Friday, April 25, 2008

Ken Gordon's misguided slur

Face The State has a piece up entitled "Gordon's Bruce-like Tirade" about Ken Gordon's historically inaccurate and highly insulting statement yesterday referring to the actions of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam as a form of genocide. Vietnam was a terrible mistake and war crimes were certainly committed, genocide though did not occur. Gordon is Jewish and should be especially sensitive to undermining the legacy of the Holocaust with equivocations like this.

I would quibble with their use of the word "tirade" - it wasn't anything of the sort (hear for yourself) and I would note that Gordon apologized from the floor of the Senate shortly after the remarks (hear for yourself). Whereas Douglas Bruce hasn't apologized for anything. In fact he has aggressively defended his assault on a news photographer, his disrespect towards our troops and his slander of legal migrant farm workers.

I actually think Gordon was making a valid point before the Vietnam comment in regards to the dehumanization of groups of people who are different from us and/or who we feel threatened by. It's an age old tactic not to refer to them as individuals or people but to devise racist slanders and smears, like "illiterate peasants." Once you have sufficiently dehumanized a group of people it becomes easier to scapegoat them, to use the power of the state to intimidate and persecute them, to turn a blind eye to their needs and concerns and, in the most extreme cases, to engage in outright genocide. It's a pattern that has been repeated throughout history and one that should be acknowledged and called out when it is utilized in modern society.

No comments: