(image by self)
Yeah I know, it's a nasty phrase. But since it was an epithet which was hurled at me, I feel entitled to repeat it just this once. I first heard it in 1960 when I joined the naval reserve between 11th and 12 th grade. After taking the oath and getting our uniforms, several of us new recruits, including one black guy, proudly put on our uniforms and went out for lunch at a diner. There, we saw what was a common sight in those days" a sign in the diner window announcing "whites only". Well, long story short, we went in anyway and after being refused service, we let our feelings be known"which elicited the nasty epithet from a couple of the white customers. Of course these days since that sort of obvious racism is rejected across most of the political spectrum, it has been replaced with softer dog whistle comments like "Obama lover""
Although I know it is highly uncomfortable calling out the ignorant racists among us and they will scream their phony indignation and denials, I will not apologize for calling them out. Because just as I refused to simply obey the "whites only" sign in that diner window all those years ago, I will never sit silently as people who are ultimately un-american and amoral erode our democracy. I want to move our great experiment, this evolving idea of democracy forward and I am willing to stand for what many consider the tired cliche, "justice for ALL". So as to the titled epithet that this rant is based on, I am proud to say YES! I am a "lover" of black, brown, white, and every hue the human race comes in. I am filled with delight when I see groups of people of mixed race and diverse heritage come together in peace and friendship. Because what is true and gives us hope is that there are many to whom "the content of a man's character" is what we judge them on. We are the majority! We must simply shake off the fear and apathy and be willing to fight for what we know is just. We must speak truth to power LOUDLY!
Due to a commitment to decency and fairness by so many americans, things began changing over the years following that incident. I remember thinking that with the awareness and changing attitudes, especially in the younger generation, that things were finally moving in a moral direction. A saner direction. Difficult as it was, change was in the air. When president Johnson signed the civil rights act, I thought we could never go back"and I was proud.
Unfortunately I was wrong! While the people of the Jim Crow, Bull Connor era are dying out, unfortunately many of their children were indoctrinated with their parents racism and hatred for the "other". Over the past few years we have seen a resurgence of racist hate and intolerance once again cloaked in religion and patriotism. What seemed like "The rise and fall of Jim Crow" has turned out to be 'the rise and stumble of Jim Crow'"for he has indeed risen again. One of the reasons we are losing ground on civil rights and allowing the racist right to control so much of our national agenda is our failure to confront the vile purveyors of racism aggressively when ever and where ever they show their ugly heads. The racists know this and exploit societies discomfort and unwillingness to fully engage on this issue. They project their racism onto anyone who calls them out. They loudly proclaim that racism is a thing of the past and liberals and moderates need to just "move on". Unfortunately we moderates and progressives too often choose to ignore the soft racism and avoid the despicable subject of racism because it is uncomfortable. We tolerate the dog whistle comments and absurd denials of obvious racist comments. We too often allow racists to stand unchallenged when we should drag their hate out into the harsh light of day. The worst are the media cowards who allow the implied and often obvious racism to stand with no real challenge" and of course outlets like fox "news" who gleefully give a platform to racism as they of course deny it's existence in their ranks.
I am an old white guy who has seen this battle play out over almost seventy years and I am long since disgusted with these hypocrites and their lies and the hate. These ignorant racist, anti science, anti intellectual, anti women's rights american Taliban types are a blight on our democracy. Along with greed, this racist, xenophobic hate filled element in our society is the main reason for the erosion and unfortunately the failure of the american dream. What makes our present day situation so frightening is the un-holy coalition of the greedy plutocrats like the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch who control the gop and these racist stormtroopers who serve as the brownshirts for the wealthy puppet-masters. Although I believe it is an alliance ultimately doomed to failure, it may well do irreparable damage to our democracy before it falls apart. Things like the dismantling of the VRA by the vile conservative partisans on the SCOTUS keep chipping away at our democracy. The obscene 'citizens united' decision and the anti democratic decision in McCutcheon v. FEC is astounding! If we do not make our voices heard and unless we are willing to resist by all means necessary, we the majority will bear the ultimate responsibility for the failure of democracy. Of course, if you think a plutocracy filled with theocratic anti intellectuals is more desirable than the democracy so many americans have fought and died for, by all means simply remain on your couch and enjoy your favorite reality show.
Meanwhile the drumbeat of voter suppression laws and stand your ground laws grow louder, as the poor and minorities who are under employed, undereducated and treated as second class citizens are denied assistance and a way out of poverty. Too often they are funneled into privatized prison systems which profit from their incarceration. Consider that the "new" republican party controlled by the tea party opposes EVERY attempt at helping put americans to work" every attempt to strengthen our economy. Even when president Obama agrees with republican ideas and proposals, they suddenly oppose them. The classic example of course is the ACA. A republican idea from the right wing 'Heritage Foundation' which was successfully implemented by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. However when the black guy adopted their plan, it was suddenly a big government takeover by the terrorist loving-Kenyan-nazi-liberal- socialist-mom jeans wearing dictator! The question that needs to be asked is why are so many conservatives so ready to believe EVERY obvious lie about this centrist president? Yeah, no racism here! Move along.
Unfortunately, there are many apathetic americans who just don't pay attention to events and mindlessly accept the media portrayals of a false equivalency. So they see all politicians as the same which allows them to throw up their hands and do nothing. These are the people who get their politics from the 10 second sound bite and are easily lulled into a sense of 'there's nothing you can do'. Then of course there are the lazy, really low information people who love the easy answers supplied by obvious propagandists like fox, Limbaugh and the fascist right wing echo chamber. They are the republican base and seemingly can't grasp the facts, or simply could care less that they are enabling the wall street/corporate plutocrats who are eroding our democracy" as long as they get the black guy out of their white house.
We stand on the precipice of destruction. Greedy amoral types like the Koch brothers and corporations spew their poison into our air, water and the land and refuse to change because the status quo allows their bloated profits. Change would cost them money. Never mind the moral issues, profit and power trump morality and even survival. We have elected officials who happily take from children, seniors and the poor as they fight for corporate welfare. No matter what lies these greedy plutocrats tell, climate change is a fact! Our oceans are dying, the air we breath and the food we eat is killing us and the chances are we have already passed the point of no return. However it is not just these greedy amoral people alone who are responsible. WE have to change our own wasteful behavior and stop gratifying every urge and looking for the easy way out. But that is another story. At this moment in time it is critical that we join to demand our elected representatives start having the courage to fight for change and stop letting the next election decide their actions. There are too many cowards in office and not all of them are republican. We may just be able to slow the destruction if we act now. However this is far too complex a concept for the average tea party type to understand, so we must first deal with removing them from power so the intellectuals and the people with a moral compass can begin moving us in a more rational, sustainable direction. It is not rhetoric to say that the next couple of elections will possibly be the most important in our history.