For several months I watched lots of clips from various hosts and guests on Fox News. It was pretty disgusting. The lack in integrity, especially from Hannity and O’Reilly, was really amazing. They are no better than Limbaugh and Beck., all equally shameful parts of the America of our day. The more they lie, they more they brag about speaking the truth. And people sucker for it. Just amazing.
I’ve also watched lots of stuff from the left. One of the most vociferous is The Young Turks, whose knee-jerk left wing bias is no more respectable than is the right wing bias of Fox. Both sides are entirely sophomoric, that is, both know what they are against but not what they are for.
On the other hand, there are two people on the left who seem to be to be trying hard to speak the truth. Their research is careful and thorough and, while holding clear interpretive opinions, they try hard to let the truth speak for itself.
One is a professor-turned-politician, Elizabeth Warren. She is hated by the right, though it is hard to appreciate their rejection of her, since in many of her speeches she does almost nothing more than lay out the facts. She is more fact-based than any other national politician I know of. She was roundly criticized, for example, when she gave a series of messages in various contexts, all making the same point: No body builds a business single-handedly. She made not one claim, so far as I could tell, with which anyone of any political persuasion could argue. Yet the right unreasonably resisted the message.
The second person is the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. I really appreciate when her opening question to a guest is, Was I fair and accurate in my introduction?
Last night (April 14, 2016) Maddow drew a comparison between Reagan and Trump. In 1980, shortly after receiving the Republican nomination, Reagan addressed a crowd in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights workers had been murdered 16 years earlier. Reagan’s theme was states’ rights, long recognized as a code word for racism. Since the Civil War, the two themes have been entirely intertwined and cannot be separated even today. Reagan was trying to woo the voters who had considered the opening racist George Wallace a good possibility for president. His message was shameful.
In 2008, as Maddow reminds us, white teenaged bullies harassed Latinos, killing one of them, in Patchogue, NY, in the middle of Long Island. Yesterday Trump gave a campaign speech on the same street where the crime had taken place. He did not mention the crime but he did speak very forcefully about building a wall and making Mexico pay for it.
Trump was introduced by local politician Carl Paladino, honorary co-chair of Trump’s New York campaign, who repeatedly emphasized that Trump would build the US-Mexico wall and make Mexico pay for it.
It is to the great shame of America that we have elevated racism to the level of a national and somewhat credible campaign for the US presidency. Shame on Trump and shame on his supporters. There is no possible excuse for celebrating hatred.