Thursday, November 19, 2009

Grok Fail

Since the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the voices of intolerance and bigotry have gotten increasingly louder. The Fox News sanctioned/organized Tea Party movement always seems to have a contingent carrying racist signs. There was the California mayor who sent out an email with a picture of the White House lawn covered with watermelons. In April, after the special election that turned former Congressman Jeb Bradley into a state senator, NH GOP Chairman John Sununu told the Union Leader that Bradley could be counted on to sustain a veto by the Governor of the marriage equality and transgender protection bills, “if he finds the strength to veto that garbage.” Today’s GOP seems to be pandering to the lowest common denominator within the party: the far racist and bigoted right.

The results of that were audible this past Saturday, on the “Meet the Press” radio show, which is broadcast from WEMJ in Gilford, and streamed live on the internet. Host Doug Lambert looked right into the webcam at the end of the show, and began a diatribe about NHDP Chair Raymond Buckley. He said (in part): “Yeah you Faggot. That's right I said it and I meant it. You are reprobate. How the people, the Democrats, I think of some of the gray haired ladies and older people from the old party would stand behind you is beyond me. You are a disgrace to yourself to humanity to mankind and to your party.” Meanwhile, host Skip Murphy sat beside him and giggled.

Republicans in NH don’t understand that the media has changed. Most of the traditional media in our state is still dominated by the traditional Republican mindset, but the new media, the online media is not. Bloggers are becoming increasingly powerful. Doug and Skip should have been more aware of that – their blog, granitegrok, was the leading conservative blog in the state. Doug had a column at the Laconia Daily Sun for years. They parlayed their success into the radio show – on the day of this particular show State Senator Jeb Bradley and US Senate candidate Ovide Lamontagne were guests. The tradmed in NH generally gives Republicans a pass (save for Ray Burton), and as a result they seem to think they’re invincible.

Doug and Skip certainly thought so. They’ve been getting away with all kinds of bigotry on their blog for years. After Wanda Sykes appeared at the last White House correspondent’s dinner, Doug expressed his hope that Ms. Sykes would choke on a chicken bone or a watermelon rind. Ms. Sykes is African American.

Doug and Skip learned quickly that they aren’t bulletproof. James Pindell posted about the rant on his blog, NH Political Report, and from there it spread like wildfire. Suddenly NH Republicans couldn’t put enough distance between themselves and their former pals at granitegrok. Ovide Lamontagne and Jeb Bradley were amongst the first to make statements condemning the language Lambert used. Congressional candidate Frank Guinta issued a statement as well, informing us that Lambert had resigned as a county co-captain of his campaign. Skip Murphy gets to stay on. Apparently giggling and enabling isn’t the same thing as actually verbalizing. Lambert himself issued an apology of sorts, albeit one that was rather self-serving. He wrote (in part) “To be blunt, what I said is something that never should have been said in any kind of a public setting, or, quite frankly, in a private one either. Being human, and an honest person that is used to freely speaking my mind, my passion got the best of me.”

Skip Murphy’s blog commentary also fell neatly into the self-serving-sorry we got caught –zone, “Doug is a passionate guy and sometimes often pushes the envelope - mostly on strictly political grounds. He skates to the edge - this time, he went over that edge.” Murphy then went on to blame liberals for creating an overtly politically correct society, and further to blame Democrats for not accepting Lambert’s half -hearted apology. One might wonder about all this passion, and conclude that perhaps passion doesn’t mean what they think it means. It looks like plain old bigotry to me.

The Laconia Sun announced that Lambert’s column was no longer welcome in the paper. WEMJ cancelled their radio show. On Monday, Lambert announced that he would be leaving the blog as well. He issued a second apology that ended, “Let this be a lesson to those who harbor such hatred as I have demonstrated—think about it. We must love EVERYBODY as we do ourselves. And all the world is a camera. There is no hiding anymore. I engaged in a WHOLE lot of free speech around here. With that, comes responsibility. Use it wisely.” The second apology seemed to actually be one. As regular readers are aware, I frequently lament the fact that the GOP calls itself the “party of personal responsibility” while never actually taking any. Here we see Doug Lambert taking responsibility.

On Wednesday, after the “Where’s Sununu” stories were appearing all over the blogosphere, the NH GOP Chair finally weighed in on this episode. “Mr. Lambert’s comments were disgusting, inappropriate, and offensive. That is why I, as Chairman, asked for an immediate condemnation from our State Party - and that was done. I am encouraged that so many Granite Staters of all political persuasions denounced this vicious personal attack. We are all in agreement that what Mr. Lambert said is completely reprehensible and doesn’t belong in our public dialogue.” This is the same man who called the marriage equality bill “garbage.” My, what an interesting fence these folks are straddling.

Many of the people who issued horrified statements are the same people who are already working to repeal NH’s marriage equality law. They’re the same folks who can’t wait to get their hands on all that out of state hate money. Skip Murphy was not censured for being a giggling accomplice. Their readers are giving them high fives. Mostly, they’re all just sorry that Lambert got caught, and that NH bloggers turned this into a big story.

“It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It's like disapproving of rain.” Francis Maude

© sbruce 2009 This was published as an editorial in the Conway Daily Sun on November 20, 2009


DissedBelief said...

Detailed column article Susan with sequential events. I'm sure it's tiring for yourself and others who visit here to view my consistent diatribe. I stay on this point however, because of the frightening correlations I'm witnessing. Raised in Britain and Africa, I feel I was exposed to a window on humanity that now allows me to see, observe and thereby comment as I do. I'm a US citizen and have lived here since the early '80's.

The racist rantings of the GOP and their loyal followers, mimicks exactly what I saw with the white apartheid party in South Africa. This is of course inclusive of their hatred of homosexuality and everything else not "pure wholesome white" (as only they can judge this to be).

This brings me to McLaughs recent column and the corresponding letter written by Lorna Bickerdyke. She refers to the "moral and ethical Christian values America represents" and also, thanks God we are still a democracy "through a majority vote". This was like reading a newspaper from the sixties and seventies apartheid South Africa. They too believed they were a Christian white moral standard that God had entrusted everyone else to. I had no idea that America was founded on a christian religion and I also was under the impression that America actually does not have majority vote. One man one vote is majority vote, not an electoral college vote.

I wonder if Ms. Bickerdyke is one the millions of white Americans who demanded the white apartheid govt. step down to give way for one man one vote and now, she has the opportunity to live by her words and support an African American President, suddenly, her reality has altered, the shoe is on the other foot, and hypocrisy now rules.

McL column deals in part with Ft. Hood and Dr. Hasan. Interesting how he too eludes to the "them against us" mantra and fails as always to address how we came to the place we are today? Naturally, absolutely no culpability lies with us. And, I'm sure any discrimination, name calling, and other abuses levelled toward the Dr. have all but been destroyed. We became a nation at war when W was elected. I don't know when we will ever be released from this. As long as we continue to murder other people, the cycle of violence will fling this condition right back at us.

Thank you always for your educational and well written columns Susan.

Anonymous said...

It simply amazes me that liberals like yourself cannot take anything critical that may not 'jibe' with your train of thought. Thank God my grandparents and parents taught me what was right and wrong. The liberal democrats threw enough 'trash' at GW - although they could find nothing wrong with his beliefs. Don't try to sell the public that the Independents of this great country are stooping to their level.

Further, just what do you think this country was founded on if not Judeo/Christian beliefs?? Did you actually ever look at what the founding fathers wrote? If you're going to live here and expound on America, I suggest you go back to Grammar School in the US and take a US history course!

Excuse me if I'm wrong - but who do you think flew the aircraft on 9/11? If that does not make your blood boil, I suggest you move out of the US of A and find some place better to live and I have a few suggestions for you.

THE said...

Dear Anonymous:

Please remind me, how many times does the word GOD appear in the US Constitution?

The founding fathers (all wealthy white men) had plenty to say about religion, not all of it pleasant. It's unfortunate that you're merely regurgitating talking points, without ever having done any reading on this subject.

Thomas Jefferson had this to say: "Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.
We have solved, by fair experiment, the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries."

Clearly, Jefferson understood the threat religion posed to civil rights. I'm afraid it's you, dear anonymous, who needs a refresher course on US history. It's not what Rusbo and Glenn Beck tell you it is.

I know very well who flew the planes on 9/11. Saudis. President Bush did not retaliate against Saudi Arabia, instead he invaded Iraq. Given that my editorial was about a couple of badly behaved NH bloggers - it is obvious that your little rantlet has nothing whatsoever to do with my editorial.

Finally, it simply amazes me that neocons such as yourself want to throw everyone out unless they march in lockstep with you. Surely a Constitutional Scholar such as yourself has read the First Amendment? It is folks like you who would be far more at home in a fascist theocracy. Instead of trying to turn my country into one, why don't YOU move?

DissedBelief said...

To Annonymous: Proof positive. The moment anyone hears/reads I'm a "dirty stinking f##$$%%g foreigner" I'm instructed to "leave" "move" or "get the hell out". The right just cannot hear the truth and deal with it. To be aligned in any way with white aparthate Broederbonders appears to make your blood boil! And why not? It walks like one talks like one and IS one. Your beloved GW overturned more constitutional laws than I certainly ever recall any recent President doing. But all that aside "dear", Thomas Jefferson said many things and was also a slave holder and keeper. Have you ever visited Israel/Palestine? Because if you have, then it fails me as to how you could possibly not understand the hatred towards us by those who feel they have nothing to lose toward the "god has chosen us Christian right". Where were your grand/great grandparents from by the way? And please don't jump on the "I'm Native American" bandwagon like so many attempt to do. Truth clearly hurts. I know, I saw the last death gasps just like this from the white aparthaters. Adapt or transform. It will in the end be our only survival, and not war.