The Scum of the Earth

Sunday, 17 January 2010 08:59 By William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed | name.

The Scum of the Earth
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: ChuckHolton, roberthuffstutter, PhillipC)

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, GOP luminaries Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh have once again waded into a catastrophic tragedy with all the care and concern of hammerhead sharks unleashed into a fish tank full of orphans. For those not yet in the know, the dynamic global response in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti was accompanied by comments from Robertson and Limbaugh that would be unutterably sickening if they were not so completely predictable. To wit:

"I have been to Haiti way, way back a long time ago when it was a cruise ship stop, Port Au Prince, and I've seen pictures of Haiti. It is a devastatingly poor place. Nothing has ever changed, and right across the mountain ridge in the middle you've got the Dominican Republic, which is like night and day. It's like night and day. What is the one common factor. That place, Haiti, has been run by dictators and communists. How long is it going to be, how long is it going to be, before we hear Obama and the Left in this country say that what we really need to do is reinstate the communist Aristide to the leadership position down there, to coordinate putting the country back together. The Haitian economy is entirely dependent on foreign aid. They produce nothing, zilch, zero, nada, and it's been that way for the longest time."

- Rush Limbaugh

"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other. Desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It's cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti; on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, et cetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God."

- Pat Robertson

It is well-nigh impossible to decipher what Limbaugh spewed on Haiti. It is perfect gibberish: he's seen pictures, the place is poor, Aristide is a communist, and the country produces nothing (except Disney merchandise, a fact Rush left off). Coherent? Hardly. Hateful? You tell me. Robertson, however, managed to fully outstrip Limbaugh on the verbal dementia scale by alleging a Haitian pact with Satan is the reason for the earthquake, despite the fact that Haiti is 85 percent Catholic.

Press play to listen to author William Rivers Pitt read his column, "The Scum of the Earth":

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It would be easy enough to roll our eyes and dismiss the latest budget of verbal nonsense from these two with an oh-here-we-go-again shrug. After all, we've all been here before.

"I tell people, don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what these people stood for."

- Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, December 20, 1995

"I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you. This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor."

- Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, January 18, 1995

"Homosexuals want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers."

- Pat Robertson, speaking of organizers putting rainbow flags up around Orlando to support sexual diversity, Washington Post, June 10, 1998

Both men have been roundly criticized for their comments. Limbaugh, not content to stand pat on the aces-high hand of stupidity he dealt himself, responded by pushing the envelope even further. "[Limbaugh] has refused to apologize for his comments," reported ABC News on Friday. "On Thursday, he blasted a female caller. 'I did not say do not send donations to Haiti,' Limbaugh said, implying he was misinterpreted. He said the caller was a 'closed-minded bigot.' 'If you had listened to this program for a modicum of time, you would know it,' he said. 'But instead, you're a blockhead. Your mind is totally closed. You have tampons in your ears.'"

Yeah, we could dismiss all this as more bad noise from a couple of idjits whose verbal diarrhea is undeserving of attention. Most of the time, I would agree, but this ... this is different. The senses and sensibilities of the American public have been bombarded for days with images of horror that beggar comparison. Bodies in the streets, arms and legs sticking out from twisted rubble, screaming children, dazed men and women wandering the streets of a city that looks as if it was dropped from space and smashed against the ground.

And here come these two "respected" men, one a spokesman for a segment of a major political party and the other a "man of God" who preaches to millions of followers; here they come to foul the air even as it reeks of blood and desperation.

It is not the first time for these two, either. The last two disasters to befall the United States - the attacks of September 11 and Hurricane Katrina - were followed like pilot fish by the same sort of wretched hate and racism from these same two men.

It is a free country, and the likes of Limbaugh and Robertson have every right to say what they think into as big a microphone as they can find. But we are as free as they are to drive them from the airwaves with pressure on the stations that broadcast them and the sponsors who support them. Let us flex that freedom and drive these two gargoyles from the body politic. They are the scum of the earth, and there is no merit in allowing their inclusion in the national conversation to continue.

They are free to say it. We are free to shout them down. The time has come.

Last modified on Sunday, 17 January 2010 14:00