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Pat McDonough and Racial Politics Part II

August 2, 2012

Gore Vidal, now deceased, once said, “half of the American people have never read a newspaper… half never voted for President… one hopes it is the same half.” (For a less flattering obituary to Vidal, read this piece by David Greenberg.)

Well, without being overly critical, I’ve often wondered aloud whether or not those reading and consuming “news” really bother to comprehend what it is they’re reading.

Case in point: my recent post on Republican state Del. Pat McDonough, racial politics and the Maryland DREAM Act, which was republished on Not a single commenter debated the merits (or demerits) of my argument. Instead, comments devolved into an exercise in demonizing undocumented immigrants.

Here’s a sampling of the comments:

“Joe,” “Parkvillehoney” and other commenters somehow missed the point that only undocumented children of taxpaying families and undocumented taxpayers are eligible for “subsidized” in-state tuition for public colleges and universities. And “Martin Church” employs a bit of the racial demagoguery I wrote about in my post.

It really boils down to the anger many Americans feel when they believe “undeserving” people receive some kind of privilege. Edward Schumacher-Matos, now ombudsmen for NPR, wrote about how this anger drives the illegal immigration debate a few years ago while he was an opinion writer for the Washington Post. It’s a fascinating read from Schumacher-Matos–and recommended reading for those “angry” commenters.

One Comment
  1. Soemtimes I think homo sapiens is a terrible name for our species… It’s like if you decided to refer to cats as “six-toes” because you saw a cat once who had six toes.

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