Thursday, October 03, 2013

How Racist Is This Rabid Hatred Of Obama?

Is it all about race? Being so angry there's a black president that you'd just as soon shut the whole thing down?

Shucks, we're way yonder past racism in this here country, aren't we?

It's gotten worse in the past five years, but the recent mutation of race hatred goes back to Lee Atwater's Willie Horton dog whistle ad in 1988. (The Nation has some interesting recorded conversations in which Atwater lays it all out.)

It goes back to Nixon's infamous Southern Strategy to win the racist white southerners who abandoned the Democratic Party after the Civil Rights Amendment. The voters who'd gone for George Wallace twice. (The New York Times archive spells out the Southern Strategy in its wonderful cynical detail.)

But if anyone wants to discuss the unspoken racial content in Republican hatred for this president they are accused of "playing the race card." Because Southerners are much much too polite to ever ever get racial about anything. Never have, never will.

Slate ran a very good piece about this Southern complexion, pure white Southern, in the new Republican Party.

The dog whistle of racist politics has just added another veneer on top of the old Southern gentility, which was a mask to begin with. That mask came off whenever a neatly dressed black student tried to go to a white's only school, but otherwise was as sweet as molasses, as polite and inoffensive as a pure white woman at a cotillion.

Want to know the code words? The secret handshakes and secret signals? The New Statesman listed them in a recent story.

The South and the Republican Party it dominates have learned to change the tone of their message without changing the message. The dog whistle alerts the party faithful the way it alerts hound dogs, by going directly to the lizard part of the brain that responds reflexively to fear and loathing.

A good explanation for the five year long fever of race hatred that's causing this, from Joan Walsh at Salon. (She followed up with a piece describing the angry Republican responses she got.)

To explain why this is happening now, when we finally managed to elect and re-elect our first black president, we almost have to go back to the Civil War, which certain states never recognized they lost, and certainly never recognized they were wrong about.

So it is about race. Still. Stubbornly and ignorantly.

And the Republican Party would just as soon take the whole country down as give in. In their slow, patient way they are trying to take our country back to the old Southern ways. A small aristocracy and white trash and blacks with no rights. Low wages and a small comfortable elite. Bad roads, bad water, bad sanitation, worn out soil, poor education, poor public health. That is the ideal model. What are the standards in the Reddest of the Red Republican districts? They look like the South in the 19th Century. Mostly white, mostly rural, mostly poor. Mostly taking far more in federal aid than they pay in federal taxes. We are being led backward by a backward set of backwater politicians and their extremist (but dependent) voters.

For 148 years since 1865, white southerners have done everything they could to keep African Americans down. Prevented them from voting. Stolen their property. Lynched them. Rounded them up routinely to use as free labor. Prevented them from owning homes, getting educated, getting loans, being tried fairly or being able to press charges against a white person, prevented them from using a drinking fountain designed for white people, prevented them from using the same bathroom facilities. The list is endless and the nasty unChristian southern habit of racial hatred is unending. The aim is to humiliate and degrade the other race so they are lower than you are, which is pretty low considering the ugliness of the mindset.

This ugly and difficult and expensive experiment in social engineering has been paid for by a small set of white folks who'd rather not pay enough for their white social inferiors to live decently so instead of fair pay they promise the lower class whites to make sure the black population is inferior to their own unpleasant inferiority. And they deputize the white lowlifes to enforce this.

So it's no coincidence that they believe (and persist in saying despite evidence that any normal sane intelligent person would understand) that the first black president is A. Kenyan. B. Muslim C. a communist D. a Nazi E. part of a nefarious foreign plot F. the antichrist. Whatever he is, he's got to be illegitimate because of what they've been told all these years. There can't be a black president because they all know that any dumb poor white no account is always and in every way better than a black man. Because everybody has told southern whites that every white person is superior to every black person regardless of achievements or abilities or college degrees. What gave Obama that ticket to Harvard which was rightfully meant for some proper white person?

It's hard to channel this race-hating stupidity without becoming physically sick. And it makes a person mad to think racists and racist-abetters of this sort of stupidity are in control of a whole political party. That they have enough power to shut down our democracy. But I guess that makes it easier to understand how the bigots feel. Something is wrong. Sadly, the ones who are causing the problem are too dumb and hateful to understand what it is.

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