Researchers who deal with deadly snakes have learned to make themselves immune to snake venom. Gradually, over time, they repeatedly expose themselves to small doses of the venom, building up a tolerance for it, until eventually they can withstand a level of poison that would kill a normal person.
Folks, that’s what’s been happening to us in US politics. For the last four years we’ve listened to Republicans and right-wing extremists call President Obama anti-American. We’ve heard them claim he’s an illegal alien with foreign values. We’ve listened to them say he’s a secret Muslim out to destroy America. We’ve heard them claim Obama is a Communist and an atheist and a Socialist with terrorists for friends.
On occasion somebody in the Republican leadership will issue a weak rebuke, but for the most part they don’t discourage this sort of talk. More often, they encourage it or participate in it. The result is the American populace have developed a tolerance for this sort of poison.
So yesterday, when Gov. Mitt Romney, publicly stated that President Obama was in sympathy with the terrorists who assassinated a US ambassador and three other members of the US consulate in Libya, we heard reporters and pundits call those remarks “unfortunate” and “inaccurate” and “ill-timed” and “unpresidential,” and a “discredit to his campaign.”
Think about that. A candidate for the office of President of the United States accused the sitting president of sympathizing with the perpetrators of a concerted assault on a United States embassy, which resulted in four deaths of embassy personnel. What Romney said was so despicable that it should, by itself, render him unelectable. And the news media calls that statement “unfortunate” and “inaccurate.” I’m telling you, America has been snake-bit, but we’ve been exposed to so much venom that our system tolerates it.
And you know what’s worse? You know what is even worse than the outrage deficit that allows Romney to get by with appalling shit like accusing President Obama of treason? I’ll tell you.
What’s worse is we’re not supposed to say that racism plays any part of the hatred the right wing feels for Obama. Because calling somebody a racist is offensive.