Frenzied Fox News commentator Glen Beck took rants against President Obama’s health care reform efforts to a new level this week, claiming the real motive behind the president’s push is to obtain “reparations.”
This is the most blatantly racist attack on Obama made by a paid announcer on a major TV network to date.
By the remark, Beck shifted the health care debate from policy to race. With it, he willfully sought to incite purely racially-based fear and hatred in his viewing audience.
No wonder the disruptions of the congressional town hall meetings around the country in the past week have been so ugly and distasteful. Beck’s remark is only slightly more racist than similar rants over the nation’s major network airwaves by stupid white men like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity. Then there is Sarah Palin. Her completely lying and disingenuous reference to “Obama’s death panels” makes one shudder all over again at the thought that this woman came as close as she did to actually becoming vice president of the United States.
One can take solace from the fact that Lou Dobbs’ relentless, racially-charged invectives against immigrants on CNN night after night last year only served to drive the Hispanic vote to Obama. If the same proves to be the case with the current health care matter, then the louder and nastier Dobbs, Beck and their ilk become, then maybe the more assured we can be of getting true health care reform.
Indeed, we hope even more that President Obama sees that this is an historic opportunity to do something that hasn’t been possible in over 60 years, since the founding of Medicare under President Johnson. That is, to get the kind of health care reform that will ensure affordable coverage for virtually every American.
He should not back down and should work with all the powers of suasion he can muster to get his Democratic colleagues in Congress to give him what he wants, with no compromise on the “public option” component of his plan.
As for the hysteria being displayed by citizens opposing reform at the town meetings, being revved up and set loose by Limbaugh, Buchanan, O’Reilly and the others, these citizens are being given their first opportunity to act out infantile rage over having lost the presidential election to an Afro-American almost a year ago now.
“I want my country back!,” exclaimed one weeping and shrieking person. That’s not a statement about health care. It’s about Obama. So are so many of the disgustingly prejudiced signs and posters.
But almost as distasteful as the outright racists and their troops are those in the mainstream media who enable all of this by refusing to call out their bigoted colleagues, and who report on the town hall disruptions by saying only that Democrats claim them to be orchestrated by the GOP and corporate special interests.
Among other things, honest reporters should be doing their own research on the role that Republican shock troop organizations like FreedomWorks and the DCI Group are playing in orchestrating these events, and reporting their findings as facts and not just as the allegations of Democrats.
Moreover, there should be far less tolerance from within the news industry of the kinds of misinformation and incendiary remarks that are being peddled not only by GOP spokesmen, but by paid so-called journalists within the ranks. The “look the other way” practice by journalists today would make Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow and their like shake their heads in anger and shame.
Yes, there are pathetic followers of Lyndon LaRouche showing up at these town meetings with many of the “Obama Equals Hitler” signs, hoping to piggyback on the hysteria to gain a little publicity for themselves.
But the real engineering comes from the highly-paid operatives retained by the highest levels of the health care insurance industry and their Republican allies, aided by the cheerleading of their foul-mouthed spokespersons and apologists masquerading as political commentators on major TV and radio networks, all aimed at exploiting the nascent racism among many of those in the population who opposed Obama’s election last year.