Us and Them
I've written about trying to avoid this "us and them" stance before, but sometimes it seems unavoidable.
Unfortunately, it's sometimes our side that falls prey to this particular mindset and when we do it must be called out.
Because ultimately, "we" are trying to do the right thing. "They" are trying to win.
Anything less than trying to do the right thing cannot be tolerated.
I was reminded of how easy it is to get stuck in the mire last Friday. I've been following what's been going on at Camp Casey in Crawford, TX pretty closely. Friday afternoon I was listening to the Randi Rhodes show on Air America and she was talking about the right wing smear machine. One of the names that someone called Cindy Sheehan was "ignorant cow." It was in a greater context, something like "anti-war mom, ignorant cow," something artful like that.
I really couldn't believe that we were already so low so I googled the phrase and found it here.
What I read caused such a visceral response. My stomach churned in a way it hasn't in I don't know how long. I would say since the photos came out of Lynndie Englund but those cause more pain and tears. This was... bile? I'm still trying to find the right words...
What's more is they were written by a talent I used to like, Phil Hendrie. And it's a little interesting, my remote history with him and Randi Rhodes. I used to love Phil Hendrie, listened a lot. I listen to a lot of radio and love comedy radio. However, after 9/11 he and Howard Stern went off the deep end with their vitriol and racism. They were spouting all sorts of screeds about bombing all the towel heads and supporting Bush and the war in Iraq. I felt so alone and abandoned and eventually just went back to more serious fare.
Fast forward to years later, Howard has come to his senses and now Air America is on the air and every once in a while I hear this sound clip on Randi's show from a character that Phil Hendrie does. She even mentioned early on when she first went national that she loves him. I actually did a search to see if he also came to his senses (he wasn't on the air anymore in LA at the time). As far as I could tell he hadn't changed his tune and Randi didn't say much more so I forgot about it.
And then Friday she finds this piece of shit piece that Hendrie wrote for the Free Republic site. It is so nauseating and vile. And to cap it off, it ends with this petty little paranoid grandiose snippet about rights to use the piece being limited since other radio personalities are jealous of his career -- or something, it was hard to keep up with by the time I got to the end of the raving lunacy.
So Randi mentions a couple of times that she can't believe that Phil has gone crazy on this one issue, blah blah blah -- obviously she hadn't gotten the memo, and why should she, he's not worth following anymore.
But here's where everything went wrong. She's been really supporting Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, talking to her daily on the radio, sending folks down there, sponsoring shuttle busses to get folks back and forth from the camp to the Crawford Peace House, really doing her share. And when she talked with Cindy on the phone that day SHE READ CINDY THE LETTER. Randi, come on! What the fuck were you thinking? That woman is talking to the press all day long, she's exhausted, probably in shock, under extreme pressure and amazingly still keeping her cool and you read that to her live on the air?
Sometimes we get so caught up in the injustice of those assholes that we lose sight of what is right. Cindy is right. Phil is not. Don't give him that kind of power, Randi. Especially don't deliver his hate to her. She didn't deserve that.
And quite frankly, it kind of sounded like you felt you could do whatever you wanted to after you had done so much - quid pro quo shit. And I really don't think that when you calm down in the silence of your tiny New York home with your dog and your thoughts, you want to be like that.
So check yourself girlfriend. Do the right thing.