January 14, 2003
The Worst Case Republican Scenario
if patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, then the republican party is the last refuge of white racists. it's important to know, however, that while desparate scoundrels get patriotic, not every patriot is a scoundrel. likewise not every republican is a racist. nevertheless, i will assume the worst for the sake of argument, and that is that america is 15% racist and that every last one of them expresses their politics through the machinery of the republican party. this only encourages my integration plans.
so why don't blackfolks integrate the republican party? to my eyes there are three reasons. the first, and most important, is that they simply don't care. insinuating oneself into party politics is not appealing to most people. in this blackfolks are just typical americans who don't have time to wonk any policy, don't attend enough mixers and conventions and don't blog or otherwise soapbox their way into hearts and minds. party politics is not a working class sport, it's not even a middle class sport. it's a chatting class sport (you know who you are), and like most americans, blackfolks don't engage that much in chatting class activities. especially not when there is so *much* on tv.
the second reason is moderately important. blacks are politically opposed to the policies and practices of the republican party. i won't belabor the point because i think we can all offer a halfway decent guess on what some of these policies and practices are, and since i don't have any statistics handy, i don't want to be on record as saying something incredibly stupid. (aside from the fact that i am hedging this conversation in the colloquial lower case.)
the third and least important, yet most significant reason is that to which i have alluded: the republican party has a WHITES ONLY sign over it, erected by all of its dumbass white racists. so what is a negro to do when faced with a whites only sign? stick with the other negroes of course. black men such as myself have different plans.
i should point out that in the era of jim crow, even whitefolks in the south could be shocked into a recognition that the evil done in their name (yes, virginia, white racists are protecting *your* virginity. you are white aren't you?) was partially their fault. i haven't read any of shelby steele's recent screeds but rest assured that he remains popular because his paying audience are whitefolks who wish to assuage themselves of the guilt imposed upon them by their evil cousins. the answer is rather simple: defect. then those like matt hale will have nobody to defend. but whitefolks are fat, lazy, intellectually sloppy americans just like the rest of us. (well not me of course). and, well, it's nice being white. nice whitefolks don't like the klan but they figure they can keep the klan out of their neighborhood without inviting blackfolks in. nice whitefolks also don't assume that their neighbors are closet klanners. nice whitefolks don't ask, racist whitefolks don't tell. the same holds true for nice republicans.
as defenders of all that is sacred in the sausage-making business of lawmaking and campaign fundraising, party bosses and top dawg congresscritters have developed strong stomachs. since america is a nice place full of nice people, it comes as no surprise that when somebody steps over some line, the bosses make nice. so it came as no surprise to me that trent lott's cross-in-mouth comments were defended at the outset. there are a lot of ugly things out there for which there is no zero-tolerance policy. the republicans know they have a lily white suburb, but if one of their neighbors is an actual racist, it's not nice, but to republicans it can't be tragic. racist votes count as much as any other kind, and who is going to go through all the trouble to prove this 'racism', hmm? the realpolitik of political racism is that the pain is already priced out of the polls for the republicans and they're all sleeping just fine.
strong stomachs and those cute little sleeping blindfolds make for gaffes of biblical proportions which we witness from time to time. occasionally somebody gets hurt, but it's generally somebody's feelings. these hurt feelings, unfortunately, tend to be the leading indicators of black unwillingness to integrate. and while it's true that they don't make blackfolks as robust as they used to and we're all getting soft now that we don't have to battle the klan so often, there are still a good number who are hard as nails.
it may come as a surprise to the lay reader that we in the old school have a strong sense of noblesse oblige, despite the fact that we may not spell it properly. sue me, i'm writing at quarter to two in the morning, what are you doing? this willingness to do battle marks us among humanity's better examples if you ask me. so there is something of a selfless sense of sacrifice involved here, and that's about as aggrandizing as i'm going to get about it.