The other day I wrote about Norman Lear’s inspiring speech at the People For the American Way dinner:
Over the past several decades, the power-grabbing right has built a powerful infrastructure of radio and TV networks.
They’ve built think tanks, colleges and law schools.
And funded political groups that prepped the way for the Supreme Court, in Citizen’s United– to grant Corporations the right to provide any amount of financial backing to a candidate or a cause just like any other average citizen.
And all of it carried off with an air of holier-than-thou sanctity– no less apparent than Pat Robertson’s when he told me my arms were too short to box with God.
And now, as frightening as it is, where do we find that holier-than-thou sanctity most apparent in politics today?
Among the seven candidates attempting to prove in every debate we have seen that they are the right kind of Christian to be the Republican candidate for the Presidency of the United States.
In light of the circumstances we liberals and progressives have succumbed to, it is hard to remember that we– not the right– WE are the spiritual heirs to those Americans who struggled to end slavery and segregation– to end child labor and win safe conditions and a living wage for workers.
And WE are the spiritual heirs to those who conceived of and fought for just about every bit of social legislation in the last century, legislation that everyone, left and right, now take for granted– and that resulted– until not that many years ago– in the most flourishing, hopeful and empowered middle class in the history of nations.
Say what you will about liberal Hollywood, but this is one guy who put his money and his time where his mouth is and went out and created an institution for the long haul to fight the religious right and preserve the constitution. He deserves all the accolades he received that night. If only there were more like him.
Naturally, the wingnuts went wild… The 20-minute speech, delivered Dec. 5 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, went largely unnoticed when posted at the Huffington Post on Tuesday, but two minutes was sliced out by the Media Research Center and the audio was widely circulated across the Internet:
I want to suggest we lefties start laying claim to what we see as ‘sacred’ and serve it up proudly to the Religious Right – to the James Dobson, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Karl Rove hate-mongers, sheathed in sanctity,” said the TV legend who created All in the Family, One Day at a Time and Sanford and Son.
“Over the past several decades, the power-grabbing right has built a powerful infrastructure of radio and TV networks. They’ve built think-tanks, colleges and law schools,” Lear complained.
“And now, as frightening as it is, where do we find that holier-than-thou sanctity most apparent in politics today? Among the seven candidates attempting to prove in every debate we have seen that they are the right kind of Christian to be the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States.”
“When you hear Lear speak this way,” wrote Noel Sheppard of the MRC, a right-wing watchdog group, “you have to seriously wonder whether he was the model for Rob Reiner’s character on the hit series All in the Family — aka Meathead.”
On Wednesday, nationally syndicated talk-radio host Dennis Prager played the clip and interrupted himself several times to refute the claims made by Lear. Then he summed up with:
“I am very saddened when my fellow Jews adopt values that I think are antithetical to Judaism and to the Judeo-Christian value system that I so uphold. He is angry at Christians, and when there are right-wing Christians, it is the combination of the two things he is most afraid of, the right and Christianity. So when you put them together, they really frighten a man like Norman Lear.”
Oh, boo fucking hoo. Lear should be afraid of right wing religious zealots as should any right thinking person. After all, look at how they portray anyone who isn’t like them. Here’s a recent column by Dennis Prager himself:
The major difference between Hitler and the Communist genocidal murderers, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, was what groups they chose for extermination.
For Hitler, first Jews and ultimately Slavs and other “non-Aryans” were declared the enemy and unworthy of life.
For the Communists, the rich — the bourgeoisie, land owners, and capitalists — were labeled the enemy and regarded as unworthy of life.
Hitler mass-murdered on the basis of race. The Communists on the basis of class.
Because the Holocaust was unique in its industrialization of death and in its targeting of every Jew, including babies, for death, the post–World War II world has been rightly obsessed with eradicating racism (but not anti-Semitism!), i.e., the hatred of another solely because of race.
But the world has not been obsessed with eradicating the other source of genocide: classism, hatred of others for reason of class.
The reason for this embrace is that class hatred is as fundamental to the Left as the Trinity is to Christians, and the Left dominates the media and education…
This is dangerous because there is an ideological continuum from the democratic Left to the Communist Left. Making the “rich” scapegoats for society’s ills unites the Left. The democratic Left believes in democracy, and, before the 1970s, some of its adherents were fierce anti-Communists. But while the decent and the indecent Left differ on democracy-versus-tyranny, and on nonviolence-versus-violence, the nicest Leftists in the world agree with the indecent Left about who the enemy is.
Being on the left means that you divide the world between rich and poor much more than you divide it between good and evil. For the leftist, the existence of rich and poor — inequality — is what constitutes evil. More than tyranny, inequality disturbs the Left, including the non-Communist Left. That is why so many on the Left fell in love with Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, and, at other times, with every left-wing dictator. Non-leftists see these men as thugs; much of the Left sees them as fighters for equality.
How very temperate of him. Larry Elder got in on the act too, saying that liberals own every single part of the media and make it impossible for the right to even get a word in edgewise. He said this on his nationally syndicated radio show.
Norman Lear is not intimidated by these whining hypocrites. But an awful lot of liberals are and it’s too bad. They should be dismissed and derided for this kind of hypocrisy.