Said the Sad Red Earth


I’ve been lying low, collecting evidence…

Brought to mind by recent events for David W. Blight And Allison Scharfstein in their Op-Ed at the New York Times, the little known proposal by Martin Luther King, Jr. to President Kennedy in May 1962 to issue another Emancipation Proclamation, to end segregation. Kennedy took it under advisement and never acted before it was too late. Even Lincoln did not act until the nation was already at war. Marriage equality is not a matter of localized state ordinance governing a mundane civil procedure. It is a human and civil right to be addressed federally and universally. Even the partisan pollsters know what is coming. But the GOP remains, into a second century of shrinking ideas, a party of smallness far different from the kind it professes.

Speaking of shrinking human capital, John Derbyshire, whom National Review employed for quite some time, even after his racism began to leak from him, has chosen, post termination, to come a gusher and write now for the white nationalist VDare – whose Peter Brimelow was at this year’s CPAC – where he observes,

White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with. There have of course been some blots on the record, but I don’t see how it can be denied that net-net, white Europeans have made a better job of running fair and stable societies than has any other group.

Even non-whites acknowledge this in unguarded moments.

Just as dispiriting – all forms of human diminishment in the name God and race are just so – is this crucial account by Jonathan Spyer of “The Rise of Hamas-Gaza.”

The nature of the regime created by Hamas in Gaza, and its strength and durability, has received insufficient attention in the West. This may have a political root: Western governments feel the need to keep alive the fiction of the long-dead peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. One of the necessary components of this is pretending that the historic split between nationalists and Islamists among the Palestinians has not really happened, or that it is a temporary glitch that will soon be reconciled. This fiction is necessary for peace process believers, because it enables them to continue to treat the West Bank Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas as the sole representative of the Palestinians.

But fiction it is. An Islamist one-party quasi-state has been built in Gaza over the last half-decade. The prospects for this enclave and its importance in the period ahead have been immeasurably strengthened by the advances made by Hamas’ fellow Muslim Brotherhood branches in Egypt and elsewhere in the region.


Palestinian nationalism has traditionally favored words and gestures over concrete deeds. This is one of the sources for its historical failure to produce anything much tangible of note. Palestinian Islamism has a different approach: in line with the traditional strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood, it understands the importance of concrete, patient building on the ground.

This does not mean that Hamas in Gaza has lost sight or will lose sight of the maximalist ideological goals of the movement. It does mean, however, that the split in the Palestinian national movement should now finally be internalized as a long-term development. The more formidable, serious element of that movement is in control of Gaza. The Islamist one-party statelet in Gaza, in turn, is allied with the trend that is proving the major beneficiary of the Arab upheavals of 2011 — namely, Sunni Islamism.

Of a piece – the opposite piece – is Fareed Zakaria’s regrettable (piece o’) pie in the sky advancement of the “Arab Spring” fiction, here choosing to side with George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda” against everybody’s favorite BiBi bogeyman. “Demographics, Zakaria argues, won’t permit Arab autocracies to much longer shield themselves from “modernity.” Because of that bright and hopeful Arab Spring (why, just look around and see the buds burstin’ all over), “Arab democracies will have the legitimacy that comes with public participation,” Zakaria simply asserts: witness, as an example, the legitimacy of one person one vote one time in the coercively militaristic theocracy of Gaza, above, he forgot to say. “What in the World,” indeed.

Look at this video. It’s only a minute forty four. Everything about it is stupid, and there are a ton of them on YouTube, but it’s clear. The guy pursuing the conflict gets beat good. The guy who beat him had wanted none of it.  It had to hurt, though he deserved it, and men have taken beatings like it, and worse, since men were stupid. Would the beaten young man have been justified in pulling a gun and shooting the other? He’ll have some cuts and bruises. Even in the dark, with no one else there, would he have been within his rights to shoot and kill the other guy? What is even less defensible than the fixated George Zimmerman, in what he did – I’m sure he was scared once he was in for it – is the more detached yet still angry justification and promotion of his conduct by others.

In its wide-ranging assault on voter rights, labor rights, women’s rights, and straight up democracy itself, in Michigan, the contemporary GOP is the most reactionary and anti-Democratic force the nation has seen since the active hostile forces of pre Civil Rights movement Southern segregationism. Here is a look at what should be a very frightening graph from the Guttmacher Institute.

Has the filibuster, especially as normalized as it now is, producing an almost uniform requirement for super majority to pass any legislation through the Senate, risen to the level of constitutional offense under the GOP? James Fallows has been arguing so, and for some time now against false equivalence between the Democrats and Republicans in congressional dysfunction. Now Common Cause intends to pursue the matter, and the filibuster’s abolition, to the Supreme Court.

At Tablet, Akiva Gottlieb delivers a profile of the always unattractively strident, yet surprisingly uncertain David Horowitz. Among several humanizing passages, there is this rather tender and sad one involving his late daughter Sarah.

Sarah’s passions made her one of David’s most spirited interlocutors, and at times A Cracking of the Heart serves as an object lesson in political empathy—making it a poignant outlier in Horowitz’s oeuvre. In an earlier memoir, he attested to his inability to internalize the monotheistic religious prophets’ agreement that all human beings, no matter their trespasses, are incarnations of the divine spirit: “[I] cannot embrace this radical faith. I feel no kinship with those who can cut short a human life without remorse; or with terrorists who target the innocent; or with adults who torment small children for the sexual thrill.”

Sarah, who respects her father but harbors little patience for his bluster, hand-writes a response that aims to cut him to the quick. “First, have a little humility,” she begins. “You are not smarter than Moses, Jesus and Buddha.” She continues by articulating as eloquent a plea for understanding across ideological lines as I’ve ever heard:

If you see someone in the fullness of their humanity, you see how they are acting out their own confusion and suffering. This does not justify hurtful or evil acts. It doesn’t even always inspire forgiveness. But if you see someone this way, you respond more in sadness than in anger. And that is simply a more excellent state of being. Even if you’ve never had this experience (and more’s the pity), respect the experience of those who have.

She did not send her father these words. “Or if she did,” he writes, “I failed again to understand them.”

A more excellent state of being. She was a loss.

And finally, from the department of some people have all the luck, we have “Finger In Arby’s Sandwich: Michigan Teen Ryan Hart Spat Out ‘Rubbery’ Digit,” while, of course, in contrast, several people have found Jesus in a Cheeto.


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3 thoughts on “Said the Sad Red Earth

  1. Without going into details of the fixated George Zimmerman (who probably is fixated) case, which I do not feel informed enough to discuss, there is that other side of the whole affair – the political one.

    The painfully familiar line of propaganda issued by Sharpton and other like-minded gentlemen, the ugly “white Hispanic” term invented by that crowd etc.

    But well, I am an outsider…

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