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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thank God - she done gone and said it-

Finally, someone in the mainstream press has put in print what has been obvious to me, a Southern Expatriate, for quite a few months. Racism is alive and well in the United States and the proof is easy to see. It ranges from the Birthers, to the Deathers, to the screams and shouts over Obama's address to school children last Tuesday reaching a crescendo with Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst last Wednesday night. Maureen Dowd has finally said it. These are the words that broke the silence of the mainstream press:
Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.
As she rightly points out what Wilson really said wasn't just "You lie!" but rather "You lie, boy!". Certainly that's what my Southern ears actually heard. Its no coincidence that the first President to be heckled in a joint session of Congress was also the first black President and that the first heckler was a Southern Republican.

Unfortunately, Maureen hasn't made the final leap to a deeper understanding of the situation. I grew up in the 60's South and watched the old racist Southern Democrats become Republicans. They didn't loose their racism when they left the Democratic Party rather it was because of their racism that they became Republicans. Unfortunately the Republican Party greeted the racists with open arms and has never looked back. Nor has it ever challenged the racists in its midst as it slowly adopted their view as its own. Thus, in a sad historical twist the party of Lincoln has become their natural home. Racism is the reason the South moved from the Democratic to the Republican Party and while polite people do not speak of it and they work hard to hide it those views and attitudes are still there. Taken to a larger whole, racism is a defining element in the world view of a real and sizable percentage of the Republican base and it shouldn't surprise anybody that it shows its ugly face from time to time. As Dowd rightly concludes the fact that Obama is a literate, well spoken black man only tends to make matters worse. To paraphrase her, a good chunk of the racist Republican base simply can't cope with the fact that a black man is President.

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