• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Comic Strip Politics

American politics has turned into the comic strip Peanuts, with the liberal Charlie Brown attempting to kick a football while the conservative Lucy pulls it away from him for the thousandth time.

Nothing better illustrates a politics that is polarized between an immoral, unscrupulous right and a spineless, incompetent left than the sad story of Shirley Sherrod, an obscure employee in the U. S. Department of Agriculture who became a household name overnight.

After America’s oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP, attacked the conservative Tea Party movement for white racism within its ranks, rightwing activists decided to strike back by exposing black racism within the Obama administration. Rightwing blogger Andrew Breitbart posted on his website an edited video of Sherrod, who is black, apparently saying in a speech that she denied help to a farmer in distress because he was white.

In fact, the full context of the speech shows quite the opposite. Sherrod refers to a 24-year-old episode when she worked for a nonprofit organization not the government, to make the point that she confronted and overcame her own prejudices to help a white farmer regardless of race. In a part of the video not played by Breitbart, she said, “Working with him made me see that it’s really about those who have versus those who don’t … God helped me see that it’s not just about black people. … I’ve come to realize that we have to work together … we have to overcome the divisions that we have.”

Breitbart’s smear of Sherrod became an international sensation when FOX News repeatedly ran his version of the story without checking with Sherrod or the farmer in question. The farmer, Roger Spooner and his wife Eloise later appeared on CNN and confirmed that they never saw a hint of racism in Sherrod and that indeed she helped save their farm. In Roger Spooner’s words, “Me and the wife, we never, we never, we never saw that [racism] at all. Absolutely. It’s unbelievable. If we had not found her, me and my wife — we went checking here and yonder and everywhere — if it hadn’t been for her, we’d of lost.”

In an appearance with FOX New’s Sean Hannity, Breitbart made it clear that he cared nothing about the truth or about Ms. Sherrod. He said, “I’m invested in getting the NAACP and the Democratic Party and the Congressional Black Caucus to stop constantly calling the Tea Party racist. That’s my job. I could care less about Shirley Sherrod, to be honest with you.”

Instead, of carefully checking the full context of the video and the facts of the story, both the Obama administration and the NAACP blundered into the rightwing mousetrap. The administration fired Sherrod faster than you can say Martin Luther King (it has since offered her a new job).

The NAACP applauded the firing, saying, “We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers.” Later, when the truth came out, the group’s president Benjamin Todd Jealous said, “we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart.” No kidding!

The Sherrod story should have been about an unscrupulous rightwing setup of an innocent victim to take revenge on their opponents. Instead, the story came to center on the blunders of the Obama administration and the NAACP.
Like so many liberal groups, the NAACP has fallen on hard times in recent years. Sexually exploitive male leaders ran the organization into the ground in the 1990’s and early twentieth century. It has lost about half its members and has not made an impact on big issues in recent memory. The organization attempted a comeback with its attack on the Tea Party, but instead has just become another example of liberal cowardice and incompetence.

It is hard to believe that the NAACP once successfully challenged much of the American power structure to help bring down the system of Jim Crow in the South. How the mighty have fallen.

How could liberals in the Obama administration and the NAACP have fallen for the trap set by a known rightwing attack dog, who had previously used doctored videos in attacking the leftwing grassroots organization ACORN? How could liberals not have learned by now that the right will butcher the truth to make political points? Weren’t liberals on this planet when conservatives said we must go to war with Iraq to stop Saddam Hussein from hurling a-bombs on our cities? When they charged that the Democrats’ health care bill empowered “death squads” to throw grandma into the gas chamber? When they said that Obama was born anywhere but in the good ole U.S. of A.?

With a right that is wrong and a left that is lame, it is no wonder that Americans are so down on their politics.

ALLAN J. LICHTMAN is Professor of History at American University. His most recent book is, White Protestant Nation.

 

WORDS THAT STICK

?

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
David Schultz
Trump isn’t the Pope and This Ain’t the Middle Ages
Jeff Mackler
The Plague of Racist Cop Murders: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
Charles Pierson
Who are the “Wrong Hands” in Yemen?
Andrew Levine
Trump Is Unbeatable in the Race to the Bottom and So Is the GOP
Ramzy Baroud
Political Ambiguity or a Doomsday Weapon: Why Abbas Abandoned Oslo
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
A Growing Wave of Bankruptcies Threatens U.S. Recovery
Joseph Natoli
Conditions Close at Hand
N.D. Jayaprakash
No Lessons Learned From Bhopal: the Toxic Chemical Leak at LG Polymers India 
Ron Jacobs
The Odyssey of Elias Demetracopoulos
J.P. Linstroth
Arundhati Roy on Indian Migrant-Worker Oppression and India’s Fateful COVID Crisis
Melvin Goodman
Goodness Gracious, David Ignatius!!
Roger Harris
Blaming the COVID-19 Pandemic on Too Many Humans:  a Critique of Overpopulation Ideology
Sonali Kolhatkar
For America’s Wealthiest, the Pandemic is a Time to Profit
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the Telecom Crisis
Paul Buhle
Why Does W.E.B. Du Bois Matter Today?
Mike Bader
The Only Way to Save Grizzlies: Connect Their Habitats
Dave Lindorff
Pandemic Crisis and Recession Can Spark a Fight for Real Change in the US
Nyla Ali Khan
The Sociopolitical and Historical Context That Shaped Kashmiri Women Like My Grandmother in the 1940s
Louis Proyect
Does Neo-Feudalism Define Our Current Epoch?
Ralph Nader
S. David Freeman: Seven Decades of Participating in Power for All of Us
Norman Solomon
Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis Police and Her VP Quest
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuela in the 2020 Pandemic
Ron Mitchell
Defending Our Public Lands: One Man’s Legacy
Nomi Prins 
The Great Depression, Coronavirus Style: Crashes, Then and Now
Richard C. Gross
About That City on A Hill
Kathleen Wallace
An Oath for Hypocrites
Eve Ottenberg
Common Preservation or Extinction?
Graham Peebles
Air Pollution Mental Illness and Covid-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Unearned Income for All
Evan Jones
The Machine Stops
Nicky Reid
Proudhon v. Facebook: A Mutualist Solution to Cyber Tyranny
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
What is a “Native” Plant in a Changing World?
Shailly Gupta Barnes
Why are Our Leaders Still Putting Their Faith in the Rich?
John Kendall Hawkins
In Search of the Chosŏn People of Lost Korea
Nick Licata
How Hydroxychloroquine Could Help Trump…Politically
Jill Richardson
Tens of Millions of Are Out of Work, Why on Earth is Trump Trying to Cut Food Aid?
Susan Block
Incel Terrorism
Mitchel Cohen
Masks and COVID-19: an Open Letter to Robert Kennedy Jr and Children’s Health Defense
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail