Monday, August 25, 2008

Politeness police

Conservative - a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from a Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
Ambrose Bierce

From DU:

"......We started chatting about what a great pick Biden was, when the two of them walked into the store like a foul breeze, cutting right through the line without so much as an ‘excuse me,’ and made their way towards the soda coolers at the back of the store.

A nice looking couple, probably early 40’s, well dressed - I’ll just refer to them as ‘Ken’ and ‘Barbie.’ Right as they were barging through the line, I was saying to the woman with the button, “I am really excited about Obama - I can’t wait to see what he does once he takes office!”

Hearing this, Ken turned his eyes on me and snorted in disgust. Not one to back down from a challenge, I said, somewhat haughtily, “What - you have a problem with Obama?”

He stopped walking, turned on his heel, fixed me with a withering gaze, and said, rather loudly, “Like we’d ever elect a black guy as President.” He promptly turned on his heel, and stomped off towards Barbie.

I was only third in line at this point, and when the man said this, the line in front of me, and behind me, stirred a bit. No one said anything, and we could hear Ken and Barbie mumbling to each other over at the coolers.

It was then that I noticed the clerk. His eyes were smoldering, his mouth set tightly. He excused himself from the customer in front of him, and walked to the back of the store.

I don’t know what he said to Ken and Barbie, as he kept his voice low. But they left without buying anything, hackles up, and squealed their tires when they pulled out of the parking lot.

The clerk came back to the counter and resumed his duties. None of us in line said anything.

When I got in front of him, I commented about how rude Ken and barbie had been, and gently asked him what he said to them.

He said, “I told them to get out of my store.” He took my cash and rang in my purchase. “I own this place; I’m covering for an employee who couldn’t work today. And I don’t tolerate racism in my store.” He handed me my change, advised me to have a nice day, and turned his attention to the next customer, giving me the impression he did not want to talk politics.

I’ve thought about this all day, and I can’t decide if Ken and Barbie just didn’t notice that the man behind the counter was African-American, or if they felt so powerful and righteous that they didn’t care, and said what they said totally on purpose. Either way, it was quite nice to see them put in their place…just wish I’d have done it...."

Note a few things. First, a supposed "liberal" now gives her blessing to Biden, millionaire, abortion-foe, laissez-faire advocate, IWE supporter, and palsie of Commander McCain and his neo-con cronies. That said, I respect Sen. Biden to some extent--he did vote against the recent FISA update (unlike BO). 8 or 9 months ago, however, most hysteriocrats considered Biden to the right of Hillary: and DU regs themselves were generally opposed to his campaign. Then the writer's reaction to "Ken's" remark ("“Like we’d ever elect a black guy as President.”). Granted it is not PC, or polite, or tactful. At the same time, Ken merely expresses an opinion, and avoids any racial epithets (i.e. the n-word): it's rather tame compared to the usual political chat seen on many blogs. Hearing Ken's language, the storekeeper apparently decided to eject "Ken and Barbie" (rather racist language in itself) from the store (assuming the stor-ay is authentic).

The storekeeper's reaction should offend us at least as much as Ken's remark. Ken did not exactly shout Sieg Heil! Americans have the right to free speech, and to free expression, and dissent (at least in theory---tho' one wouldn't realize that on the hyper-moderated, mini-sanitoriums like DU or DailyKOS). Yes, there are limits to that free speech: had Ken started screaming in Hitleresque (or "Fire!"), he should have been booted. Ken did not scream, however; he did not swear. Were the tables turned (say a black customer saying "I will not vote for a cracker white man") it's unlikely the usual store manager (regardless of race) would have done anything.

The DU-o-cheks were not too troubled by the storekeeper's action. Regardless, the anecdote (and the lack of criticism, really) serves as another illustration of what we might term J-Edgarism. J-Edgarism also includes the bipartisan-supported PatAct, FISA, urban cops with GPS, Infragard, heavily moderated blogs and websites (Kens n Barbies everywhere given "troll ratings"), endless "captchas", registration, etc.

The DU and Kossack types insist it's the GOP "bumpkins" who do the most damage to civil liberties, but that is not so obvious. Robert Kennedy worked alongside McCarthy for years; J Edgar himself was close to democrats, starting with FDR. Recall that one of Chairgal Nancy's first acts upon becoming Speaker was to ban C-SPAN camera-crews from the House floor. She also refused to budge on investigations of the Bush Admin's possible misrepresentations in regards to IWE, a point even some moderates and non-Demos had supported: c'est J-Edgarism. None of that will likely trouble consumerland, at least until some sensitive, multicultural cyber-Feds politely kick down your door and politely escort you off to some underground gulag.

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