I think it’s time to introduce a new word into our political discourse to designate a very real, and dangerous, group of fringe wingnuts. We’ve got the “Truthers”, crazies who think that the U.S. government was behind 9/11. Incidentally, Glenn Beck did the citizens of Texas a real service this past week when he exposed a gubernatorial candidate–a Tea Partier, of all folks–as a “Truther”. Debra Medina, who has about pulled even in the polls with the sinking Kay Bailey Hutchison (thankfully, trailing Governor Rick Perry by a significant margin), told Glenn that, effectively, she hasn’t really weighed all the evidence, and thus hasn’t reached a conclusion, about whether or not the government was behind 9/11. Thanks for playing, Ms. Medina, but you’re a kook–even if you and I agree on a lot of Tea Party issues. If you are a “Truther”, or even if you entertain the possibility that they’re onto something, you scare Americans with a brain.
On the other side of the coin, politically, are the “Birthers”, folks who continue to press the idea that Comrade Obama wasn’t born in the United States. They produce “evidence”–equally spurious to that produced by the “Truthers”–to supposedly buttress their claims. They deserve to be dismissed as kooks as well.
But there’s a third category of people that ought to be placed alongside “Truthers” and “Birthers”; let’s call them “Racers”. Keith Olbermann goes to the top of the list of “Racers”, continuing to find racist motives behind the Tea Party movement, for instance, fabricating evidence from his own fertile imagination in the absence of anything approximating proof. I referred in a recent post to a professor at Atlanta’s Spellman College, who protested a pro-life ad (an ad condemning the genocide of African-American babies) as “racist”. Chris Mathews “forgot that Barack Obama was a black man” during the State of the Union. These folks find race in everything; these folks are convinced that racism underlies everything that people (well, conservative people) do. And so, to Olberclown and his ilk, the Tea Party has to be racist at root–ignoring mounds of evidence to the contrary and choosing to look through their pink-colored glasses and find what’s not there. Are there racists in the Tea Party movement? Certainly–just as there are racists in groups right and left all across American society. Is racism a genuine evil, a terrible scourge on this country? Absolutely. Is racism an issue in which America has made leaps and bounds of progress? Only a fool oblivious to the evidence would argue otherwise. But is the fact that many Americans are fed up with the economic agenda of the Bush/Obama administration (yes, you heard me) evidence that, because Comrade Obama is a black man, we’re racist? Preposterous–but not to the “Racers”. I propose we add that term to our political jargon, because “Racers” deserve exactly as much attention and credibility as “Truthers” and “Birthers”.