It’s time to Break It Down!
Four years ago I wrote a post entitled “The Newtonian Code: An Evening of Satire on MLK Day!” (http://thesphinxofcharlotte.blogspot.com/2012/01/newtonian-code-evening-of-satire-on-mlk.html). In the event you’d like to peruse it, click the preceding link. FYI, it appears on BlogSpot, my former platform, not WordPress.
The post includes a brief discourse recalling key elements of that Monday evening’s GOP Debate, which most notably featured a series of electrifying exchanges between GOP Candidate Newt (hence Newtonian) Gingrich and Fox News (the Network sponsoring the Debate) Anchor Juan Williams.
The Debate, took place on the evening of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. It was held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Frankly, I viewed this as a huge irony, primarily based upon some of Mr. Gingrich’s responses, unfolding on the occasion of The MLK, Jr. Holiday. When Williams posed a question about whether some of Mr. Gingrich’s remarks during the Campaign were insulting to blacks, the former Speaker haughtily dismissed him, engendering wild applause from an audience, apparently in perfect synchronicity with Newt.
Williams soldiered on, attempting to reframe the exchange by referencing a black woman who had questioned Gingrich about referring to President Obama as a Food Stamp President. At this point, the audience not only cheered the candidate, they booed the questioner (Williams).
In a bygone yesteryear, GOP candidates fashioned a strategic policy initiative loosely known as the Southern Strategy. The policy featured a pattern of behaviors and practices designed to appeal to Southern white voters by exploiting racism and whites’ irrational fear of lawlessness by blacks.
As I noted at the time, I’m not a mind reader; I cannot even begin to say what resided in Mr. Gingrich’s heart, or anyone else’s for that matter. Then, as now however, I can say with great certitude that when Mr. Gingrich then, and others in his Party now, make such blanket acrimonious assertions as Mr. Obama is the Food Stamp President, black high school students should seek jobs as janitors, and African American adults should eschew Food Stamps and instead pursue paychecks, despite the fact most Food Stamp recipients are white, regardless of intent, such commentary will inflame a significant portion of the black community.
Fast-forward four years and January 2016 presents us with the next round of politicking, fundraising, polling, voting, and yes, debating. We have yet another edition of prickly GOP candidates, several of whom are doing their dead-level best to raise the ante to even higher levels than we saw in the toxic environment that was prevalent in 2012.
We now have an entire subset of candidates who seem committed to outdo one another in terms of which one can establish themselves as the most hostile to immigrants in general, and Mexicans and Muslims in particular. Donald Trump has pledged to build the biggest, most bodacious wall ever, separating the United States from Mexico. He has proposed sending up to 11 million illegal aliens back to Mexico, denying entry to all Muslims, apparently including the leaders of Muslim countries, requiring Muslims who are already here legally to wear ID bracelets (akin to Jews in the Hitler era), and shutting down Mosques.
He has suggested ending the practice known as Anchor Babies, which would have conceivably eliminated two of his competitors (Rubio and Jindal), and once again raised the specter of Birtherism, which threatens the candidacy of another competitor (Cruz). Oh, did I mention he promises to carpet bomb Muslim countries until the sand glows in the dark? The most interesting thing about all of this is, one or more of his fellow GOP candidates has agreed with and co-signed each of the aforementioned gambits.
While all of the above patently reflect both the trademark over-the-top nature of the Trump approach to campaigning, and his appeal to many of his supporters, it doesn’t even begin to touch upon his and his Party’s tenuous relationship with black voters. The Black Lives Movement emerged from a series of incidents in which blacks have been shot and or killed, usually by police officers. The group has taken a number of steps to protest this seeming unchecked, and frequently unpunished violence on black folks. Protest is a typical staple of their repertoire. Mr. Trump, especially, has dissed the movement, refused to engage their representatives, and had representatives of the group brusquely, if not violently, removed from his rallies.
I understand that, Herman Cain in 2012, and now and Ben Carson, notwithstanding, the GOP regularly writes off black voters. Both, in their own way, have suggested that blacks are brain washed. Neither the Hermanator, nor Dr. Gifted hands is here to defend himself. Still, I suggest that black voters are not brain washed, and thankfully, neither are they brain dead. In fact, given all the points cited above, such a relentless stream of abusive rhetoric is bound to temper any likelihood that African Americans, Latinos in general, Mexicans in particular, and Muslims would think twice, at the very least, before voting for Mr. Trump. Curiously, that has not prevented him, when handicapping himself, from asserting that he will not only do very well with these groups, but that he will win the Latino/Mexican and African American vote. Moreover, he insists that we “love” him.
Last night Trump took another controversial step in his quest to win in Iowa, and ultimately the Presidency. Party insiders will likely debate the virtue of this move for some time. He added the endorsement of 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. In endorsing the Donald, the former Governor gave a rambling soliloquy in which she insisted Trump, he of the gold-plated personal jet, is not elitist. She intoned that his largess sometimes gets in the way of his quiet generosity. Say what?
A readily discernible irony about all this is there is a historical context for black folks supporting the Republican Party. After all, President Lincoln ended slavery for God’s sake. That surely positioned the Party as the odds on favorite. The Civil Rights Movement and the ensuing legislation that emerged as a result were instrumental in rewiring the political grid. In the CliffNotes version of this segment of the story, President Johnson signed fundamentally axis-tilting Civil Rights legislation, followed by President Nixon fostering and implementing the Southern Strategy. When the dust from those two mega-policy shifts, whites in the South moved in significant numbers to the GOP column, and black all across the country, by numbers at least as substantial moved to the Democratic Party. Thus it has been since the 70’s.
The Party line as recited by GOP operatives is President Obama has destroyed the country, wrecked the Presidency, killed the economy, strengthened our enemies, and made enemies or at the very least, political agnostics of our historical allies. The make this contention despite having colluded to oppose, deny, and defeat his every initiative, starting the day he was originally Sworn-in. In keeping with their commitment, they refused to approve President Obama’s jobs bills, (every single one of them) voted against his Healthcare legislation, they opposed his auto bailout, stimulus package, and bank bailouts, and of course, refused to approve immigration legislation, common sense gun reform, even after 26 elementary school children were murdered, as you recall, they shut down the government. On top of all that, they refused to extend the debt ceiling in time for the country to avoid losing for the first time ever its highest level Triple A Bond Rating.
This pervasive and insidious anti-government mindset is the ideological bent that has taken hold of the Grand Old Party and it threatens to hold our country hostage. They (the GOP-T Party rank and file whom support Trump’ and his ilk’s brutishly abrasive hectoring) wish, they say, to take “their country back.” Some folks inquire, from whom? I, alternately, am more prone to ask, “to where?”
It seems to me this effort is about turning back the clock, and taking us “back” to a period when the Stars and Bars prevailed, a time when people of color had no rights that white folks were bound to recognize, and an era in which the Confederate States of America did what they damn well pleased. During the recent debate over removing the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina Statehouse, supporters argued the flag was a symbol of heritage. I believe that is exactly what it is; a symbol of heritage, and that the heritage it represented was that of slavery and pre-Emancipation. To wit, I leave you with a single thought…”The Modern GOP: Trending Toward Legacy or Lunacy?” The jury is out, the verdict pending.
I’m done; holla back!
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