The dark side of the self-image of the United States as a “nation of immigrants” is the racism and bigotry that underlies the history of America’s immigration policies.
As I discussed at tonight’s DL, the less white the immigrant stream, the more restrictive the immigration “policies.”
If freedom races through America’s bloodstream, racism courses through its lymph system.
Ask me nicely, I’ll tell you what I really think.
Bruce Maiman, writing at the Sacramento Bee, considers the case of some kids who were punished for omitting the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. After reminding readers that the punishments were prima facie illegal, he reminds us that things are not always what think they are, including the Pledge:
In 1890, a magazine publisher was selling flags to schools as a premium to solicit subscriptions. When sales declined the following year, the publisher concocted the idea of using the quadricentennial of Christopher Columbus reaching the Americas to revive the flag effort, complete with flag salutes and pledge recitations in schools nationwide. Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, was commissioned to write the pledge, which first appeared in The Youth’s Companion on Sept. 8, 1892:
“The United States of America” was added in 1923, then the words “under God” in 1954 – which Bellamy’s family descendants strongly protested. But our lawmakers decided this would somehow be a fantastic response to the perceived threat of those godless commies in Soviet Russia.
Typical, isn’t it? What many believe was about religion and patriotism was really about three dubious American obsessions: money, politics and the empty symbolic gesture.
Writing at the Boston Review, Claude S. Fisher presents a strong case that the religious right is driving Americans away from organized religion. A snippet (the word “Nones” below refer to those who, when asked their religious affiliation on various surveys, answered “None”):
The specific, religiously-inflected politics that alienated more recently-born moderate and liberal Americans from the church were the politics of personal morality (rather than the politics of, for example, inequality or foreign policy). Thus, political polarization around the culture wars seems to have driven the rise of the Nones.
Fanaticism is never pretty. In the long run, those who promote a theocracy in the United States will suffer the same fate as England’s Roundheads, but much unpleasantness lays along the way.
At the Bangor Daily News, a guest blogger marvels at the difference in police tactics in responding to the violent riot in Keene, New Hampshire, and the almost-entirely peaceful demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri. She offers a theory of causation; here’s a snippet:
It seems to me that the “Pumpkin Fest Riots” were met with restraint because A) the rioters were white men, and B) the riot was infused with alcohol, and not infused with a message. Imagine if these rioters were actually protestors carrying signs stating, “We are the 99%” or “Justice for (insert name of young black teen)”!
Chez Pazienza is your tour guide.
His phraseology might be a bit–er–strong, but that’s just a matter of style. The substance is quite accurate. Birds of a feather and all that.
The blunt fact is that Darren Wilson is using a traditional Southern defense strategy, one which seldom fails–something that I have heard white folks say in my presence: “What’s the big deal. It was only a n****r.”
Video via Chauncey de Vega, who points out that
Ultimately, what is the needlessly complex theater surrounding the death of Michael Brown at the hands of Darren Wilson can be crystallized down to one essential truth. Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown for the “crime” of being black and walking in the street.
This is not a new crime in the United States.
Yves Smith asks a question:
Let’s start by looking at the maps resulting from studies of well-being that identify the states where people are not at all well-off, such as the 2013 survey done by Gallup Healthways, available here. Those poor states are the reddest of the red belt in Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida and elsewhere across the Deep South–places where I grew up in a decidedly Republican household that bought the GOP economic fallacies hook, line and sinker, and places where today’s populations are worse off in terms of the various measures of economic well-being and happiness than the more progressive northeast and west.
Isn’t it likely that the anti-government, low-tax and pro-wealthy/pro-big business policies of the GOP politicos that have run these states for several decades have something to do with these negative results, and that the more progressive policies in the northeast and northwest are reflected in the much more positive results in those areas?
Yet rural, southern populations continue to proudly proclaim their allegiance, against their own economic interest, to ill-fated Reaganomics that favors tax cuts (for the wealthy and big business) coupled with use of old-time, regressive consumption taxes (toll roads, sales taxes and property taxes), privatization of public functions (e.g., charter schools managed by for-profit, nontransparent corporations), socialization of losses, militarization, and de-regulation.
The answer is simple: That’s what the hatin’ is all about.
As Lyndon Johnson once said,
Dr. Dan Gottlieb speaks with Dr. Priscilla Ward and Dr. Cindy Dell Clark about the dynamics of fear. The first part of the show considers why Americans are panicking over ebola, but don’t get flu shots. Here’s a bit from the webpage:
Dr. Priscilla Wald, author of Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative, a study of the intersection of medicine and myth in the idea of contagion and the evolution of the contemporary stories we tell about the global health problem of “emerging infections. Wald is also the author of Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form. She is also editor of American Literature as well as on the Editorial Board of Literature and Medicine as well as a is a member of the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy and an affiliate of the Trent Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities and the Institute for Global Health.
The audio is at the link. I think you will find the show well worth a listen.
I do think that the discussion did not give sufficient weight to one factor: the racism and bigotry that provides a base line to the ebola melody from the wingnut Wurlitzer.
The segment ends at about the 34 minute mark; there’s a short begathon break at the 20 minute mark.
John Aravosis considers the history that is obscured by “tradition.” A nugget:
. . . “traditionally” women were property; they pretty much belonged to their husband. And as property, they couldn’t inherit a dime. In the old days it was all about the kids. If you had a farm, or an empire, you needed a son to take over some day (to hell with the daughters). The wife was important as an incubator, and your daughters were relatively useless, unless you could sell one off and get a decent dowry in return.
So when you hear conservatives, like the National Review’s Mona Charen, talk about the traditional reason behind marriage — the children — she’s half speaking the truth. The traditional purpose of marriage was “male children.” Wives were tolerated as necessary, and little girls were mistakes.
Daniel Ruth rounds of the right’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s inaction on gay marriage this week–an inaction that effectively ended bans on gay marriage in 30 states. A nugget:
Still, there was some good news. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has become a professional chattering-teeth talk show host, was so incensed over what he saw as a lack of proper breast-beating indignation from Republicans over the court’s decision not to take up the gay marriage issue that he threatened to leave the GOP. That makes him even more irrelevant than he already is. At least that got some crickets chirping.
Follow the link for more.
John Romano questions the rationale the Florida Attorney-General’s rationale tenaciously defending Florida’s ban on gay marriage. His brief contains several points; here’s a bit on one of them. I selected this bit to except because it is typical of the behavior of culture warriors–they turn blind eyes to what those on their side do.
The final issue has to do with the Attorney General’s vigorous and vacuous arguments against gay marriage. Bondi has repeatedly stated that hers is not a personal crusade but rather her responsibility as the state’s top law enforcement official.
This argument would carry much greater weight if the Attorney General did not pick and choose which laws and constitutional amendments to aggressively enforce.
Republican Family Values are not “values.” They are tactics. Votes are the value.
If Republicans don’t think they can turn “values” into votes, they aren’t interested in “values.”