The Racism of the Republican Party
There was a point in time in America when the Republican Party consisted of northern liberals and progressives, and the standard-bearers given forth from an august set of ideology about progress fought for what was right. The party of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt fought against Southern Democrats, who were staunch conservatives accustomed to their “cherished way of life” and smarting in perpetuity over the loss of the South’s “peculiar institution” of slavery. In the 50’s, after the defeat of the Southern efforts to halt desegregation and the civil rights movement, the parties experienced a polar reversal over a couple of decades. Democrats in the South, opposed to progress or change of any sort where civil rights were concerned, switched en masse to the Republican Party, and the transverse took place in the North.
Racism for the GOP has been a mainstay ever since, with blatant and not-so-blatant displays available every few weeks or so as the news media picks up word that a Republican has said or done something that clearly belies their prejudicial ideological underpinnings. Don’t get me wrong – I do not believe that all Republicans are racists, and I do not believe that all racists are Republicans. I maintain that racism is most alive and well within the halls of the GOP, and exists as a primal force for motivating their base, whether consciously or subconsciously. The most insidious racism presented is given in the form of a dog whistle, using sets of focus group tested words that mean multiple things, but come off as very clear to anyone versed in their understanding. Words like “heritage”, “entitlement society”, “urban”, “states rights”, “takers”, “real Americans” and even “liberal” are code that carry considerable meaning when used in the context of a dog whistle. This was Lee Atwater’s infamous “Southern Strategy” to appeal to the racism in the target audience (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Atwater#Atwater_on_the_Southern_Strategy).
Not a month goes by without some Republican of elected authority somewhere in America saying something remarkably racist. The impact of an unending drumbeat of GOP racism has partly desensitized the media and attentive public to this – it’s Tuesday, so some Republican Congressman from one of the square states said something racially insensitive about _insert-race-here_. Dog bites man, news at 11. What has been triggered on the back-end, however, is the attempted defense of tolerance towards intolerance. A request through a muddled interpretation of freedom of speech (which is no defense from public response or opinion), or an appeal for tolerance from those asking for tolerance. “If you do not tolerate my hatred and bigotry, then you are not tolerant.” While less prevalant in instances of racism than in instances of homophobia, it is still a go-to when the tried and true defense of “It’s just how I was raised.” and the boilerplate apology is issued.
Tangoing with some of my conservative friends, the subject of where racism is more endemic arose. I issued a challenge – let’s both find instances of racism issued by each respective party, with several requirements:
• The person must be an elected official at the city, state, or federal level. Party officials count.
• Must be within the span of 30 years, from 1983-2013.
Here are the limited results of my findings. Naturally, this stuff is NSFW, and potentially Not Safe For Life as it is disgusting. You may need a bath afterwards. Consider yourself forewarned.
Evidence of GOP Racism in America