Friday, September 10, 2010

Sweep, Sweep, Sweeping

America is a nation of closet cleaners.

One of the abiding cliches found in movies and network television shows is the conniving child who, when ordered to clean up his room, instead comes up with a bright idea. Rather than put things where they belong, the child crams them all into the closet, only to have those same toys and clothes come tumbling out at the most inopportune time. The child is then stuck with an even bigger mess than before, and the added stress of angry parents.

See where I'm going with this?

When it comes to issues of race, Americans have become so adept at sweeping things under the rug that they've convinced themselves that the floor is actually made with those unsightly lumps.

Take Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who is angling for a presidential nomination in 2012. Barbour recently unveiled a recollection of how the South became majority Republican that was so completely and utterly divorced from reality that I wouldn't have been surprised if he was high on 'shrooms when he said it.

He basically said that the people of his generation--mind you Barbour is 63-- rejected the Democratic party because they just couldn't abide by the enduring racism of southern Democrats, and the Republican party provided a refuge. He downplayed the well-known "Southern Strategy" which entailed Republicans openly playing to the racial bigotry rampant in the South to gain votes. Nope, the move to Republicans was all about embracing equality, not protecting a supremacy built on lies.

Those are some kick ass shrooms, right?

I don't know why Barbour trotted out this alternate version of reality. Maybe, possibly, he did switch from the Democratic party because of concerns about the racism among Southern Dixiecrats, but there is no way he examined history and truly believes that most folks made the switch for the same reason.

All he had to do was consider the rhetoric used by Republicans to draw in supporters to see the truth. But, it's a good bet that Barbour has purposely avoided examining history's ledger and instead decided to draw on his own anecdotes and faulty memory to create his new reality. Life is easier that way, you know?

Many folks don't want to deal with the problems of the past before they march boldly into the future. They'd prefer to just sweep all those ugly details aside and get on to the fun stuff. After all if the room looks clean, why do you need to go looking in every crook and crevice to make sure it actually is clean? That's seems like a lot of work for very little pay off, right?

Wrong. Clean is clean. Shunting problems to the side doesn't solve them, it only delays dealing with them. Refusing to acknowledge the true history of this country, and deal with the effects of that history in modern times, is the reason why only limited progress can be made with regards to racial issues. It's like putting Old Spice on a funky body. You just create a new, more creative brand of funk.

Barbour and his audacious lies or faulty memories is a big part of the problem. It's particularly galling because he's one of those people who loves to propose sweeping policy changes based on his bad information, and that's a danger to me and everybody else. Before he wants to solve the world's problems as president, he needs to figure out how to solve his own problem with discussing the reality of this country's racial history.

Sweep around his own front door, before he sweeps around mine.



1 comment:

Thordaddy said...

Lil man,

Who cares about the racial past when we have the racial present? And let's not kid ourselves, most blacks are segregationists and most certainly have no desire for coercive integration. Of course, that's not how their monolithic vote appears to the outside world. To the outside world, blacks ARE coercive integrationists BECAUSE they vote for the coercive integrationist, who, ironically, is a radical autonomist himself. What this basically means is that lil man is willing to use the force of the federal government TO MAKE thordaddy hang with him. Say it ain't so, lil man? Aren't you really a black segregationist???

Don't lie, lil man.

Raving Black Lunatic