When It’s Racist, Say So
The current political efforts of some conservative and Tea Party leaders smack of rank racism. Yes, that’s strong language, but there’s no other way to describe their odious behavior. It harkens back more than a half century ago, recalling the white segregationists’ efforts to stop the unstoppable civil rights movement. No one has brought out the fire hoses and German shepherds . . . yet.
But the language is sickly familiar. Right-wing extremists talk of state’s rights and loss of freedom and, most disgustingly, “taking back our country.” That’s the language of the disgraced, of 1960s racist reactionaries such as Alabama police officer Bull Connor, Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox, Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, and Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus.
It’s the infamous southern strategy redux, which was developed by Richard Nixon, perfected by Republican political strategist Lee Atwater, and exploited by his acolyte Karl “Bush’s Brain” Rove. Now here comes Kentucky GOP Senate hopeful Rand Paul, a darling of the Tea Party movement, who boldly told several audiences, including his state’s leading newspaper, that a provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act struck him as unconstitutional because it infringes on the rights of white business owners to exclude black patrons from their establishments.
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