If you go to Pat Buchanan’s website, you will come to an introductory page that says in big letters, ‘right from the beginning.” Of course, this has a double meaning, indicating a position on the right of the political spectrum, but also right in the sense of correct, or opposed to “wrong.” Taken together, the words indicate that the “right” is the “right” position, and that therefore, Pat Buchanan is right and has been right all along (something Mitt Romney, perhaps, cannot say).
Pat Buchanan, who believes minorities have inferior genes, and that women are “less equipped psychologically” to succeed in the workplace, has always been an outspoken and polarizing figure. He was a hero to my father, a South Carolina racist. My father saw him as someone – perhaps the only someone – who could save our country from scary brown people.
It’s not unusual to find messianic tendencies in our political – particularly our “right” political candidates, but when combined with this candidate’s long history of bigotry and racism, you have to wonder about such a claim.
Is it really “right” to be bigoted and intolerant? Is that really a good thing? It might be if you use the Bible as a guide, but the Founding Fathers did not use the Bible. They developed something called the U.S. Constitution, which is something completely different. The Constitution certifies that we are all equal; that we all have an equal right to the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness; that we are all of us equal before the law. Later amendments correct certain flaws found in the original document, for example, the claim that blacks are only three-fifths of a person, and ensure that women, for example, can vote and are equal to any man.
We fought a Civil War over slavery, a war that the North won and the South lost. Slavery was abolished. Slaves were freed. The Fourteenth Amendment ensured that Constitutional freedoms would henceforth apply also to states, updating the Constitution in light of a Confederacy that enshrined a slave economy and the ownership of human beings based on skin color. Both the Bible and the Constitution had failed black Americans but the Constitution was corrected. The Bible, which had been used to defend the institution of slavery and is still being used in some circles for that purpose, has not been, and will not be, updated. It persists in demanding an America that the Constitution forbids.
Pat Buchanan stands squarely at the center of this conflict, demanding an America that can no longer be. It was the American inhabited by people of my father’s generation, an America enshrined in regional and religious attitudes, an America become increasingly the province of Republicans and Tea Partiers. Pat Buchanan, it will be remembered, defended the slave-owning Confederacy. He has somehow convinced himself – and wants to convince us – that “both sides were right”, as he explained to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews back in 2010.
Watch the video from Media Matters:
Naturally people are upset about Buchanan’s racism. They have complained about him to MSNBC, wondering why a racist is being given a forum. As the Southern Poverty Law Center explains on its blog on October 26,
Following Buchanan’s Saturday appearance on James Edwards’ racist radio program “Political Cesspool,” to promote his new book, Suicide of a Superpower, Color of Change and Media Matters for America initiated a call for MSNBC to terminate Buchanan’s position.
Color of Change said, explaining their position:
“For years, Pat Buchanan has passed off white supremacist ideology as legitimate mainstream political commentary. And MSNBC continues to pay him and give him a platform on national TV to do it. Buchanan has just published a book which says that increasing racial diversity is a threat to this country and will mean the ‘End of White America.’This weekend, to promote his book, he went on a white supremacist radio show whose host has said things like ‘MLK’s dream is our nightmare,’ and ‘interracial sex is white genocide.’ Buchanan has the right to express his views, but he’s not entitled to a platform that lets him broadcast bigotry and hate to millions. If MSNBC wants to be seen as a trusted, mainstream source of news and commentary, it needs to fire Buchanan now.”
Media Matters said:
“For too long, your network has ignored Buchanan’s bigotry. But, enough is enough. MSNBC has the power to send a message — that it will not tolerate bigotry by its employees, on its airwaves or off.”
Also unsurprisingly, Pat Buchanan is taking up the martyr’s cross. Look what he wrote a post called “Hate and Bigotry Target Buchanan” on his Suicide of a Superpower blog on October 26, accusing (what else?) his critics of hate and bigotry:
Two-left wing groups, Color of Change, with eight known members, and its co-conspirators at Media Matters—self-endowed Orwellian censors–are attempting to gag and have Patrick J. Buchanan fired as an MSNBC Political Commentator as his new book, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive Until 2025?, soars in sales. (The book has been a top nonfiction bestseller at Amazon.com since it debuted last week.) Using charged racist language, gross misinterpretations, out of context quotes, and sugar-coated anti-Catholic sentiments, Media Matters has written 16 vile posts in the past 12 days in an orchestrated campaign of hate and bigotry.
And others on the “right” are defending him. Buchanan has some of the usual defenders, including Judson Phillips, who no doubt sees his livelihood, which prospers on hate, threatened by the idea that everyone is equal. Judson Phillips claims that it is not Pat Buchanan who is racist, but Color of Change, saying “They are a very anti-American, far left group.” Buchanan’s inteviewer inevitably becomes the bad guy – Chris Matthews, grifter Phillips insists, “looks like he picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue” and MSNBC, the host network (who ditched Keith Olbermann to show how far left they are), “is so far to the left they are ready to capsize.”
It’s both amazing and educational that hate and bigotry to not qualify in the “right’s” lexicon as hate and bigotry, but opposition to hate and bigotry do.
On November 3 we see Pat Buchanan elevated to the position as “the statesman opposed to the mob” trying to destroy him. On Buchanan.org, Tom Piatak of Chronicles Magazine wrote the following glowing words in support of Buchanan:
For two decades now, Pat Buchanan has been warning us of the dangers our country faces…and the loss of a common faith and common culture threatens our national unity.
Translation: In other words, we’re no longer all white Protestant Christians who hate black people.
Piatak claims, “Pat Buchanan was called many names for raising these issues, but he has been right and his critics have been wrong…The book…challenges, head on, the regnant ideology of “diversity” and “multiculturalism.” And according to Piatak one of the important themes of Buchanan’s book is that “’Diversity’ has become a religion, the new religion of our elites, and it is ‘an ideology not terribly tolerant of dissent.’” An interesting perspective from somebody who is not terribly tolerant, period. Least savory of all, James Edwards complained in an email to supporters that we ought to be tolerant of intolerance,
“On Saturday night, we were rejoined on the air by Pat Buchanan for an interview that has caused the liberal media to go absolutely berserk. If you listen closely you can probably hear their howls, as we are currently under a vicious and hateful attack from the supposed advocates of ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity.’ In fact, my cordial conversation with Pat has now become one of the top political news stories in America.”
It’s significant that people who wish to extend no tolerance, who wish to abolish all diversity, complain that speaking out against their anti-constitutional views is somehow wrong while their original utterances are “right.” But that’s the “right” for you, and Pat Buchanan epitomizes everything that is wrong with the “right” and has for a long time. We shouldn’t be surprised by his self-martyrdom (it’s institutional after all) and he shouldn’t be surprised that we don’t approve of his intolerance. He should only be surprised that we took so long to do something about it.