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Bigots in the Woodpile [Jun. 12th, 2009|02:51 pm]
[Current Mood |annoyed]

Following on the shooting of a doctor who sometimes performed abortions, and the shooting of a security guard at the Holocaust Memorial in D.C.,  no one could be unaware of the existence of angry white guys with a driving belief that it's someone else's fault. 

I was driving home from choir practice Wednesday night, listening to the classical station as usual, when the amount of lightning in the sky ahead of me sent me hunting around the dial for a weather report.  I didn't find a weather report.  Instead, I found one of those talk radio stations that specializes in whiny, angry (and white, by their accent) men fulminating about things that bother them.  The topic was "Dr. Obama" and the proposed changes in health care delivery.   As it was voices, and not music of some kind, I listened and heard the statement (not even insinuation--statement) that Obama didn't care about the welfare of white men, and that if health care were nationalized and then rationed, "some Latina or black woman" would get care before "you, because you're a white man."

Besides being untrue and rabble-rousing, intending to cause trouble, the statement reveals that the speaker projects his attitudes onto others...it's clear to me that he was content with a system where women (and men) of color got less access to medical care than he did...and that to him, "equal access" means loss of his rights and privilege for someone else.

But more than that--a lot of bigots still out there, angry whiny guys who think they've been done wrong if others are treated as well as they are.   These are the same fellows who appear on talk shows on TV, convinced they have a right to dominate their wives and girlfriends and children...spouting hate for people with a different color skin...certain that anyone who's not like them is an enemy to be feared and hated...the same who believe women have no right to make their own decisions...the same who can enjoy life only if they're acknowledged as better than anyone else without having to do anything to prove it. 

Reason doesn't work with them.   Facts don't impress them (they can always deny that the facts are facts.)    They can't "get it" because they have sewed their mental eyes and ears tight shut; their logic circuits have atrophied, dried up, and fallen off long ago.  In their world, only they should have rights; only they should get to make decisions; only they are right. 

Scary in one way, maddening in another.  Frustrating all around.   You can knock 'em off, but then you're just proving their paranoia justified.  Their paranoia begs for a reflection from the outside; that's what they want and need.   They're easy prey for anyone who wants to play Great Leader and is willing to push their particular buttons. 

I kept punching the button until I was back at classical music, because if you're driving into weather, you need a clear head, and listening to that garbage was raising my blood pressure far too high.  Knowing it exists raises my blood pressure.  

We are all human.   One race.  One human race.   Many cultures, yes.  Many different value systems, yes.  But the race thing?   A lie from day one.   Women are human.  Men are human.   Neither one is more human than the other.   

Bigots...are just mean, crazy, humans.  I'd like to think of them as Other, so I could treat them as coldly as they treat those they despise, but they are human, just like I am.   But bigots, like other terrorists, are lazy.  They take the easy way out: it's always easier to break than to make...to hurt than to heal...to destroy than to build.   Most of us have a tendency to laziness--we'd like to lounge around more than is good for us, telling each other stories, and probably dramatizing ourselves in the process.  But most of us have learned that it's better to contribute--to grow or harvest or cook the food, to make the bed, to make the stuff people need and use, to maintain the systems that keep civilization running, to take care of the sick, to be careful and thoughtful and helpful.   Bigots...even if forced to work...are like a spoiled toddler who knocks things down whenever he's annoyed and then blames the "naughty plate" for throwing itself on the floor.

They've been around since humans have been, I'm convinced--you find them all the way back through human history and you find them in every culture I've read about.  So we're stuck with them. 

We just need to be sure we outnumber them.


[User Picture]From: mirtlemist
2009-06-12 10:02 pm (UTC)
You just got an 'amen' from me :) So much anger and fear from people who think they're being pushed out of power. They're still operating on the mindset that it's better to dominate and bully then live in peace.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-06-12 10:18 pm (UTC)
At the age of five, on a day that became a family legend of sorts, I was being difficult. I was a hot-spirited kid at the best of times, and that day I was contrary, fussy, etc.

My mother tried at one point to calm me down with "Now, honey, let's not have any trouble" and (according to her) I looked her straight in the eye and said "Maybe I WANT trouble."

Which I got.

But that's when I was five. The desire for "trouble" re-occurred at intervals later on, but with more and more awareness that trouble was not a worthwhile desire. Yet a lot of kids grow up still wanting trouble (someone I knew in the military told me that when he was in a gang, he liked the sound of breaking glass...I pointed out that no one had ever made him clean it all up or care for the small chld who fell into it and got cut...) There are adults that want trouble. That's...childish. Not child-like, but childISH.

I like excitement of some sorts. I thoroughly enjoyed learning some football--banging into people was fun until someone got badly hurt. Didn't want to hurt them; did want to stop them. I like fencing now; I like the physicality and contact of it. But...it's a sport. "Beating" someone on a play, or getting past their guard in fencing is not the same as dominating them, running their life, or claiming I'm better and should get privileges if I score a point.
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[User Picture]From: melissajm
2009-06-12 10:23 pm (UTC)
Reminds me of my dad's saying: Always strive to be childlike, but never childish."

He also told me once: "The purpose of life is to do as much good and as little harm as possible, and have fun while doing it."

I wish everyone believed that.
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From: kalinmoor
2009-06-13 01:13 am (UTC)
Hum... yes... that sounds like something I would have said as a kid. One of the stories which my parents love to bring up on occasion was similar.

It was winter in Missouri and our main form of heat was from oil space heaters . My parents warned me not to touch it, because it would burn me and hurt. To which my five year old reply was "But I like pain."
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[User Picture]From: faxpaladin
2009-06-12 11:30 pm (UTC)
"Special rights" is a phrase that has long annoyed me, since at least nine times out of ten it translates to "the same rights I have, that I don't want others to have."
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From: kalinmoor
2009-06-13 01:05 am (UTC)
I was sitting here in my warm monitor's glow at about 3am the other night, talking with one of my friends, when she pointed out the handy fact that a great deal of some of the truly hardcore and or violent bigots (aka, James von Brunn and his buddies) are all old enough to die of natural causes. We two younglings (18 and 20) take great comfort in the fact that we will only have to deal with the more passive bigots who most of the time only manage to look like asses as the majority, and the truly violent as the minority.

It's a sad fact that we will never be able to fully get rid of the willfully ignorant, bigoted, <>. But we can at least hope, and take some solace in that there seems to be a slow winnowing going on. Maybe someday their numbers will be few enough that we just won't hear about them, and the vast majority will just keep their sexist, racist, religionist, any-other-ist opinions to themselves.
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[User Picture]From: pgranzeau
2009-06-13 01:47 am (UTC)
From a white guy:

What you said.

However, I am very happy that in August, 2007, the health care system was able to get me into a heart hospital, and I am still alive thereby (although my heart did its damnedest to kill me the day after the triple bypass and aortic valve replacement).
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[User Picture]From: stephen_dedman
2009-06-13 02:17 am (UTC)
From another white guy: are you implying that the health care system in countries such as Canada or Australia wouldn't have done the same, whether or not you were a white guy or privately insured?

Agree with you completely, Elizabeth, but as well as being sure we outnumber the bigots, we have to be sure that we don't vote for them, and that we try not to let them get the balance of power.
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[User Picture]From: ann_mcn
2009-06-13 02:20 am (UTC)
Remember how, back in the 60's, accusations flew around that anyone in authority was fascist, and anyone who disagreed with government policy was Communist?

It seemed ridiculous, since no one wore swastikas, etc., but then my freshman year in college, my World History class actually taught what led up to the fascists taking over in Germany -- severe economic problems, a middle class that felt threatened, and then a group to blame all their problems on. It floored me -- seemed to describe Alabama in 1969/1970. Well, we got past all that, and things did improve, but now it seems to have come back, but stealthily at first. The commentators have made liberal into an insult (and removed any denotative meaning), not to mention calling anything they dislike socialist or Communist. And now, when you hear people like those on your radio during your drive home, there all those attributes of fascism -- middle class, in economic trouble, and blaming an easy to define group.

It worries me.
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[User Picture]From: fierce_rabbit
2009-06-13 02:52 am (UTC)
Yep. They lost. Badly. And they don't like losing.
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From: 6_penny
2009-06-13 02:49 pm (UTC)
Back in the 60's we had mobs in the street or in 'uniforms' in the street. Now most of the mobs are incubated over the airwaves and on the 'net and are more insidious (and dangerous) because they are insulated by these media from any reality and invisible except to their fellow believers. A generation ago they would have been isolated or in small groups that would have had some chance of experiencing the fact that they were small in number - though maybe more paranoid because of that. Now they coalesce in e-space. The nutter with the gun or the bomb is the projectile thrown by this virtual mob. Unfortunately THAT impacts on the real world.
I'm very much afraid that this insanity is not confined to the senior generation. They may be the ones with a little more free time to express the pathology visibly.
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From: 6_penny
2009-06-13 02:59 pm (UTC)
I do wonder what Paks would do.
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[User Picture]From: jryson
2009-06-13 05:55 pm (UTC)
I don't worry about the crazies. Now and then they do something, but not too often. The trouble is not the crazies, it's the predators and opportunists who groom them and set them up.

Like your radio guys. They aren't crazy and I doubt they believe much of what they're saying. But they have an agenda to set off violence and eventually wreck the country. They expect to gain power that way, but that isn't how things turned out in the Soviet Union and NAZI Germany. If history holds, they would be taken out and shot by whoever ends up on top.

Not much comfort for the rest of us, of course. Better to do something about it before that happens.
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[User Picture]From: kk1raven
2009-06-14 07:52 pm (UTC)
There are bigots and then there are Bigots. My grandfather was a bigot. He thought that various groups, including but not limited to blacks and Catholics were the cause of assorted problems and were somehow inferior. When the local sports teams lost, he'd blame it on them having too many black players. When my uncle married a Catholic woman, he supposedly almost refused to go to the wedding. He would never have preached hatred though, and his bigotry never seemed to extend to real individuals of the groups he disliked. As much as I disagreed with his thinking, I could understand where it came from. Bigots like the ones you mention here are a very different matter. I can't begin to understand feeling that way. They seem to seethe with hatred, much of which seems to come out of fear rather than simply being raised to believe that other people were inferior. I really don't understand the notion that giving another group their rights somehow takes away your own rights, whether the rights involved are marriage, health care, an education or something else.
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