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What Fire?

Reference yesterday’s post, a conservative friend on Facebook asks where all this racism is … he’s never seen any.

Sorry, couldn’t resist responding to the comment.  You know, though, you hear this on the right, and you hear it a lot.  What racism?  We’re not racists!  Don’t you dare call us racists!  We love Gabby Douglas!

I’m not kidding about Gabby Douglas, by the way.  I listened to a Tucson conservative talk radio station during the Olympics a couple of weeks ago and actually heard a host threaten to punch the next liberal who called conservatives racist.  Conservatives aren’t racist, he said, because Gabby Douglas is America’s sweetheart and that proves it!

Well, racism wasn’t dead at the Republican National Convention two nights ago, when delegates tried to drown out a Puerto Rican speaker with a Spanish accent by shouting “USA! USA!” and “Go home!”  It wasn’t dead when two other delegates threw peanuts at a black CNN camerawoman and told her “This is how we feed animals at the zoo.”  It wasn’t dead last night, when Romney tossed a bone to the birthers during his acceptance speech.

One can disagree with Obama’s policies and actions without being racist; I personally disagree with much of what he’s done.  Making up lies about Obama taking money from Medicare to pay for Obamacare is just politics … dirty politics, for sure, but it’s not racism.  Making up lies about Obama getting rid of work requirements for welfare, on the other hand, is meant to stir up racial resentment among uneducated whites who think all welfare recipients are black, and that is racism.  Birtherism is racism.  Calling Obama a Kenyan Muslim is racism.

Oh, and America’s love affair with Gabby Douglas?  Before she won gold at the Olympics, it was a rather different story.

Sure, racism cuts across the American political spectrum.  But it’s mostly clumped on the right side these days.  I’ll say it again, and then hold my peace: the Republicans are playing with fire.

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