Charlottesville: The Outward Manifestations Of Race In America

I will try to make this to the point. What happened in Charlottesville was the pot that had been boiling beneath the surface finally bubbling over so that we can really see that there is a problem.

Will America be smart enough to turn the heat down and try to take the pot off the burner? The man in charge of the stove at this moment has reacted by turning up the heat under the pot apparently trying to catch the whole damn house on fire. Then he tries to blame those bringing in fire extinguishers for the pot boiling over.

Racism has been an always underlying theme in this country that has on occasion come to the top. But it is always there below the surface.

The following video is of Lee Atwater the Republican wunderkind operative that helped not just elect George HW Bush, but in the process did what he could to destroy Michael Dukakis. Atwater explains how it is not acceptable to talk about using race as a wedge, it can be done in so many ways: (1:39)

Since it that video was somewhat garbled here it is transcribed via in 2012:  

[It’s a matter of] how abstract you handle the race thing. In other words, you start out … Now y’all aren’t quoting me on this … you start out in 1954 by saying, “N****r, n****r, n****r.” By 1968 you can’t say “n****r”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff.

And you’re getting so abstract now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites…. “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N****r, n****r.” …

What Atwater said in 1981 is just as true today as it was in 1981. What he talks about is what we now call “dog whistles.” Words and phrases meant to send specific messages to specific people.

Donald Trump has used many dog whistles in the past few days. Perhaps the most noticeable and egregious is the false equivalency of groups opposing the extreme right with the extreme right itself. Such statements are false and disgusting. The dog whistles are so loud that even the most clueless of his administration can hear them loudly. If they had any integrity they would resign immediately, yet none have.

Beyond the president’s dog whistle statements we still have a party, his party continuing in their hell bent effort to deny the most basic rights to citizens based on their race, heritage and gender. Using the Atwater lead they dress their repugnant actions in abstractions. However, when their words and actions are examined it is pretty clear what the planned effect is.

MLK on healthcare

And so they work to repeal health care programs that currently do much to help those who history and circumstances have left poorer.

They work state by state to diminish voting rights through byzantine laws, strict rules and need for things like birth certificates and gerrymandering for those groups which they deem as not deserving of the vote.

They work to end women’s reproductive rights as a means of controlling women.

They work to nearly starve those who need help.

This is only a very partial list. Much of the work they do to take away rights, healthcare, food or even education is done either under some abstract economic gobbledy-gook or through some moralizing based on a savior who is reported to have preached just the opposite of what his professed followers do in his name.

The groundwork for a major assault on the rights of minorities and women has been laid for decades, actually centuries. The extremists have their man in place who will not stand in their way, who actually will even help.

No one should be surprised by the current president’s actions. He spouted racist rhetoric throughout his campaign beginning on day 1. As Maya Angelou observed so many years ago:

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

There may be yet more below the surface. This president may be as deeply in debt politically as he appears to be to the Russians who seem to have some power over him.

Keep your ears open for the dog whistles. Also keep your eyes open to see how congress members and administration officials fail to really stand up for Americans who are being attacked.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
This entry was posted in #trumpresistance, Blog for Iowa, Food Insecurity, Health Care & Medicare, Racism in America, Republican Policy, voter suppression. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Charlottesville: The Outward Manifestations Of Race In America

  1. Arron says:

    This is a good description of what they are doing. Thanks for the clear presentation.


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