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It’s Lesson Time, America

What makes this whole Shirley Sherrod story so interesting is that there are so many lessons to be learned here, and yet probably not a single one of them will penetrate the thick skulls of most Americans. First off there’s the obvious lesson — if the right-wing media are touting a story about liberals or minorities, then odds are it’s a total fabrication and the main stream news media should either ignore it completely, or shoot it down immediately with some good old fashioned reporting. The Sherrod story was no different than the hoaxes perpetrated by the right-wing with ACORN, with Van Jones, and with the so-called “Climategate” scandal — just to name a few recent ones. In every single case, the entire story was riddled with distortions of fact and outright lies. And yet because the mainstream media has no concern for facts or reality, but rather is interested only in selling the news, they ran with these stories. In most of these cases, by the time the facts were finally rooted out the story had fallen off the front pages — and so I’d bet most Americans don’t even know that all these stories were in fact 100% hoaxes.

Then there’s the lesson of the Obama administration treating these right wing extremists with legitimacy, and so quickly giving in to their demands. There’s nothing wrong with working with and compromising with people who are decent human beings, who respect the truth, and who just might happen to have a different opinion than you do. But that’s not what we have in today’s right-wingers. These folks are mean, vile, despicable people who are interested in helping no one but themselves. When they come out with stories like this, or demands for whatever, you politely ignore them. Under no circumstances do you engage them, much less work with them. This is a lesson the Obama administration can’t seem to grasp.

And finally there’s the real story that Shirley Sherrod was telling — that in today’s society, it’s not so much about discrimination based on race — although there is certainly way too much of that still going on (look no further than the Tea Party, the 21st century incarnation of the KKK) — but the bigger issue is discrimination against the poor. More and more of the right-wing politics of today is about taking from the poor and giving to the upper class. The recent Republican attempts to block extension of unemployment benefits is just one example. Now they are trying to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which is nothing more than wealth re-distribution to the upper class. And there’s also talk of cutting social security, another way to taking from the poor and giving to the rich. The Republican Party of today really stands for not much of anything other than plutocracy — and yet so few average Americans seem to understand this.