by Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
St. Simons Island, Ga.
August 7, 2009
DO WE WANT TO CONNECT, OR NEED TO?
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- I'd put my life on the line for free speech, so every time I find myself telling people to shut up and go away, I'm surprised. After all, everyone has a right to his or her own opinion, no matter how deluded he or she may be.
Maybe it's just the summer silly season, but it would be hard to say these are slow news days when we've just been through the deaths of Walter Cronkite and Merce Cunningham, when the economy is so bad that even ballet companies are letting ballerinas go, when the Taliban is recruiting children to be suicide bombers, when we're escalating an unnecessary and unwinnable war in Afghanistan, when we're putting a Latina on the U.S. Supreme Court and when Congress is finally debating reform to our so-called health care system.
With so many vital items on the national political agenda, why is so much hot air being wasted on things of such monumental stupidity?
Here are a few things I would like to see go away. Right now:
1. The "birthers."
The state of Hawaii, which probably has better things to do, has once again been forced to reaffirm that President Barack Obama was born there. And Hawaii, you birther freaks, is a state. Just like Iowa is a state, or West Virginia. Or even Delaware.
The birther movement has grown like kudzu. Last month, Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., was confronted by a woman who claimed that Barack Obama was not eligible to be president because he was born in Kenya. People applauded, and she got a lot of press. Then she was identified as "Crazy Eileen," a woman so loopy that they don't take her calls on right-wing radio talk shows. And how loopy is that?
Then Liz Cheney, Dick Cheney's elder daughter, defended the birthers. Then Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said the birther movement "has a point." And Lou Dobbs flogged the idea on all his shows.
What's this really about? Racism, of course. Professor Stanley Fish, writing in The New York Times this week, compared the birthers to the problems recently encountered by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., whose door stuck when he returned home from a trip to China. He busted in, the police busted him and all hell broke loose.
"It isn't the legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate that's the problem for the birthers," Fish wrote. "The problem is again the legitimacy of a black man living in a big house, especially when it's the White House... A vocal minority find it hard to believe that an African-American could possibly be the real president of the United States. Gates and Obama are not only friends; they are in the same position, suspected of occupying a majestic residence under false pretenses. And Obama is a double offender. Not only is he guilty of being Housed While Black; he is the first in American history guilty of being P.W.B., President While Black."
So, birthers, shut up and go away.
2. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
After 10 years of Republicans beating us over the head with "family values," finding Palin a possible heartbeat away from the presidency was a bit shocking.
She likes to shoot wolves from helicopters. Those of us concerned about the fate of the polar bears shudder whenever we think of her. Her husband has been, for many years, a member of an Alaska separatist party. And it's now plain that she's in it for the money. She's charged Alaskans for her trips, her homes and her clothes. She's resigned the governorship in order to seek fame and fortune in the celebrity circus.
At her farewell speech on Sunday, she was virtually incoherent. "Some of the most patriotic people you'll ever want to know live up here," she said. (See husband, above.) "We eat, therefore we hunt." (Wolfburgers?). About her replacement as governor, "Leave his kids alone, as par for the course, freedom of speech, which I'm going to exercise." (Huh?) And this: the press "could and should be" (but isn't?) "a cornerstone of our democracy. That's why our troops are willing to die for you. So in honor of the American soldier, quit making things up."
Enough said. Go away, Sarah. Your 15 minutes are up. I hope you get your own Fox News show so I can forget about you.
3. And speaking of Fox News, Glen Beck.
This guy appears, on the face of it, to be crazier than Crazy Eileen. He recently said this about President Obama: "He's a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I'm not saying he doesn't like white people... This guy is, I believe, a racist."
The "white culture"? How can you separate white culture from American culture? Make Beyonce play only for black audiences?
4. The press, which encourages these nutballs.
As the President prepares to host Professor Gates and the Cambridge police officer who arrested him at a White House meeting, the press has been focused on the most important question of all: What beer will Obama serve?
We need serious people to hold spirited debates about serious issues. If you don't like single-payer, then advance your own ideas for getting everyone insured and preventing people from going into bankruptcy because they are desperate for medical care.
If you don't want to join the debate, then please just shut up and go away.
Joyce Marcel (joycemarcel.com) is a journalist. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.