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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/28/15

Bill O'Reilly and America Need to Be De-Programmed

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It's not a coincidence that, as Paul Krugman pointed out in the New York Times the other day, "Only one former member of the Confederacy has expanded Medicaid" and that "a history of slavery is a strong predictor of everything from gun control (or rather its absence), to low minimum wages and hostility to unions, to tax policy."

And it's not like this is limited to the South.

The reason why only one state of the old Confederacy has expanded Medicaid is the same reason why people cheer when Scott Walker tries to drug test welfare recipients, and it's the same reason why being "tough on crime" helped Rudy Giuliani get elected mayor of New York City. As a nation, we still think "those people" don't deserve equal rights.

Slavery is gone, but the racial logic that made it possible is still very much with us. So why is that? Why, more than 150 years after the Civil War, do so many people still hold on to the white supremacy death cult?

Easy -- Because Republicans have told them it's OK to do so.

Ever since Nixon in 1968, the Republican Party has made a conscious effort to capture the white-racist vote using a strategy recapped by Reagan advisor Lee Atwater back in 1981.

Atwater's strategy has worked like a charm, especially in the South. One recent study actually found that even when controlling for other factors, counties in the South with active Ku Klux Klan chapters saw the biggest shift towards the Republican Party between 1960 and 2000.

In other words, the KKK helped the Republican Party win the Solid South. So it really shouldn't be any surprise, then, that people like Dylann Storm Roof are still being indoctrinated into this death cult.

It shouldn't surprise us that white right-wing racist terrorists have killed more Americans since 9/11 than Muslim terrorists have?

And the simple reason is that politicians from one of our major political parties -- the Republican Party -- depend on America's racist white supremacy death cult to get elected.

Forty-eight percent of Americans people still think the Civil War was a constitutional dispute about state's rights. Gone with the Wind is still treated like authentic true-to-the books history.

Now that we've seen the evil face of this death cult in Dylann Storm Roof, it's time to call it what it is. It's time to say that the pre-Civil War South was a police state, that plantations were concentration camps, and that white supremacy was the guiding belief behind the "Lost Cause" of the Confederacy.

And it's time to admit that we've never really come to grips with the real history of slavery or its legacy.

If we don't de-program ourselves from the white supremacy death cult that has infected this country from its very founding, it will destroy us all.

Taking down the Confederate battle flag is a good first step, and so is calling Dylann Storm Roof a terrorist. But what really needs to happen to de-program America from its death cult is for Republicans to stop pandering to racists and racism and for white Americans to come to grips with the power of white privilege.

And that starts with policy -- like stopping the Republican voter suppression efforts in the South, having those states accept Medicaid expansion for all their people, and beginning to regulate in a rational way our national civilian arsenal.

Only then can we exorcise the demons of our past and move towards a more just and equal future.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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