Monday, October 26, 2009

the argument for openness

As a dirty non-white foreigner fascinated by Britain I'm inordinately interested in what the ethnocentric British National Party has to say about dirty non-white foreigners fascinated by Britain.

With their election to the European Parliament this summer, much of the political class has become distraught with the elevation of what many deem a fascist party in Western Europe.

BNP leader nick Griffin's appearance as a panelist on the BBC's Question Time program(me) became the sensation of last week, with protests and hand-wringing among the chattering classes, all over a rather dignified debate (this ain't Geraldo, here).

In America, I don't think we're quite sure what the hoopla is all about; after all Lou Dobbs has a show all to himself five nights a week.

Which is the point. People who argue that Lou Dobbs (and Glenn Beck, and Bill O'Reilly -- although "Papa Bear" [pace Colbert] looks positively sane by comparison) should be dropped from their respective networks miss the point. They absolutely should not be dropped simply because their views are repugnant (or incoherent, since television is not the realm of coherence).

They should, instead, be forced to engage in real political debate, and not the repeated erection of straw men in the safety of their studios or hour-long monologues (also looking at you, Olbermann).

They should be required to let their views see the light of day and the fresh air of discussion. Why? Simply this:
The leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin, found himself the victim of an extraordinary attack from his own supporters last night following his controversial appearance on the BBC's Question Time.

As a public postmortem into one of the most divisive broadcasts in the corporation's history attempted to gauge its impact on the party's fortunes, Lee Barnes, the BNP's legal officer, accused Griffin of "failing to press the attack" during the televised debate, which was watched by a record 8 million people. Others sympathetic to the BNP's views expressed dismay at Griffin's flustered attempts to appeal to the mainstream.
The logic of the lunatic fringe only works so long as they stay on the fringe. When they try to appear reasonable, when they try to appeal to the vast majority that live somewhere in the middle, they look ridiculous, and they know it.

Now, BNP members sound like Rambo decrying our loss in Vietnam as a loss of will -- that Griffin somehow didn't press the fight enough; as though burning a few more peasant villages or offending some more Southeast Asians would have done the trick.

Keep Dobbs talking; just make sure he has to look his targets in the eye while he does it.

1 comment:

  1. Racism begins with our families, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, people we admire, respect and love.

    However, as we grow and mature we come to the realization that what we were told by our family when we were children were slanted lies base on their prejudices. We realize that most people are like ourselves and not so different and want the same things, like a home, steady work, a Medicare plan and schools for our children (if you travel you will see this). We realize that most people are of good hearts and goodwill.

    This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him.

    Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need.

    Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his fellow man.

    You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

    But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

    That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help our fellow man (immigrant) in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help our fellow man, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

    This current climate of blaming others for our woes is not new. We have had this before and we have conquered it.

    Remember “Evil flourishes when good men (and women) do nothing”. Raise your voices with those of us who believe we are equal and we can win this battle again.