It is not unusual for children to harken back to a special event they hold onto dearly and yearn to return to, and there are many adults who may not cling to any specific day, but certainly aspire to return to a period of their life the regard as special. Over the past four-and-a-half years, Americans unhappy at the notion of “change” President Obama campaigned on have looked longingly to return to a different era they remember as special regardless they may not have been alive but Republicans promise to revisit if they control Washington. For many conservatives disenchanted with 21st century America, the 1950s are the golden era they would like to “take their country back” to, and for many Southern conservatives, the Confederacy is their personal Utopia primarily for the supremacy the white race lorded over indentured slaves. In Virginia recently, neo-confederates leased some land near a highway and erect a 50-foot pole to fly the Confederate battle flag to “welcome visitors and commuters to Richmond and remind them of our honorable Confederate history and heritage” that was founded on the preservation of slavery and white supremacy.
The honorable heritage so many Americans, not just Southerners, aspire to return to was best summed up by the Confederacy’s vice-president, Alexander Stephens, who explained in a speech in 1861 that “Our new government is founded on and its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.” Now, there are Americans who claim those days are long past and any mention that they still exist predictably garners claims that anyone who thinks, or speaks, otherwise is a racist and it is a favorite charge of Republicans and their sycophants. The rampant racism borne of white supremacy is nearly exclusive to Republican supporters and sadly, many politicians aligned with the GOP. For example, last month it was revealed that a vocal neo-Confederate worked for United States Senator Rand Paul running his new media as well as being the ghost writer for Paul’s first book. On many occasions Paul has eluded to his disdain for civil rights and attempts to couch it in libertarian terms, but he is still a racist.
The racism infecting the Republican ranks is borne of white supremacy and it is evident in opposition to free and fair elections and immigration reform. It is important to note that if minorities voted the way white Republicans told them to, there would be no voter suppression efforts in this country or opposition to immigration reform. In Texas recently, an honest Republican said as much in explaining why he hates the idea of giving 11-million Hispanic immigrants a path to citizenship and the right to vote.
Texas Rep. Kenny Marchant (R) explained in plain terms he opposes immigration reform because “if you give the legal right to vote to 10 Hispanics in my district, seven to eight of them are going to vote Democrat.” Marchant’s comments were reiterated a day or so later by another Texas Republican, Michael Burgess, who questioned other Republicans “about the wisdom of giving citizenship to 11 million undocumented Democrats” and it is a safe bet that if seven to eight of those Hispanic immigrants followed white Republicans’ orders and voted for GOP candidates, immigration reform would have passed a decade ago. In June of this year, a teabag leader in Texas extended the anti-immigration reform argument of not voting Republican to African Americans at a Republican Party event. Teabagger Ken Emanuelson said “I’m going to be real honest with you, the Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.” However, if “black people” voted as Republicans directed, racists could set aside their animus long enough to “allow” African Americans to vote.
After the conservative Supreme Court ruled that racism was dead and struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act virtually killing it, Southern Republican-controlled states wasted little time reinstating voter suppression tactics primarily affecting African Americans to restrict them from voting. There was nothing as disheartening to white racists as seeing hours-long lines of African Americans waiting to cast their votes for an African American man for President, and doubtless Republicans will take any steps to see it never happens again even though the High Court left it to Congress to fix the VRA and give every American the right to vote. Most Americans are unaware that one of the last things House Republicans did prior to going to their home districts was voting to defund ACORN regardless the organization has been disbanded for three years. Why? So Republicans going to their southern districts can tell their racist supporters that they took money away from a defunct organization that assisted African Americans as well as obstructed advancement of immigration reform to prevent Hispanics from earning a pathway to citizenship to protect their European (read white) heritage.
Republicans display their racism through their voter suppression tactics as well as coded messages about President Obama such as “welfare president,” “un-American,” and “not one of us,” but in Arizona a group of protestors expressed their racial hatred vocally. While the President was speaking at an Arizona high school, protestors of the GOP persuasion displayed their bigotry with racially charged chants and signs. Protestors shouted “Bye Bye Black Sheep,” and “he’s 47 percent Negro,” and another racist carried a sign reading “Impeach the Half-White Muslim!” One of the protestors said, “We have gone back so many years, he’s divided all the races. I hate him for that,” and it is unclear how the President is responsible for dividing the races except that as he said, maybe it is because he had “the gall to win the presidency.”
Republican, and their supporters, opposition to President Obama is predicated on the Confederate vice president’s assertion that “the negro is not equal to the white man; that subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition,” and not because his policies do not comport with Republicans. At best President Obama governs from a centrist position as evidenced by his adherence to promoting Wall Street, oil industry, and business interests, and his willingness to take what his liberal critics claim are aggressive measures to combat terrorism. Republicans have obstructed the President regardless his proposals conform to long-standing conservative policies such as attempting to cut corporate taxes and giving Wall Street a voice in promoting economic growth.
The Republican’s primary goal throughout this President’s tenure has been portraying him, a Black man, as a failure and incapable of leading the country to send a message that he is not equal to a white man. It is pure white supremacy and it is as rampant today as it was in 1861 and, until it is purged from the population no minority will be afforded their rightful place as American citizens. Unfortunately, with a major political party stoking racial animus towards this President, African Americans, and Hispanic immigrants, white supremacy will continue dividing the races and if this country has gone back so many years like the protestor claimed, it is only because Republicans continue attempting to “take our country back” to what their supporters claim is an honorable Confederate history and heritage.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.
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