When I first started this blog just under a year ago, I was ignorant of who was who in the blogosphere. Believe it or not, Memeorandum is not the world.
But I did know about Little Green Footballs. I'm not sure why.
Over the months, it became obvious that no one provokes or responds to blog wars better (or worse, depending on your perspective) than Charles Johnson who runs LGF. Given the legend of "don't cross Charles Johnson" I stayed out of those things because ... who cares and what's the point?
But the blog war started yesterday by LGF against Robert Stacy McCain of The Other McCain deserves comment.
Robert Stacy McCain is someone I never have met or even spoken with, but I do read his blog, some of his posts at American Spectator, and sometimes we link to each other's posts. I have not devoted my life to studying McCain's life or writings; rather, in college I studied Bolshevism and other "isms" which remain fashionable among the Left in America in substance if not name.
So imagine my surprise to read yesterday that LGF has declared McCain to be a racist and white supremacist. McCain's responses are here, here and here (and multiplying by the hour)[added: something of a summation here]. But Johnson's post didn't ring true to me for several reasons independent of McCain's responses.
First, nothing I had read over the past year written by McCain supported such a conclusion.
Second, the snippets of sentences and clauses quoted in Johnson's post smelled like the type of truncated, piecemeal plucking of words out of context which is de rigeur these days when the race card is to be played.
It reminded me of a screen shot Johnson posted when Barack Obama bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, purporting to show George Bush also bowing to the Saudi King. In fact, as I posted at the time, the screen shot was deceptive because it did not reflect that Bush was bowing, but merely lowering his head to have a medal placed around his neck. Johnson later changed the post text to reflect the medal placement, without acknowledging what had been done.
A small incident, perhaps, but the point is that what you see in a snippet or out of context not always is accurate or fair.
Third, so much of the charge revolved around guilt by association. Not the "you sat in his church for 20 years" type of association Barack Obama had with Jeremiah Wright. The "you write articles for a magazine, the owner of which" .... blah blah blah. Or you linked to someone who once did this or that.
Guilt by linkage hardly persuades me of anything. I mean, I have linked to LGF and The Other McCain, so what does that make me?
Fourth, the LGF attack appeared to be payback for McCain's defense of Pam Geller when LGF attacked her. Payback attacks always are suspicious.
Last for this post, but not necessarily least, the attack does seem to reflect what McCain calls "anti-Southern prejudice, especially among the intellectual elite." We do not treat the history and cultures of ancient Egypt, various modern North African Arab ethnic groups, various black African tribes, the Europeans, and others, all of whom owned or traded in slaves, as being restricted to that history of slave ownership and racism.
But the "South" has become political. Having gone through Northeastern liberal public schools, college and law school, I know almost nothing about the history and culture of the South other than slavery and segregation.
In the last 40 years, as the South moved from Democratic to Republican, the equation of racism with Southern Republicans has been pounded into the heads of multiple generations even though the segregationists mostly were Democrats. How many 20-somethings do you think are aware that George Wallace was a Democrat and was shot while running for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party?
The point is not that we should not acknowledge and own up to the negative aspects of the history of the South. We have spent the past half-century trying to make amends and deal with the fall out, and should continue to do so. But to equate pride in one's Southern heritage with being a racist is not fair unless there is something more. And there doesn't seem to be "more" in the case of Robert Stacy McCain, or if there is, Charles Johnson hasn't made the case.
I detest the use of the race card in American politics and on the blogosphere. As I have said before, "suppression of legitimate political expression through false accusations of racism" is the defining theme to emerge from the 2008 political campaign. We see it every day, even when we debate health care.
With good reason, being tagged a racist is about as damaging a tag as exists because the damage is caused once the accusation is made.
And that is the point. If you want to ruin someone's reputation, just keep posting the words "racist" in close proximity to their name on the internet so that web search engines associate the person and the accusation. That is what some people tried to do to Glenn Beck recently by making accusations of past criminal conduct in the form of a question for the very purpose of influencing Google and other search engines.
The false accusation of racism is a despicable tactic. It damages the person against whom it is made and the victims of true racism.
And that is why I felt it necessary to speak up this time.
Health Care Race Card Played From Bottom of Deck
Saturday Night Card Game
"Race" As Political Weapon
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