What I Hate About Republicans: Bigotry

GOP-style nonsense.

The Solid South was a voting block comprised of the repatriated Confederate states.  From the reconstruction era until the late 1960’s the Solid South voted largely democratic, as the Democratic Party has been pro-slavery prior to the Civil War.  For over 100 years, the Solid South allowed the Democratic party to enjoy a considerable political dominance, especially in the Congress.

The Solid South in Blue

In 1968, in an effort to break up the Solid South, Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign employed a tactic known as the Southern Strategy.  It was a blatant appeal to racism.  Republicans played on southern whites’ anger over the Civil Rights Movement.  They joined the opposition to Civil Rights legislation, polarized racial divisions, and worked to discourage black voters from going to the polls.

It was a largely successful strategy.  The GOP had finally broken the Solid South.  It also popularized the euphemising of bigoted rhetoric.

Throughout our nation’s history, both parties have run on a variety of hate-based platforms.  Of course, prior to the Civil Rights Movement, you could just come out and say who you wanted to discriminate against; we don’t want women in the workplace; we don’t like Jews, Irish, Chinese, etc.  The Civil Rights Movement helped marginalize that archaic way of thinking.  Hate-mongers were forced to find new ways of conveying their message. The Southern Strategy proved effective.

Reagan/Bush-I political Strategist Lee Atwater

In a 1981 interview, political consultant, and former Republican National Committee Chairman, Lee Atwater, gives a compelling description of the strategy’s evolution:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites…because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

Republicans didn’t care that it was a slap in the face of the black voters who had supported the party for over a century.  The Southern Strategy helped sweep them into power.  And they’ve never looked back.

Now, in every election, Republicans rail against the potential threat of the other.  Rick Santorum compared gay marriage rights to the legalization of incest and bestiality.  Santorum and and fellow presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich both immediately referenced black people when discussing welfare.  Gingrich has generated additional buzz by referring to Barack Obama as the “Food Stamp President.”  Michelle Bachmann and Donald Trump led a Republican movement demanding that Barack Obama produce his original, long-form birth certificate to prove his citizenship.  If not these, then it’s illegal immigration, women serving in combat, or Sharia Law.

Hate-mongers can always find a reason to hate other Americans–even if they have to invent the reason out of whole cloth.  And there is good cause to continue the practice so long as bigoted anger gets results at the voting booth.

Yet somehow Republicans dispute this obvious through-line of hate politics.  According to them, they’re merely arguing the issues.  Apparently it’s just pure happenstance that minority groups ALWAYS end up on the other side.  That’s the danger of this coded language developed by the Southern Strategy.  Everyone knows what it actually means, yet it allows Republicans to play the big innocent.  It’s not about race, or gender, or religious beliefs; it’s about balancing the budget.  What’s so wrong with that?

To be fair, there are a few minorities in the Republican party–whom the GOP  loves to trot out before the media to chastise their own minority groups and blame them for being abused and discriminated against.  What you don’t see from these minority Republicans is any effort to get the party to tone the rhetoric down (I’m sure they’d be thrown out on their asses if they did).  I guess it is always better to have a whip in your hand than a plow.

So okay, we know racism is out there.  We know that homophobes and Islamophobes exist.  And we know misogyny and chauvinism are pandemic.  Political opportunists and true believers alike will always try to leverage prejudice to their advantage.  Its just politics, qué no? 

But real people’s lives are being affected by this bigotry.   The GOP works to deny minority groups those unalienable rights endowed upon all human beings by their Creator, and are currently enjoyed by many Americans, based on the antiquated idea that white heterosexual Christians are the real America and any expansion of that definition will lead directly to our nation’s demise.  Those rights are not negotiable.

This is not some extreme, fringe element of the Grand Old Party. This is mainstream Republicanism.  It’s accepted on both sides of the aisle.

Meanwhile, it’s nothing more than old school hate in latex gloves.

And it’s unmitigated bullshit.

It’s also the number 1 reason I hate Republicans.

Next up: How they make this whole shameful approach even worse in how they employ that bigotry.  They use it to divide and disenfranchise the lower economic 99% of the population and line their benefactors’ pockets with billions.

Stay tuned.

(Solid South image from: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2008/06/party-like-its-1928/45225/. Civics lesson image from: http://www.seattlegayscene.com/2012/01/republican-senator-hops-on-the-same-sex-marriage-bandwagon.html.  Forced integration image: http://www.ordoesitexplode.com/me/hope_from_history/.  Lee Atwater image from: http://www.pensitoreview.com/2011/08/17/roves-brain-lee-atwater-in-1981-gop-push-for-budget-cuts-is-stealth-racism/)

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Author: therealkenjones

writer, artist, wannabe photographer, recovering Southern Californian...

7 thoughts on “What I Hate About Republicans: Bigotry”

  1. Agree..and I hate it. And it appears we are back in the 1960s..because it is blatant. The uppity black man set them off the second day in office when he wrote an executive order to close Gitmo. They showed him his place, specifically disallowing any money be appropriated for that use. President Obama was right. This is not a Christian nation but a nation occupied by a diverse population. Christians do not hold a moral majority despite their claim to it. What I hate more than Republican bigotry is Christian hypocrisy that has turned me away from the Christian Religious organization while attempting to hold to the kinder teachings of Jesus..that we are our brothers keepers and judge not but ye be judged.. (Though I suppose I can be accused of it as I judge the Republicans and Christan organizations..I am working on it)

    1. I agree with you pretty much down the line, Virginia, with one exception. The Republican party and the Christian Right judge people for who they are. And it is hypocritical, based on stories and verses in the very same Bible from which they assume their alleged moral authority. Meanwhile, you (and I) are not judging people, but words and actions, particularly those that restrict or diminish human rights. To me it’s the difference between fighting because you’re drunk and fighting to protect your family. Whole different ballgame.

      I think the best thing we can do is call them on their bigotry and expose it. That will force the extremists to hold their ground and reasonable people to distance themselves, leaving bigotry marginalized as it should be.

  2. I’m not exactly sure how I landed here, Ken, but I did a search on The Solid South — and here I am.

    Are you interested in a dialogue? A lot of folks these days are very frustrated, rightfully so, and are really looking for other like-minded people to praise them. I, on the other hand, am interested in reading about why people think the way they do.

    Having spent my share of years in the military, I’ve traveled quite a bit, and more to the point, I’ve met a lot of different people (from different parts of the world). I’ve seen what the 3rd world is really like and I’ve seen the opulence enjoyed by the privileged few…and the thing that I’ve come to learn is that most of us aren’t as far apart as we think we are. Here’s an example:

    I was at work one day when one of my peers, a self-proclaimed “liberal,” got into a heated argument with a man that was devout mormon. The argument got to be so loud that, eventually, I chose to mediate before things got too far out of hand. After I got the two men in question into their respective corners [so to speak], I began to ask the mormon the same question repeatedly. Why? For instance, he would tell me something like, “That damned liberal said [fill in the blank] about the president, and it really made me angry.” So asked him why it MADE HIM angry? He would invariably blow off a little more steam after being questioned over and over until, eventually, he realized that it wasn’t the liberal that made him angry — it was HIS CHOICE to become angry.

    I learned something important that day, as well … Once you peel the layers off of the onion, we’re all pretty similar. How much do we really have in common with the talking heads we see on television? How much do the powers-that-be really know about regular people? The point is that most of us are merely trying to lead decent lives and we don’t really belong in this category or that one, and, accordingly, we don’t deserve this label or that one. Labels, whether we choose one for ourselves or we choose to paste them to onto others, are really just a way to avoid the work that comes with really getting to know what makes a person tick … what makes them think the way they do.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Roy.

      I am definitely open to dialogue and would be interested to hear your thoughts on the substance of the post. I don’t know what your political leanings are, but I’d love to know how conservatives justify these kinds of tactics. There is a difference between holding conservative views and condoning voter suppression, exclusion, disenfranchisement, and appeals to fear and bigotry.

      There are a lot of things I dislike about the Democratic party, but they simply don’t do things like this from a tactical perspective.

      As for the tone of discourse, courtesy is wildly overemphasized typically as a ploy to stall or divert the discussion off topic. And while I understand that no one really fits neatly into a box or category this fear of being labelled dissuades people from taking a position or making a stand. The founding Fathers argued vehemently, occasionally brawling, and in rare instances dueling over disagreements. Obviously, it doesn’t need to come to fisticuffs or pistols at dawn but we’re talking about the future of our country as well as the safety, security, and the quality of life for people in the U.S. and around the world, not in abstract theoretical terms, but in reality. Passion is a good and necessary thing.

  3. By that logic, Ken, I was all wrong trying to keep my co-workers from ruining their careers.

    I was merely trying to suggest that most of us — regardless of origin — are under the same thumb. I’m coming up on 50 years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the vast majority are being moved around like so many chess pieces. The pieces may look different, just like the neat little squares on the board, but the way the game is played is still the same.

    As for labeling, what’s so profound about hanging a tag on yourself? I’m a liberal, I’m a conservative, I’m a this or I’m a that? I was once part of a military unit, where you were stamped with a label as soon as you stepped off of the bus at boot camp. We were of different races and from different places, but we were an integrated entity, nevertheless. In the end, however, one comes to learn (eventually) that we’re all human — and that there’s no future in taking one’s self too seriously.

    By saying that you hate [insert label here], you’re clearly alienating a lot of people. If you’re convinced that this a productive way to get an important message across, I suppose it’s clear that we’re pretty far apart. I would suggest that this approach is well-proven to polarize groups, not bring them together, and there’s nothing profound about that, either.

    I realize that we’re probably far apart on this as well, but I say that there’s too much emphasis placed on emotional reactions in this day and age. How is one to think rationally when their passions all too often blind them to logic and reality, in general? The key to any consensus is realizing that we’re all flawed and that none of us are omnipotent. In order to learn, one must first be prepared to learn … and yelling, be it figuratively or literally, over this group or that group doesn’t usually make for a productive forum.

    If you care to convey your passions about abusive behavior, regardless of which group it comes from, I’d be happy to read what you have to offer. If your take on passion is polarizing whole groups of people, on the other hand, I’ve read plenty of that in the past.

    I appreciate your time, regardless of how you interpret my views.

    1. I wasn’t trying to criticize your tact, especially considering the circumstance. Politics AND religion at work is not a good mix. My point was simply that impassioned arguments are not the problem, as reason and passion are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the combination can be useful and necessary. Categorizing impassioned argument as irrational or “blind to logic and reality” is just another way of labeling it–which you dislike–and can stall dialogues in theoretical generalities. Specifics get to the point.

      As for thinking rationally in an emotionally charged world, it’s as simple as differentiating fact from opinion. We can come to an amicable consensus that the earth is flat. Doesn’t mean we’re right. Or I could curse damnation to everyone who doubts that the earth is round. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong. We need to start judging content over tone because the content (or circumstances) may very well justify that tone. Besides, reason is not an arbitrary boundary determined by emotional states. To treat it as such is effectively a means for dodging questions.

      So sure, the title of my post is belligerent–intentionally–but the content is an evidence-based argument regarding the political tactics currently being used by the Republican party. If you see holes in my argument or feel I’m misrepresenting the facts, by all means, let’s talk about it. I don’t bar or block evidence that disproves my position; I really want to get to the truth of the matter. But if you just don’t like my style of writing, what is there to say?

      I do not hate conservatives or Republicans themselves; I hate the tactics of playing to fear and divisiveness based on ethnicity, life choice, etc. as well as deliberate and targeted voter suppression and disenfranchisement–which goes to the fundamental right of our democracy (and which you apparently find less ‘polarizing’ than my response to it). I want to understand how–ostensibly moral–people, who call themselves Republicans, justify and/or condone these actions by their political avatars.

      If you feel this is a mean-spirited or unreasonable inquiry, I’m sorry, but we’ll have to agree to disagree.

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