Thursday, March 12, 2015

Right-Wing Racist Dog Whistles (Apparently Only Audible to the Left)

Yesterday, I made the mistake of making what I thought was a fairly innocuous comment to a friend's Facebook post making fun of Obama's comments in SC about guns being more readily available in some neighborhoods than vegetables and books. The conversation in the comments had turned to the inability to find a political compromise to address gun violence in our society, with liberal commenters complaining about conservative resistance to what they categorized as "common sense gun laws".

I pointed out the incontrovertible fact that gun violence is disproportionately a problem amongst certain socioeconomic subcultures, that some African American communities were particularly impacted, that effective policies to stem gun violence needed to address the underlying causes of this disparity. In my opinion, broad brush gun law reform, whether arguably common sense or not, would not address this country's high rate of gun violence when compared to other developed democracies, because gun violence statistics are heavily influenced by criminal activity concentrated in these destructive American subcultures.

I further argued that these violent subcultures, whether they are inner city blacks or Appalachian whites, shared common characteristics, among them a heavy reliance on government welfare programs, and asked why progressives refused to consider whether their preferred policies contribute to the perpetuation and exacerbation of the "two Americas"
This resulted in a liberal poster labeling this a "blame the n*******" argument, and saying he wouldn't engage with thinly veiled racism.

Now, in my opinion, labeling someone a racist absent a compelling justification is just a step below actual racism. It is a personal assault on a person's character informed by nothing other than prejudice. In this case, an assumption that because I was arguing a conservative position, my argument was rooted in racism. I refuse to accept such slander without response, and I became increasingly vulgar and insulting as the so-called liberal doubled down on his accusations of racism. I don't regret or apologize for that; vulgar attacks sometimes deserve a vulgar response.

The belief that conservative ideology is, at its core, motivated by racial animosity, is a cancer infecting left-wing ideology and, in my opinion, a significant (if not the main) contributor to the deterioration of political discourse in this country. It is a conceit born of progressive propaganda, with little factual basis, and it needs to stop.

The idea that racism remains as prominent a feature in American politics today as it was prior to the Civil Rights movement relies on the widespread left-wing belief that southern racists simply switched parties following the passage of the Civil Rights Act, enticed by the Republican party's use of the so-called Southern Strategy, the substitution of racist code-words or "dog whistles" for overt racial appeals, neatly encapsulated by Lee Atwater's bombshell interview during Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign.

Except, that the damning quotes trumpeted by the left are taken wildly out of context.

To my liberal friends, I make this humble request. Read the attached, comprehensive assessment of Atwater's interview with an open mind. Don't get hung up on his coarse language, but consider the message he was trying to convey, that, thanks to the courage of the Civil Rights movement, appealing to white racism had lost its effectiveness as a political strategy, and that new issues, not racist dog whistles, could be used to appeal to Southern voters.

The Lee Atwater quotes trumpeted by the left are the smoking gun indicting the Republican Party and, by extension, conservatives, as the legacy of America's racist past. The fact that left-wing media have intentionally distorted those quotes to perpetuate a long-running slander should give any fair-minded liberal pause before they assume the moral high ground in political disagreements.

I am not arguing that racism is no longer a concern in this country, but I am arguing that applying 1960 labels to 21st century politics is both inaccurate and socially damaging. Conservatives and liberals prioritize social issues differently, but most Americans want to preserve and create the best possible society for our progeny, regardless of our political orientation.

Anyone who thinks they have all the answers is a fool. That is why we have to be willing to discuss issues across partisan boundaries, and why we need to listen to opposing arguments without making prejudicial assumptions that feed our own egos and sense of moral righteousness.!

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