Welcome back to Offensiveness Week here in the PostScript bunker, where everyone is free to say what they think — and some of what people think is horrifying. We’re back to tiptoeing the line of appropriateness (it’s actually a tripwire) because it is important to point out that some people are saying horrifying things, even if it results in “wetbacks” getting printed on or about or near The Washington Post’s Web site.
In this case, we’re hip-deep in the 3,500-odd comments to Dana Milbank’s half-hopeful column on both the recent offensiveness by prominent right-wing figures and the other prominent right-wing figures calling them out over it. Comments run the gamut — there are, for example, people defending the use of the terms “wetback” and “slut” to describe Latinos and women who want health care to cover birth control:
edbyronadams, defending Rep. Don Young’s use of “wetback,” which PostScript has always heard as a racial term, not legal-status term, but oh well, it’s still an epithet:
The term is supposed to apply to people who broke the law entering this country but we wouldn’t want anyone to damage the self esteem of scofflaws, would we?
RomeoHotel, referring to Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a “slut,” which frankly PostScript has never heard defined this way:
She was demanding that poor carpenters and plumbers pay for the recreational sex of lawyers. She deserved what she got.
People on the Right do not call people to justice because they hate them, it’s because they actually have standards and morals. You should try some sometime.
So, hooray. Not everyone is ready for this brave new world of tolerance and accurate terminology that isn’t pointlessly insulting.
PostScript expected there would be some Republican voices urging themselves along, grateful this is now happening, etc. The lack thereof is slightly baffling — obviously there are many voices for tolerance, as Milbank’s column showed, but perhaps they didn’t feel the need to pile on in this comments section or are still shaking their heads in disbelief.
What she did find was a trove of lefties who insist the problems run deeper than word choice:
Watching one’s rhetoric in public, scrubbing public statements and papers, hiding one’s disdain for others of any characteristic works only sometimes. These are fairly new developments as emerging social media and computer usage opens up the blogosphere to anonymous hate prose.
I would like to see the GOP come to its senses and stop attacking women’s reproductive rights. I would also like to see the GOP stop trying to destroy our president, who was elected twice by a majority of US citizens. Most of all, I would like to see the GOP stop trying to take away our social safety net, especially Social Security and Medicare, since the boomers just now becoming seniors, and those programs will be needed more, not less, for the foreseeable future.
The GOP being less politically incorrect? That would be a lovely bonus.
The problem I have with this article is how low it sets the bar for the GOP. All they have to do is not support racial/gendered slurs, and suddenly they’re embracing tolerance? Also, since when is mere “tolerance” a good goal?
I’ll consider them not racist when they begin actively fighting for the rights of marginalized people who don’t look like them. Unspoken racism is still racism. It’s an attitude problem, not a vocabulary problem.
As well as righties making the case that Democrats are the real racists, by saying it:
Lynchings of blacks were by Democrats back before they figured how they could get them to serve with voting.
And HeiaSafari arguing that European-descended American settlers were the original illegal immigrants:
Texas has had a serious illegal immigration problem for a LONG time. Much longer than you would think. In fact, about 178 years ago the illegal immigration problem was so bad that the illegals actually had an armed revolt. The government had to send regular army troops to fight the illegal immigrants.
Everyone’s horrified at something by now, right? In that case, at least, we’re all equal, here in the bunker. Progress!
UPDATE – Dana Milbank responds to commenters: