The continued nostalgia for racism on the part of the Democratic Party never ceases to amaze me. Last week, when Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) allowed as how the Tea Party Movement was similar to the KKK, my eyes rolled so far back in my head I almost had to clone a new cranium. Jewish boy to Jewish boy, Steve, that’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard one of our co-religionists say in public. If anything, the Tea Partyers are the antithesis of racist – a collection of wild, freedom-loving quasi-libertarians who could care less about anyone’s color or background, far less than a former Ivy League snob like me. (PERSONAL NOTE: I was a civil rights worker in the South during the Sixties and would stay miles, I hope, from any movement that smacked of racism.)
Nevertheless, self-described liberals, progressives and what-not persist in telling us the Tea Party Movement is racist, despite the fact they have yet to produce an iota of concrete evidence to prove this absurd point. Well, okay, the Tea Party currently polls at 48 percent of the populace to Obama’s 44, so there’s bound to be a racist or two in there somewhere, just as there would be in any group that large, but I haven’t met them.
So what’s the deal? Why is the Democratic Party clinging to racism like a wall full of barnacles on the hull of a rusted ship? The most popular explanation is that that is their lever on political power. With 99 percent of African-Americans and 77 percent of Jewish-Americans (excuse the reactionary hyphens), not to mention a huge percentage of Hispanic-Americans, voting their way, what’s not to like? Keep America divided according to race and keep getting elected.
Another argument is that there is a form of projection going on (the Dems are the real racists projecting their true feelings on Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, etc.), but I don’t really buy that. Racism is pretty unpopular in our culture for good reason and I don’t think anyone’s projecting here. It’s an even more desperate wish that is being fulfilled.
Putting it bluntly, the Democratic Party clings to racism because they are s–t out of ideas. They have nothing else to say. At this point, almost everyone acknowledges liberal policies don’t work economically and the Dems have little they can do but call names. This is even more true of socialism, a system which has consistently shown itself to be the initial ramp on an inexorable glide path to totalitarianism. Progressivism, liberalism, call it what you will, has completely lost its appeal to the majority of Americans on an ideological level. So what’s a poor Dem to do? Wave the bloody shirt. Cry racism!
Often this takes the form of self-hypnosis. These people have to be racist, they have to be wrong (if you can’t argue ideas with them). Poor Steve Cohen is a perfect example of this, as are numerous members of our media. For this group, reification has set in. They can no longer look objectively at what is in front of them because they themselves have been turned into objects with eternally frozen pre-conditioned responses. Steve Cohen and these media types are not substantially different from Internet trolls, raging inchoately at something that offends them without taking the time to understand what they are attacking. Actually treating Tea Partyers as serious American citizens with ideas would threaten personality disintegration for many of these people. They are just incapable of opening their minds because their psyches might fall apart.
A great contribution the Tea Party Movement could make – perhaps its greatest contribution – would be to truly “smash racism,” as we used to say in the Sixties. Nowadays, hyphenated racial groups do the opposite. They have become inherently reactionary, seeking to divide us as Americans for their own advantage. That preserves racism in perpetuity, just as the American people themselves are fed up with it and long since ready to move on. In effect, the Democratic Party has inadvertently turned itself into the party of racism by depending upon these vested interests to maintain power. The Tea Party Movement could overturn this. That would be truly revolutionary.