October 24, 2008

"Real America" = white?

The 'real' America, really

America today looks less and less like the one extolled by GOP mythmakers.According to Sarah Palin, she and John McCain "believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hardworking, very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation."

Um, very, um. ... Yeah.

Palin later backed away from these remarks, but the McCain-Palin campaign's staff and surrogates--and even the guy at the top of the ticket--keep hammering the same message: Some parts of America--and some Americans--are just more authentic and "pro-America" than others.

On Saturday, for instance, McCain advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer suggested that although northern Virginia may have "gone more Democratic," "real Virginia" (the "part of the state that's more Southern in nature") will be "very responsive" to McCain. Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) joined the chorus, telling the crowd at a McCain rally, "Liberals hate real Americans that work, and accomplish, and achieve, and believe in God."

Hayes, like Palin, later forswore his remarks, but on Tuesday in western Pennsylvania--one of the few parts of the state where Barack Obama doesn't hold a clear lead--McCain worked the same theme: Western Pennsylvania "is the most God-loving, most patriotic part of America."

The GOP code isn't hard to crack: There's the America that might vote for Obama (a suspect America populated by people with liberal notions, big-city ways and, no doubt, dark skin), and then there's the "real" America, where people live in small towns, believe in God and country, and are ... well ... white.
Why this neo-McCarthyism is happening:The GOP hasn't been the party of reality-based thinking for some time now. "When we act, we create our own reality," a "senior Bush advisor" (assumed to be Karl Rove) told journalist Ron Suskind in 2002, and this became the administration's version of a game plan. Thus Donald Rumsfeld's conviction--shared by McCain--that we would be "greeted as liberators" in Iraq. For GOP leaders, the Iraq that erupted into a violent insurgency just wasn't the "real" Iraq.

We're now seeing the same pathology at work in the McCain-Palin campaign. McCain and Palin look at America and see what they wish was there, rather than what's actually there: an America in which they'll be greeted as liberators and rightful heirs to the mantle of leadership. America, after all, has been led by white Anglo-Saxons for the last two-plus centuries and, for the last 40 years, mostly by Republicans. For that to change is almost unthinkable. And so Team McCain just edits out the inconvenient America that doesn't seem likely to vote GOP. That America's not real. It just can't be.

I'm not entirely without sympathy. Behind the anger and the us-versus-them rhetoric we've seen at recent McCain-Palin rallies, there's a palpable sense of dislocation and anxiety: the anxiety of those who feel that things are slipping away from them, that the world is changing too quickly and too uncomfortably. Change has come fast--and change hurts.
Comment:  Needless to say, we haven't seen McCain or Palin tell Indians that their land "is the most God-loving, most patriotic part of America." We haven't seen them visit Indian reservations at all. That's because Indians in particular and Americans in general would vilify them for their divisive and racist claims.

Really, McCain. If you're such a brave war hero, go to a black church or an Indian powwow somewhere. Tell the people that they're not as God-loving or as patriotic as the people in western Pennsylvania or rural Virginia. Tell them that because they're liberal, they hate "real Americans." Tell them they live in the anti-America part of the country with the people we're supposed to loathe: terrorists, communists, socialists, intellectuals, elitists, artists, agnostics, atheists, secularists, multiculturalists, and of course Jews, blacks, and homosexuals.

No wonder you're losing so badly, you stupid old man. Your campaign is based on hypocrisy and hate and everyone realizes it except you and your diehard supporters. I hope you go down in history as the most shameful Republican since, well, George W. Bush.

For more on the subject, see The 2008 Presidential Campaign.


dmarks said...

Not sure why you lumped bad groups "terrorists, communists, socialists" with "Jews, blacks, and homosexuals"

Anonymous said...

Jews, blacks and homosexuals have long been demonized by major socio-political-religious movements worldwide (e.g., Nazi Germany, the KKK, and evangelical Christians), hence their presence on this list of "undesirables."

But throughout my 55 years of existence, I have known individuals across all of the so-called "spectrums" who hate Jews because "they are greedy"; "they killed Christ"; "they are really into their criminal enterprises"; "they control global finances"; "they really fucked over the Palestinians"; "they rule the world of porn."

I have heard individuals espouse their hatred of blacks as essentially "very lazy, dirty, criminally-oriented, over-sexed and of sub-human intelligence."

And I have heard people everywhere rail energetically against homosexuals as: perverted; diseased; always on the make (and that they hit on people "hella hard!"); dedicated to "turning people out" (which is to render, by some mysterious process, straight people "queer"). A cop in Philadelphia even told me years ago that gay males consume human feces ("It's just somethin' that fags do.")

These are just some of the beliefs that the haters of the aforementioned groups hold to be the "gospel truth."

dmarks said...

Demonizing the nasty folks in the first group (""terrorists, communists, socialists") does not necessarily mean demonizing Jews, blacks and homosexuals.

Rob said...

Conservatives have a tendency to demonize all the people I listed. "Minorities are responsible for the mortgage lending crisis." "Gays want to teach same-sex marriage in schools." Etc.

I didn't say that every conservative demonizes every group on the list. Some demonize terrorists, communists, and socialists; some demonize Jews, blacks, and homosexuals; and some demonize both.

P.S. Socialists aren't "nasty." Several of our democratic allies in NATO have socialist or partly socialist governments.

dmarks said...

"Socialists aren't "nasty."

Generally they are: of the worst human rights violators and genocidal monsters of the 20th century, all but one (Mussolini) were socialists.

The NATO allies and countries in Europe such as Sweden are not really that socialist. Most of the economy is controlled by the people, not the state.

Anonymous said...

dmarks - With all due respect,you sound like a McCain apologist afflicted with a bad case of "waiver-itis" regarding the good, bad and ugly as to the true nature of socialism as economic theory.

I am compelled to state that the U.S. is fairly socialist already given certain "entitlement programs" that are virtually non-existent throughout most of the world.

gaZelbe said...

The U.S. is actually a very socialistic country with one major difference from those countries we normally describe as "socialist".

Instead of using governmental authority to buttress the economic status of the lower classes, i.e. the common man, the U.S. has at least for the last century, primarily used its authority to buttress the economic power of the upper classes, i.e. the wealthy and the corporations.

State economic control is the hallmark of socialism. It might be more accurate to describe the U.S. system as "plutocratic socialism". Either way, its a far cry from the "free market capitalism" descriptor that most people like to throw around.

dmarks said...

"Instead of using governmental authority to buttress the economic status of the lower classes"

Socialism rarely does that, actually. So the difference you describe is really not much of a difference at all. Socialism has proven to be the most successful way for the powerful rulers to get even more power.

"U.S...its a far cry from the "free market capitalism" descriptor that most people like to throw around."

But closer than many other situations.

dmarks said...

"Instead of using governmental authority to buttress the economic status of the lower classes, i.e. the common man, the U.S. has at least for the last century, primarily used its authority to buttress the economic power of the upper classes, i.e. the wealthy and the corporations. "

Also, in the US. the "wealthy and corporations" pay a significant proportion of the taxes, and the lower classes ("common man") have much more wealth and power than they do in fully socialist countries.

gaZelbe said...

Socialism rarely does that, actually.

England, France, Germany, Norway, Finland...I could go on. They are all pretty good examples of that actually happening. Poor people in those countries have far higher standards of living than the poor here.

Socialism has proven to be the most successful way for the powerful rulers to get even more power.

Actually fascism is by far the most efficient path to power. Socialism doesn't really help or hinder, I think. Stalin employed power by taking socialism down an autocratic path, as has Bush. But its common to not call the U.S. model socialism only because we're not used to seeing socialism employed from the top-down, as in plutocratic socialism.

And incidentally, the fusion of corporate power with state power is how Mussolini described fascism, which is obviously the system we see in the U.S. today. I don't know if I would use the label fascist yet, if it even matters, but we're getting there.

gaZelbe said...

the U.S. is a far cry from the "free market capitalism" descriptor...but closer than many other situations.

Closer than many, yes, but not the closest. I think China is closer. Their cutthroat free-market is far more like the Milton Friedman free-market than the U.S.

dmarks said...

"England, France, Germany, Norway, Finland.."

Those countries are only a little more socialist than the US (despite right-wing rhetoric about how awful Sweden is). Even in these countries, most of the economy remains in the hands of the people, not the rulers. They are not like countries where socialism is the rule rather than the exception (North Korea, etc).

Socialism is a variety of fascism.

Socialist economic power structure helps dictatorial power grabs since it centralizes the economy in one place under one authority. Makes it very easy to grab.

China is still a socialist nation, despite the free-market reforms. The supremacy of the ruling class remains unchallenged.

"because we're not used to seeing socialism employed from the top-down, as in plutocratic socialism."

When is socialism not employed from the top down? It requires strong control to even "work" at all.

Anonymous said...

Just stay on your hillbilly side of the river and things will be fine. Love the fact some white guy is writing about native issues and riling up the natives...

dmarks said...

You might have a bit of a point, except that we went entirely on a tangent on this post, and none of the comments have anything to do with Native issues.

Rob said...

I guess you're including Hitler on your list of socialists, DMarks? Well, here's the scoop on him:


Many conservatives accuse Hitler of being a leftist, on the grounds that his party was named "National Socialist." But socialism requires worker ownership and control of the means of production. In Nazi Germany, private capitalist individuals owned the means of production. ... Hitler's other political beliefs place him almost always on the far right. He advocated racism over racial tolerance, eugenics over freedom of reproduction, merit over equality, competition over cooperation, power politics and militarism over pacifism, dictatorship over democracy, capitalism over Marxism, realism over idealism, nationalism over internationalism, exclusiveness over inclusiveness, common sense over theory or science, pragmatism over principle, and even held friendly relations with the Church, even though he was an atheist.

Rob said...

Clearly you're equating "socialists" with the handful of rulers (Mao, Stalin, Castro, et al.) who have tried to implement communist versions of socialism. But that's flatly ridiculous. Hundreds of millions of people in Europe and elsewhere have called themselves socialists. They're doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, artists...all the way up to multimillionaires and Nobel Prize winners. They believe in "spreading the wealth" entirely through democratic means.

So no, most socialists are not "nasty." McCain is stupid and ignorant to use that term to slander Obama. And anyone who listens to McCain is just as bad.

Rob said...

As I said the last time you wrote "Love the fact some white guy is writing about native issues" or the equivalent, Anonymous, I'm glad you're amused. Now why don't you stop repeating yourself and start saying something useful?

For what it's worth, here's a list of countries that are officially socialist:


For more on the subjects raised here, see Republican Hypocrisy on "Socialism" and How America Turns Fascist.

P.S. Slight correction to the posting above. Hitler was a Christian, not an atheist.