Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What about Andrew Breitbart and the 9th Commandment?

Ouch! That looks like a third degree burn there Andrew.

Conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart put out a heavily doctored firebrand purporting to demonstrate that a black Ag Department official discriminated against whites. Taking Breitbart at his word, Shirley Sherrod was criticized by the NAACP and forced to resign by the Agriculture Department.

But oops! It turned out that Shirley Sherrod is somewhat of a saint. The full video of her talk to the NAACP indicates that she repented her discrimination against a white family, helped them keep their farm, and then became "life-friends" with them. Instead of bragging about discrimination Sherrod's talk was a story of redemption from racism.

In other words, Breitbart was engaged in an obviously dishonest, vicious smear of an admirable woman.


Now, Breitbart is talking about how he was attacking the NAACP rather than Ms. Sherrod and the Obama administration is talking about hiring her back.

Of course, the Obama administration might do better to grow a backbone in relation to right-wing provocateurs like Breitbart.

But I haven't heard anything from the religious right about what a serious sin lying is.

The Ninth Commandment states very clearly that "you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." It's in both Exodus and Deuteronomy. Interestingly enough, Jesus doesn't comment on the Ninth Commandment. Perhaps that's because Jesus was sensitive to the falsehoods being spread about him by the Pharisees and priests. However, his general position on "the Law" of the Commandments is that people are condemned for thinking about sinning rather than just committing sin. Jesus condemns people for anger and not just killing and lustful thoughts, not just adultery. So Jesus would condemn people like Andrew Breitbart for even thinking about saying lies about the Shirley Sherrod's of the world rather than just saying falsehoods.

That's why I find it so surprising that nobody on the religious right has condemned Breitbart for his lies.

Of course, I haven't seen anybody on the religious right denounce the Bush administration for all their lies concerning Iraq either.


Neal said...

From the conservative perspective:
Breitbart played the NAALCP and Obama like a fiddle. He exposed Obama as the political novice and liar that he is and members of the NAALCP as anti-white.

Keep in mind that Ms. Sherrod was addressing an NAALCP audience in this tape. The NAALCP had this tape and they were the ones who released the complete tape.
At this point, it is not clear that Breitbart edited the tape or not. He may have or he might not have known about the rest of the story. What is clear is the reaction of the NAALCP audience before they knew "the rest of the story." Some of them were in the "stick it to whitey" mode at that point. This, I think, is the most telling part of the whole story. And this is why the story broke. It's an issue of the NAALCP trying to minimize the Tea Party and Breitbart is showing the NAALCP for what it is.
Then the White House, stupidly inserted itself into the story. Ms. Sherrod told CNN that she was driving her car and received 3 phone calls telling her that the White House wanted her to resign immediately. Now the White House says that they knew nothing of the situation. Someone is lying. And Vilsack dutifully fell on his sword.
As an aside, I want to address the issue that the NAALCP started about the Tea Party people being anti-black or whatever. They were attempting to minimize the Tea Party's effect on the coming election. Not a bad strategy.
I've been to several Tea Party events. They are open to the public. There are a few nutty people attending from the left and the right that make themselves known and they are playfully tolerated. I've never seen any racial signs or anything like that. The speakers and audience are concerned with the direction that this country is going in. The out of control spending, our concern for and education about our founding documents, their original intent, etc. These people are not the people that the media and liberals portray them to be. The first rally I attended, the speaker asked people to raise their hand if they had ever been to a protest rally before. There were 3000-4000 people there and I saw 2 or 3 hands (including mine)go up. These crowds are far from racists and rabble rousers. The only trouble that I have heard about was caused be the SEIU people.

Ric Caric said...

This is all wrong. Breitbart's initial focus was on Shirley Sherrod. He only changed to the audience after Ms. Sherrod was revealed as a saint. The Obama people haven't looked that good, but Breitbart has been more fully revealed as what he's always been--a typically vicious smear artist of the right. As a result, he'll be off a lot of A-lists for awhile.

As for the racism, it's all over the Tea Party movement. There's the secessionist sentiment in the South, the confederate flag stuff, all the "whites are all . . . n-words" signs, the obviously racist "Obama/Joker" signs, that guy Mark Williams and his faux letter to Lincoln asking that blacks be re-enslaved. There's also the racist element in the whole "take back our country" theme right after a black guy gets elected president. The Tea Party groups aren't exactly equivalent to the Klan, but they aren't that far from Neo-Confederate organizations though.

I get a laugh out of all this "original intent" of the
Constitution stuff. The original Founders themselves got away from the "original intent" of the Constitution, mostly because they had so much uncertainty about their own direction and disagreed so much among each other. Madison argued against the need for a Bill of Rights in the Federalist Papers but then wrote the Bill of Rights during the first Congress. There was nothing in the Constitution about the power of the Supreme Court to overturn laws as unconstitutional, but nobody objected when the court started doing precisely that during the Jefferson presidency. The Founders were suspicious of British-style imperialism, but immediately started expanding American territory. The list goes on and on.

The core of the Constitution is the Bill of Rights and the efforts of African-Americans, feminists, atheists, gay rights activists, and criminal attorneys have turned the Bill of Rights into a charter of social/ political rights. All this has been consistent with the best impulses of the original revolutionaries (say Tom Paine), and conservatives have resisted progress in all of these areas primarily out of bigotry. That's one of the reasons why American conservativism is such a reactionary and ultimately dangerous force in the world.

Neal said...

"Breitbart's initial focus was on Shirley Sherrod" Please give evidence supporting this notion and site his motives.
"The Obama people haven't looked that good" This guy makes Jimmy Carter look like a genius. Well maybe that's a stretch.
"There's the secessionist sentiment in the South, the confederate flag stuff" Where is this other than an isolated incident? The Obama/Joker" sign originated from a 20 year old Kucinich supporter. Sure people are going to be interested in the picture. It is provocative, no matter your politics. That does not make them racists. We want to take back our country from the socialist, not the black guy.
Racism all over the Tea Party? How many have you attended? You only see what the press wants you to see.
All of these arguments boil down to this: liberals want redistribution of wealth and less freedom for the individual, conservatives want to keep as much of the fruits of their labor as possible and they don't want some asshole sitting behind a desk in Washington telling them what they can and can't do.
I think you're trying to make the argument that because our Founders strayed somewhat from the original intent,then anything goes. Our Founding Fathers argued about many things, but we are supposed to be a nation with a Constitution and specific ways to change the Constitution. I think that all of the Founders believed this:"The powers of the Federal Government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite."