By Amitabh Pal on April 18, 2013

The Boston Marathon bombings have brought a lot of people's prejudices to the fore.

Almost immediately out of the gate was Erik Rush, a Fox News regular. He tweeted shortly after the incident: "Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let's bring more Saudis in without screening them! C'mon! #bostonmarathon."

When challenged, Rush responded in a subsequent tweet: "Yes, they're evil. Let's kill them all."

Rush was soon joined by a better-known Fox colleague, Laura Ingraham, who used her soapbox to stoke fear about immigrants.

"I just think that there are all sorts of security implications aside from the other arguments on immigration -- national security implications that we don't talk about with enough frankness, and, I think, certitude here," Ingraham said. "We can't stop every attack, but my goodness, if we had borders that were shut down and we actually had a proper screening process, maybe we could stop some of them."

These are commentators on a famously irresponsible media outlet. But when members of Congress join them in such discourse, it really becomes a problem.

Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert saw it fit to target both Latinos and Muslims.

"We know Al Qaeda has camps over with the drug cartels on the other side of the Mexican border," Gohmert said on C-SPAN. "We know people are being trained to come in and act like Hispanic when they're radical Islamists."

As some Twitter users asked: How exactly does one "act like Hispanic"?

But this comes from a guy who believes that birthright citizenship should be ended since radical Islamist mothers are arriving in this country to give birth to jihadists, and who has implied on the House floor that President Obama's real allegiance is to Muslim countries.

Gohmert was almost matched by fellow Congressman Steve King from Iowa, who attempted to use the horror to argue against immigration reform.

"Some of the speculation that has come out is that, yes, it was a foreign national and, speculating here, that it was potentially a person on a student visa," King told the National Review. "If that's the case, then we need to take a look at the big picture."

And there was the media coverage itself. CNN made an infamous gaffe on Wednesday in wrongly declaring that a suspect had been apprehended -- along with a mention of his race.

"I want to be very careful about this, because people get very sensitive when you say these things," CNN's John King said. "I was told by one of these sources who is a law enforcement official that this is a dark-skinned male."

The National Association of Black Journalists pointed out how wrongheaded King's announcement was.

"There have been various reports identifying a potential suspect as 'a dark-skinned individual,'" it said in a statement. "This terminology is not only offensive, but also offers an incomplete picture of relevant facts about the potential person of interest's identity."

In a time of tragedy and terror, politicians and media figures need to be especially careful with their words.

If you liked this article by Amitabh Pal, the managing editor of the Progressive magazine, please check out his article entitled "Corporations Are Champion Tax Dodgers."

Follow Amitabh Pal @amitpal on Twitter.

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Capitalism is the enemy, and the ideology of growth and dominion over the Earth.

 

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham recently joined many of his Republican colleagues, declaring that...

John Kerry used two weak arguments to justify President Obama’s war-making.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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