Sunday, September 5, 2010

No lie too base or too obvious

For three decades or more, Republicans have needed to whitewash the racism of their Southern base, and they appeared to have settled on how to do that. Their hands were clean. It was segregationist Southern Democrats who passed and defended Jim Crow, not Republicans.

Now Haley Barbour (R-wherever bullshit is lily white) goes even further. He blames all Democrats now for the acts of long-dead Southern Democrats. His rationale is this:

  • The transformation of the solid Democratic South into the mostly Republican South roughly coincided (very roughly) with the rise of civil rights for African Americans.
  • Therefore, it was a new generation of Southern Republicans who brought about desegregation in their triumph over those eeevil Democrats.
Ne'mine' all that stuff about Nixon's Southern strategy offering a home to Southern racists who fled the Democratic Party because they didn't want to be desegregated. Definitely don't pay any attention to who it was who called out the National Guard in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama to integrate schools, who presided over passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, who sent the FBI into Mississippi to break the Ku Klux Klan. (Democrats!)

Don't believe that even a Republican would try such a big-balled, outright lie? Here's a direct quote from the vidlet (about 4:00 in):
My generation, who went to integrated schools - I went to integrated college - never thought twice about it. And it was the old Democrats who had fought for segregation so hard. By my time, people realized that was the past, it was indefensible, wadn't gone be that way any more. And so the people who really changed the South from Democrat to Republican was a different generation from those who fought integration.
Barbour went to Ole Miss starting in 1965 at a time when, it's true, James Meredith had graduated, though his mere matriculation had led to a white race riot that left two dead and dozens injured. What stopped the violence? Thirty-one thousand federal troops sent by Democrat John F. Kennedy.

When Barbour arrived two (loooong!) years after Meredith graduated in 1963, I'm sure there were a handful of black students amidst a hostile white student body. In Barbour's three years in Oxford, did he attend even a single class that included a black man?

Of course, Barbour's claim that he and his generation never thought twice about integration is patent bullshit. The civil rights movement and the white racist backlash were in full swing all around him.

Trent Lott (R-Dixiecrat-lover), who would later be a high-ranking Republican Senator, had been busy in 1962 defending his all-white fraternity against membership for African-Americans. Even now, a few years after Lott resigned for lauding Strom Thurmond's openly racist 1948 campaign for President, Barbour still praises him!

Medgar Evers had been assassinated in 1963 in Jackson, 50 miles from Yazoo City, where Barbour was going to high school.

Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman had been murdered in 1964 in Philadelphia, Mississippi, about 90 miles from Yazoo City and 125 miles from Oxford.

James Meredith was shot in 1966, while Barbour and his generation had supposedly put segregation behind them. Did one more in a long succession of white race crimes make racial integration seem fully settled in Mississippi?

Barbour was a junior at Ole Miss that April day in 1968 when Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis. Didn't he think about that? In his past carefully built out of bullshit, how did that even happen after his generation had determined that its heritage of white supremacy was "indefensible"?

Even now, African-Americans are about 13% of the student population at Ole Miss, while they're 37% of the population at large. How successful is desegregation even now if Brown v. Board of Education still hasn't provided a more even preparation of high schools students?

These Republicans were the successors of the Southern Democrats. Trent Lott was endorsed for Congress by his nominally Democratic predecessor. These Republicans played no role whatsoever is the overthrow of segregation, such as it has even happened in Mississippi. They weren't even mere spectators. They played to the same racist white voters as the Dixiecrats had for generations. Only the label had changed.

Trying to pass the lie that Southern Republicans are liberals on race disqualifies Barbour for any office in the United States.

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