I've thought Donald Sterling (nee Tokowitz) was a pig since he moved the Clippers from San Diego in 1984 when I lived there. Commissioner Adam Silver banning him from the NBA for life over racist comments is entirely appropriate.
Yet the affair leaves a bad taste. It is not news that Sterling makes outspoken racist statements and discriminated as a landlord. One wonders why the NAACP was going to give him a lifetime achievement award before the latest blowup. And at age 80, that lifetime ban's sure to sting.
But this time Sterling met that strange inflection point in our culture when the insatiable appetite of 24/7 media meets a bad rich ugly white dude spewing hate and subjects him to the same beat-down as one of the victims of Billy Bob Thornton's character in FX's Fargo. Then America pats itself on the back and moves on.
Time wounds all heels. Or so we wish. I suffer from schadenfreude-interruptus.
The trouble is, what is Sterling's infraction compared with the six years of hatred dumped on President Obama by the Party of Lincoln? Hatred whose roots are deep in racial antagonism and fear. But the best of them do it better than Sterling. As Andy Borowitz satirized the (shocker!) racist ranting by welfare queen moocher Cliven Bundy:
Republican politicians blasted the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on Thursday for making flagrantly racist remarks instead of employing the subtler racial code words the G.O.P. has been using for decades.
“We Republicans have worked long and hard to develop insidious racial code words like ‘entitlement society’ and ‘personal responsibility,’ ” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). “There is no excuse for offensive racist comments like the ones Cliven Bundy made when there are so many subtler ways of making the exact same point.”
Fox News also blasted the rancher, saying in a statement, “Cliven Bundy’s outrageous racist remarks undermine decades of progress in our effort to come up with cleverer ways of saying the same thing.”
Remember Sarah Palin, the half-term governor of Alaska, shrieking before Nuremberg-like rallies about "real Americans" during the 2008 campaign?
Remember the years of demanding Obama's birth certificate, where "respectable" Republicans would say, at best, something like, "He says he was born in Hawaii, so..."? The constant references to Kenya? The thuggish takeover of Democratic lawmakers' town halls in the 2010 campaign? All the dog whistles about That (Black) Man in the White House?
One of our "two great political parties" used Mr. Obama's race as the prime rallying point for their base. And no consequences. None. No censure from Very Serious People.
Post-racial America, my ass.
And what about Joe Arpaio, the Badged Ego, Nickel-Bag Joe, High Sheriff of Maricopa County? He has used the most overt and brutal racial tactics against Hispanics, only to be re-elected again and again (and in campaigns against highly qualified candidates). Jan Brewer, accidental governor (thanks, St. Janet), rode Mes'can Hate to a big election victory over Terry Goddard.
Meanwhile, one of the most important projects of the Republican Party is laws that make it much harder or impossible for minorities to vote. This to maintain their white supremacy even as the demographics of many New Confederacy states shift against them.
The poor, working-class whites have been convinced by the Oligarch-controlled or intimidated media that their enemy is people of color. Especially that "socialist" (excuse me, SOCIALIST!!! WHAT PART OF FORGED BIRTH CERTIFICATE DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?!) Barack Hussein Obama. Before that, the Southern Strategy had worked very well. But Obama's election was gold.
The 24/7 outrage against these much greater, more poisonous transgressions is lacking.
No lifetime bans for Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Rep. Joe Wilson (who showed such class in his unprecedented shout of "You Lie" in Mr. Obama's State of the Union speech), Jim "Break Him" DeMint, wealthy Republican Willard "Mitt" Romney of the 47 percent, Tucker Carlson, Newt ("The Food Stamp President") Gingrich, and all the tea partiers with their bumper stickers, lynching allusions and "send him back to Kenya."
No price paid. The Republicans, The Party That Wrecked America, are actually poised to retake the Senate.
Maybe that's why I don't feel particularly satisfied about the fate of the very wealthy Donald Sterling.