Saturday, December 11, 2010

Confederacy nostalgia finds disturbing echoes in contemporary conservative politics

From a 'must read' article in The Guardian, UK:

These days, conservatives are the new Confederates. They may not all dress up and play Scarlett and Rhett, but their politics are at least 150 years old. Since Barack Obama was elected president, Fox News apocalypticist Glenn Beck has predicted a new civil war is coming. Senator-elect Rand Paul has expressed distaste for the Civil Rights Act. "Tenthers" – those who believe that the 10th Amendment gives states sovereignty – are increasing in number in state legislatures and in Washington. Recently, a Tea Party leader in North Carolina wrote in his newsletter, "Washington DC has become destructive of our economy and liberty. It is our right and our duty to throw off such a government."

Such language echoes the old southern justifications for secession: a "destructive and overweaning" federal government and a president seen as alien to their values. I guess that makes Barack Obama Abraham Lincoln. It's hardly surprising that the first black president has been an intestine-rocking shock for folks accustomed to power residing only in people who look like them. The coming years of American civil war commemorations will only throw gasoline on the fire already burning in the brains of white America. As William Faulkner famously said, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

I believe the south will rise again. Shit floats.

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