An Insider’s View of Racism, the ADL, and a Culture of Confusion — by Dennis Beidler
It is interesting living in this politically correct world we have created for ourselves. Isn’t it? The latest free speech casualty of war has come around to the issue of race and racism. This has been a hot topic issue, as some point out, since the election of our first African-American President. We are told rampant racism and intolerance threatens to dismantle the civil society of today’s America.
At least, not to the frenzied level that is presented by the likes of Rachael Maddow or Keith Olbermann. Almost daily, we are treated to reports covering the rage of Tea Party members or the rise in militias as proof positive that there is a problem with angry white right wing Americans. Even though I feel that the Tea Party movement has been co-opted by mainstream personalities, I have not once experienced anything racial in the few events my band has participated in.
But, don’t think that I’m only attacking the liberal progressive mouthpieces. For the past two years, I’ve heard the likes of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh defending the conservative base over racist accusations. They correctly point out that the hysteria being generated over a black man in the oval office is a mere distraction from the real issues. Of course, they do fail to mention that Obama’s mama is a white girl. I wonder if anyone will suggest that Obama’s drop in poll numbers is due to the black community figuring this out. Truly, I hope not.
Yet, for all the Republican defensive posturing, they are quick to join the ranks of their counterparts. I listened with disbelief as Sean Hannity proceeded to label Jim Traficant an anti-Semite during a discussion over Israel. Really, Sean? Was it truly necessary to use one of the most disparaging terms in modern culture? I heard Jim’s words. He did not attack Jews. He criticized the influence of another country and how that affects our nation. Traficant explained that he would be the first to support defending Israel if they are attacked. He also stressed the need to understand that there is not a balanced and objective presence in the Middle East, and it would be in America’s and Israel’s best interest to consider this.
Here are some direct quotes from the November 2009 interview:
I’ve seen members [of Congress] question bills and votes on ‘how does Israel feel about this.’
I must have heard that every time there was a significant vote.”
In the last four years, there’s been two separate incidents of AIPAC spying on America. We even conducted a search warrant on AIPAC headquarters.”
As some have come to realize, cries of racism and anti-Semitism are beginning to wane in effect. Many see the insincerity and over use of these phrases. However, it does continue. I should know. My band has been slandered several times over the past few years. Supporting legal immigration processes and criticizing that unmentionable country in the Middle East are just a few reasons.
Apparently, the ADL has now honored Poker Face with our very own profile. It hit about the same time local papers were covering the Hutaree militia’s use of our music on one of their training videos. For the most part, the articles were pretty fair and accurate. However, there must not have been enough spice to the story. When contacted for a follow up, the questions no longer dealt with music or militias. Every question dealt with racism or anti-Semitism.
It pains me to even have to waste my time writing about this. I do not live my life looking through black and white lenses. But, my hand has been forced. So, I have taken the time to convey our responses to the local journalists and address this issue.
Before digging in, I want to make it absolutely clear that Poker Face never condemns any group for the actions of some. We do stand by our belief that there are boneheads in every group. But, criticism of the few should never be condemnation of the whole. If that were the case, we would hate all white people for the actions of George Bush and Barack Obama.