I’ll bet everyone is wondering where are Pat Barrett’s comments on the events of January 2021. 🙂
To be honest, I don’t know who these people are who visit my site but do not comment. The whole point of the blog is dialogue. I see that many of them are in other countries. What I want them to understand, whether they are in their own country or emigrate to this one, is that they do NOT understand what we in this country call the racial divide. They think they do because they compare it to conditions in their own countries. A brief overview of the history of African-Americans will disabuse them of that approach. While comparisons can and are made very fruitfully to the Dalits of India, the Jews of 1930s Germany, the Baha’is of Iran, and many others, the history of African-Americans, like the histories of the aforementioned peoples, is particular, peculiar and unique to them. Else where on this blog I have recounted anecdotes that powerfully demonstrate what Isabel Wilkerson has denominated caste. John Dollard used the same term in 1937 to label what he found in the Southern town he studied, Indianola, Mississippi. Enough said. I am sick of trying to explain our situation here to people who think they understand it, especially when we get to the part where they say that African-Americans need to do!
The upshot is that what we are seeing is a dying gasp of a dangerous animal. It’s like approaching a rhinoceros or lion you have just shot. Don’t be surprised if it jumps up and snatches you up as it keels over dead. This snake is not dead, not quite yet. Over 70 million Americans voted for Trump even after four years of treason and treachery, malfeasance, corruption, psychological disorder, nepotism, disloyalty, perversion, norm breaking, and anti-Constitutional behavior, all abetted by one of the only two major political parties we have. Just as we need to know the history of African-Americans, we need to know the history of that party, the Republicans. Forthwith I present it to you.
OK. Not yet. I want to finish Stuart Steven’s It Was All a Lie. I have read The Coming Storm by Perlstein which takes us up to the crucial Goldwater campaign and the background to it. Stevens book takes us from there. Steve Kornacki’s The Red and the Blue deals with the 90s, the afterbirth – OK, that’s snarky – the transition from the Goldwater Republicans to the Gingrich Republicans. So let me finish Stevens’ book; then I’ll finish this so you can see the trajectory to the events of January 6 and perhaps predict the future trajectory of American politics.
Jan. 11, 2021 I will jump in after reading only a few pages more of Steven’s book, especially where he is describing the secessionist-like ecosphere of right wing media. They, meaning right wing operatives and movers and shakers like Ailes and Murdock, built a separate country within a country. Just now I listened to an NPR broadcast of interviews with people across the country. Among the pro-Trumpers I heard a major element of “what-about-ism,” false equivalency. The one you hear most is that Black Lives Matter demonstrations during the summer are equivalent to what happened on Wednesday, the 6th of January. Or that the anti-war demonstrations of that era were as destructive. As I recall, people demonstrated in front of the Capitol, not from inside it after invading it as a mob. The violence attendant upon some of the rallies this past summer came from two sources as far as I know: hoodlums and extremists in the mix. The latter should have been controlled if the demonstrators had been able to organize and provide marshals. Recall the civil rights demonstrations of the 50s and 60s: very tightly controlled and organized.
The secret to false equivalency is to play on people’s prejudices. This was seen in the reactions around the country to the relaxed manner of the security response to a mob of Whites descending on the city. “What could go wrong? They’re White.” But non-White spells threat to a lot of people, particularly to those in law enforcement, which is why I say the solution to the problems BLM addresses is recruitment methods among police departments.
But after you have excluded bigots from law enforcement and dampened the enthusiasm of authoritarians in your political party, you still have bigots and authoritarians left. The notion that education will eradicate them smells of Communist-lie reeducation camps. No. They exist and they are in the country, which brings me back to Steven’s term, secession. It’s lovely to think about: let all of “them” have their own country and watch with pleasure as it sinks into shithole status. The obstacles to this ever happening are a whole range of mountains. But when my Trumper neighbor said how Arizona was so much better off than California, based in part on his relatives’ assessments of their lives there, then I have no answer except the usual education solutions.