I don’t read the Washington Post
ever usually, but after seeing a tweet from Matt Yglesias this morning, in which he excerpted a key paragraph in Richard Cohen’s Op-Ed about the Republican Party, had me checking out the Jeff Bezos-owned paper for the first time in a long time. And, well, it’ll also probably be my last visit for a long time, because the racist and homophobic ideas that Cohen claims are simply “conventional views” made me want to gag.
Oh, except wait! Gagging is exactly what Cohen says most “people with conventional views” want to do when they see the de Blasio family because the mayor-elect is “a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children.” Oh, and if that wasn’t bad enough, Cohen also added, “Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?” No, Richard Cohen, you should not mention that, because by mentioning that you are revealing yourself to be a trollish man who prints bigoted thoughts all in the purported service of trying to understand the mentality of a bigot. Ugh.
Cohen’s Op-Ed is, I guess, supposed to be an attempt to explain why New Jersey governor Chris Christie will have a hard time running for president because the Tea Party nut-jobs have hijacked the Republican party. And, fine, that’s a decent enough editorial idea, but where Cohen goes off the rails is when he portrays members of the Tea Party as being something akin to simple, values-driven Americans, instead of as what they really are—bigoted extremists who are fueled by hate and fear.
Cohen uses the de Blasio family to explain what it is that so frighten the Tea Party, writing: “This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts—but not all—of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.” To which I say, so what? If cultural conservatives have a problem with a loving, supportive, multiracial family, then cultural conservatives can just sit tight and deal with it. Because this isn’t the America of the 1950s. And that is a good thing! Tolerance and acceptance and the expansion of our society’s definition of love and family…these are all great things. What isn’t great is acting as if the Tea Party has any more legitimacy than the segregation-driven politicians of the 1950s and 60s. I don’t think Cohen has to “repress a gag reflex” when he thinks of Bill de Blasio, but the fact that he treats those who do with respect and consideration is insulting. The racist extremists who make up the Tea Party don’t deserve our respect or consideration. And the fact that they’re getting it from a platform as widely read as the Post is disgraceful. And, seriously, I didn’t need another reason not to buy things from Amazon, but now I have a pretty good one.
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