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Friday, May 21, 2010

Politics, Racism and Crazies

Now that the primary is over, it's going to be a long long long seven months til November. I'm going to have to stop reading the news, because the more words that fall out of Rand Paul's mouth, the more disgusted I get. Not because of the epic stupid of many of his positions, but because my fellow citizens are too stupid to realize his positions are stupid, and will vote him into office.

And the media isn't helping, particularly the liberal media. By publicizing some of Paul's stupid statements, they think it's shocking and people will be outraged. Uh, what state do we live in? Paul's epic fail of believing that private businesses should be able to discriminate without the interference of the federal government is horrifying. Paul is a big fat idiot for believing that. But that isn't going to hurt his election chances. In fact, I'll be real surprised if that doesn't give him a boost in the polls.

When I was a teenager, I remember seeing a sign at the city limits in a certain southern town in this state that said something to the effect "if you're black, don't let the sun set on your back." The sign wasn't joking. In my bumfuck hometown, which shares a county line with the second largest city in the state, I've seen crosses set on fire.

That's the extreme in-your-face racism. But there's also the selective racism. The "we hate all black people... oh, except for that one, he's all right." Husband tells a story about his first day of high school when he left the military base (when FIL retired) to go to the county high school. He overheard a conversation between two good ol' boys about how "well, that's fine if it's a black guy we know, but if it's a black guy we don't know, he'll find a cross burned on his lawn."

Then there is the more "every day racism." My high school boyfriend was expressly not allowed to bring black people into his house (his dad was a huge racist), and while the boyfriend was not a self-described racist and did not have a problem with black people per se, he was horrified to find out that I didn't think there was anything wrong with a white person dating a black person. And I know what you're thinking, why would I ever date that guy? Well, that inquiry into my warped psyche is an entirely different kettle of onions, but essentially, his view wasn't out of the ordinary. My view was the one out of the ordinary, and it stemmed, oddly enough, from my upbringing in the Crazy Cult. Crazy Cult loves racial diversity, and doesn't care what you look like or what language you speak, you are welcome into the fold (provided you abide by all of our crazy rules and do all of our crazy things and shun everybody else who doesn't believe exactly the way you do). Two of my white female friends attended school dances/proms with a date who was a black male, not even an actual date, just a companion for the evening, and had parents/other friends flip out about it.

I know what you're thinking, that was a long time ago. I'm "29" now, aren't we all so enlightened now? Yeah, doubt it. Even recently, there was a letter to the editor printed in the hometown rag lamenting a lack of "white pride." And beyond that, I've had conversations with my law school classmates that would shock you (they didn't shock me, I expected it). That chick from Harvard who wrote some dumb e-mail pontificating about the inferior capabilities of black people and it was oh so scandalous that an editor of the Harvard law review could even consider such things that it ended up on ATL and Gawker? No one would have been shocked by that at my law school. It would be, oh yeah, so and so doesn't like black people. Shrug. Not saying it would have been accepted or that people wouldn't have been offended, but it wouldn't have been shocking. And it isn't so out of the ordinary that you would refuse to speak to that person ever again because OMG they're a racist! It wouldn't prevent them from working for a judge, or even running for office. Hell, except for in the more liberal cities, it probably would help.

I know, that's all just anecdotal evidence, where's the real data? No one's going to answer polls honestly that "I don't vote for black people" or "I hate that the government makes me let Mexicans into my store." Racism, even here, is generally more of a subtlety, particularly in the larger cities where those opinions would not be proper to express, and where you still whisper "BLACK" like it's a bad word when you're telling a story and it involved a person who was "BLACK." All I've really got are my experiences living in this state all my life. But we're also a state where rather popular Republican Senator McConnell (who's also now the highest ranking Republican in Washington) only won by 5 points against a Democratic opponent who was not that popular at a time when people were pretty pissed off at Republicans (and I think McConnell was only saved by being the highest ranking Republican in Congress), and in the same election, McCain won the state by nearly 20 points. Now, don't think just because the state is conservative, we only vote Republican. Bill Clinton carried this state twice, and we voted for Jimmy Carter. Also, the southeastern part of the state is strongly Democratic. This dates back to the days of Gov. "Happy" Chandler, and also because of labor union ties. These counties all went to McCain, when they didn't go to either Bush. Not to mention, Democrats picked up two house seats during that election. Finally, in 2004, our other senator, crazy geezer Jim Bunning made racist comments about his opponent Dan Mongiardo (who's Italian-American... so am I, but while I'm pasty white, Mongiardo's olive skinned), including something about him looking like "one of Saddam Hussein's dead sons." There's a lot more to racism than people want to admit, and it very much affects our politics.

I dunno. I was talking about it with Husband last night, because one of our friends made a comment that it would be good to allow businesses to openly discriminate, because then everyone would know who the racists were and not go there, and they'd go out of business. This whole lovely idea of the free market solves everything. Sounds great in theory, except that if a restaurant here hung a sign in its window that said "whites only," it'd be the new hot spot.

Does Rand Paul realize that? Maybe. He's been living in Bowling Green for quite awhile. I don't know much about the western part of the state, so maybe he hasn't had the experiences I've had, but Husband wasn't far from there. I can't imagine that Rand Paul doesn't understand that not allowing businesses to discriminate would lead to a breakdown of our liberties, which would lead to an even further breakdown of our economy.
But what I gather, Rand Paul doesn't understand a lot of things. He's so caught up in his glorious theories of liberatarian constitutionalism that he fails to notice that most of those policies would have devastating effects on the missing liberty he's so desperate to rejuvenate.

And I say all this knowing that Rand Paul is most likely our next senator. Conway has a chance of winning, but it's a huge uphill battle. It just annoys me that people will continue to support that nutbag, and his nuttery only helps.


Laurie said...

Hey, at least you found a good thing to come out of the Crazy Cult. It makes me really sad to hear people say things like that. I mean c'mon, really? Really?

I have recently had to deal with a few issues besides the racism that have made me miss my liberal, open-minded northern home.

Izzie said...

It's really frightening when I hear the things that come out of people's mouths today. I'm glad DH and I intend on raising our kids out of the country and away from the crazies that seem to be taking over!

southernfemalelawyer said...

So. Right. On. And also? I have a huge blogcrush on you now!