Thursday, August 18, 2011
Quote of the Day
"I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman to kind of lead people on the underground railroad away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility."
-- Congressman Allen West (R-Sociopath) comparing himself to a civil rights legend and Democratic politics to a "plantation" that black Americans need to escape from, during an interview with Bill O'Reilly last night
I'll give Allen West this: I'm not sure he's capable of just saying something benign. Remember the days before Jesse Ventura became a professional conspiracy theorist, when he was simply famous for being the one politician always guaranteed to spout indiscriminate nonsense the second anyone put a microphone in front of him (the streets in St. Paul were designed by drunken Irishmen, he was a Navy SEAL, midgets should be kept as pets, etc.)? Well West is like that, cranked to 11. I truly believe he has no idea how thoroughly offensive a good 80% of his rhetoric is, which, as I've alluded to before, is kind of the definition of a narcissist.
While comparing himself to Harriet Tubman is patently ridiculous no matter how you slice it -- and I can think of another widely referenced slavery-era character many African-Americans would call a black guy who obsequiously aligns himself with the largely white ruling-class of the Republican party -- I do actually agree with him on the point he goes on to make about the current model of black "leaders" in this country. "White liberals have turned over to certain leaders -- ‘perceived leaders’ -- in the black community like a Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, a Maxine Waters or Barbara Lee, and said, ‘pacify and keep the black community firmly behind us regardless of the failures of our social welfare policies,'" he argues. He's correct to say that we're past the point where those who subscribe to the traditional model of the perpetually aggrieved and self-appointed representative of all of black America -- a few of whom he cited by name -- should be allowed to be the only, or at least most deafening and powerful, black voices out there. But the idea that a Jesse Jackson or a Maxine Waters is a tool of the white, liberal establishment -- and that an Allen West, who's a member of a party that generally doesn't give a crap about minorities, is some sort of hero come to free black America from bondage -- is flat-out nuts. Preaching the gospel of personal responsibility is one thing; a refusal to accept that there's a very real economic and social disparity between a vast swath of white and black in this country that needs to be taken into consideration is something else entirely.
Regardless, Allen West -- a guy who says that women exist primarily in service to their warrior men, bullets and ballots essentially accomplish the same thing, and those who are currently suffering under the strain of the economic policies his party enacted have to simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps -- isn't the guy to lead this fight. The fact that he honestly puts himself on a pedestal beside Harriet Tubman, who risked her life fighting the oppression that many in the modern GOP still look back on with fondness and nostalgia, tells you exactly why.