Friday, August 1, 2008

This Darkness Got To Give

So, it started to rain last night just as we set out for St. Edward's State Park. So, no Red Stick Ramblers. Our best laid plans having ganged aglae, we repaired to Kirkland's Cactus! restaurant and sat under the eaves sipping Patron tequila and eating ceviche and chorizo tamales. Not a bad consolation prize at that. Less traffic, too...

I'm sitting here listening to "Katrina" -- Dr. Michael White's brilliant jazz dirge -- and pondering the McCain campaign's accusation that Barack Obama introduced race into the campaign with a "negative, abhorrent, nasty, vicious comment." (Obama said Republicans would try to scare voters by questioning his patriotism and "funny name" and by pointing out he doesn't "look like those other presidents on those dollar bills.") 

Now, race has been an issue one way or another in every American presidential campaign since the Constitution artificially boosted southern political power by counting slaves as three-fifths of a person at the same time that it disenfranchised them. Exploiting white resentment toward blacks has been a central tenet of Republican national ambitions since 1968, a strategy that they've honed and refined ever since. As recently as 2000, the presidential election came down to a choice between between two members of the southern aristocracy (even if one was a bit of a carpetbagger). 

The MSM has taken McCain's part by reporting the matter narrowly, as if it were a matter of McCain personally raising the issue of race in the first place. The Republicans have become adept at using surrogates -- witness the Willie Horton and Swift Boat campaigns -- to do their dirty work for them, but the MSM doesn't bother to examine this. Instead, pundits focus almost gleefully on the possibility of McCain successfully appealing to white resentment. 

The very fact that white resentment is there to be exploited proves the enduring power of racial demagoguery in this country. After all, affirmative action and welfare -- the two lynchpins of white resentment -- have largely been gutted. And yet the resentment abides. In his fine book Grant and Twain: The Story of an American Friendship, Mark Perry points out that both men abhorred racism at the same time that they couldn't see it in themselves. When a man doesn't see himself as caught up in a problem, he can resent the idea that it exists or that he has any responsibility for addressing it. In the convoluted psychology of white resentment, some whites will see voting against Obama because he is black as a blow for racial equality. That's what the McCain campaign wants to tap into with its overheated rhetoric. We can only hope that they are preaching to a small enough choir. Otherwise, Dr. White's dirge is for all of us...

Friday's Choice:
The Grateful Dead perform "New Speedway Boogie" to an appreciative audience:


Renegade Eye said...

McCain's campaign is in its last throes. It is way behind in electoral votes. It has no alternative, then going negative.

Reaganism is dying.

K. said...

I wish I shared your optimism. Race is a dark, powerful, and malignant force in this country.

Foxessa said...

We've been listening to Michael's CD daily for a while too. It's brilliant.

We were at a Bachata Roja tour-concert last night, at the Queen's Park Theater (part of their annual summer latin music series). It was just beautiful -- a perfect summer night. We also managed to catch some Chinese theatrical dance-fighting-story telling at the Queen's art museum. Took some photos of the old World's Fair global sphere. All just a perfect 'date' night, ending up with the musicians and management drinking beer and eating DR food prepared by the local community.

Today, it's all thunderstorms all the time, interfering with the usual Sat. errands.

Love, C.

K. said...

We went to the 1964 World's Fair. My parents hadn't reserved a hotel room and we wound up staying in Troy. I for one learned a valuable lesson.

Premium T. and I are off to Portland this afternoon. Big Sam's Funky Nation plays tonight at the Roseland Grill.

New Orleans Ladder said...

Hey K!
Reaganism ain't's just undead is all! I steal your election in 2000 and you don't do a goddamn thing about it.
Sooo, I steal it again the next time. And you again let me rape your daughter this time.
Aaaand why would anyone think that I plan to just roll over and die This Time?

When you hear the name Patraeus for VP be afraid--be very afraid.

And speaking of The Dead...well you got me there K. But I gotta couple fo'you and yours!