I totally agree that he was censured in the House today. I think he should apologize before the House too. It's not playing politics to censure him. He did an awful, awful thing during the President's speech. I said at the time that it was potentially racially motivated because I don't believe anyone would have done that to any previous president... whether that is because things are just so extreme right now, or because it truly did happen because the President is black and Joe Wilson is a racist, I can't say for sure.
But I do not like what Chris Matthews is doing. Saying that Joe Wilson is "playing Johnny Reb" by purposefully trying to stir things up to distract everyone from the real issue of health care, and trying to steer discussions on his MSNBC show toward what Joe Wilson's politics might be about the Confederacy and the Battle Flag, and suggesting that because Joe Wilson is from South Carolina everyone from South Carolina is racist, when that is very much not the case. Joe Wilson might be a lot of things - and I don't know that Chris is entirely wrong in his suggestions toward Joe Wilson's personal racism, I just wish Chris would be more specific with his evidence instead of just spouting innuendo and including all of South Carolina and all of the South in his slurs. Icwhutudidthar, Chris... and I don't approve. Because, honestly, you're doing exactly what you accused Joe Wilson of trying to do today - distracting from the real issues at hand. Stop being divisive, Chris! It weakens the argument and the Republicans do that enough for everyone... And the same goes for the rest of the Yankee media who seem to be really liking the idea that it's all a matter of people from the South just generally being ignorant, racist hicks. We're not. Thanks. I mean, some are, but I think the matter is being overstated and exaggerated.
I know what President Carter has said about the South. I would like to point out that he's of an older generation (like my grandmother who said last November that she wouldn't vote for Obama, despite the fact that the rest of us were, because "black people aren't as smart as white people"... *headdesk* Yes, we don't listen to what she has to say on such issues, and we realize she's living in 1932...), and might not be seeing the changes in the younger, mainstream Southern culture because he's looking for the way things used to be and finding that in some places (as Lincoln said, "If you look for the bad in people, expecting to find it, you surely will."). Sure, racism in the South still exists - I mean, duh - but is it pervasive and insidious like it once was? I don't see that it is.
Racism also doesn't occur just in the South. It also exists in New York, and Connecticut, and Wisconsin, and Vermont, and Arizona, and California - it occurs everywhere... Anyone who says otherwise obviously isn't paying attention, or purposely ignoring evidence because it doesn't fit in with their preconceived ideas about what racism is and who is guilty of it (and this tendency by some people is something I find pretty freaking disturbing). It isn't limited to just white people being racist toward black people either, it occurs in any and every combination imaginable, and anyone who pays attention knows that. Personally, I don't see greater evidence of racism in the South than I see evidence of it anywhere else in the country, although I think racism in the South gets a lot more press (again because it plays into some people's preconceived notions). If anything, I think many people in the South are hyper-aware of race issues precisely because of the South's history, in ways that people outside of the South are not, and make an effort to not only not be a racist in actual fact, but also to not do anything that might make them appear to be a racist either.
And can we please remember that Barack Obama carried Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia - which are three Southern states (Yes, Florida counts! If we seceded once upon a time, we count.) - and that he lost South Carolina by only 9%! That's a pretty small margin for a state that's supposedly so very racist, while also being so very Republican (which I think had a lot more to do with the loss, rather than pervasive racism). I'd also like to note that North Carolina and Indiana (not a Southern state!) had the same margin in Obama's favor: 50% to 49% with 1% going to other candidates.
At the very same time, I would very much thank the "Right" if they would STOP using phrases that bring up the idea that the South is full of racists to advertise their anti-Obama products, such as the "You Lie!" bumpersticker being peddled at WorldNetDaily with the phrase "Rebel yell" as part of the advertisement (and bona dea, but they are wingnuts over there at that site!). In fact, if you're not Joe Diffy or using it in technical historical context, I really wish you wouldn't use that phrase at all.
*sighs* ... Yeah, getting back to the fight for health care now.