August 23, 2010

Given the fact that many Republicans over the weekend when asked about why so many people in their party believe that our president is a Muslim were feigning ignorance on what's actually going on with who and why these rumors about President Obama started, I thought Touré's rant from this past Friday's Dylan Ratigan show was worth going back for and sharing.

Anyone paying attention to the "summer of racial resentment" from Fox and the GOP already knew this, but it was nice to hear someone say it out loud on national television. The GOP's plan is to drum up racial resentment in order to gain seats in the upcoming mid-term elections.

The misinformation is coming from right wing web sites, email chains, right wing radio and sadly from our "mainstream" media outlets as well.

Touré did a great job of calling out the Dr. Lauras and the Newt Gingrichs and the Franklin Grahams of the world in this segment.

They all were more than aware of the dog-whistles they were setting off to the Republican right wing base and he lays out very clearly just what they'd like to be calling President Obama when they call him a Muslim, but can't do in polite company. I grew up dealing with a father who was and sadly still is racist as hell but doesn't think he is and the cognitive dissonance with some of his opinions and trying to digest them is always something that makes my stomach churn.

I listened to him for years blather on about the lazy blacks he worked with when apparently they never had a lazy white worker as well that they couldn't get rid of, the terrible black drivers he'd encounter on his way to work while I'm sure there was never a bad white driver on the road anywhere around him. He, like Stephen Colbert did have at least one or two black friends, so how could he be a racist? And he was very sad when Lou Dobbs went off the air.

He used to send me some of his right wing emails that his buddies sent him until I did a few replies to all and debunked the hateful junk he was sending me, and that put a stop to those mass emails coming my way. Imagine that.

I know all to well just who the right wing is trying to appeal to with their "Obama is a secret Muslim" bull pucky and Touré is spot on with his commentary. I've had the unfortunate circumstance of knowing who it plays to and what they are willing to say out loud when they think it doesn't matter who hears them first hand.

I'm sure I'm not alone with this experience. I'd love to hear back from others who have had to deal with people they love just being so wrong headed with their prejudices as well.

In the mean time, here's Touré's rant, and rough transcript below the fold.

Touré: Dylan, Barack Obama has told us many times that he’s a Christian and has been one for many years. In 2008 during the presidential campaign, he told us what Christ means to him. […]

Obama has also publicly quoted scripture, worshipped at several D.C. churches, eaten bacon with Bloomberg, he drinks beer, but somehow millions of Americans continue to believe he's a Muslim. Of those polled more said that I don't know what Obama is than said he's a Christian. I can't argue with the people who refuse to accept the facts to decide the argument, but I can ask why are these Americans who stubbornly cling to the falsity of Obama as Muslim actually saying?

We're a nation with a widespread distrust of Muslims, where Newt Gingrich likens Islam to Nazism and we see anti-Muslim hate crimes Koran burnings and resistance to building new mosques from New York to Kentucky to California. Last last night the son of Billy Graham said Obama's problem is he carries the seed of Islam, as if the faith were a hereditary disease.

Graham: [T]he president's problem is that he was born a Muslim. His father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim. His father gave him an Islamic name. Now it's obvious that the president has renounced the Prophet Muhammad and he has renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That's what he says he has done.

Many Americans remain angry at all of Islam for the actions of a perverted fraction of its global membership, which makes no sense. Still, many Americans think Muslim is a pejorative and Muslims should not be trusted and will attack us. So to insist the president is a Muslim is a sly way of saying about him what Dr. Laura infamously said 11 times to her black caller.

I can't say that word here in the DR show, the classy show, but the word now is so synonymous with Dr. Laura's name, I’ll just use her name instead. So when someone says Dr. Laura, you think black, scary, angry, perhaps even subhuman. To call him Dr. Laura would be horrifically racist, but to call him Muslim is a backdoor way to “Dr. Laura”. It gets you to dark and scary and angry without the icky stench of feeling racist, because we have every right to have Muslims, right?

No. American Muslims died on 9-11, were first responders at ground zero and have publicly condemned the attacks as an aberration of their peaceful religion, and when we surrender the religious tolerance that defines America and wrap ourselves in the cloak of Islamophobia and attack Americans who did not attack us, then we're not living up to the great country we claim to be and somewhere in a cave in Pakistan there are terrorists smiling.

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