Monday, October 13, 2008

Consequences of Idleness

"Idleness is sweet, and its consequences are cruel."
-- President John Quincy Adams

Over the weekend, two articles ran in the Washington Post addressing once again the issue of race in the 2008 presidential campaign. The first article ran with tough talking civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis' condemnation of Sen. McCain for "sowing the seeds of hatred and division."

Though I happen to agree with Rep. Lewis in the matter of race permeating the presidential campaigns and respect his public statement on the matter as a man who has encountered racism far more often than most Americans, his comments are where I draw the line between defending Sen. Obama in earnest and defending Sen. Obama in ignorance of all else that deserves our attention.

In June when the blogosphere was buzzing with the not so astonishing news that an Idaho radio host had used a racial slur in a discussion of Sen. Obama and his family, emails fired off to groups such as Idahoans for Obama, the mainstream media took notice, and progressives across the state wanted the radio host and his show yanked from the air. There was an initial push to boycott the sponsors of the radio show and a discussion ensued as to how those who stand for progressive ideals and tolerance could monitor the happenings of the show.

After the radio host backed off of his comments, blaming his guest for perpetuating the hate-filled commentary, the buzz died down. It was apparently no longer an issue, a disgrace to a state not unknown for racially motivated groups and events, and it would take yet another incident with a caller speaking in a racist tone about the messiah complex of Obama for the blogosphere to again take notice.

The renewed interest in the racist remakes spewed from the mouth of Zeb Bell and his callers onto the public airwaves came once again. Unlike the times before when the blogosphere was abuzz, my inbox was not flooded, and only a few commented on how disgusting the radio clip was. Have we become desensitized to the hatred? Or did we simply not take this commentary as seriously as the one that referred to Obama's mother as "trailer trash" and to the Senator as "the negroid Barack Hussein Obama"? Not a single email went out as had before in the case of the racial slur or following the release of Jerome Corsi's book, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality. One new and unusual development occurred--the tables turned and some blamed the community for this brand of racism rather than the man who both fuels it and spreads it throughout that very community.

I find it infuriating that it takes the disparagement of the Democratic nominee for the presidency for people to take notice of the racism and hatred being broadcast in the Magic Valley and Mini-Cassia area.

What is and has been said about Obama on Zeb Bell's show is being said about any number of minorities every time that man goes on the air. His particular brand of hate is not contained by the geographical reach of those airwaves. And the effects of that hate spread like wildfire throughout this state. We cannot simply turn a blind eye because he is broadcasting out of his home in Murtaugh, Idaho. But we do. Many of us turn a blind eye to all he says unless it degrades our precious nominee. We turn a blind eye hoping that those listening will not take violent action. Many of us say he is in a cultural bubble in south central Idaho while hoping against all hope that our children will not be subject to such hatred.

Bell's hatred attacks the most unassuming and innocent among us. He attacks Native Americans, Hispanics, liberals, Japanese-Americans, African-Americans, globalists, and Muslims with an equal amount of hatred and gusto. He will attack a student just as quickly as a teacher. He will pull a weapon on a young man who accidentally drove through his property line fence simply because the young man was Hispanic and what Zeb defines as "a menace to society." He will claim to greatly admire Dr. James Dobson and will bring a man on his show every week who has known ties to Stormfront and David Duke.

He attacks those weakest among us, yet we choose to only defend a man running for president who can very well defend himself. We turn a blind eye to the hatred until Mr. Bell calls Obama the "precursor to the anti-Christ" and insists his white mother had a "fixation" on black men. We turn a blind eye as Mr. Bell revises history to blame Japanese-Americans for their own internment during World War II, yet the moment Mr. Bell claims there will undoubtedly, in an Obama administration, be reparations for the families of African-American slaves prior to the Civil War we react in fury.

To quote a man who has combatted Zeb Bell for far longer than I, Gary Eller: "We all float in the same boat, the USS America, and when anyone is caught knocking a hole in it, only a fool will stand idly by and watch it happen...I don't begrudge the Zeb Bells of the world nearly as much as I do those who stand idly by."

If the blatant blindness occurring while the incidents of hate and intolerance on Zeb Bell's show abound in contrast to the uproar occurring when that same show attacks Barack Obama is any indication of how people, even progressives I identify with, will behave in this country with Barack Obama in the White House, I want nothing to do with an Obama presidency.

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