Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Republicans take off their mask...
...and put on a white hood.

Towards the beginning of this year, when I realized that Republican strategists were planning to make illegal immigration one of their keystone issues or the midterm elections, I was worried about it unleashing a wave of overt racism. The xenophobic nature of the War on Terrorism was already pushing Americans in that direction and appealing to fear has been one of this administration's most dependable campaign tools. With the war in Iraq becoming less popular, people feeling insecure about the economy, and the well of public opinion already primed to fear brown foreigners, it was an easy segue to refocus our fear on undocumented Latin American immigrants. Last week, the racism inherent in this plan broke into the open at the pundit level.

Michael Savage is one of the most vile talking heads in America, so it's not surprising that he was one of the first to cross the line. What sent Savage to the microphone was a census report saying that "nearly half of the nation's children under 5 are racial or ethnic minorities, and the percentage is increasing mainly because the Hispanic population is growing so rapidly...."

What will it take to wake you up to the fact that you are being erased from the future of America? And why are you being erased? If you're a person of European descent, why do they want your child to be a minority in America? And when your little girl is a minority in America, what will happen to her? Tell me what will happen to her? Do you think that the minorities, when they take over the country, will be quite as benevolent and as enlightened as the European-Americans are today? Or do you sense that just perhaps, just maybe, they will not bring the learnings of the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, to their new power?


But logic dictates that if one out of every two children under the age of five is not white that within a very short period of time, whites are being erased from America. Now, when whites become a minority in America, tell me what you think is going to happen to your grandchild? Do you think that the people who are now minorities, when they seize power, when they are the senators, when they are the congresspeople, when they are the president, and the vice president, do you think they'll be quite as enlightened as our liberal government is today? And treat the minorities, meaning then the whites, as fairly as the nonwhites are being treated today? I don't, I do not.


We're going inherent the corrupt police of Mexico, we're going to inherent the corrupt judicial system of Mexico, we're going to inherent drug lords in America. Is that going to be the subrosa relationship here as well? Are they crazy? Don't they know what's going to happen?

Many conservatives, to their credit, find Savage a bit too much to stomach. For them, we have John "Big Hair" Gibson, who was inspired to address the same census report that Savage did, though in a more measured style. Style, however, is the only significant difference.
First, a story yesterday that half of the kids in this country under five years old are minorities. By far, the greatest number are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic. Why is that? Well, Hispanics are having more kids than others. Notably, the ones Hispanics call "gabachos" -- white people -- are having fewer.

Now, in this country, European ancestry people, white people, are having kids at the rate that does sustain the population. It grows a bit. That compares to Europe where the birth rate is in the negative zone. They are not having enough babies to sustain their population. Consequently, they are inviting in more and more immigrants every year to take care of things and those immigrants are having way more babies than the native population, hence Eurabia.


To put it bluntly, we need more babies. Forget about that zero population growth stuff that my poor generation was misled on. Why is this important? Because civilizations need population to survive. So far, we are doing our part here in America but Hispanics can't carry the whole load. The rest of you, get busy. Make babies, or put another way -- a slogan for our times: "procreation not recreation." That's "My Word."

While Savage is simply disgusting, Gibson is incoherent. Part of that incoherence seems to come from his still being aware that he should be a little embarrassed to make a direct appeal to race. However, what set him off in the first place was the idea that Hispanics will soon outnumber Anglos. After making that point, he takes a dip into his nightmare vision of Eurabia, during which he has to admit that the Hispanics are on “our” side in the war of civilizations. But at the end, when admonishes “us” to have more babies, he’s still talking only to Anglo-whites. While he allows the Hispanics to be on “our” side, they still aren’t part of “us.” At best he’s being condescending in the style of “little brown brothers” or “honorary Aryans.” At worst it’s an open appeal to Anglo-white racial superiority.

In a way his deviousness makes him worse than Savage. He creeps around the point just enough to make it palpable to middle class Anglo-whites who don’t want to think of themselves as racist. Yet, at its core, his message is racist.

The party of Lincoln has been involved in this dance with racism for forty years now. When the Democratic Party unambiguously embraced civil rights and desegregation in the sixties, the Republicans could have joined with them in a bi-partisan effort to erase the great shame of American society, racism. At that point in history, the Republican Party had the better record on race. Instead, they chose to view it as an opportunity to pick up disgruntled white Southern voters.

The Southern Strategy transformed the Republicans in ways they didn't anticipate. It spelled the death of the liberal/social-reforming wing of the party. As the Democratic Party faded from the South, the Republican Party faded from New England. When the Republican leaders of the sixties wooed Southern racists with code phrases, winks, and nods, it didn't occur to them that those new voters would eventually become the majority of the party and take over its positions of power and the creation of its ideology. The Southern Strategy didn't result in the republicanization of the South; it resulted in the southernization of the Republican Party.* Whereas the identifying mark of Republicans was once a dour New England deportment, now it is Southern-style, vocal Protestantism. And racism, instead of disappearing, simply retreated for a generation to transform itself into a new style for a new generation.

The cynical and unprincipled strategy that the Republican Party has chosen for this election has the potential to release something very ugly in American culture. Once unleashed, it won't be easy to contain it again. But, making these kinds of cynical and unprincipled tactical decision in the name of simply acquiring and keeping power has been the hallmark of the Republican Party for over a decade now and I didn't really think they would stop now just because their action are hurting America.

obligatory disclaimer: Of course when I say this, I do not mean to imply that all white Southerners are racist crackers or that there has never been racism outside the South. Some of the most principled and courageous Americans have come from the South and the shame of racism is a common heritage of all regions. However, this doesn't change the fact that the Republican Party's descent into overt racism has been the direct result of their decision to use racism to woo disgruntled white Southern voters.

PS - I started to write this last Friday, but it's just been that kind of a week.

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