is a silly, "Kumbaya" thing to say. If these differences are so tiny, go to Dubai, strike up a conversation with a local woman, and put your hand on her shoulder in a friendly fashion like you would reflexively do with anyone in LA. You actually may not survive the experience. People are all the same, but cultures kill.


Danielk said...

You provoke thought.

I do not watch the show, it's true. My opinion of Dobbs is based on an appearance on REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER and the usual out of context quotes. But the rest of the context... there's no reason why he can't be a leftist and a racist. The left has pretty much equal numbers of 'em. Human nature.

Dobbs has two items in his portfolio that trouble me: one is this recent leprosy scare-mongering, because he took quite a few days to back down from it, and a real journalist could have fact-checked that between bites of a sandwich at his desk. The other thing was the map of Aztlan.

Last year he ran a graphic on his show purporting to be the post-Mexican takeover map of the U.S. It turns out to have come from a white supremecist website. I can see running the map and sourcing it properly, or looking for another source such as the anonymous Mexican conspiracy who are planning this. But to just run it straight without some attempt at collaboration suggests he takes things for granted that most Americans would not agree with.

You are quite right about your comments concerning human rights in Dubai, but I think Muslims who emigrate to the US do so precisely because they prefer human rights here. Okay, and access to Magnum PI reruns.

Danielk said...

Obviously I meant "some attempt at CORROBORATION" in that last comment. Collaborators are not to be trusted.

Skot said...

You can't wave this way with the wand of cultural relativism. Sure, Dobbs can be leftist and a racist. My dad certainly was (That's why I like Lou Dobbs, maybe). Dobbs can also be left-handed, blond and possess the strangest orange skin-tone. These things do not matter.

What matters is WHY he or anyone takes a advocacy stand on things like immigration. He maintains illegal immigration is continuing unchecked because Bush is beholden to big business and agribusiness, who like things the way they are. Trade deficits, the exportation of the manufacturing base: all the same cause. These are THE REASONS, and they are more than sufficient enough to make a stand.

Xenophobia is not the reason the left-center opposes immigration, but it certainly a central reason why the right wants the border closed. If anything, the left-far left wants the borders open, if only to boost their potential voting block. And hey, I'll admit Mr. Dobbs has done some inflammatory pieces (like a piece last night showing how prevalent bilingual signage is getting), which may either play to your suspicions or was done to grab NASCAR-dad eyeballs.

As for the portfolio pieces you find troubling: For a guy who doesn't watch his show, you sure hold him to a high standard! And really, getting the facts wrong as opposed to a lot of talking heads on cable who just make shit up? Brother, please.


Danielk said...

Okay okay - I'll grant you that Dobbs may be pulling this alarmist crap in the service of nobler ideals. I instinctively distrust men with really good speaking voices.