Thursday, September 01, 2011

Physician, Heal Thyself... Part 683

Looks like everybody in Indiana with a blog has something to say about Andre Carson's foot-in-mouth moment. Me too. Most of what I think about it has already been said by others. From RTV6:

The tea party remarks contrasted those made by Carson earlier this year in the aftermath of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona.

"I think we have to recognize that we're all fellow human beings, one, and that we have philosophical differences, but those differences have to be met with some kind of civility," Carson said in that interview with 6News in January.

At the time, Carson said he believed debate should focus on policy and not rhetoric.

"It's unacceptable whether you're Democratic or Republican. We have to sit down and see how we can come together and debate and critique each other with civility, with respect and with honor," Carson said.
I vaguely recalled these words yesterday as I was sifting through the muck. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz pointed out that Rep. Carson would have done well to heed his own words regarding rhetoric in the aftermath of the Giffords shooting. Yep. Physician, heal thyself.

As for everyone else? Indy Star's Matt Tully has some useful insights:

The reaction was typical. Those who have defended overheated rhetoric from the right condemned Carson. Those who have criticized the inappropriate words of tea party members became champions of Carson's irresponsible speech.

Along Tully's lines, here's what I observed yesterday over at Masson's Blog:

Both right and left seem to think that a) Their side doesn’t make this kind of gaffe, b) When their side does, they justify or excuse it, c) When the other side does it they are shocked, Shocked, I tell you! or outraged, or both, and d) go on to explain how the media treats the other side better.

Well, when dehumanizing the other side so regularly, so completely, eventually it always comes back at your side- whichever side that is. Also, the price to be paid for being so vigilant in enforcing political correctness.

As for me, I'm not incredibly shocked nor offended by what Carson said. What gets me is when an individual can use sweeping language to describe large numbers of people. To me, that's the very kernel of racism and bigotry. And, I don't believe people of African descent are immune from being racist. No free passes. This is what Carson is guilty of, in my opinion: Racism, bigotry, generalization, and dehumanization. Does that disqualify one from being in Congress? A these 'gotcha' moments more important than the policies they vote for?

Maybe it's time to stop it with the 'gotchas'. Maybe it's time to stop it with political correctness. We'd do a lot better if we really did just focus on policy. Maybe that's asking too much. Maybe it's too much for me to ask those who demand political correctness of one side to demand it of their side too. Consistency has been woefully hard to come by in my lifetime. I've been pointing out, for instance, since early 2009 the disappearance of the anti-war left. Prior to that, from 2003-2008 I was pointing out the disappearance of the fiscally conservative right.

Yeah. Don't immune your side. Until that happens, we're going to have a LOT of bullshit in this country.

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