Friday, November 9, 2012

Stop It With the Confederacy Already!

Over the past few days you may have seen a chart that looks something like this:

It’s normally accompanied by some variety of LOLRACIST.

This argument (and I feel like I’m being generous by considering it as such) is less than insightful at best, and downright offensive at worst.

Yes, there is a correspondence to Southern states and support of Republicans.  This is due to the GOP’s Southern Strategy.  This has been acknowledged as a pernicious and persistent political strategy since the 1960s.  It’s generally accepted as part of modern American political analysis.  So thanks for the penetrating insight.

Is there a point to be made from this graphic?  Well there is the implicit, if not explicit, assertion that Southerners are racist.  Let’s be honest:  in contemporary America, references to the Confederacy are liberal dogwhistles for racism and oppression. It’s the American history equivalent of Godwinization.

I’m not going to go into an examination of racism and oppression in other areas of the country, but I will point you to a couple of quick links just to put a bit of this in perspective.  Here’s the Indiana Klan.  Also you can look at some interesting facts about NYC or  Los Angeles.  None of us have clean hands here, people.

There’s more than a bit of irony in the fact that Democratic voters, who have lambasted the GOP for excluding so many, are reveling in a rhetorical device that does nothing more than force a whole region of their country into “otherness”.  If the problem with the other guys is that they aren’t inclusive, then why try to create further divisions?  Why not attempt some sort of reconciliation?  Of course that may require empathy, which is a whole lot more difficult.

If you’re actually interested in why the Democratic narrative doesn’t seem to be attractive to Southern men, then I would recommend this article at Salon.

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