Angry White Men-istanPosted: November 14, 2012
I hesitate to write this post since we already had a visitation from one set of angry white sucessionists but it appears to be the latest in a series of things that really makes me ask :”How many crazy, angry white people can one country harbor?” The last election has shown us a group of extremists that have moved from ‘taking back’ their country to basically leaving it. How on earth do these people still exist given the results of the civil war over 150 years ago? How long can you hold on to the idea that freedom means the freedom to be a tyrant to other people and to hate on them for not being like you? Have they ever heard of the stereotype of bitter, angry losers?
As the dust settles in the wake of President Obama’s decisive reelection last Tuesday, the White House petition website has been flooded by a series of secession requests, with malcontents from New Jersey to North Dakota submitting petitions to allow their states to withdraw from the union.
Most of the petitions submitted thus far have come from solidly conservative states, including most of the Deep South and reliably separatist Texas. But a handful come from the heart of blue America – relatively progressive enclaves like Oregon and New York.
All told, petitions have been filed on behalf of 20 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Many of the petitions invoke the Declaration of Independence’s dramatic assertion that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government.”
The petitions have been submitted through the White House’s “We the People” website, which aims to give “all Americans a way to engage their government on the issues that matter to them.” The White House promises that “If a petition meets the signature threshold, it will be reviewed by the Administration and we will issue a response.” The threshold is 25,000 signatures in 30 days and, at the time of this article’s publication, none of the secession petitions have reached the threshold (the Texas petition has received over 22,000 and needs to hit 25,000 by Dec. 9; Louisiana, with just under 15,000 signatures, needs to hit the threshold by Dec. 7.)
For some of the states represented, the secession requests are nothing novel: South Carolina, the state whose 1860 secession sparked the civil war, is hardly an unlikely locus of conservative angst in response to Mr. Obama’s victory.
And in Texas, which still conceives of itself as a “republic,” not a mere “state,” politicians seem to make an almost annual show of flirting with secession, periodically dropping dark hints that Washington’s chicanery may force the Lone Star state to flee the Union.
What kills me is the number of states that seem to have a huge number of these creepy people are states that basically couldn’t survive a day without help from the Federal Government. They’d be Somalia over night. Texas is about the only state that could actually survive on its own. But, the weird thing about Texas is that it is likely to turn into a swing state within about 5 -10 years and should go blue beyond that because of its growing Hispanic demographics. It appears that the last stand of white, land-grabbing men in Texas will not be the Alamo in the long run.
In the aftermath of President Barack Obama‘s re-election victory – fueled by massive turnout among Latinos, African-Americans and other minorities – Texas Democrats began to dream that the nation’s demographic tidal wave would eventually hit Texas.
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro predicted that the reliably “red” Lone Star State is well on its way to “purple” swing state status.
The state’s rising Democratic superstar isn’t the only politician to speculate on the future political impact of the burgeoning Mexican-American, African-American and Asian-American population in Texas, which accounted for 88 percent of the state’s 4.3 million population increase from 2000 to 2010.
“It’s a math question,” Republican former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told New York magazine this summer. “Four years from now, Texas is going to be a so-called blue state.”
Still, the angry white conservative temper tantrum throwers–visit any ratfucker site and just watch the infantile reactions to the Obama win–seem to be bubbling into something beyond just a political movement like the tea baggers. I’m hoping the FBI turns its eye to this group and quits entrapping a hapless bunch of gangs that can’t shoot straight because most of these angry white people have lots of guns and know how to use them. It seems strange that the loss of Shallow Mitt could drive so many folks over the edge to Crazyland. More of them should follow Chauncey DeVegas’ advice and ‘chill out’.
We know that most conservatives get their news and information exclusively from Fox News and other types of right-wing media. I get the appeal of this habit: it feels really good to be told that your point of view is correct, and that most of the country agrees with you, even when it does not.
You are very trusting people by nature. As conservatives, you are also very deferential to authority. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the right-wing media have been saying that good white folks like you are being discriminated against by Barack Obama and his legions of black and brown people. There are supposedly groups of Black radicals who stand around outside polling places, looking all mean and angry, and a Black attorney general who hates white people. According to sites like the Drudge Report, there are roving gangs of Black people who live to waylay and beat up white people. Hispanic immigrants are sneaking into the country by the millions and taking your jobs.
A good many of you white people think things are so bad in the Age of Obama that you actually believe that anti-white “racism” is a huge problem facing the country. White men are supposedly the saddest and most oppressed of all groups , as recent research has revealed that many of them have lost all hope in the country’s future.
The right-wing media failed you. They lied and told you that Mitt Romney would win in a landslide. They cooked up stories about voter fraud and rigged polls that were biased against Republicans. The right-wing media machine betrayed you, its audience.
If I were a white conservative who listened to the right-wing media, I would be scared and upset too. I would feel confused. How could so many people lie to me? It just isn’t fair! It must be some type of conspiracy.
Yes, the actual conspiracy is from Fox News and the conservative entertainment complex that gives air time to Rush Limbaugh who gets very rich off of keeping a bunch of white men angry and in a bubble. These folks are so confused that they actually think they could get a majority of people in their state to leave the US. I can assure you that in every state that wants to leave the union, there is a majority in major economic centers that has no intention of letting that happen. Here in the south, there are not only major urban centers, there’s also all folks like me that live below the I-10 who are culturally southern when it comes to fried chicken but not to the ideas of returning to the Confederacy. Lots of us think the folks in the rural and northern areas of the state are total rubes. What are these anger trolls going to do when they eventually figure out they really, truly are in the minority? Well, they should remember this.
“Whiteness” is an amazing invention that has only been around a few centuries. In the United States, it has been something to die for, protect, and kill for. Historically, whiteness is a type of very lucrative property that is handed down through families, and has been protected by the law.
As the comedian Louis CK smartly observed , being white in America is one hell of a great deal. If offered the choice, he would sign up every year because of all the unearned privileges and advantages that come with it. Whiteness is such a great deal because white folks do not have to actively do anything to benefit from it. However, white people are amazingly protective of this prize—and really careful about whom they let in the club.
For example, the Irish, Italians, Jews, Poles, and other “white ethnics” were once viewed as a type of European “other” at the turn of the 20th century. If history is a guide, racial groups that are now considered non-white will become the new “white” people in the years to come. Whiteness always finds a way to keep on winning and to grow its numbers.
My white conservative friends, these feel like scary times for you. As the country changes, the Republican party is going to have to do some soul searching. You will likely be asked to engage in some difficult conversations about the relationship between your political values and racism. As the Southern Poverty Law Center has documented, white folks are going to be under pressure to surrender to their worse and lesser natures by hate groups, dead enders like the Tea Party, and militia groups who will play on your anxieties about the demographic shifts we are seeing in the United States. If you are smart, patient, and pragmatic, there are voices out there—white conservatives in fact—who are trying to help your movement adapt to the 21st century. Do seek them out. You can get your own house in order, and not live in a state of irrational fear and sadness.
So much Republican party effort has been spent the weaving the modern definition with racism and xenophobia. It’s interesting the James Earl Carter IV has unearthed Lee Atwater’s speech on the Southern Strategy which brought form to Angry White Men-istan. You should definitely listen to the full 42 minute tape. Many Republicans have apologized for this but many more sent the strategy on steroids for four years.
It has become, for liberals and leftists enraged by the way Republicans never suffer the consequences for turning electoral politics into a cesspool, a kind of smoking gun. The late, legendarily brutal campaign consultant Lee Atwater explains how Republicans can win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
This entire strategy has led us to re-heating the civil war and re-igniting the arguments that led to leaving the Articles of Confederation in the dust for the Constitution.
Republicans bristled with indignation during the 2012 campaign any time someone suggested that there might be a racial undertone (or overtone, or just a tone) to attacks on President Obama. You know, that he was a Kenya–born socialist Muslim just passing himself off as an American. There was no racial intent there, no “dog whistle.”
But manipulating the racial fears, ethnic resentments and xenophobia of some American voters is in the warp and woof of the modern Republican Party. That bitter fact was vividly driven home yesterday by The Nation, which published a tape recording of a 41-minute, 1981 interview with Lee Atwater, the political operative who led the Republican Party’s “southern strategy” and formulated the politics of division and cultural warfare in the 1980s.
We’ve had these periods of xenophobia before, but usually it’s not so obviously included as a strategy of a major political party. It’s good to remember the themes that actually were real at the founding of our country. What was printed on our coins and was our motto were things like “we are one”, “unite or die”, e pluribus unum.
Just in case these so-called patriots forget, e pluribus unum means “out of many one”.