Something very interesting and, perhaps, very important happened in Mississippi last Tuesday. By now, everyone reading this knows that US Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi pulled out a remarkable victory in the Mississippi Republican primary for the Senate. He did so by increasing the number of black votes he received between the initial primary two weeks ago and the run off by something over 13,000 votes. While 13,000 votes doesn’t sound like such an enormous number, it has real significance because he only won by just over 6,000 votes. Slice it and dice it anyway you like, those 13,000 additional black voters don’t turn out last Tuesday and Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel is the Republican nominee.
The Tea Party movement is comprised of a great many ideological flotsam and jetsam. Some are true libertarians, some disaffected conservatives still bitter about the social upheaval caused by the 1960s, some genuine idealists who believe in a purer strain of Jeffersonian democracy, some who are channeling John Wayne, and some, I believe most, who believe for racist or nostalgic reasons, that the movement is all about saving Western Civilization for its fundamentally liberalist roots, rule of law, free enterprise and all that.
Unfortunately for history and humanity, these values let people from cultures less appreciative of them exploit them for personal gain. In other words, they work. The fear here is that these newcomers, while effective in bringing themselves up (so to speak) really don’t share the values of Western Civilization, even the ones that allowed them to prosper. It is feared that once they have consolidated power and expanded their wealth, they will happily undermine the culture and the laws based on those values, destroying our civilization (Sort of like the Koch brothers).
For the most part, this fear for our civilization is racist but not exclusively so. In almost every case, it is a fear based upon the perceived loss of the power and clout white people now enjoy. That is why President Obama is such an irrational touchstone of this fear. Whether or not he is American, Kenyan, Canadian or Martian, it is undeniable that he is dark skinned and he is president. Worse, unlike Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, President Obama didn’t marry a white woman, even though his mother was one. The president married a black woman, quite a beautiful one, but black none the less, and fathered two black daughters.
Unlike Thomas, the resident seems not to fear a melanin-rich genetic future for his family. The president seems perfectly comfortable in a world that grows browner by the day. That he apparently feels this way (I have never heard him discuss it, but he acts okay with it) is disconcerting to everyone on the far right and downright terrifying to a sizable majority of them. I am not sure why this would be so based solely upon genetic concerns. After all, for all of us brown grandbabies are only a generation away. This is not a hard game in which to play catch up.
For this reason, even though the outrage of the right is often expressed in racial form, I believe most of it is cultural anxiety based upon the fear of attacks on our valued Western Civilization’s precepts, foundations and beliefs. After almost 1,000 years of Eurocentric engagement between the “West” and the “East” and “South” and the heathen masses of yellows, browns and blacks (I can’t say Redskins any more since I’d lose my copyright claim), it appears they have absorbed the millennial-long blow we have delivered. They have adapted to and/or adopted our stock companies, technology, legal system, division of governmental power, and Robert E. Lee’s university system. That is, they have taken from us what they need and are making it work within their domestic systems and cultures and, all the while, they are an ever-growing percentage of the population in all the primary western democracies.
Hell, they are everywhere. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, western women, mostly white women but westernized women of all colors as well, picked just this critical moment in history to refuse to punch out kids at a competitive rate, so we could avoid being outbred. The political, economic and cultural impacts of this strategic failure of western women’s womb production cannot be overstated. There is a gathering tsunami of brown, yellow and black people from all over the world ready to break upon the dwindling and eroding shores of the world’s educated, white population.
This is the irrefutable underlying fear of the Tea Party in general. Just like Democrats, most “establishment” Republicans recognize this foundational fear and exploit it every chance they get.
For ages Democrats have recognized that this fear can be leveraged to fire up the black, Latino and Asian communities as effectively as the Republicans have used it to fire up the know-nothings in their party. However, the Faustian deal the country club Republicans made with the know-nothing Republicans has built in fault lines. The primary fault line is that establishment Republicans (i) don’t really believe any of their crap and the Tea Party Republicans really do. Republicans have exactly the same problem nations as Pakistan does. They are divided between, on the one hand, people who are essentially modern; that is, people who believe in science, cultural parity between nations, modern social organization at both the family and national levels and McDonald’s (ii) and, on the other hand, people who are essentially medieval; that is, who accept religious mythology as fact, believe that every word of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (not just the “greatest of these is love” part, but the entire mad, crazy thing) are words to live by and govern a family with, cultural exceptionalism (substitute Islamic, American, British, French, Brazilian, Chinese, Russian, etc, as preferred), and Mom’s home cooking .
This Molotov/Ribbentrop arrangement was always a stopgap approach to halting the march to social liberalization set off by the 1960s. Everyone knew it could not last and the wheels would come off sometime. For the truth is, the unholy alliance of the establishment Republicans and the medieval Republicans did keep things like the Treasury Department and the Commerce Department and the EPA in establishment hands during Republican administrations (such places have always stayed in establishment hands during Democratic administrations) and the only cost was the slow, mostly meaningless, impingement of personal freedom being written into the law.
For the most part, cultural liberality went roaring along unimpeded. Unfortunately, the shell game may be running out of peas to hide and is in danger of being left with nothing but shells. There is an ever-widening gap between the laws that seek to govern personal behavior and the actual cultural norms and mores of the governed. At the same time, Tea Partiers are beginning to chafe under the establishment Republicans’ perceived lack of dedication to the national suicide they crave.
The first of these phenomena puts the Republican Party at risk from the Democrats, who, to and man and woman, are quite happy riding down the cultural highway to Hell and know the majority of the voting public agrees with them. The second phenomenon puts the Republican Party into a virtual hostage situation vis-a-vis the Tea Party wing of the organization.
What happened in Mississippi was a desperate act on the part of the Republican moderns to retain power through the dangerous and unprecedented act of admitting to their modernity. This may prove to be an unforgivable act, one the Medievalists can never accept. Should that split become permanent, the nation may find itself in the hands of a three party system, a slightly left of center party (the Democrats), a far right Party (establishment Republicans) and a dancing on the right edge of the Earth party (the Tea Partiers). Of course, this cannot be predicted with any real accuracy. It could be the Tea Party fractures. It could be the Democratic Party fractures. It could be, and I think this the more likely because the Democratic Party is composed almost entirely of whores, the Democrats welcome in the less crazy establishment Republicans and celebrate by taking their money and moving far enough to the right to keep the newcomers happy while the rest of the establishment guys become independents or hold their noises and join the Tea Party.
No matter, the events in Mississippi are important in that they fulfill the prophecy implied in all Faustian bargains. The Devil always gets his. On Tuesday, no matter what, He began the harvest of the Republican Party.
i. An undefined term but generally accepted to mean Republicans who not only know to come in out of the rain, but, also, that you should, while properly disposing of the waste, pour piss out of your boot, should you find some there
ii. I am inclined to agree on the Mom’s home cooking vs McDonald’s issue