Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hunting Sonia

Everyone who reads this blog is an intelligent, empathic and fascinating creature (smear it thick enough for ya? mwah). Thus, everyone here knows that what the Republicans are doing to Sonia Sotomayor is a game they have to play. But it's a dirty and nasty game, and it's fascinating to see how the talking points are presented. Media Matters has put the main talking point and its repetition into one video:

Television viewers wouldn't get the same impression because those moments are sprinkled over a longer stretch of time. But the ultimate impact is the same one: Sotomayor is a racist! Of course she is also empathic which is bad because it's womanly! (Even though George Bush The Elder praised Clarence Thomas for his empathy).

Watching that video is like looking into the abyss in which fear lives among some conservatives, the fear of the poor-and-unwashed (wimmin! Hispanics!), the fear that some time of revenge is nigh and that they will be the victims of that. I almost feel pity until I remember that all that is pretense, that these guys on the video make good money and wield a lot of power.

Adam Serwer has a beautiful response to the pertinent question of what Sotomayor actually said and what it means. I especially like the observation that no particular set of life experiences makes one a neutral observer of the world or capable of reliving other people's experiences by just thinking about them. We can try (that's what empathy is for), and we should try, of course. But Pat Buchanan's opinions about the world are colored by his own history, his gender, his race, his religion and his ethnic group. These don't disqualify him for having opinions about questions he has never experienced, of course, but they should remind him of the need for modesty and the need not to view people with other life histories and defining characteristics as somehow 'not standard'.

But that's how Sonia is hunted. I don't want to join in that hunt. But I'd like to know her position on Roe v. Wade.