Saturday, September 12, 2009

On Tea and (Little) Sympathy II

I am watching the C-Span coverage of the "Taxpayer March on Washington," and what is most shocking to see is the lack of racial diversity in the crowd. Note that I did not say "most surprising." Having been a part of that massive friendly crowd of people inauguration weekend was shocking in a completely different way: it felt like everyone was there. Every type of American seemed to make his or her way to Washington that weekend in January.

I can say with all honesty that I do not understand these folks' anger. I do not understand their fear. I do not understand why people think that someone is trying to wrest the country away from them.

I think that many of these people see the country they want that would make "Pleasantville" seem cosmopolitan. I would also guess that they are looking amongst themselves and seeing "real" Americans. And those of us who were in my town in January weren't "real" Americans?

(here is my first "On Tea and (Little) Sympathy" post)


TC said...

For whatever reason, 90%+ of blacks vote Democrat.

Why would you expect an anti-Democrat (Congress and the WH are currently in Democrat hands) rally to be something otherwise?

Clancy said...

The rally was against the Democratic Party? Strange that, based on the signs I saw, and folks giving interviews, it seemed to be an odd mixture of libertarians, secessionists, and NRA members. (You can always spot the true libertarians, because they seem to hate the GOP just as much as they hate Dems.)

The anti-debt folks confuse me the most: I get being anti-debt, but where were they the last 8 years? It's troubling--and hypocritical--that it suddenly becomes important to them now.

hscfree said...

@TC: You really have no idea why black folks have supported the Democratic Party? Really? Remember where you grew up, and review the political history of the state. Now review the "Southern Strategy" implemented by the Nixon WH, and continued until Ken Mehlman apologized in the very recent past. Those things should give you a start on understanding why black folks, who in the 19th and early 20th centuries supported the GOP, support the Democratic party still.

I also agree with Clancy's question. Was the rally today specifically anti-DEMOCRATIC (where in the hell did this "Democrat" as opposed to Democratic weirdness come from?)?

hscfree said...

I also agree with Clancy that this sudden concern for the debt and deficit spending is indeed hypocritical. For six of Bush's eight years, the GOP ran everything. Where were the rallies about the drunken sailor spending from the folks who now feel tread upon, who are concerned about pork barrel spending?

TC said...

Maybe the anti-debt, anti-spending folks hit their tipping point when the deficit tripled in one year to $1.5 trillion (a one-year deficit that almost exceeds the 2002-2007 deficits combined and triples the largest previous deficit ever) and when the projected deficits stay over $1 trillion for the next few years. Maybe some of those stayed at home in 2006 and 2008 and helped contribute to the GOP defeats those years.

If you oppose X, you're probably a lot adamant when X increases manifold.

Scott said...

Concern about massive debt is legitimate. Of course it's true that many of those who now profess to be so worried about the deficit had no problem with spending billions to invade a country that had not attacked us, while at the same time cutting taxes on the rich.

Hypocrisy aside, the "big government vs. small government" debate is as old as the arguments between Jefferson and Hamilton. And if anyone thinks that the passion that debate inspires is somehow new, I'd suggest reading some of the things Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Hamilton had to say about each other. "You lie" is mild in comparison.

But there is something more at play here. As a white guy I admit that the whole discussion of racism makes me uncomfortable. I have always wondered what it would be like to be black and not really know if the cop who abuses his power and arrests me in my own home for "disorderly conduct" is simply a prick, or a racist prick. Is the rude waitress simply a rude person, or only rude to black people? How can you know?

I do think that maybe sometimes black folks are too quick to see racism in white people who are simply acting like assholes, but may not necessarily be racist assholes. I hear people talking about "code words" for race and sometimes I see it...but sometimes I think, huh?
But then...I've never been black, so I'm not sure I even have a right to an opinion on that.

All that said, I do see a strain of angry racism in a lot of the protests. In the break-room at work I overhear the racist things some of my fellow white workers say that immediately change to a discussion of football or NASCAR as soon as a black person walks into the room.

The level of anger and frustration can't be explained by a concern over economic policy or health care reform. For some...maybe just a small's about a black man as President. I guess we aren't really a post-racial society after all.

hscfree said...

@TC: If I am not mistaken, isn't this the first time that the entire budget has been published for the nation to see, including the costs for the wars? If that is the case, then I would rather have the information up front and no longer be subjected to the smoke and mirrors that we experienced in the past.

@Scott: I've wondered what it would be like not to have to take race into consideration at all, to have race jump out at you, like it does for whites when the charge of
"racism" is presented.

I am that weird guy who really tries to avoid the term racist, unless it's so clear that Helen Keller could tell me all that she saw and heard. Sometimes, it is totally difficult to tell whether or not someone is simply an asshole or a racist asshole.

I will say that I sometimes feel that people who aren't black have every desire to wish for the past to be the past when it comes to issues of race. In all honesty, I marvel at my family members who lived through the terrible, and for many black folks they were terrible (outside of the realm of the family or black community), times of the past. For example, my mother, her sisters and her cousins were among the first blacks to integrate my hometown's schools in the early 1960s, and they had some interesting stories to tell (some good, some more not so good).

Race is so much in the American dna, and it has been such a shameful component of our past, that I can imagine that many folks want to "look beyond" it, or "transcend" it. The problem is that the past always informs the present, and we, as Americans, are not the best at honest reflection, particularly when it comes to race. But then again, I am not sure that any of us would recognize honest reflection if it was sitting next to us.

Scott said...

Free, I think the reason some of us read your blog is that we do in fact recognize honest reflection when it's sitting next to us.

Anonymous said...

Free I like when you get mad. Often I think you're not angry enuf...although of course it's none of my bidness.

hscfree said...

@Anon: Anger is too emotional for my tastes generally. LOL. But there are times when I do get mad; trust me on that.

Anonymous said...

Uh...Bridge to Nowhere? Where was their outrage then? Don't recall any rallies protesting that.