Friday, May 20, 2005

Speaking of "them"

A few days ago, commenting on a post on another blog, I wrote
I've maintained for a long time that the question of power - or, as I put it, "powerful/powerless relationships" - is the common core of all forms of bigotry and discrimination. It involves defining some group as "other," as different from (and inferior to) "us," and attributes like race, religion, sex, nationality, and so on just become convenient hooks onto which that difference can be hung.

We see that happening now in the political realm where "liberals" are being purposefully defined as "other" by those who stand to gain (or actually maintain) their social power by continuing and emphasizing what divisions may exist.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear that very same day but an example of just how far some people are already prepared to push that sort of idea, albeit along party rather than philosophical lines.

James Tobin is a former Republican party official who faces conspiracy charges for his role in interfering with a Democrat party get-out-the-vote phone bank on election day, 2002 by jamming the lines with hundreds of hang-up calls. According to the Boston Globe,
Tobin, who at the time was the Northeast political director of the Republican Senatorial Committee, also says the charges should be dismissed because the grand jury that indicted him included Democrats. [emphasis added]
He also wants prospective jurors at his trial to fill out a questionnaire on, among other things, their personalities, their on-line habits,
whether they're Democrats, Republicans or independents and whether they watch TV shows such as "West Wing," CNN's "Crossfire," MSNBC's "Hardball," or "The McLaughlin Group"....
Apparently, conservative Republicans are only to be judged by other conservative Republicans. Democrats are just, well, you know how they are. Can't trust 'em.

Two other GOPper officials have already pleaded guilty in the scheme.

Footnote: It occurs to me that in filling out such a questionnaire, I'd say that I'm an independent voter and I watch none of those programs. I wonder if Tobin's shyste - er, legal representatives - would think that was good or bad?

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