Friday, December 13, 2002

(don't worry, this isn't going to be a trembling piece about my awesomely powerful RawMuscleBlogs)

When I first posted on the Lott story I assumed it would completely die. Why? Because I figured the usual suspects would make the usual around of apologetic statements. They would argue that what Lott was praising was 'States' Rights' and that was a GOOD thing and it was wrong to read anything into it other than Lott's support for "limited federal government" and what was wrong with that and you're racist for saying otherwise so SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP YOU STUPID BIG GOVERNMENT RACIST JESSE JACKSON AL SHARPTON LOVING LIEBERAL!!!

Which is what happened the last time Lott stepped into this particular minefield.

What I hope comes out of this is the recognition and understanding that when a politician in the south goes on about "states' rights" they are speaking in code that is well understood by a portion of the electorate -black and white. I don't mean that all supporters of federalism are objectively pro-segregation (Very big of me, no?), just that in certain contexts and from certain people the use of that phrase and related ones is nothing more than a big "FUCK YOU" to the black population. They get it. And, enough of the whites get it too.

In 1860 States' Rights was about maintaining the institution of slavery. In 1948 it meant this In the 50s it meant opposition to any form of desegregation. Moving into the 60s it meant opposition to the nasty federal government's pesky anti-discrimination laws and that horror of horrors, the Voting Rights Act.

Us liberals feel genuine outrage the William Rehnquist was a poll thug. We'd chalk it up to youthful indiscretion if he hadn't lied about it in confirmation hearings -- twice. We feel genuine outrage that a necessary stop in the Republican primary season is Bob Jones University - a slap in the face to minorities and ANY non-Protestants, particularly catholics. We feel outrage that the liberal media tut tuts it a bit every four years, but doesn't make a big deal out of it other than as 'strategery.' We feel genuine outrage that, as Bob Herbert reminds us, Reagan's first major campaign appearance was in Philadelphia, Mississippi

which just happened to be the place where three civil rights workers — Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney — were murdered in 1964.

Reagan knew the code then too:

During that appearance, Mr. Reagan told his audience, "I believe in states' rights."
Enough said.

And, we feel outrage that this speaking in code is, to us, obvious. It's obvious to anyone who pays attention. It's obvious to African-American civil rights leaders who get smacked down every time they bring it up. I'm tired of such people being accused of some form of "reverse racism" for even daring to bring it up. I'm tired of liberals and democrats being accused of cynical exploitation of race. What could be a more cynical exploitation of race than a fake organization run out of Grover Norquist's office with Lou Sheldon, Gary Bauer, and Sean Hannity on its board? My God what an insult.

Race and racism are still huge issues in this country. The P.C. backlash and its accompanied white male victimology has turned the issue completely on its head in a farcical fashion, and for the most part this is the slant that the 'liberal media' takes on these issues. It's time to stop this bullshit.