Tuesday, July 27, 2010

All of you with “politically active”, “foreign” and “feminist” friends hate America!

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Ellis Washington
Ellis Washington
[source: [deleted blog]]

This would be a perfect Fail Quote, but I hesitate to create another such post so soon after the previous one. Here, we have Ellis Washington, wingnut columnist at that repository of wingnuts, the WorldNutDaily, pulling an Andrew Breitbart and quoting an excerpt from President Obama’s book, Dreams From My Father, without any context and using the quote-mined passage to try and paint Obama and “his closest friends” as America-haters:

Obama, recounting his formative years, wrote: "To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists." From this we can deduce that Obama and his closest friends all passionately hate America.

Now, there are two things to mention, here. First, if Washington had cared at all about mentioning any proper context for that excerpt, he would have noted that, as Ed Brayton points out:

In that chapter of the book he is recounting, with a good deal of embarrassment, all that he did to fit in with the radicals on campus in his early college days. He talks about the difficulty he was having fitting in because he looked black but had a white mother and was not raised underprivileged, which is exactly why he kept choosing radical friends, to prove his authenticity with those he was trying to impress.

In other words, it’s practically identical to the Shirley Sherrod affair: Both she and Obama were quote-mined (by Breitbart and Washington, respectively) to make it look as though they were racists when they were actually talking about how what they did was wrong and that they’ve since learned to overcome their past biases and prejudices. Pretty much the only difference is that whilst Sherrod was attacked by a moderately well-known dishonest pundit and her life was upended by the debacle, Washington attacking Obama is more akin to an annoying little ant trying to topple the Sears Tower. Seriously, Washington, you could at least have tried not to use the exact same schtick that Breitbart has been so thoroughly hammered with only last week, you dishonest moron.

But perhaps the most poignant part of Washington’s claim that college-age Obama trying to fit in with those “radicals” meant that he and they all “passionately hate America” (note the present tense) is how utterly stupid it is. So, what? Having friends that are politically active, foreign, of Mexican descent, believe in Marxism and in feminism somehow makes one anti-American now? How do any of those beliefs or ideologies contradict American patriotism? If these are all signs of “hating America”, then does loving America mean not bothering with politics or social issues, staying clear of anyone with a foreign origin, adhering strictly to capitalism and believing that women aren’t deserving of equal socio-legal standing to men?

Really, the only interesting thing about Washington’s attack is how it doesn’t make even a shred of sense. But then, neither do most of his writings.

Bonus stupid: Here’s another amusing little line from Washington’s column when he lists how Obama fits within “classical mandates of progressivism”:

3. Anti-Christianity: "Whatever we once were, we're no longer a Christian nation."

So recognizing that the United States is not a Christian nation – which it never was, even if Christians make up the majority of the population – is being anti-Christian? Let’s add Christian Persecution Complex to our long list of What’s Wrong With Ellis Washington.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)