Have Americans lost their ability to exchange ideas and discuss politics without the equivalent of a high-school cafeteria food fight breaking out? Over the past few weeks, from San Jose to Washington, some of the language and rhetoric that’s been on display has been quite amazing.
Last Wednesday, after the President’s State of the Union Address, Chris Matthews expressed his impression that during the course of Obama’s speech the president “forgot he was black.” A few days earlier, the Mercury News Editorial Board offered: “Before dismissing any prospects of health care this year, consider this: Who would have thought two years ago that a black man would be elected President…?” Why the omnipresent preoccupation with race? Does anyone else really think, write, or speak like this?
The hits keep on coming. Just after the earthquake in Haiti, Rush Limbaugh commented that the situation would provide the Obama Administration with an opportunity to burnish its “creditability with the black community.” In terms of fundraising, Limbaugh argued that, “We’ve already donated to Haiti…it’s called the U.S. income tax.” Great.
And then there’s Keith Olbermann. During his Jan. 26 broadcast, Olbermann referred to the Wall Street Journal as the, “White Power Weekly News.” And, on the night of the Massachusetts senate election, just before Scott Brown was announced as the projected winner, Olbermann said the following: “In Scott Brown, we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, sexist, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against politicians with whom he disagrees.”