Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Politics is Professional Wrestling: Yes, The Heritage Foundation's Anti-Muslim Benghazi Freak Show was Ugly, But the Real Story is the Role Played by Panelist Brigitte Gabriel


Once again, the Right-wing in America shows us who they really are. We should not be surprised.

On Monday, the "serious" thinkers at the Heritage Foundation hosted a panel on the faux Benghazi scandal. A Muslim-American woman named Saba Ahmed dared to ask a question about the panel's stereotypical assumptions regarding people of her faith. They harangued and bullied her. The Benghazi fetishists in the audience clapped with approval.

American movement conservatism is racist and xenophobic. In a healthy political society, the treatment which Ahmed received at the Heritage Foundation would be an outlier. It is not. Bigotry and racism are the trademarks and brand name of the Republican Party in the Age of Obama. To deviate from those values would cost the Republican the support of its voters.

The ugliness of the Tea Party GOP and its media is now expected by the America people. Thus, there is no consequence or substantial punishment for their bad behavior. Moreover, because of the extreme political polarization that the Right-wing media has helped to nurture, create, and expand, there is a whole public which embraces such bad behavior as proof of ideological purity and virtue. Compromise and civility are markers of weakness for the authoritarian bullies on the Right. Normal politics is imperiled because the basic principles that make it possible are no longer mutually shared across the divides of party and ideology in the United States.

Saba Ahmed's treatment at the Heritage Foundation has been much-discussed. However, the more interesting, and I would suggest even more important aspect of Monday's events, is the role played by panelist Brigitte Gabriel.

People buy the sizzle not the steak. Pointing out the ugly Islamophobia of the American Right-wing as exemplified by the Heritage Foundation's panel on Benghazi is easy and satisfying.

The more useful task is to detail who the players and participants are in a episode of political theater. Because politics is professional wrestling, every member of the show has a role to play.

The role can be explicitly detailed and told to the participants on a panel, news show, rally, or like event. The participants' performance can also be a direct reflection of their temperament, track record, and style.

The most "entertaining" moments in political theater are likely a function of both those variables.

Brigitte Gabriel, born Nour Saman, is a professional bigot and bomb thrower. Brigitte Gabriel's own (and some say discredited) personal life story as a Lebanese Christian whose family was threatened by "Islamic militias", gives credence and legitimacy to her Islamaphobia and hatred.

Brigitte Gabriel is proof of my observation that like black conservatives, women who hate feminism, and gays and lesbians who hate themselves, one of the easiest and fastest ways to become rich in America is to be a member of a marginalized group and to publicly criticize and disparage said group for the benefit of the Right. Professional excuse-making for the bigotry of movement conservatism is great work if you can get it.

Brigitte Gabriel's guiding principles in that role are summarized by her quote that she speaks up for, "what many in America are thinking but afraid to say out loud, for fear of being labeled a racist, bigot, Islamophobic, or intolerant."

Brigitte Gabriel is the character she embodied on the Heritage Foundation panel.

It is rumored that mafia hit man and serial killer "The Iceman" Richard Kuklinski was initially hired to be a leg breaker and debt collector. However, Kuklinski so enjoyed violence and hurting people that he was not able to moderate and control his behavior. Killing was joy for him.

The Right-wing propaganda machine deploys the likes of Brigitte Gabriel as the tip of the spear for their racism and bigotry in post civil rights America. The verisimilitude of her anti-Muslim bigotry is real because she is being herself "with the volume turned up".

[Saba Ahmed's role in the theater that was the Heritage Foundation panel, and Republican politics more generally, is very curious as well.]

"Public opinion" is not natural. It is shaped, massaged, and manufactured by elites and other actors. If the American people want to understand why the public discourse has become so ugly and coarse, and the political system so broken, they will need to ask basic questions about the players and stars in the show. Suspension of disbelief by the audience is the foundation, the buy-in, for a good and entertaining movie, play, TV show, or book. When pushed to the extreme, such a habit is a disservice to the common good and a healthy political culture and society.

The masses are asses. They were not necessarily born that way, someone had to teach them to behave in such a manner.

12 comments:

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I shared a video with a conservative of a group of Tea Party members yelling at Muslim's entering a university "Go Back Home!"


He said, "it's not like they're being violent and rioting."

I told him that doesn't make an excuse for their disgusting racism and xenophobia.

chauncey devega said...

Go home to where? Muslims came to America before most Europeans immigrants arrived here. How? As black slaves.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

More of your liberal propaganda (history).


This nation was founded by and for Christians. Those slaves were happy to become Christians under... er, uh... forced bondage.


Those terrorists are trying to impose their own rules and order on other people much like the European settlers did... in America...


They don't ever reference American slavery/genocide when they are talking about recent crimes against humanity.

Miles_Ellison said...

This isn't politics as pro wrestling. It's racist porn. All that's missing are facials.

SabrinaBee said...

Did you read the comments below Milbanks' article? It didn't take them long to dig into her personal past in an effort to try to discredit her and make her appear unstable. Clearly, the unstable one was the woman on the panel, with the hysterical reaction. As for the crowd, it is made up of the likes of people who wanted the veteran to die if he became sick without health care. The cult of the republican/tea party is truly going to be the downfall of this country.

lioness said...

Although popular opinion originally demanded that any black Christian among them be freed, until a tipping point was reached in the number of black slaves who professed themselves Christians.

joe manning said...

The current racist recrudescence comes in response to the Iraq implosion. This points to the increasing merger of conservatism and racism. While the two are not yet synonymous they are at least highly correlated. Not only is it safe to assume that a racist is a conservative but its very likely that a conservative is a racist. The melding of racism and conservatism normalizes unconscious knee jerk reflexive racism. This denouement produces the same type of internecine conflict that characterizes Syria and Iraq. Lets hope that our society will remain civil enough to forestall Empire's blow back.

TerrorHater said...

If you wrote an article like this under a Muslim government you would be mutilated and your corpse put out for all to see. They're no saints. Don't side with those who would kill you in order to have 72 virgins.

Gable1111 said...

In a healthy society the Heritage Foundation would have been condemned and ostracized for hosting such a panel. This was the kind of ugliness that not too long ago would not have been expected at such a gathering, even at Heritage. Since former SC Senator Jim DeMint took over the helm, Heritage has lost all credibility as a "think tank," and instead has become more a less a clearing house for the various forms of hatred, racism and bigotry that is at the core of so-called "movement" conservatism.

chauncey devega said...

I usually delete trolls.


I will leave this up for purposes of mocking, proving how bigotry ruins the mind, and as a pinata to wack away at.

TerrorHater said...

So you agree that if the roles were reversed and you were criticizing a Muslim government for suppressing Christianity you would very likely be jailed, killed, or worse?

Courtney H. said...

Here's a really interesting interview:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/03/04/mumbo-jumbo/