Like the saying goes, Even a Dog Knows Whether It’s Been Tripped Over, or Kicked.
David Atkins at Daily Kos asks the question– Did they really think only old white men would hear the dogwhistles?
Despite the craziness of Sarah Palin, it’s important to remember that John McCain and most of the GOP establishment didn’t go hard after the Nixonland race card in 2008. Sure, there was some of that. But they knew that if they pushed it too hard, it would backfire on them.
In the intervening four years, the Republican message against Obama has been nothing but one long racist tirade.
Muslim. Kenyan. Foreign. Hussein. Doesn’t share our values. Not Christian. Wants to cut the work requirement in welfare. Obamaphones. “Holder’s People.” Black Panthers. “Moochelle Chewbacca Obama.” “The White Hut.” “Entitlement society.” “Makers versus takers.” Recovery, not dependency. Parasites.
Let me give you an example of a 2-word dog whistle I heard when working in an emergency room. An ambulance driver- a young nerdy guy who tried hard to be one of the boys, was talking to a nurse. Somehow the conversation turned to people on welfare. “I’m white.” he said in a satisfied tone with a knowing smirk.
The thing about subtle racism, or misogyny, or slurs on any group, is that the targeted group is forced to develop a sensitive ear. Otherwise you’ll be unprepared when ‘all in good fun’ turns ugly. You need to know who is likely to say something really nasty behind your back, or undermine you with a supervisor, or just ‘forget’ to give you some information they were supposed to pass on. I have unfortunately seen examples of all this because people usually assume I’m white and say things in my presence they would not say in a mixed group.
David Atkins did not address the atrocious slut-shaming of Sandra Fluke. It would have been inspiring if Mitt Romney had been man enough to stand up to Rush Limbaugh, or even if more men on the Left had found stronger words to defend the right of women to speak honestly about issues like contraception.
Last year, about a hundred women put on pink T-shirts to rally for Planned Parenthood. Many more women have obtained birth control and preventive health care there. They might not be inclined to face the spigot of hateful speech pouring from the extreme Right, but in the privacy of the voting booth, women spoke.