The Southern aristocracy was able to convince the common Southern White to do their bidding for them. They got them to fight a war they really had no interest in. I posit that, the reason they fought the war was all about identity. “At least you’re better than a………”. What else were they fighting for? If immigrants keep wages down, how about slavery?
As you make your way through the era’s I listed in part 1, you’ll find at the heart of each move that it’s about identity-always willing to do someone else’s bidding. Southern White to the aristocracy, KKK to the White Citizens Council, Dixiecrats to big business Republicans, working class to Murdoch, Tea Party to Koch brothers, etc. It’s the same theme, craving for acceptance in the club.
In 1948, Strom Thurmond stormed out of the Democratic convention taking his delegates and others who followed. In one move Southern Whites in a seismic shift, set a 40 yr political course that would bring us into the 21st century. Imagine if they had fully embraced the ideals of our American democracy?
In ’65 Lyndon Johnson’s quote went something to the effect of: “We just lost the South for a generation”. It was an understatement. Many stop at that quote but lets finish the sentiment; they were not in favor of equality and therefore UN-American, unpatriotic with many flying the flag of a foreign nation. The comeback to that is predictably simple and goes like: “well if Mexicans fly the Mexican flag” – (1st they’re Americans not Mexicans which drives the point, but I digress) But yes and we or them question their patriotism and loyalty, consider them perpetual outsiders, not part of Palin’s real America.
Nixon implemented the Southern Strategy to appeal to disaffected Southern Whites but on August 3rd, 1980, Reagan would take George Wallace’s legacy national.
I held out hope that they would figure it all out because in the final analysis, the solutions to America’s current challenges will mean getting past our racial hang-ups. I we had a moment, I thought that after the wasteful wars, assault on the constitution and a global financial meltdown as the dismount, there was a real chance for America take on a 21st century world. Then after the inauguration, it was clear they weren’t going to face how arrogantly wrong and complicit they were and Obama style wasn’t going to push the issue. Instead, with a clever sleight of hand they would double-down and re-brand as Tea Party. Then it was just a matter of continuing what you do best, which is a reflection of all they have, indignation. Indignation whether their guys or in or out of power. Obfuscation their only tactic. I know they’re angry because all day long on talk radio it’s Huckfin’s dad syndrome: “da niggaz & the guvment”. (‘cept the category has expanded to include Gays, liberals, Blacks, Asian, etc.)
So it seems there will always be a small minority who just can’t get past it. Their numbers will always seem larger because they are the most vocal. The most outrageous splashes get the attention. 9/11, Jingoism, nationalism breathed life back into them and it seems the ascendency of Barack Obama was like wind to a spark that starts a blaze. Plus they’ll continue to swallow the therapeutic mind fuck served up daily by conservative talk radio, 24hrs a day, up and down the dial, from coast to coast. Gravitating to the simplest argument.
They will never, ever have the courage to admit that Blacks, Gays, immigrants, liberals, etc. are not the source of their ills; can’t do it, too much of their existence relies on thinking otherwise. I just don’t believe they have the capacity to think another way. So there’s just a sort of poetic justice watching those who built their entire identity on a lie (race superiority) unravel as their philosophy bangs up against modernity and the world gets smaller. The world they envisioned never occurred and never will. The closest thing to it was 1950’s driven by a war economy, GI bill and Hollywood. Well Hollywood is still here but, 1950 is gone forever.
It’s what I’m puttin’ down for now, what say you?