Dad and his chums caught Crip's old black tomcat, killed it, skinned it, and cooked it in the kitchen of one of Dad's little restaurants. They called it squirrel meat and delivered it to Crip on a linen-covered tray. When Crip returned to work the next morning, Dad and his co-conspirators asked him how he liked his meal. They knew he would complain even about a free home-cooked lunch, and when Crip called it "the toughest squirrel meat" he had ever eaten, they were glad to tell him why. The Rev. Jerry Falwell always prefaced this story about his father by saying that his father's "pranks bordered on cruelty."
The old white southern mindset is perhaps best portrayed with those words: "pranks" and "bordered." That mindset is a condition that still persists today - maybe in an even more virulent form:
An Arkansas campaign manager says he came home Sunday and found his family's cat fatally bludgeoned on his front steps - with the word "liberal" scrawled across its side. And:
Though Burris says has no idea who'd want to target him and his family, he cited the popularity of conservative talk radio and the rise of conspiracy theories about President Obama as potential motivating factors.
"This is in no way representative of the community, but there is a strain of folks who just don't really live in reality." REALITY CHECK
We have an African-American as President. Marriage equality is on the books in six states and promises to be in others. Government deregulation of our financial institutions led to a depression. The Iraq war was not based on hidden weapons of mass destruction. "Prophetess" Cindy Jacobs did not "cure" a woman of her hysterectomy. The Girl Scouts of America do not fund Planned Parenthood.
And The South still has an identity problem after 140 years.
And Newt Gingrich will benefit from that identity problem. For the reasons for Gingrich's win in South Carolina may be the same reasons given by a commenter on US MessageBoard
1. South Carolina is the is the hotbed of Evangelicals and KKK.
2. The other favorite of bigoted morons Perry dropped out and endorsed Newt.*
And let's face it, Gingrich's comment about Obama being a "food stamp President" resonated with too many people mired in old prejudices. It's a comment that he has yet to rescind in any way. And if many voters in the South have any sway with Gingrich, he probably never will.
The violence that has surrounded Southern Politics for these last 140 years may be old and hackneyed, but it still exists in horrific splendor to anyone who will listen to its history of lynchings and mayhem. The Southern Poverty law Center lists 989 hate groups among the 48 contiguous states, with 433 of the in 12 Southern states.** The state with the highest number - not surprisingly - is Texas (59). The correlation between the high number of executions in the state and its number of hate groups presents a chilling mindset.
And another chilling thought: will there be more cat-killing to come during this election year?
Or will there be ... worse?
*I should point out that the thread of that subject was quite interesting with people arguing that SC was not a hate state, while some others posted Klan and N*zi rallies posted on YouTube.
** With a per capita average making the Southern states 4 times higher than the rest of the country.
Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books " Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...