September 7, 2008

Keeping the country safe from uppity negroes

Republicans and other racists have long spoken of race in code words, such as "states rights" or "welfare queen" (think big black, urban, lazy woman with 10 kids) and on and on. They've found a new way of getting their message across which is apparent to those listening.

A piece in Newsweek revealed a little of the tight culture of military brass in the days of McCain's father and grandfather. They weren't exactly what you'd call enlightened as to race. They scorned Jews and blacks, and pretty much anyone who wasn't white protestant.

McCain noted about the military culture of his father and grandfather,
The pre-World War II naval officer corps—this was true in the Army as well—had its strengths and its weakness. One was that they were so small that everybody knew everybody and therefore it was kind of like a large men's club. They had really high standards, and they were apolitical and all that. But at the same time, they were very insular, very insular, and there wasn't the kind of racial diversity or gender diversity or ethnic diversity [there is now]. Admiral Rickover at the Academy was ostracized because he was Jewish. I remember in my class at the Naval Academy, there was one African American graduate in my class, and that was the class of 1958. So their strength was that they had very high standards of honor and leadership, duty, honor, country, but their perspective was based on the professional Navy. That was their lives.

In watching a CNN bio of McCain today, I learned that McCain's ancestry springs from the McCain family plantation in Mississippi. I hadn't known his family was steeped in the culture of the south, but it makes sense, with the constant talk about honor and duty, McCain is almost a throwback to the days of the duel, to hear them tell it.

There was only a brief mention of the McCain family plantation in the CNN biopic, not word about slavery, but unsurprisingly, the fact that you'll never hear from any of the "liberal" media, is that indeed, and not so terribly long ago, John McCain's ancestors were solid southerners, owning blacks as property and working them like animals to make their fortune.

In light of the fact that even in the 21st century, many southerners still have decidedly firm views as to the relative rankings of the races, and the rigid traditionalism that existed, it's certain that such cultural notions ran deep in the McCain family.

The weird thing is that I only learned all of that AFTER I'd detected something which could be considered some racial code in McCain's acceptance speech which I thought was worth noting.

After the non-stop snobbery and smug, condescending, often juvenile sarcasm dripping from nearly every speaker at the Republican National Convention, I was relieved then to hear McCain inject a bit of graciousness into the beginning of his speech, acknowledging Obama's accomplishment in becoming his party's nominee.

But in being magnanimous to his black opponent, McCain said,
We're dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights. No country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn't be an American worthy of the name if I didn't honor Sen. Obama and his supporters for their achievement.

But let there be no doubt, my friends, we're going to win this election! We're going to win!!! WE'RE GOING TO WIN!

The message: "The black guy got nominated. That's great. There's no law against it. (anymore) Good for him and his race. They've gotten close enough to the presidency to scare some of you. But don't get too shook up about that, my friends. Because I'm here to tell you the white power structure will prevail! We will win! We will win!!"

McCain and Mark Salter, his Davenport born and raised speech writer and confidant, may have wanted to stick in some graciousness towards Obama, just to get it out of the way, and because if they hadn't, since Obama had been gracious towards McCain in his acceptance speech, it would have become an issue. So they returned the favor.

But it seems that they were sensitive to shaking up the whites (mostly southern) who make up 99.9% of McCain's support, by appearing TOO respectful or deferential to the uppity negro who has the nerve to think he can become president.

So McCain recited the passage from the Declaration of Independence about all men being created equal, a blatant reference to Obama's race, and then immediately followed it by essentially saying, "But don't worry folks, they're not THAT equal yet! I'll make sure of that!"

McCain may not have had any conscious intent in this, and may not have intended any racist code at all. But it struck me that the message could be read pretty clearly by those who carry a deep anxiety about the prospect of a black man leading the United States.

P.S. The cro-magnon son of the south Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, Republican of Georgia, that recently stood by his calling the Obamas "uppity" in the link above is the same clown interviewed over a year ago by Stephen Colbert. This numbskull, good Christian that he is, had pushed for a law requiring the 10 Commandments be displayed in all courts of law. But when Colbert asked him what the 10 Commandments were, the asshat could only paraphrase 3 before having to give up.

Pop Quiz: Westmorland is A. Touched in the haid, B. A respected member of the Republican party, C. a troglodyte, D. All of the above.

It goes a long way towards understanding why the south is a Republican stronghold.


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