August 09, 2011

Bachmann’s J. Steven Wilkins Problem

This article reports a dismaying association between Michelle Bachmann and J. Steven Wilkins, the author of a biography of Robert E. Lee that makes disgusting assertions about the relationship between slaves and slaveholders in the antebellum South. Bachmann evidently promoted this book as a 'must read' on her campaign website.

So, while we spent months a few years ago fixated on the fact that Obama was a member of a church whose pastor had made incendiary comments about America, a church that by most accounts he attended rarely, we will undoubtedly spend no time whatsoever being furious over Bachmann's explicit endorsement of Wilkins' incendiary comments. Why?

There is simply a right-wing bias in our country, wherein those who go too far rightward are just over-indulging their essentially decent 'American-ness,' but those who go too far leftward are exposing their basic indecency, untrustworthiness, and 'un-American-ness.' Until and unless Bachmann's association makes her just as much (or more) an object of suspicion as Obama's association, I don't think we as a society will ever get back on the narrow road to righteousness.