Media

Crying 'anti-Americanism'

Fox News speaks up for the poor, downtrodden white male.
"Special interest groups" is a phrase that conservative pundits use to describe various advocacy groups that, when added all together, constitute the majority of Americans.

Though it may be unintentional, it's a classic example of divide-and-conquer.

African-American advocacy groups? No, special interest groups, coded language that really means "those minorities are trying to impose their narrow and selfish agenda on the majority, which is obviously wrong because in a democracy, majority rules (as if the Founding Fathers didn't Constitutionalize legal parameters to protect minorities from what is called "the tyranny of the majority").

Womens rights advocacy? Special interests.

Gay and lesbian organizations? Immoral special interests.

Labor unions? More special interests. Environmentalists, human rights advocates, universal health-care proponents, animal rights activists? All special interest groups.

How come we never hear conservative pundits label as special interest groups the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Halliburton, or abolish-the-inheritance-tax proponents?

Probably for the same reason the Supreme Court decided last week that rich people can take the private property of the less affluent to build things that will attract rich customers.

It will be interesting to see property-rights folks butt heads with the logical conclusion of an economic system that has historically favored the rich over the poor.

Of course, in the Orwellian lexicon of neocon-dom these special interest groups don't have legitimate concerns. They're all just "crying victim." Phrases like that have special appeal to right-wingers who think they're the only ones who believe in personal responsibility and self-determination.

The irony, of course, is that right-wing radio, Fox News and other conservative media is dominated by people crying victim over things that pale in comparison to what the world's downtrodden are surviving every day.

I mean, to listen to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, affluent, white, conservative Christian men have it worse than all historically oppressed groups in the world today... despite GOP control of the White House and Congress.

Anyone being honest about the history of western civilization can only consider such belly-aching the height of absurdity.

Kids working in sweat shops in foreign countries to produce cheap goods for Americans? They're just crying victim. What's really important is that we repeal the estate tax so that people like Bill Gates can leave his children a fortune worth a zillion dollars that they didn't have a damn thing to do with.

Never mind that Bill Gates' father joined with a thousand other rich Americans to protest Bush's repeal of the "death tax." And forget that out of the other side of the mouth of conservative punditry it is argued that America should be a meritocracy, which means that rewards should be linked to merit, not heredity.

Undoubtedly, conservative pundits consider these kind of observations "anti-American," which is a code-word for any utterance that disagrees with the world view of white, conservative Christian men.

So because I don't gush over American ideals like some insecure teenager worried about what his friends will think of his acne, I get labeled "anti-American."

Even if the fascism doesn't creep you out, these ad hominem attacks are usually nonsensical. Why? Well, think of the two most noble cultural products that the world recognizes as distinctly American -- jazz and baseball. Jazz was invented by blacks (my people) and African-Americans have contributed disproportionately to the Great American Pastime. If I were writing about how I hate jazz and baseball... plus apple pie, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs, my family, and my place of birth, then you might say I was "anti-American."
Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff reporter and a syndicated columnist.
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