You can be on the right side of history or the wrong side of history. Or you can, when a disaster of the magnitude of the Haitian earthquake occurs, shut up, and text "Haiti" to 90999 on your cell phone.
Rush Limbaugh pretends to be a populist, a man of the people. Pat Robertson pretends to be a man of God. Both are nouveau aristocrats.
Limbaugh claims President Obama is using the relief effort to gain points ("burnish their, shall we say, credibility") with the African American community. "It's made to order for him." With the exception of Michael Steele and Armstrong Williams, didn't the African American community vote for Obama?
He suggests that because Obama has directed people to the White House's web site, maybe your money might not be going to Haiti, and your name might end up on a mailing list. So on the one hand, Obama is sending masses of military might to actually help Haiti, but on the other hand, he is secretly squirreling away donations from kind and distressed Americans (somehow - not clear how, as the money goes to the Red Cross) for - ?
Limbaugh's most obscene, astonishing comment is "Besides, we've already donated to Haiti. It's called the U.S. income tax." Limbaugh talks disparagingly about the liberal elite, but this is where he betrays himself as the true nouveau aristocrat - rich elitist, jingoistic, cruel. Give him powder and a wig. Tumbrils, anyone?
As for Pat Robertson, he claims the Haitians made a deal with the Devil, (who said OK) to get out from "under the heel of the French", "uh you know Napoleon the third and whatever". He goes on to say "the Haitians revolted and got themselves free." Hello. If the Haitians revolted and got themselves free, then ipso facto - and I'm going by what Robertson says - then they did not need the Devil. Apart from the idiocy of this, it is ignorant (see Juan Cole's piece in Informed Comment), but all of a piece with his disgusting perversion of religion.
Robertson blamed September 11 on the United States: "because God Almighty is lifting His protection from us", and among other things, because the Supreme Court had insulted God. As for Katrina, it was a good thing for John Roberts who was coming up for confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court. It might intimidate Democratic senators into not asking questions about abortion and other conservative issues.
A nouveau aristocrat, Robertson has had no problem in the past aligning himself with human rights violators Charles Taylor of Liberia or Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire. Gold and diamonds shimmered in the shadows.
Stay tuned for Limbaugh's next inevitable aristocratic swill. Because there is only one airstrip at Haiti's airport, because the roads in many places are almost impassable, and because civil authority has virtually collapsed, Limbaugh will attack the Obama administration's
aggressive, and so far well coordinated response as incompetent, ineffective and a rip off of your good will.
God only knows what Robertson will say.
Victoria Jones is White House correspondent and media commentator for the Talk Radio News Service.