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Racists calliing Sotomayor Racist?

Saturday, June 06 2009 @ 10:07 AM CDT

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What’s Wrong With Sotomayor Being Racist?

By David Michael Green

-- When I hear big old fat white male bloviators like Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh calling Sonia Sotomayor “racist”, just one thought comes to mind: Why are these regressives endorsing her to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court?

I mean, since when did racism become a problem in their circles?

Since when wasn’t it perfectly acceptable?

Indeed, since when was it not a political tool of choice for winning power, if not a preferred lifestyle?

Do you remember the lovely Limbaugh leading the charge for civil rights, back in the Sixties? Remember how he stood side-by-side with Martin Luther King, getting fire-hosed, going to jail, and marching until he had blisters on his blisters, all for the cause of fighting racism in America?

You don’t? Funny, neither do I.

I do remember, however, that he once said this: “You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed.”

Or this: “I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”

Or this, to a black woman who called his show: “Take that bone out of your nose and call me back”.

Or that he has repeatedly played the happy little tune, “Barack the Magic Negro”, on his show.

So, silly me, I kinda had the impression that Limbaugh thought racism was a good thing!

And how about Gingrich? Wasn’t he historically a great champion of civil rights, always on the front lines, always fighting the good fight, from the suburbs of Atlanta to the halls of Congress? I must be getting kinda senile, ‘cause I don’t recollect that one either. But I do remember his tireless efforts at killing welfare programs and affirmative action and at prosecuting the war on drugs, all of which actions are loaded with racist implications and cater to racist mentalities in the public.

So when I heard these clowns criticizing Sonia Sotomayor for being a supposed racist, I couldn’t help but wonder if they weren’t supporting her.

After all, conservatives seem to love racism.

Remember William F. Buckley, who, during the crucible of the contemporary struggle for equality in America wrote that it is right and proper for whites to rule America, because they are the naturally dominant race? That guy was the intellectual founder of modern conservatism (pardon the double oxymoron). But let’s give credit where it is due. When it came to the question of whether whites should employ violence or not in enforcing their racist regime, Buckley admitted that he wasn’t sure on that particular question. How generous. Did I mention that Buckley was himself white?

Remember Richard M. Nixon – one of America’s most notable presidents for so many other reasons – who famously seized the presidency by means of the “Southern Strategy”? What was that? Nothing short of taking complete advantage of Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic Party’s political courage (yes, they actually had some then) in fighting the good fight against institutionalized racism in America. Nixon figured he could offer a thinly-veiled racist appeal to Southern whites who had literally been in the Democratic Party for as long as Abraham Lincoln had been a Republican. Johnson saw it all coming, but did it anyhow. He figured his act of moral courage and sacrifice would cost the Democratic Party lost elections for a whole generation. Nixon was right, Johnson was wrong. It’s now been two generations.

Then there was Saint Reagan (all bow in reverence please), who bravely launched his campaign for the presidency with a speech about states’ rights (Hmm – I wonder what that term could be code for?), given at Philadelphia, Mississippi, the very place where civil rights workers were murdered by the Klan for the crime of bringing the franchise to African American citizens. From that high point, Reagan would then go on to spend the rest of his years denouncing fictional Cadillac-driving welfare queens – a simultaneously classic and classless racial stereotype designed to appeal to the crowd who spend their Sundays slurping Coors, rooting for the Cowboys (“America’s Team”!), wearing their wife-beater t-shirts and, of course, resenting blacks for stealing ‘their’ jobs. Meanwhile, President Gumby arranged for corporate welfare style transfers of wealth by the hundreds of billions, tripling the national debt as he enriched every defense contractor in sight, far beyond even their own wildest dreams.

Want more? How about George H. W. Bush’s Willie Horton ads in 1988, a patently racist appeal that successfully won him the presidency? Poor Mike Dukakis. Up seventeen points in the polls that summer against a sitting vice president, he never knew what hit him. He thought he was living somewhere in the late twentieth century, only to find it was really still the nineteenth.

Never to be outdone by Dad (see “Iraq, Invasions of...”, and “Presidents, Hated When They Leave Office...”), Little Bush and Baby Brother made sure that tens of thousands of African American voters (who – totally coincidentally, I’m sure – vote ninety percent Democratic) were falsely disenfranchised in Florida in 2000, on the basis of bogus former felon purges of the registration rolls. That got us the Boy King as president, by a margin of less than 600 votes. Then there was Ohio, in 2004, where the event was reprised with endless all-day waits in black voting precincts, while white suburban voters popped in and out for a quick GOP endorsement.

Quite a litany, eh? Which makes it all the more bizarre when one occasionally hears imbecilically naive conservatives wonder out-loud why black Americans don’t vote for Republicans. Like you need a couple of PhD’s after your name to figure that one out. Pat Boone was an example of this (non-)mentality. The smarmy Jesus-loving conservative singer (a clean, white and non-threatening show biz hack ginned up for the crowd who found rock-and-roll a bit too threatening) once asked the question, and, as it happens, he got a very complete answer from Earl Butz, the Nixon/Ford Secretary of Agriculture, the same guy who presided over the industrialization and corporatization of farming in America, destroying the family farm along the way (His motto? “Get big or get out”).

Butz (yes, really, that was his name), employing a bit of conservative humor that would ultimately be revealed in the press and would cost him his job, responded to Boone thusly: “The only thing the coloreds are looking for in life are tight pussy, loose shoes and a warm place to shit”.

That was in 1976, and not much has changed on the right since. Now it’s just gone underground. Or it’s gays instead of blacks.

And so it is astonishing that the likes of Limbaugh or Gingrich would be upset with the supposed racism they attribute to a Supreme Court nominee.

I mean, apart from the fact that their allegation is a disgusting and transparently bald-faced lie...

...It’s kinda like being the only president in history who allowed a major foreign terrorist attack to happen and then bragging about how you kept the country safe.

...It’s kinda like the folks who’ve spent the last three decades cutting the legs out from under the middle class coming along and lecturing the country on family values.

...It’s kinda like Limbaugh savaging druggies on his air, while he himself is wasted on OxyContin.

...Or Larry Craig legislating against gays.

...It’s kinda like Bristol Palin running around the media singing the praises of abstinence.

Welcome to Regressiveland.

And speaking of abstinence, feel free to abstain from this insanity, yourself.

America has.

David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles (dmg@regressiveantidote.net), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website, www.regressiveantidote.net.

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