January 7, 2010

As I noted awhile back, when discussing the violent propensities of the white nationalists who have invaded the Tea Party movement:

One can't help but feel a sense of foreboding about what's likely to occur when immigration reform comes up on the national plate ... These people are already organized and already inclined to violence. If you thought the town-hall teabaggers went nuts over health-care reform, just wait.

We later got a prime example of this in the New Hampshire teabagger who shouted, "We don't need illegals. Send 'em home on a bus, send 'em home with a bullet in the head the second time!"

Of course, the problem isn't just the violence. Accompanying it, at every turn, is an overpowering nativist racism that opposes immigrants of every kind, and not merely the illegal ones.

Right-wingers love to whine that simply opposing illegal immigration brings charges of racism. That's what Glenn Beck was on about yesterday on his show.

Beck: The progressives must reactivate their far-left base, they must smear their detractors. They will call me and Fox News and anyone else if you believe that we are a nation of laws and not of men, you're going to be called nasty names. And they're not going to listen to any of the facts that you have to say.

That kinda sounds like Beck making excuses in advance, doesn't it? Because, heaven knows, the folks at Fox haven't indulged in racist stereotypes when discussing immigrants and crime, or don't reflexively demean them as "illegals", or mindlessly promote nativist operations like the Minutemen. Lord knows Glenn Beck would never do such a thing as help promote the white-supremacist based "Aztlan" conspiracy theory, or let the Minutemen smear the National Council of La Raza by comparing them to the Klan.

Perish the thought that they might continue resurrecting these canards during the immigration debate -- along with whatever new race-baiting memes they can come up with. (No doubt they'll be busily consulting Michelle Malkin on that front.)

You know, we'd love to have a debate about reforming our nation's immigration laws and policies that's sane and logical and free of the emotional taint of racism. But that will only be possible if the right decides to quit indulging it. If, in other words, hell freezes over.

Lou Dobbs was fond of this exact same whine -- even as he indulged in fake stories about immigrants spreading leprosy and attacked efforts to improve legal immigration, while hosting white supremacists and nativists on his program as "experts" on immigration.

It's one thing to hold a contrary opinion – which, despite the claims of Dobbs and defenders, was not what he was attacked for. It's quite another to irresponsibly demagogue and demonize an entire bloc of the American population with provably false information and paranoid conspiracy theories derived in large part from hate groups – which was in fact what he was attacked for. Dobbs wasn't in trouble with the public merely for opposing illegal immigration; a large segment of the public sought his removal because he had become an irresponsible font of false information and fearmongering, for demonizing and belittling Latino immigrants and peddling conspiracy theories; because he had indeed become a major conduit for right-wing extremism into the mainstream of our discourse. That's racism, and a whole lot more.

Of course, there was a special irony in Beck making this claim, especially when he went on:

Beck: Charges of racism deserve to be heard and debated -- if there is evidence. But there usually isn't.

Yeah, Glenn Beck would know all about that. Media Matters has the video:

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