Monday, August 3, 2009

Real Americans

Frank Rich's editorial in the Sunday Times was one of the better bits so far about the recent torrent of race baiting from GOP barkers. The upshot of Rich's thinking is that righty-whitey accusations and rants indicate deep anxiety about their soon-to-be minority status.

There's a lot more to it than that, of course. Sure, some people are surely struggling with Big Questions about What Their Country Means; experiences other than Mayberry-certified stories now carry the President's and the Supreme Court's stamp of authority. But some of the vitriol seems motivated by a pure instinct that white folk must not cede their place at the top of the pack.

Thankfully, most of the country isn't listening. The GOP positive numbers are very bad. Even quite a few of the people answering on the positive side must be doing so in spite of the Party leadership's failure to denounce the villains among them. That's some comfort but hardly enough. The emotions mined by candidates appealing to the "Real America" have caused quite a lot of blood-letting in the past. There is no valid reason for a major political party to condone it at all - especially when done in that party's name.

There is no reason for a genteel response to this low-rent blathering. It is not a political position to be respected or accomodated. It is intolerance. Malcolm Gladwell's newest essay lays bare how morally thin that sort of response is, both in fiction and reality. The Jim Crow South is not a role-model.

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