Southern Views

The exploitation of their own kind being promoted by conservatives and their politicians (it is a mutual admiration society) is not prompted by the race or gender of their victims. While it is natural for the victims of unprovoked attacks to assume they must have done something to prompt this irrational behavior, exploiters don’t require a prompt, just as a lion doesn’t need a prompt to go after a kid for lunch. Besides, and this is why I keep getting exercised by the suggestion that a victim is in any way “responsible” for an assault, when we focus on the victim, the perpetrators get off.

That’s the context for the comment I wrote and posted on an essay on DailyKos about the 10 most racist moments of the primary campaign.

Let me suggest two things–

First, do not adopt the verbiage of Republican political operatives, not even to refute the accuracy of what their candidates say. The current exemplar that should not be repeated is “safety net.” Safety nets are good for high wire acts or window washers on sky scrapers. They are in no way, with holes or without, an adequate response to people not having sustenance, shelter, education and medical care when they are sick or injured.

There is nothing to be gained from using that verbiage. Just as there is nothing to be gained from arguing about how strong or weak social security should be. Conservatives are literal people and while feeling secure is attractive, relying on “socials” doesn’t make them feel good. Democrats should be talking about the pensions in which they have invested and making sure they’re not wasted by Wall Street.

Secondly, keep in mind that conservatives are not only literal people, but they live in the present tense. They do not like plans (never have) because they are not able to think ahead and their memories are not very good either. Their political operatives know that. That’s why that fellow on with Rachel Maddow on Tuesday kept talking about the party of Lincoln and the champions of racial justice. There is no point in arguing “yes, but …..the southern strategy.” Ordinary conservative folk don’t like strategy, but they hear the word “yes.” So, when there’s disagreement following it means Democrats are being disagreeable and inconsistent.
Do you see how this works?

Republican political operatives are cued into speech. That’s why they buy radio ads and have talk radio programs in their stable and put out “sound bites” to be repeated endlessly. Romney’s voice is not as easily recognizable as was Reagan’s or John Wayne’s, or as Obama’s could be, if more sound bites were played.

It is estimated that between 15% and 35% of American adults are functionally illiterate. This means, for sure, that they do not LIKE to read and write. It also mean that they get their information aurally and transmit it orally. That’s what humans did for the most part until less than a century ago. The oral history tradition of Africa wasn’t because there was no written language, it was because in close communities, it isn’t necessary to write. If you can trust your neighbors, it’s not necessary to write. The Persians invented accounting because they were trading all over the Mediterranean.

Saying that people don’t get ahead economically because they don’t read and write is an excuse. Though, it is true that, if they can’t read the small print, documents make it easier to cheat people.

Cheating people is not racism. Cheating people is part of the pattern of extortion that’s been followed since the first “trader” and “explorers” arrived with charters from the crowned heads of Europe for lands they didn’t own. Charters. Did charters ever represent a fair exchange? A charter is an instrument issued by authority, part of a hierarchical system. That’s not racist, either. It’s exploitative. Exploitation is color blind and gender neutral. Anybody can do it. Although, when you come right down to it, people who exploit probably do it because they are otherwise talentless.

What talent does Willard Romney have other than a gift of gab and the ability to parrot talking points? Why are Republicans offering up those sorry excuses for candidates? Because they have no respect for the electorate. Dufus Romney might as well be the Dauphin of France.

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Photo by candid via Flickr photostream, used with Creative Commons 2.0 License.

Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."