Most Americans witnessed a moment of genuine hurt and need resulting in heartfelt compassion on Tuesday when Henrietta Hughes emotionally begged President Obama for help. Most. Then there were the conservatives.
"Slave Begs her Master for a House" was conservative blogger Jonathan Gardner's take. Michelle Malkin derided the event as an "Obama revival meeting." (Malkin, I can only assume, has an elitist's distaste for popular religion.)
This is sick stuff. Yes, you can say, gee, that's great for that lady but it doesn't do much for everybody else. Fine. You can wonder if she was a plant. But to characterize her as a slave begging for a house from her master? Vicious stuff. And yes, very obviously racist if for no other reason that it shows complete disregard for African-American history.
It says something very sad about our conservative friends that they cannot see a genuine moment of pain and compassion and take anything positive away from it. I hated George W. Bush's policies and very regularly hated the man himself, but I was touched when George W. Bush paused and clutched a young woman who had lost her mother in the terrorist attacks of 9-11. Yes, it later became perverted into a campaign ad, but that was a rare moment in Bush's presidency when he used his position for good and not for ill.
Yet conservatives today find it impossible to oppose Barack Obama's policies while still acknowledging his fundamental decency. Why? For some it is surely racism. For others, supping on a steady diet of Malkin, Coulter, and Limbaugh.
This latest tackiness coming on the heels of Eric Cantor's strange profanity spiked video attacking unions (which John Amato twitters, is anti-Italian bigotry) makes you wonder: where are the somber narratives about incivility in our public discourse from eminent journalists like David Broder and George Will? Is incivility only bad when it's on the left?
As Frank Schaeffer points out in his "An Open Letter to President Obama About the Republicans (From a Former Republican)" these crazed Obama haters can't be reasoned with. And, sure, they are doing a great job of self-marginalization, but we need to make sure that our friends and neighbors, sensible centrists and intelligent Republicans reject and denounce the extremists in our midst.
But more importantly, let's try to help the salvageable Republicans keep their souls.
(For more on the insanity of Jonathan Gardner, check outEFFin' Unsound, who read these vile people so the rest of us don't have to pollute our minds.)