I worked in a bookstore that catered to the John Birch Society, my employers were members. The author Glen Beck is touting now, Skousen, was very, very popular at the time (the very early 60s). All the Bircher and other conservative books were in one section and my employers, being European, had no problem with me arguing with their customers. So I had a grand old time arguing with these Arizona extreme right folks. One was an Episcopalian priest who came into the store and said, on the day J.F.K. was buried, “Too bad they didn’t bury the bitch along with him.” That’s the sort of venom these people felt, not so different from what we are hearing from the anti-Obama people now.
Right along with the books on how America is Christian (Skousen might have looked at that more closely since most of these Christians think Mormonism is a cult, just as Jews who have thrown in their lot with the Evangelicals might want to take a look at what they think about Jews) were books on the threat posed by Black rights.
Now it’s all dressed up in prettified language; we don’t talk about nigger patrol and control but about declaring Confederate History Month. We don’t display outrage that a Black is in the White House but say instead he is not American born, against all reason and evidence. The LDS folks preached openly that Blacks were inferior (until 1978 when the Feds threatened them for discriminating) and Skousen was part of building up the notion that the ’real Americans’, as Palin has it, are of European heritage and of what they assume the White race to be. Pat Robertson is a current exemplar of the Protestant version of this distortion of American history.
Are we two nations? Not one White, one Black, as Andrew Hacker put it, but one stupid and one smart? That’s not possible. So what is it? And, more importantly, do conservatives of conscience distinguish themselves from the reactionary, Tea Party types? Will they step up to say that, contrary to Palin’s pronouncements, I am an American, even if I don’t share Palin’s beliefs on religion and politics and society?
I am having doubts. Help me out here.