Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Audacity of Hope & The Reality of Fear

This past week America was privy to one of the biggest witch hunts  since the days of  colonial Salem.  A quiet  woman  named Shirley Sherrod, working at the  U.S. Department of  Agriculture  was hounded out of her job.  The reason?  A coordinated organized  group of  liars  made it happen.  Liars,  all of them.  Bald Faced Liars.

They  took video of a speech this woman gave,  chopped it up so it would look  like something  completely  the opposite to what it was.  Then used that video in  a deliberate attempt  to level a  charge of racism at  the President of the United States.  The goal?  To scare white voters ahead of this November's midterm elections.

The right wing website  Big Government dot com,  first ran the hacked up video,  which was cobbled together to make it look like  Sherrod, was admitting,  even bragging  about  not helping a white couple save their family farm  from  foreclosure,  some  twenty four years ago.    The owner of  the  Big Government blog  Andrew Breitbart saw this story has a chance to strike back against  the NAACP,  for calling out the "Tea Party" movement for its racist  elements.

FOX News  was  very eager to get  this story out and get it out loudly.   Having had  the Tea Party movement they helped create and constantly promote, exposed as having  a very  ugly racist  element to it.  Also  having  lost their most recent  "Breaking News!" story  about the   Obama  Justice Department protecting  radical  Black militants, in a  new Black Panther Party. When that story was exposed as made up nonsense.  With the Sherrod story,   Fox News was almost  giddy with  excitement.   Here FINALLY  was the "Smoking Gun" of  reverse  racism  by The Obama Administration  they had sought for so long..

The  story was a complete  lie.  Not one of the purported  facts  in the story was even remotely true.  But that didn't matter.  Just like with the supposed "Smoking Gun"  of  voter fraud by the non-profit group ACORN,   Fox News  grabbed the talking points for THIS new smoking gun and  RAN with  it at full speed.  

In response,   the  Obama Administration's Agriculture Department  quickly  fired Sherrod,  joining the  chorus  decrying  the overt racism on display in the heavily  edited video.   But not even a day and half later,   the story and Fox News/Breitbart narrative began to unravel.  As the dust  settles from this latest instance of  race baiting by the political right in this country,  a pattern has sadly emerged.

Rachel Maddow  has  the post-mortem.

It's hard to really  know who is worse,  the fools or the fools that followed them.   In this case the fools being  the  race baiting hacks  at FOX News  and  fools who followed them being,  sadly - the  Obama Administration. It is as if  the  Obama White House was  so  scared of  a right wing talking point of  Black favoritism  they accepted a completely  false, and  easily debunked story,  (all it would have taken is one phone call to the White family in question),  and took it at  face value.   

The sad truth here is  you can't  really blame FOX News.  They were just doing their  job.  They are not a  news organization  they are  a political  media arm of the  Republican Party.  It's their job to try to make President Obama look bad, even if they have to tell blatant  lies to do it.   It's  what  the talking heads on FOX are paid to do.    No,  the  real sad truth here  is how  the  Obama Administration  has  become a gutless, spineless  quivering  pile  of  political  timidity.   The audacity  of  hope has been chucked in favor of the expedience  of  whatever  will test well  with middle of the road focus groups. 

Real heath care reform. was  abandoned in hopes of  gaining one or two GOP votes, that never came  for what ended up being  mild insurance reform.   Real financial reform as been abandoned in the hope of  getting one or two  non existent GOP votes to extend unemployment benefits  to millions of Americans.    Who lost their jobs under the economic train wreck of the Bush Administration.   Real  advancement of civil rights in  America has been abandoned  out of  fear  of losing  midterm elections  by being painted as  "too pro gay" by bigots,  who are on their  third  and fourth  marriages. 

Now the latest  casualty of  cowardice  is nothing less than the truth.  Nobody in the Obama Adminstration  even thought  to  question  the accusations  against  Shirley Sherrod.  No one  in the White House thought to consider the source,  and maybe,  just maybe,  take a day,  one day  to  check and see if the story was even remotely  credible.  

There is a great scene in the movie  "The American President"  where  President  Andrew Shepherd , played  by Michael Douglas  finally  stands up to  the constant barrage of  right wing  attacks on  his  character.  Realizing  that  he had been   more focused on keeping his job as President , than doing  his job as President.  

We  truly do have  serious problems to solve, and  the  Republican Party and it's  noise machine over at FOX is not even remotely interested in solving them.   And the sad truth is they have successfully cowed  President Barack Obama into being too scared of losing his job,  to be able to effectively do his job.  The millions of Americans who voted  for hope and change  are left wondering  where the man they voted for has gone.  How many steps backward will  this administration allow itself  to be  bullied into,  before they have their  American President moment?   In tonight's  brilliant  special comment,  MNSBC's  Keith Oblermann  asks  the same question.

The Tea Party racists like  to say they "want their country back".   I'd settle for getting back the President I voted for.  

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