People remember 1929 as the year of the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression, the global economic disaster which remains the only one in history that dwarfs the one in which we now find ourselves. It was also the year Martin Luther King Jr was born, who wouldn’t live to see 40 years. And it was the year that Langston Hughes graduated from Lincoln University, outside Philadelphia.
Hughes, the grandson of abolitionists and voting-rights activists, was an African-American writer. His poem “A Dream Deferred” begins:
“What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore –
And then run?”
Hughes left Lincoln University, one of the 105 historically black colleges and universities in the US, and spent the rest of his life campaigning for civil and human rights. He died in 1967, two years after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.
Almost 80 years after his graduation, Lincoln students eagerly awaited the opportunity to cast their vote, many no doubt for the first major-party African-American candidate for president, Barack Obama. For years, the Chester County Board of Elections and Department of Voter Services had accommodated the students and community by establishing a convenient polling place on campus, in the gymnasium. In 2008, however, it was moved to a community center, described by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania as “more than a mile from the Lincoln University campus on a winding country road and is virtually inaccessible for students without a car.”
A new phrase recently wormed its way into American political discourse, introduced, apparently, by our very own liberal talking heads, because they believe it impolitic to tell the ugly truth about a certain large sect within the Republican Party; a phrase meant to reference all of those “good ole’ boy” Republican synonyms for the deeply, abiding racism the Republican party invited into its ranks with hugs and kisses after the Democratic party took the issue of civil rights away from the Elephants.
That profound racism has had many expressions before: calling a man a boy or a monkey, Willie Horton, the Southern Strategy, birtherism, Jeremiah Wright, the poll tax, the literacy test, lynching, lunch counters, fire hoses, fire bombs, buses, viscous and growling dog fangs, being called uppity, federal troops, assassinations, voter fraud, voter suppression, finger wagging, shouts of “You lie!” etc.. To be nice to the Republicans, we now call the collection of these epithets and symbolic actions “the dog whistle,” and that phrase refers to race, or “otherness,” particularly regarding African-Americans. It implies black Americans are somehow less American, less patriotic, less hardworking, and less-deserving of an equal chance for success in America than are white Americans. It implies that whites do the work in America while blacks and Latinos abuse the social safety net by living off of benefits provided by white tax dollars. As Rachel Maddow pointed out on her news hour on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, the “dog whistle” is always the last resort of a losing Republican presidential candidate, with the possible exception of John McCain.
Maybe. But maybe the dog whistle is always used by Republicans. Maybe we just now need a euphemism for the wide ranging forms Republicans express their solidarity with the Caucasian race because only now have we elected an African-American as President of the United States. Maybe the election of 2010 was “The Great White Backlash” against the 2008 election of President Barak Obama, putting the House in Republican hands, and many states in absolute Republican control. As a result, President Obama looks ineffective, and the states have been able to pass legislation that virtually guarantees no African-American will be elected to the White House for many years to come. Maybe America remains a ferociously, racist country and the Obama presidency a fluke of historical coindence: the growing senility of a senior Senator’s candidacy, the absurd choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate, and the economic crash on the eve of the 2008 election.
The “dog whistle” is an appeal to the white voter’s fear that former minorities will someday rise up and control the machinery of power in our country–the state, with all of the brute force it commands. It is the same fear once felt by white South Africans when they refused to end apartheid in a world that had proved their fear to be unfounded. The dog whistle raises fears of paying reparations for slavery, and of final accountability for the physical, social, economic, and political crimes that nearly every white voter secretly knows or intuits has been committed against minorities in the long and violent rule of the white majority in America. The specific phrase “dog whistle,” apparently refers to talking over the heads of minorities, in a manner beyond their intelligence to grasp, so only white people understand the message, just as a dog whistle can only be heard by dogs.
By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
A Republican judge in Lubbock, Texas told a reporter on Tuesday that he and other officials are making plans for the possibility of “civil war” if President Barack Obama is reelected, warning that should the president cede control of the country to the United Nations, he’d prevent troops from entering the county.
“He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens?” Lubbock County Judge Tom Head (pictured, left) asked a reporter for a local Fox News affiliate during an interview that was supposedly about county business.
“I’m thinking the worst,” he deadpanned. “Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy. Now what’s going to happen if we do that? If the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops.”
Head concluded: “I don’t want ‘em in Lubbock County, okay? So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say ‘you’re not coming in here.’ And the sheriff, I’ve already asked him. I said, ‘You gonna back me?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll back you.’ Well, I don’t want a bunch of rookies back there. I want trained, equipped, seasoned veteran officers to back me.”
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/23-0
America was born with a great soul, a moral view of Democracy in which citizens care about their fellow citizens and join together to take responsibility not just for themselves but for each other, for America as a union, a joint enterprise. The government’s job was to carry out that moral vision and to do so it created what we call The Public, the provision of basic protection and empowerment for all.
From the beginning of America, the Public provided roads and bridges, public schools, hospitals, a national bank, a patent office, police, a justice system, public buildings and records, and more. Since then the Public has expanded as public needs have expanded — sewers, clean water, public transportation, public health and disease control, scientific research, the internet, GPS, an energy grid, parks, and much, much more.
The Public provides freedom, the freedom to use what the Public provides to live a decent life and to start businesses. Without the public, there would be no American way of life, no freedom to live a decent life, to run or work in businesses, or work as a public servant. The Public carries out the work of America’s soul.
Budgets are moral documents. National, state, and local budgets are commitments about where and how to carry out the work of America’s soul, or to abandon it. A national budget that abandons the Public and the freedoms it gives us is selling America’s very soul. Such a budget is the Devil’s Budget. It uses numbers for an evil purpose: to rob us of our basic everyday freedom.
Who would propose a Devil’s budget, and why?
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/23-0
Tue Aug 21, 2012
That cynical ploy of the Romney/Ryan plan to gut Medicare, but to keep the senior vote by putting those cuts off on the next batch of retirees, is looking increasingly empty. That’s because their plan to repeal Obamacare, and to “restore” the $716 billion in provider cuts, means that Romney/Ryan will either have to make up those funds with revenues or with cuts to current seniors, because without that money, Medicare becomes insolvent by 2016. The Republican allergy to new revenue pretty much determines they’ll squeeze that money out of seniors, and Romney advisers are admitting it.
Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie was the first to admit they’d target current seniors by raising the eligibility age for Medicare. And now another adviser is admitting that benefits cuts are definitely on the table.