After 40 Years of Wandering Through a Racist Desert…

…maybe it’s time for Martin Luther King’s promised land. Maha explains what I mean:

Much of white America was still simmering with resentment over court-ordered school desegregation. Also, Lyndon Johnson had initiated New Deal-style programs aimed primarily at relieving poverty among African Americans. Suddenly, whites who had had no problem with “entitlements” before – when benefits went mostly to whites — discovered the virtues of “self-reliance.”
…The Right-Wing Narrative says that Democrats lost power because George McGovern opposed the Vietnam War, and the Dem Party was overrun by “peaceniks.” But this view of history doesn’t square with what really happened. McGovern’s stand on the Vietnam War was the least of the reasons he lost to Nixon in 1972.
And check out the acceptance speech Nixon gave at the 1972 Republican convention. The first half of the speech was all about race. It was in code, of course, but no adult alive at the time could have mistaken his meaning when he spoke of quotas and tied paying high taxes to the costs of “welfare.” And Republicans are still running on those themes today.
….I don’t see how the Dems were punished for losing Vietnam. Saigon fell to the Communists in 1975; in 1976, America elected Jimmy Carter as president and gave the Dems a small increase in Congress, expanding the large increase the Dems had enjoyed in the 1974 post-Watergate midterms.
The fact is, once combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam and the POWs came home, America lost interest in Vietnam. The whole bleeping country developed amnesia over Vietnam (except for the extreme Right, a group of people who are never so happy as when they are nursing resentments). As I remember it, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the Narrative emerged about Dems losing elections because of Vietnam. But this was an important narrative for the Right, because it helped them paper over the real primary reason the Right gained and the Left lost in those years. And that primary reason was racism. There were other issues, too, but racism was the foundational issue upon which other right-wing issues would be built.
…The success of the racism strategy in the 1960s and 1970s taught at least a couple of generations of right-wing politicians about the importance of wedge issues. As new issues came up — feminism, abortion, gay rights — right-wing politicians embraced them and followed the old racism scenario to exploit them.

Creationism works too. Maybe 2008 is the year the majority of us get to leave this desert of hate.

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2 Responses to After 40 Years of Wandering Through a Racist Desert…

  1. PhysioProf says:

    Maybe 2008 is the year the majority of us get to leave this desert of hate.

    Given the outstanding zeal and effectiveness with which the mainstream media focus their superhuman investigative skills on debunking the vicious lies of the right, I am sure this will happen.

  2. natural cynic says:

    When LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 he quipped “We [the Democratic Party]have lost the south for a generation”.
    He was too modest.

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