2012 Primer: How Obama Haters Use Labels To Redirect Thoughts And Behavior

2012 brings our country a compellin­g period of politics. This time around, there are more factions than ever.  Some are clearly defined, some are without definition, some are Trojan horses.  Suddenly having so many to choose from, most of us still can’t discern one group from another, much less what the actual messages are.   So a moment of enlightenm­ent to define who some of the players are and examples of the use of labels to redirect thoughts and behaviors.

Firebaggers A  firebagger is a term of derision used (usually on blogs) by supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama in arguments with people who criticize President Obama and other Democrats from the political left. The term is a conflation of “Teabagger” the term of derision used to describe right wing Tea Party or far right wing Republican activists.

Emo Progressive (or “emoprog”) is a term, along with firebagger,  permanently replaced through the collaboration of their respective creators with a single, more definitive one: Puritopian.  A Puritopian is a “self-described liberal or progressive whose political orientation is to be angry, dissatisfied and unhappy with the state of the nation, because in their view, liberal policies are not being implemented quickly or forcefully enough. They have particular contempt for Democratic presidents…Puritopians dislike Republicans but reserve their greatest disdain for Democratic presidents, whom they relentlessly attack for not meeting a set of ideological goal posts that are constantly adjusted to ensure that the president will be deemed a disappointment, ‘not progressive enough’ or ‘just like a Republican,’  no matter what policy achievements are made.”  Are Puritopians correct at times? The answer is likely.  The questions become, however, other than ongoing critiques, where are the realistic resolutions that are being proffered as alternatives and is every criticism supported by irrefutable facts?

Do you know what and who the “Professio­nal Left” is? The term “professio­nal left” denotes a growing industry that specialize­s in converting other people’s money into an ideologica­l product, while making a good living out of it in the process. They are often interchang­eable with Firebagger­s and EmoProgs Profession­al Leftists are paid to write the faux-progr­essive, anti-Obama­, hand-wringing meme the MSM is only too happy to broadcast. The strategy is that you and I assume they are caring liberal individual­s who tell you we are victimized by every decision President Obama makes. In reality, they are a well-paid covert tactic.  Their existence begs questions: What exactly is their objective? To create a left-wing version of the Tea Party? Could it be to reduce voter turnout and if so, who exactly does that benefit?  Or is it simply that by acting as the journalistic provocateur one gets hordes of clicks on one’s website, which turns into a lucrative revenue stream? After all, controversy is the one of the most lucrative sales tactics in the USA.

What about labels?  AG Eric Holder was right after all.  Race does need to be put on the national table and honestly discussed.  Not likely to happen soon, but intelligent people will want to understand how labels are being used in overt and covert ways to quell conversations and bully freedom of thought into silence.   To discuss race does not make one a racist, however it’s the most popular thought-stopping label used when a person doesn’t agree with the opinion of others, especially when the opposing point of view cannot be refuted because it’s the truth.  Racism is “the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination.”  Racism is, in the most simplistic definition, a perceived power welded to demean, abuse, terminate socially, politically, emotionally, and/or physically, based solely upon color of skin or known origins; all justified by the notion of racial superiority.  Embedded racism is “a term used to describe the display of subtly racist tendencies or delivery of racist subliminal messages, oftentimes without the speaker knowing [/acknowledging] that they’ve said anything offensive.”  A racist is a person who uses limited knowledge, deliberate ignore-ance, and paradigms that are inherited or predetermined to define others and/or justify their actions, projecting those beliefs on others — even if those beliefs are not the truth.   Racism is neither gender nor race specific; intra-racism  and/or internalized racism exists as well.   Today’s political climate has, unfortunately, resulted in the use of racism and race-baiting as a strategy of diversion and divisiveness.  Politicians and pundits alike use race to create controversy, reinforce stereotypical paradigmsengage their likeminded constituency, and  divert attention from the more compelling issues on the local and national table — or to sell their latest book.  When caught in the more blatant efforts, the current trend is to apologize or attempt to explain/justify, claim victimization. Wash, rinse, repeat with no real consequences.  Israel Firster.   A term used by journalistic provocateurs on the left “to suggest that some conservative American Jewish reporters, pundits, and policymakers are more concerned with the interests of the Jewish state than those of the United States…’Israel Firster‘  has a nasty anti-Semitic pedigree, one that many Jews will intuitively understand without knowing its specific history. It turns out white supremacist Willis Carto was reportedly the first to use it, and David Duke popularized it through his propaganda network. And yet Rosenberg and others actually claim they’re using it to stimulate “debate,” rather than effectively mirroring the tactics of some of the people they criticize.”     Muslim.  A religion not a race.  A life process  not a place.  Is not synonymous with terrorist.  Or President Barack Hussein Obama.   Note: what most choose not to understand is that one cannot be a Muslim and embrace Christianity publicly or privately.  But in the minds of the uninformed, terrorist equals Muslim equals black equals the “N” word.

Let’s be clear: I am not saying that anyone who challenges the President’­s decisions falls into these categories­.  Freedom of speech still prevails.  But if the whine is not fact-related or the criticism is without corroborat­ion and weighed down with political agenda, and  worse still, if the seemingly innocuous, inherent threat of violence continues to escalate, the onus is on you to question the agenda of the person with the mike or access to a computer.  Sorry, no shortcuts.   The collateral damage of such ongoing memes left unchecked? We all are.

Stay tuned next time: Primer for 2012 Politics -Part II: The “P” Word.


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15 Replies to “2012 Primer: How Obama Haters Use Labels To Redirect Thoughts And Behavior”

  1. Too many voters listen only to PAC-Ads, or Faux or read only the headlines rather that do a bit of homework on where a candidate really stands. Of course, there will be those candidates who can disguise their intentions from the voters (Scott Walker, Rick Scott). But it is more difficult to hide in a National Election.

    Always consider the source.
    Is it being reported or an opinion piece?
    $arahPalin had staff writing letters to the editor
    with approval by donors to use their name on submission.

    Does the candidate offer a solution or change
    that makes sense? Roads & Bridges collapsing
    and we’ll spend trillions for a moon colony?

    Was a “quote” taken out of context?
    or perhaps they were actually quoting
    someone else – and attributed it to them
    by saying QUOTE.

    Thank you for a political continuing ed class E Joyce.
    I look forward to more lessons.

  2. One correction: The proper definition of race must include the power structure encompassing the people discussed. Racism involves inequalities inherent in the political and economic structure, and the person with the power can be racist, while the person lacking power in that relationship cannot. Racism is a different term than discrimination or bigotry, which can flow both ways. At least, the definition of racism as used by people who study race relations and racism itself include the power structures in the definition.

    Too, race itself is a social construct, and is based upon artificial categories, generally created by those in power to denigrate the Other.

  3. We have experience with the professional leftists. Its not unusual to watch one slide in. Sometimes we let them talk for entertainment and sometimes they go out the door quickly. Usually they have a spiel that just doesn’t make any sense at all.

    I am happy to see these definitions and the making of a series of them. Welcome Ms. Moore

  4. I agree with you. Racism is, in the most simple definition, a power welded to demean, abuse, terminate socially, politically, emotionally, and/or physically based solely upon color of skin or known origins. And it is all justified by the notion of racial superiority.

  5. Welcome Joyce! I’m glad you chose to write about the issue of racism and the wary it will be used and is being used in the campaign. If anything good is to come of this ugliness, it will be that we can make more people aware of this issue, as many people do not see it (believe it or not).

  6. I always ask the firebaggers who they will vote for?
    Usually stops them cold b/c there is NO ONE! Obama is the adult in the room. PERIOD.

  7. Hi Joyce, do I know you from Twitter? I am @buybk.

    Firebagger comes from crossing Teabagger with FireDogLake, a site known for bashing Obama from the left.

  8. This looks to me like a list of epithets for folk not liking Obama, rather than several ways that they use false framing or epithets. If there were any distinguishing features from Rove infiltrators, to honest folk who have not thought things through, or folk like myself who have considerable criticism but have actively argued against third parties until the “winner-Take-All” rules are defeated, and in favor of voting as that is more effective than not voting, then that too would be useful.

    Pointing out how a group like Occupy can change the entire conversation that would make it much easier to both re-elect Obama and get better policies passed as well, and then finding other ways to promote the sort of framing that shows where the hugely destructive Republican policies and obstruction need to be turned around, could also be very useful.

    The current “Cripts vs Bloods” framing of each side only trying to drive more of the true believers to the polls is only going to work because the Republicans have done such a poor job on their side as well, but it will not help to create an opening for great legislation or make it easier to do things like shut down Gitmo, create Medicare for all, get real financial reform, an honestly progressive tax system, or any of dozens of programs that need to be done.

    George Lakoff and Gene Sharp have each laid out different aspects of how that might be done, and I came to this link actually expecting a further riff on Lakoff’s work. Perhaps a bit more work on your part reading both of those might help us all.

    George Lakoff – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5f9R9MtkpqM

    Gene Sharp – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQV_4-rXXrE

  9. Terms, slogans, labels, slurs and just plain lies; All of the these tactics/terms are used in any political fight. What I, as a voter, have to do is sort through all of the verbiage and find out where the truth REALLY lies.
    I do a great deal of reading, both the print media, left and right (when I can stomach it) and the video media. I have to look real hard for facts, since talking heads and columnists seem to all have their own agenda.
    What I have done is rely on a few columnists to give me a somewhat balance view of the truth. I read Paul Krugman of the NY Times regularly. I check out the “Fact Checker” in the Washington Post for some very interesting reading, and, of course, I find Media Matters to be a wonderful source of “FACTS”! I will admit that most of these are of a liberal bent, like myself, but they tend to stay pretty clear of labels. (Media Matters can be an exception to that rule with regards to Fox news, which is VERY acceptable to me).
    Politicusa is, of course, also a source of information. My main problem is this: How do you get the general population to understand what the facts REALLY are??
    This coming political election is going to be the nastiest and dirtiest on record, and I am sure that President Obama is going to have to go into the gutter with his ads to counter what will be one of the most race based attacks this population will ever see.
    How do we educate the population to the facts, and how do we stop all these lies from being vomited out, from both the left and the right, in order to get solutions to our very real problems in this country??
    Freedom of speech is something this country was founded on, so regulating what is said is out of the question, and I strongly support our freedom of the press. How do we get the facts out??
    Interesting question! The answer is much more elusive. Any ideas out there?? Any??

  10. Hi Joyce! Welcome!
    Your analysis of labels and how they’re used is spot on, imo. Labels are sort of a short hand to distinguish between political “friends” and the proverbial other. In other words, those who conform sufficiently to the ideology of choice. Many thanks for writing this article.

  11. …”Freedom of speech is something this country was founded on, so regulating what is said is out of the question, and I strongly support our freedom of the press. How do we get the facts out??”

    The obvious answer is to end the “Citizen’s United” debacle. Secondly,
    break up the media monopolies. And thirdly, start enforcing the IRS restrictions that do not allow politics to be preached at the pulpit. End the Bush era faith-based money programs regardless of their purpose plus property tax the churches…long over-due. Going after the “bad behavior, not the faith” would “sober up” a lot of people…

  12. A Democratic president just does not satisfy some Democrats. Democrats know how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. These never-satisfied Democrats have been trying to tear down President Obama since January of 2009.
    They are not intelligent enough to know that a great leader cannot govern from the extreme left, or extreme right. A great leader has to compromise. It is too bad these ignorant ‘Puritopians’, don’t know this.

  13. I just can’t stand the Puritopians as they have that smirk on their faces as they try to tear down President Obama in the media. I know it has to be about race, because they did not do Bill Clinton like that.

    And the way President Obama is disrespected, NO Democratic politician has ever come to his defense. When Bush was disrespected Pelosi and Rangle came to his defense. But you don’t see them coming to the defense of President Obama.

    BUT I urge ALL Democrats to make sure all of your Democrat friends and family are registered and ready to vote in November for President Obama.

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