I got into it again over at Oliver Willis’s place. By “it,” I’m referring to the usual dust-up over OW’s seemingly genetically encoded need to heap scorn upon Cynthia McKinney. In OW’s defense, he’s not alone in that. McKinney’s congressional district has ousted her twice in the last few election cycles, both times for candidates that look to me to be corporate shills at best, Republican dupes at worst. You can follow the little row here, but I’ll reprint my last comment on the topic for you below (just in case OW gets tired of my ranting and dumps it down the memory hole).

Thank you, OW. Those sound like the same boilerplate smears that came from her Rethug opposition (and which benefitted her previous empty suit ‘centrist’ Dem ouster, Denise Majette– wonder where she is these days…). Just for shits and giggles, let’s briefly examine your two allegations.

Anti-semitism? In the U.S., any criticism of Israeli policy– especially toward the Palestinians– is usually labeled ‘anti-Semitism’. Never mind that most Palestinians are Semites, while many Israelis are not Semites (having emigrated or descended from emigrants from Europe and the Western hemisphere). In any case, there is a powerful right-wing, pro-Zionist bent here, some of it pushed by Jewish-led groups, some of it by right-wingers who aren’t Jewish. Apparently, the right-wing Zionists can also count on the unquestioning support of the ‘centrists.’ Anything to keep those filthy (oil-possessing) Arabs underfoot, I guess.

As far as the “conspiracy theory” smear goes, I’ve seen you level that one before, OW, but I’ve never seen you give one shred of proof. As I said before, McKinney got blasted for asking the same tough questions of the Bush administration regarding the 9/11 failures and the Iraq War that later came from sensible centrists. If more people had paid attention to her (and others) earlier on, thousands of lives (U.S. lives, I mean, since we know Arab lives don’t count) could have been saved.

The reason I always jump on this isn’t because of a special affinity for McKinney. She has her faults (mainly a lack of p.r. spit and polish), but her biggest sin is her honesty. For that, she gets the corporate media smear treatment (the same treatment– directed at Al Gore– that helped catapult Dubya into the White House). Apparently there are those in her district who would rather drink the ‘respectability’ kool-aid, and for them Hank Johnson will make a fine Denise Majette. Having a bit of familiarity with DeKalb County, this doesn’t surprise me one bit.

In the interim, it is just sad that the same people who bitch and moan about the Dems not standing up for six years are awfully quick to jump on the right-wing smear bandwagon against someone who did just that. These people deserve Hillary Clinton as a presidential nominee in 2008.

I have little more to add to this, save to flesh out the point I close with: for six years, the Democrats have been bending over backward to avoid rocking Bush’s and the Republicans’ boat. In that time we’ve had 9/11, the bloody illegal Iraq War, and the continuing bloodbath in Afghanistan. There are so many more horrible policies the Bush administration has foisted upon the world and the U.S. public, but there has been little meaningful opposition from the Democrats. One stellar exception (among few) has been Cynthia McKinney, when she’s been around. Well, the Dems control both houses of the Congress now, and they no longer have McKinney to offer up as a public relations scapegoat. For all the optimism I’ve been seeing in the Left Blogosphere since 7 November, the treatment of McKinney leaves me with little to hope for.

I believe the rejection of McKinney represents a political moral failing in much of what passes for the left in this country. We don’t like the Republicans’ “fuck you” politics, but we won’t risk losing the accoutrements of empire any more than they will. So we rail against the more egregious of their policies (especially their policy blunders), while we elect politicians who enact kindler, gentler versions of those same policies. We also reflexively reject those– like McKinney, or even Hugo Chávez– who disturb our comfort. In the end, though, we’ll all have to pay the price; and we will have no excuses.

One comment on “

  1. Cynthia says:

    I’m not too optimistic with the Democrats. If you look at their make up – they are way too conservative. I don’t think their policies are going to be much different than the Republicans especially in light of the fact, Republicans have ousted McKinney again and the Democrats simply do not want Hasting to be Chair of the Intelligence Committee because he is too liberal or in this case too many Blacks. The game in my opinion is being changed in mid-swing.

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