Monday, October 15, 2012

Today in GOP dog whistles.

Well it is another day in the 2012 Election Fun. And the GOP has been hard at work blowing on their dog whistles.

What does that mean? What's this about dog whistles? Well, to those not up this lingo, dog whistles relates to the nature of these whistles to not be heard by humans, but by dogs. To use a dog whistle in talking is to imply one harsh and negative thing while trying to portrait a comment as being harmless or benign. Dinesh D'Souza and others calling President Obama "anti-colonial" is one example. It is meant to convey that he isn't "one of us" and is a threat to the country. Another is to allude to racial stereotypes or imagery, trying to connect to racistly inclined people in your audience.

When it comes to dog whistles in politics, the GOP, from top to bottom, has gone quite red faced this year blowing away.

To see this, just look at today. One day.

Look to disgraced former governor Mark Sanford. Apparently all is forgiven and FOX has taken him to their bosom as a contributor. What does he contribute?
“Obama’s going to come out in this case much more forcefully, and he’s going to throw a lot of spears,” Sanford opined. ...

Throwing spears? Odd choice of words, isn't it? Why say it? Because it is a long used term to describe black men. The term, decoded, is spearchucker. A word meant to hearken back to the imagery of Africans using and throwing spears in some tribal setting. It is meant to imply savagery and being something other and less than whites. It was a common enough term, once. If you see the original MASH (the movie adapted from the play), it is used as a nickname of a black surgeon at camp who once played football. It can seem innocent enough, without context.

But we should remember the context, and why it is still used. Sanford wanted to berate Obama and imply something troubling about him, particularly if and when he would defend himself in a debate. He's going to chuck spear, because, to people like Sanford, he's not one of us, he's alien. If Sanford wasn't already disgusting he'd have earned that badge today.

In another place Jason Thompson, son of former governor and senate candidate Tommy Thompson (of panicking people about poison gas after 9/11 fame), spoke before a County Republican Party event. He wanted them to know that (w/ video):
"We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago - or Kenya," Jason Thompson, an attorney at Michael Best and Friedrich, said during a fall brunch hosted by the Kenosha County Republican Party.  
Back to Kenya...because, apparently, that is where he's from. Of course, it is long established, since his birth, that President Obama is an American, and a Hawaiian. But repeating the wild claim, and to a disturbing level believing it, is bread and butter from Republicans still today. They will go on the news, smile coldly, and say, "Of course, the president is an American citizen." Then they will go out and blow the dog whistle, getting crowds of conservatives cheering madly and giddily. Mostly though, they let surrogates do it, keeping the myth alive. The myth that the president is really a foreign threat, alien in thinking and an enemy in agenda.

Parties often want to present an opponents ideas as wrong. But this is a new sick level. It breeds disturbing levels of fear and hate among conservatives. But it also gets ignorant voters out for them. So they blow that whistle.

And is TWO examples of people on major stages talking like this. Feel free to contemplate how much more was said at smaller venues, in emails being sent around by politicos and campaigns, and so on.

This is how, for some folk, you still win office, or keep power. It is a big part of a Southern Strategy of old, and Dog Whistle Strategy of today and tomorrow.

In the end they want to make Barack Hussein Obama, husband and father, the 44th president, and American citizen, just some alien/foreign/outsider/unAmerican caricature meant to sicken you and haunt your dreams.

They want to do all of that to THIS.

Call me mad, but this this is in anyway alien/foreign/outsider/unAmerican, I want to be that. (And props to the news story that used this pic instead of the racist images conservatives pass around.)

Be aware that these dog whistles are blowing all the time. They are trying to bolster the hate and fear of the ignorant. Also, they are trying to cajole those that should know better to embrace the lesser angels of their natures.

Don't stand for it.

And be sure to vote.

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