MSNBC’s Martin Bashir has kicked off a storm of controversy by saying people — like half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) — who invoke slavery as a comparison to modern inconveniences like the glitchy Obamacare rollout should get a first-hand lesson in the actual horrors and everyday cruelties of slavery.
Bashir was incensed at remarks Palin made last Saturday while promoting her book Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas at the annual Iowa Faith and Freedom Conference.
Palin was grousing to the assembled conservative throng about supposed freeloaders who want the government to give them “free stuff” in the form of health care and public assistance.
“Our free stuff today is being paid for today by taking money from our children and borrowing money from China,” she said. “When that note comes due — and this isn’t racist so try it anyway, this isn’t racist — but it’s going to be like slavery when that note is due, right? We are going to be beholden to a foreign master.”
Bashir and many others were appalled, but not especially shocked that Palin would evoke one of the cruelest and most horrifying chapters of western history in such a flippant manner.
“Given her well-established reputation as a world class idiot,” Bashir said, “it’s hardly surprising that she should choose to mention slavery in a way that is abominable to anyone who knows anything about its barbaric history.”
Perhaps, he said, Palin should try to find out what slavery was really like.
Specifically, he speculated that perhaps the failed vice presidential candidate and 1984 Miss Alaska runner-up should be subject to a form of abuse that involved defecation into a slave’s mouth, a punishment ritual derived by West Indian slaver Thomas Thistlewood, an Englishman who owned a massive sugar plantation in Jamaica.
Thistlewood conceived a particularly sickening punishment for a slave named Darby, who was caught eating the sugar cane he was supposed to be harvesting.
The plantation-owner “had him well flogged and pickled” — which is to say that Darby was whipped and then salt and other irritants were rubbed into his whip cuts — “then made Hector, another slave, s-h-i-t in his mouth.”
“This became known as ‘Darby’s Dose,’” Bashir said, “a punishment invented by Thistlewood that spoke only of inhumanity. And he mentions a similar incident in 1756, his time in relation to a man he refers to as Punch. ‘Flogged punch well, and then washed and rubbed salt pickle, lime juice and bird pepper, made Negro Joe p*ss in his eyes and mouth.’”
“I could go on, but you get the point,” Bashir said. “When Mrs. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate.”
Many on the right are furious and say that with these remarks, Bashir has stepped over the line. What do you readers think?
Watch the video, embedded below via MSNBC: