One of the problems with blogging is that, unlike writing a book when you will have months to go over your text and an editor to scrutinize your conclusions, you have to write, write quickly, and you always worry that you might be over-stating something, or missing an important piece of data, or somehow not saying what you mean to say, or saying it not as well as it deserves to be said.
One easy way to know if you were on target is to go to InsideCatholic.com. If Deal Hudson has decided to attack you, you were undoubtedly spot-on. Mr. Hudson has taken issue with two posts, here and here, I ran at America this week. I asked the question to what degree racism was motivating some – certainly not all as I made clear – of the most venomous protesters against President Obama. You can read my posts for yourself and see if my brush was too broad. I have re-read them and stand by every word. Indeed, if you read some of the comments posted in reply to my blog, I think you will see that I hit a nerve.
Mr. Hudson accuses me and President Carter of slander. Hudson mistakes President Carter’s remark. Carter said: “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American.” Carter did not say an overwhelming number of protesters. He said “an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity.” I believe that animosity is precisely the way to describe the irrational feeling that is racism. Not all the protesters expressed such animosity but the people who carried signs depicting the President as an African witch doctor surely did. And, Carter is right, and Hudson is wrong, to note the obvious racist overtones of that animosity.
In my case, Hudson quotes my blogpost where I wrote: “But, watching and listening, it is difficult not to conclude that the strong sense of grievance, the idea that ‘Nobody's standing up for us!’ as one man from Tennessee put it, was not only to restore certain constitutional principles, but the social hierarchy that prevailed in earlier times, a hierarchy that kept blacks on the lowest rungs of society.” He comments upon these words: “Just how is it ‘difficult not to conclude’ these people are racists, simply because they don’t feel represented by either the Obama White House or the Democratic majority in Congress?” The protesters I cited were those who were carrying signs that disfigured the President and a spokesman who repeated the John Birch Society’s fascination with the Seventeenth Amendment. Is Hudson unaware of the racism of the John Birch Society? Or is he ignorant of the Birchers concern for the Seventeenth Amendment? Racism, like anti-Semitism, has tropes that are familiar to its practitioners and to ignore those tropes is dishonest.
What is comic, however, is the fact that Hudson overlooks his racist buddies because he shares their sensibility that they “don’t feel represented by either the Obama White or the Democratic majority in Congress.” Yes, Mr. Hudson. You lost the election. Perhaps he should become a birther, denying that President Obama was born in the United States.
We say: Charlottesville reveals the weeping wound of racism. What do we, the American Catholic faith community, do next? Read the editorial.
“Need I repeat that such a serious charge as racism should be based upon presentable evidence, or what the Catechism calls an ‘objectively valid reason’?” Hudson asks. No, Mr. Hudson, you need not repeat yourself and I have a copy of the catechism. But, signs that show President Obama depicted as an African witch doctor are, to my mind, “objectively valid reasons” for the charge of racism. As were the toy monkeys labeled “Obama” at rallies during last year’s campaign. As was the utter disrespect for the President in the shouted “You lie!” by a member of Congress sitting in solemn session. As is the reference to “B. Hussein Obama” by Ms. Ann Coulter.
Deal Hudson is either dishonest or he is a fool not to recognize the racism in some, to repeat not all, but some of the ugliness thrown at the President. And, Hudson is no fool. Sadly, instead of confronting the racists in his midst, he is coddling them.