OpenLeft: David Sirota (9/26/08)
I’m voting for Barack Obama to reject the people and the views I met head on earlier this week in a debate with fringe-conservative radio host Dennis Prager. David Sirota :: I Found My Gut Reason for Voting Obama The debate took place at a suburban high school in Denver in front of 1,500 people. These were almost all fans of Prager – I’d say the breakdown was 85%-15% Prager fans, to progressives. It was an almost uniformly white suburban crowd, and – judging by the giant SUVs and luxury cars in the parking lot – a wealthy one. At each and every turn when Prager slandered blacks, poor people, Muslims and liberals, the crowd went wild.For example, Prager said race in America is as significant “as shoe size” and then blamed African Americans for a society still struggling with structural racism. He said blacks are victims of liberals who tell them that there’s racism, when – according to Prager – there isn’t. That’s right, Prager insisted that African Americans are so stupid that they can be programmed by “liberals” to see a racism that he says doesn’t exist. When he said this, the crowd went crazy with applause, and when I pointed out the self-absorbed paternalistic insult of an all white crowd assuming such mindless ignorance of an entire community, I was booed.
Prager styles himself as a biblical “scholar” and he flaunted his conservative interpretation of the Bible as proof that conservativism is morally just. When I cited food stamp cuts as an example of how conservatives don’t really govern in any way that respects the Bible’s words about helping the poor and sick, Prager laughed and said he never knew there was a Biblical passage on food stamps. Again, the crowd went crazy with celebration, and later, I got an email from one of his fans not taking issue with my point, but saying that it was unacceptable for me to make the point I made because Dennis Prager is a “biblical scholar” and apparently, that means no one can question him.