Sunday, December 21, 2014

CROUCH: In logic’s absence, an appetite for victimhood

By STANLEY CROUCH, King Features Syndicated Columnist | 7/23/2014

Things do not necessarily get more direct, but become simpler to understand, particularly when human drives shape the context. The intellectual lowball played by professional or volunteer bigots is a red herring that cannot be denied, because it remains an adolescent set of urges that rarely fail to be shown.

Author David Gletty worked for the FBI and infiltrated a number of hate groups that were not all the same, but that got their dander up when confronted with Barack Obama’s election to the White House.

Things do not necessarily get more direct, but become simpler to understand, particularly when human drives shape the context. The intellectual lowball played by professional or volunteer bigots is a red herring that cannot be denied, because it remains an adolescent set of urges that rarely fail to be shown.

Author David Gletty worked for the FBI and infiltrated a number of hate groups that were not all the same, but that got their dander up when confronted with Barack Obama’s election to the White House.

Gletty made some observations about sinister forces like the Ku Klux Klan and how their beliefs infected the children of KKK members. Speaking of his book “Undercover Nazi,” he clarified something often denied by snooty right-wing ideologues, the gang of bigmouths and mush mouths on radio and television. During an online chat organized by The Washington Post, an audience member from Virginia inquired about the roots of such a perspective, asking: “What seems to be the primary influence on people joining these organizations? Parents are members? Only source of social activity available? Genetics?”

Gletty replied: “Generally, it is the attitudes and beliefs that come from parents, relatives and other associates that create a belief structure coupled with misinformation from actual historical or current events. This is used as a crutch to voice general displeasure with their own personal circumstances in having someone to blame for any financial or political crisis affecting them.”

This observation is as applicable on the far left as it is on the far right. Our country allows these media hounds seeking attention to profit from the faithful but naive listeners, those listening anonymously or in groups. The human need to feel somehow important seems to have created an appetite for varieties of victimhood. That is why self-righteous shills like Sean Hannity sputter claims of Obama being both weak and a dictator.

There is a long-established American need of the young to reject the “old ways.” Youth wants to step off on its own, to become independent, at least in talk and sometimes in action.

But the old ways are not so old at all. Racism now denies itself, and a racist will not be called a racist, or he or she might blow the top knot of opinion sitting on the neck. That is why 37 percent of Mississippi’s Republican voters recently said that if the Civil War were fought again, they would support the Confederacy. Those people are not very interested in facts as much as the opinions they want to believe.

Gletty was very right when he said that a misunderstanding of real American history lies under it all, and that thing, if tickled and thumped until storm clouds begin to move across the sky, might result in a drowning. Logic will lose life, or be accused of left-wing hostility that fizzled in the face of truth presented by Fox News.

When Democrats fail to take credit for tremendous Wall Street numbers or five months of more than 200,000 new jobs appearing in the real world, they cannot hope to have those provable facts reported on Fox, or by Rush Limbaugh, who would rather trumpet xenophobia splattered at the president. Eric Holder understands what is happening and is no longer willing to bite his tongue about disgruntlement grounded in the redneck base of the GOP. One who will feed the flames at the far right wing is Sarah Palin, an ordinary American woman who is not intimidated by intellect — of any kind, not her, never. Palin neither went very far in school, nor did she come back an educated fool.

Instead of spending too much time making fun of Palin, we always need to keep in mind all that Eleanor Roosevelt did publicly and in the private world of thought. Her high quality of thought underlay her advanced politics. Yes, she invited Marian Anderson to the White House and left no doubt how open she was to the world becoming a much better place if its thinking was high enough. Woodrow Wilson had been president of Princeton and brought segregation back to full power when he was elected to the White House. He often is described as an international voice of logic, but Eleanor went past him in every way, and helped make possible the United Nations, for which she helped write the charter.

Alison Lundergan Grimes is one of her descendants, Elizabeth Warren is another, and so is Wendy Davis — all three outstanding American women who are neither afraid of the powers that be nor afraid to think past the shortcomings accepted by too many Republicans.

Stanley Crouch is a syndicated columnist. Email him at crouch.stanley@gmail.com

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