(NNPA)—As President Barack Obama directs aircraft carriers and transport planes jammed with food, medicine and as physicians, relief workers and journalists risk their lives to help beleaguered Haitians, the callous, venomous statements of Rush Limbaugh and Rev. Pat Robertson show just how irrelevant the GOP has become.
With gifts to the American Red Cross totaling about $35 million in the first 48 hours of the disaster, U.S. citizens text-messaging millions, school children chipping in their spending change and CNN showing the tragedy to the world, the ugly words coming from the Republicans have me saying “Thank God America is not like them. Not anymore.”
At a time when tens of thousands of Haitians were buried under concrete, the best Limbaugh could muster was a twisted political statement about how the president was offering humanitarian aid to “build credibility with both the light-skinned and dark-skinned Black community in this country.” Then he said it was doubtful that “money being donated to Haiti through the White House website would actually go to the relief efforts,” suggesting that the administration would use this money for their own special interests.
If that were not enough televangelist Robertson, who once ran for president on the Republican ticket, said on his “700 Club” TV show that Haiti’s troubles came from their leadership making a pact with the devil some 200 years ago.
Every Republican who still has any semblance of decency ought to be storming the airwaves denouncing Rush Limbaugh, the mouthpiece of the GOP. Limbaugh has become so zealous and frothy in his crusade to smear President Barack Obama that he has become the symbol of a lunatic.
How can Republicans put up with this kind of callous political venom? Why aren’t their leaders denouncing Limbaugh and Robertson? Is it because the GOP is so intent of making our president fail, as Limbaugh has decreed, that they will twist every presidential act, no matter how noble, to satisfy their own pathetic objectives?
Where, for example, is RNC chairman Michael Steele? If there is any hope for the GOP to be anything but a Gross Old Party, he should be out front putting Limbaugh in his place. But the last time Steele corrected Limbaugh, it was Steele who later cowed in a corner backtracking on his statements.
By allowing the GOP to be painted as “haters,” without a challenge from the top, the party has segregated itself into a corner reserved for the greedy, the blamers and the spoilers, a place few people of good will want to reside.
The GOP led by bombastic Limbaugh and silent Steele is what crazy looks like. The Democrats led by Obama is what goodwill feels like.
The ability to look at human suffering and make judgments only based on skin color is what we saw during the Katrina Hurricane under President George Bush. We saw U.S. citizens—war veterans, school children, teachers, soccer coaches, grandmothers, some wrapped in the American flag—stranded on roof tops, sweltering on asphalt highways, knee-deep in rat-infested waste shared with human bodies—while our government headed by George Bush relaxed at his Texas ranch. We recoiled as we saw the U.S.-born Black population of New Orleans, labeled as “refugees,” as justification for aid being slow to come.
We are not fooled by a party who allows Limbaugh, who has announced the failure of Obama as his mission, to be its mouthpiece and de facto WPIC (White Person In Charge). Limbaugh stands for race hatred. In recent years, he reportedly told a Black caller on his radio show to “Take that bone out of your nose and call me back,” he asked his audience: “Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?” Of civil rights groups, he said, “the NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.” Recently he has enjoyed playing the song “Barack the Magic Negro” on the air.
It is not our president who is failing but Limbaugh who is failing as a human being. In addition it is Pat Robertson who should know the devil is not confined to Haiti—which incidentally is 80 percent Christian—when evil abounds everywhere.
In stating that Haitians made a pact with the devil, the GOP’S vicar is apparently referring to a voodoo ceremony that in Haitian national mythology initiated the 1848 French Revolution. In the ceremony, Haitian leader Boukman supposedly said, “The White man’s god asks him to commit crimes. But the god within us wants to do good. Our god, who is so good, so just, he orders us to revenge our wrongs. It’s he who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It’s he who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the White men’s god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that speaks in all our hearts.”
Most people reading these words see an oppressed people rejecting the god of their oppressors, just as Black slaves once did in this country. In the minds of people like Robertson, however, those who reject the god who champions oppression must be devil worshippers.
If the devil is running things as Robertson alleges, he clearly has found many cohorts in the party of Limbaugh and Robertson.
(Dr. Barbara Reynolds, an ordained minister, is author of five books, including “Out of Hell & Living Well, Healing From the Inside Out.”)