Ever throw salt on a slug, or holy water on a vampire? The resulting reaction is pretty similar to the one achieved whenever someone mentions the inherent racism and bigotry of the modern Republican and conservative movements. They often come in the form of the heatedly eloquent denial complete with cherry-picked data; for instance, this one cites Democratic opposition to LBJ’s Civil Rights Act without pointing out that the opposition was in large part from Southern Democrats who joined the Republican Party once Nixon signaled via the Southern Strategy that the GOP was no longer the Party of Lincoln.
Yeah, they keep saying they’re not bigots and racists. But.
Let’s just look at news items from the past four weeks:
— Marilyn Davenport, a Southern California Tea Party activist and member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party, sent an e-mail out to fellow conservatives that featured the words “Now you know why no birth certificate,” over a photo of a family of three apes, the infant one of which had Obama’s face superimposed.
— Michele Bachmann’s longtime and embarrassing association with seriously bonkers anti-gay (and anti-a-lotta-other-stuff) bigot Bradlee Dean finally hit the national media, thanks to Rachel Maddow’s show earlier this week.
— Even as recent polling shows nearly six in ten Minnesotans don’t want the state constitution amended to include a ban on same-sex marriage, state Republican legislators like Gretchen Hoffman are pushing ahead with their plan to put the constitutional enshrinement of marriage inequality on the ballot in November of 2012.
— The well-funded conservative issues group “Minnesota Majority”, currently known for a strange bit of performance art involving a truck plastered with graphics that seemingly imply that being made to pay their share of taxes will cause Minnesota’s rich to frequent soup kitchens, also is involved in lobbying for insurance companies against any sort of meaningful health care reform — and its most notable representative in that effort, Dave Racer, has a career apparently predicated on making political hay out of inflaming people’s racist impulses. Check this out:
Minnesota Majority’s Web site features an issue paper on health care, which backs consumer-driven health care and claims that racial diversity and single-parent households negatively affect health in the United States.
“Black women, for a variety of reasons, are more prone to underweight babies than are Caucasian and Asian women. It is not surprising that Sweden has a lower infant mortality rate, or that Japan has a longer life expectancy than the United States does. They are nearly racially pure; we are not,” says the Web page, written by public speaker and former radio talk show host David Racer.
Remember, the whole point of the Southern Strategy is that rich people and businesses use racism as a means to get whites, especially working-class whites, to vote against their own best interests. Bigotry is used to get voters to back cutting social programs that are seen as mainly helping people who aren’t white, male, Christian, or heterosexual — and the way to cut these programs is by cutting taxes, especially on the rich. This is why bigotry and Republicanism have been intertwined for decades, and will stay that way until the Republican Party collapses of its own foul weight.