|August 30, 2010|
|AFL-CIO Chief: 'Palinism' is Updated 'McCarthyism'|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|As Glenn Beck attempts to co-opt the civil rights movement tomorrow by rallying Tea Partiers at the Lincoln Memorial with his made-up history, AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka reminds us of the power of loaded code words to divide people, demonize political opponents and destroy rational debate. |
Trumka took on Sarah Palin during his speech Aug. 26 at the AFL-CIO’s biennial convention in Anchorage. To Trumka, Palin seemed "okay" until she "blew off Alaska" for the wild world of Fox TV and began spewing nonsense about "death panels" and the "real America." This is what Trumka said:
“Sometimes – about Sarah Palin – you just have to laugh. But it's not really funny. In this charged political environment, her kind of talk gets dangerous. 'Don't retreat … reload' may seem clever, the kind of bull you hear all the time, but put it in context. She's using crosshairs to illustrate targeted legislators. She's on the wrong side of the line there. She's getting close to calling for violence. And some of her fans take that stuff seriously. We've got legislators in America who have been living with death threats since the healthcare votes.
And down in Tyler, Texas, she's talking about -- and I quote -- "union thugs." What? Her husband's a union man. Is she calling him a thug? Sarah Palin ought to know what union men and women are.
Oh, she goes to great pains to talk differently about unions and the working people who belong to them, knowing full well we're one and the same.
But using the term 'union thug.' That's poisonous. There's history behind that rhetoric. That's how bosses and politicians in decades past justified the terrorizing of workers, the murdering of organizers.
To me, it just doesn't seem OK to go where she's going. It sits wrong with me. The Mama Grizzlies, Sarah Palin says, just sense when something's not right. Well, I wonder if those Mama Grizzlies can sense something's just not right with her.
Quite frankly, America works because lots of people contribute lots of ideas—that's good—even when some of them are just plain wrong. But people need to come to the table in good faith. That's not Sarah Palin. She'll go down in history like McCarthy. Palinism will become an ugly word.
Who is this woman, anyway? What happened to her?"
Beck is staging his event on the same ground that Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech exactly 47 years ago. The Fox News gasbag is the guy who accused President Obama of being a racist and holding a “deep-seated hatred for white people.” Hucksers like Beck use “fear and anger as marketing tools” to alienate people from their government and make them frightened of the future, wrote Gene Robinson in today’s Washington Post.
The same can be said of Palin.
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