Jul
05

How is this still a thing?

By

In Texas, they still think the Obama is planning to invade. Jade Helm 15 is coming. In Bastrop, Texas, some fear martial law and a white apocalypse. Using a variant of Fox News’ “some say” the county GOP chair tells the New York Times, “in the minds of some, he was raised by communists and mentored by terrorists.” Former mayor Terry Orr explains:

“People think the government is just not on the side of the white guy,” Orr said.

The current Bastrop mayor, Kenneth Kesselus, who also supports Jade Helm, agrees. Kesselus said the distrust is due in part to a sense that “things aren’t as good as they used to be,” especially economically. “The middle class is getting squeezed and they’ve got to take it out on somebody, and Obama is a great target.”

Others in town see the paranoia as “the logical outcome” (if the word even applies) of a political climate where “the state’s Republican leaders have eagerly stoked distrust of the federal government, and especially of Obama.”

But also, the memory of a defeated people runs deep.

Politico’s Michael Lind looks at how much America’s sense of its own exceptionalism is the South’s, and not in a good way. Poverty, lack of social mobility, and racial polarization are more pervasive there. And violence:

Southern violence also goes a long way toward explaining the exceptional violence of the United States in general compared to otherwise similar countries. The pre-modern “culture of honor” continues to exist to a greater degree in the South. White Southerners are more likely than white northerners to respond to insults with increased testosterone and aggression, according to social scientists. According to the FBI in 2012, the South as a region, containing only a quarter of the population, accounted for 40.9 percent of U.S. violent crime.

That’s a statistic to widen your sleepy eyes. Lind continues:

Compared to other Americans, Southerners disproportionately support sanctioned violence in all of its forms, from military intervention abroad to capital punishment to corporal punishment of children. According to Gallup, Southern households have a far higher rate of gun ownership (38 percent) than households in the East (21 percent), Midwest (29 percent) or West (27 percent).

In part, the southern cavalier never came to terms with the South’s defeat and the blow to his sense of natural superiority, not just over former slaves, but over Yankees. Old times there may not be forgotten, but some things must not be mentioned.

Civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson wants to erect markers commemorating those who died in nearly 4,000 lynchings (primarily of blacks, but also of other minorities and immigrants) across America between the end of Reconstruction and 1950. In Germany, they use dialogue to come to terms with the Holocaust, but when it comes to the horrors of “systematic domestic terrorism” in America, Stevenson says, “We don’t want to talk about it; we don’t even want to think about it.” The L.A. Times explains:

So far, the lynching marker project has been slow going. While there has been some support, Stevenson has also met with what he calls “low-level hostile, menacing resistance.”

“What do you want?” one writer asked him, as Stevenson recalls it. “I’ll tell you what you should get: A .357 beside the head.”

Bill Rambo, director of the Confederate Memorial Park and Museum, which hangs the flag on I-65, says Southerners are proud of the banner. As for the markers, he said many whites were lynched, too: “Who’s talking about them?”

Q.E.D.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

Categories : History, Race

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