As I said at the WisPolitics BlogSummit a couple of weeks back (you can listen to the webcast), one of the things I dislike most about political rheotric is the false piety of a "Sista Souljah" moment, by which one only becomes credible after one has called out a member of one's own party for being too . . . something. Corrupt. Extreme. Tall. I don't know, however you want to put it.
I don't believe in those moments. Not that I think they don't happen, as they certainly do, but I don't believe that such a moment is necessarily a prerequisite for trustworthiness or credibility on any level.
On the other hand, I do firmly believe in refusing to condone behavior in any ally that I would not condone in an enemy, and I have done that with some regularity.
In either case--when I criticize the left or when I let the left slide--I find that I get slammed by, well, the left, whether it be over Linda Clifford or Michael McGee, Sr. And while I have long ago figured out that earning the respect of any given blogger is not worth changing my attitude, I still would like to point out something that one of them said:
Thank You Mr McGeeObviously I disagree with this: No one has that coming, the insult of you and your just-deceased mother. If you cannot disagree with someone civilly or on substantive grounds, then you have no right to expect respect for your vituperative discourse.
Not that I’d ever listen to your show, but thank you for giving the hater Sykes a taste of his own medicine. While in all honesty faulting a poor old lady (she did have to live with Sykes for a son) was a bit too much, putting the responsibility on Sykes was not. [. . .] I have to admit I was a bit perplexed when all these Condolence Dems came out in full force. I guess if they all personally knew Sykes or his mother it would make a bit of sense. [. . .]
The Sykes thing is what it is, sure I can search for the sympathy he never took the time to offer others in his words and deeds, but why bother. Certainly other victims are more worthy of what ever sympathy is left in my cold heart. The audacity of trying to compare calling basketball players nappy headed hoes to dissing someones dead mama seems out of bounds.
The basketball players did nothing to warrant such an epithet while Sykes had it coming.
However, I think Nate's sentiment here reveals a deeper and more wide-spread sense of frustration on the part of many liberals--that McGee made an easy and swift target, while Sykes (and Belling and McBride and Wagner) can practice their slanted, biased, often false brand of radio jingoism with no consequence. I know--we all know--what McGee said on his show, because there is someone out there who makes it a part of his life's work to document McGee's show. This is no different from what Media Matters for America does on a daily basis with national conservative talkers and news programs; MMfA was the one who got Don Imus's comments on tape and into the public arena in the first place because they had a dedicated, paid staffer to listen to and document Imus's statements, as they do for Limbaugh, Savage, Hannity, O'Reilly, and more.
Yet we liberals here in Southeast Wisconsin lack a similar oversight mechanism. There is no "Media Matters for Milwaukee," no SykesWatch or BellingWatch (though this seems a good start to a McBrideWatch).
So the answer to Nate and anyone else who wishes to see what happened to Imus and McGee happen to Sykes and company is simple: Organize a systematic way to record and document what they say that is false, hateful, and bigoted. Belling makes it easy by podcasting his show--perhaps you should start there.
This is the blogosphere, people, and the great beauty of it, as I've said before, is that if you see a hole in the middle of it, you have the ability to form a SykesWatch-sized piece to fill that hole. In the meantime, calling someone a "neocrybaby" or demanding "Sistah Souljah" moments just makes you look petty. Aligning yourself with the rhetoric of the McGees makes you look cretinous.