Friday, May 23, 2008

We Got Troubles

It has been a few days due to a family situation (of which I'm pretty sure most of you are aware) that required me to fly to a state in the deep, deep south - the poorest, most backward one of all, but which nevertheless somehow has an enviable literary heritage (wink & nudge). The whole experience was like a re-fresher course on why I got as far away from that part of the country as my English-only ass could get, sin el pasaporte.

I will be writing more about what I saw down there (both on the ground & from the airplane) vis a vis Peak Oil, but as for today I want to direct everyone's attention to driftglass who is absolutely on fire in this post from a few days ago that echoes what I and my friends have been lamenting for some time - but much more eloquently - the stranglehold the "Dixie" mindset has on American politics. In the wake of the HRC blowouts in W.Va and Kentucky, all the bobbleheads (including this guy at HuffPost - a Princeton professor) have been yammering away in a thoroughly clinical manner about how vast swaths of the electorate won't vote for a black man and that the Dems need to somehow contend with that.

Racism trumps misogyny afterall, I suppose.

But at no point do they condemn these people for their willful provincial ignorance. Instead, in the collective mind of the village poobahs in D.C., these people become romanticized and elevated as Real 'Murricans, despite the fact that their ideological forefathers wanted to leave this country and we fought a war to prevent them from doing it.

Why do they get a pass?

Why do they get to claim the mantle of patriot?

They lost the Civil War and even more than that, they deserved to lose. And they have been an impediment to progress in this country since DAY ONE. From the earliest days of the republic, even before we were a republic, we've had to accommodate them, their soul-destroying 'peculiar institution' and all the toxic, corrosive cultural tendencies attending it, as well as the resulting inferiority complex and massive chip on their collective shoulder which drives the majority of their politics.

Why do the rest of us have to put up with all this shit?

Driftglass is having none of it.
...I am done conceding one more fucking millimeter to the great- great-grandbastards of an ideology that should have been universally denounced two generations ago and then unceremoniously sealed like Chernobyl under a million tons of concrete.

Instead, far from repudiating ignorance and racism -- burying them at the crossroads with a stake through their rotting hearts -- for as long as I have been alive they have been the Republican’s cash crops; their carefully cultivated political opium poppies.

So rather than denouncing the mutant offspring of our nation's Original Sin, they hire professional race-baiting gunslingers like Lee Atwater and Karl Rove to dog-whistle its shambling electoral corpse back up from unquiet graves in unholy ground every two years with magic conjure words like “Southern Pride”, "Confederate flag” and “state’s rights”.


But so long as the hunger for their votes means they're pandered to instead of long as they are allowed to rage unchecked and unchallenged like a disease through our body politic -- decade after exhausting decade -- warping our national debates, demanding that their atavistic values be accommodated...I say fuck ‘em.

Without the guns of the Union Army, the Confederacy would never have fallen. And without the massed might of the federal government, the courts, and hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens putting their necks on the line, Jim Crow would never have been smashed.


I have absolutely no reason to believe that, having endured proudly intact century after century, our surviving enclaves of American bigotry will ever “softly and suddenly vanish away” without the aid of a fleet of cultural and political bulldozers.
Anger is a great motivator. Man, driftglass can write. So could Abraham Lincoln (from his Cooper Union Address, New York, New York, February 27, 1860):
The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.

These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them.
Only the rest of the United States looking like Dixie in word, thought, action, deed and spirit will make them go away. And not even then, because they're so insular and mistrustful because of the ugly, lingering side-effects of the cognitive dissonance of a culture of slaves and slave-owners in a "free" country that they can never seem to get away from the persecution complex that lies at the heart of their brand of politics.

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