And here’s why…
I submit to you that what Martin Bashir says in the clip below absolutely pales in comparison to many of the things Sarah Palin and her ilk have said, repeatedly. Indeed, the very thing that sparked Bashir’s outrage, that the US national debt to China would be like being a slave, is worse than anything Bashir said by an order of magnitude. Hell, she even knows she’s going to get shit for it. She prefaced her remarks by stating that they weren’t racist! Methinks thou dost protest too much….
Let me explain my reasoning.
By equating being in debt to being a slave, by pretending that the two experiences are even remotely similar, Palin demeans millions of human beings and shows that her understanding of human experience is lacking to an extreme.
On the other hand, the worst that can be reasonably said about what Bashir said is that it was unprofessional. Perhaps it was even against some sort of MSNBC code of conduct and as such, a public apology, a suspension (without pay) may have been in order. But for the man to lose his job because he expressed his opinion in the way he did, is shortsighted and unjust. It’s also hypocritical. Fox News personalities routinely spew the most hateful, racist bile and are never disciplined by that massive misnomer of a media organization.
This is also emblematic of the lack of critical thinking and subtlety that permeates American culture, these days. Bashir was not saying that someone should literally shit in Sarah Palin’s mouth. I am sure that if you asked him, he would agree that such behavior is barbaric and not acceptable, even as a punishment for those we revile. It was hyperbole. Bashir was outraged by Palin’s remarks and reacted in an emotional, colorful, and ultimately effective way. Is the right wing so thin-skinned that they can’t let it go? If I screamed for their head every time Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity said something offensive, I’d be permanently apoplectic and hoarse.
Here’s how this exchange would have worked in a reasonable world (and I am paraphrasing, of course):
Palin: “When we’re in debt to the Chinese, it will be like slavery!”
Bashir: “You’re an idiot, Sarah! Someone should shit in your mouth.”
Palin & Bashir, simultaneously: “I apologize. I used insensitive analogies and simplistic and hyperbolic imagery to express my anger at a situation. I apologize unreservedly to (Sarah Palin/Slaves).”
Bashir: “But you’re still a moron, Sarah.”
Palin: “Bite me, Martin.”
See? That way we keep our healthy left-right antagonism, yet realize that this particular brand of partisanship is all just a bunch of bullshit.