Sometimes I just shake my head in dismay. As I have asserted many times in my writings here and elsewhere, one of the great divides in this country--a divide that resonates throughout our political culture--is the force of memory and history. At our best, Black and Brown folks, our Native American brothers, Jewish folk, and others who have suffered under power are deeply historical. We are history. We live history. We embody the past and the present whether we want to or not. We are politicized by virtue of our identity relative to the American polity whether we want to be or not.
There are others who are historical while simultaneously being ahistorical. The neo-Secessionists, the Palin crowd, original intent, nostalgia possessed Right wing are awash in history but their historical prism is one of the good old days. Their lens is myopic. Redemption reigns supreme amidst a memory of a benign Leave it to Beaver infused past--never mind that Jim Crow, as well as restrictive housing covenants and segregation made possible Wally and the Beave's idyllically white childhood. These types talk about history and allude to it. Yet, they are not "historical" people. Conservatives of this stripe are more akin to a particular type of Whiteness that abuses history while practicing selective historical amnesia. As others such as Baldwin and Ellison have said far more sharply, America is a country of amnesiacs where European ethnics could come, forget their origins, and reinvent themselves as White Americans by both hating and distancing themselves from people of color.
Notice once more the importance of the distinction between "Whiteness" and "white people."
The ugliness of White (Conservative) Nationalism is striking in its hold on much of Red State America. The whiteness of the Republican, Right wing, echo chamber is possessed of xenophobia and racism. In total, they should simply own their values as such. The folks who would compare ACORN to the Klan (for a frightening jolt of reality peruse the comments on the Breitbart site) are one step above common bigots. As I said months ago, perhaps they would not hold the rope of the lynching, but these types would buy the postcards, wear their Sunday finery, and buy a bit (or two) of Sam Hose's body as a collectible to pass down to their children and grandchildren.
The piece in question from the popular Conservative website Breitbart's Big Government follows.
Thought: Will Black Conservatives write in and complain about this nonsense? Will they boycott Breitbart's sponsors? Will well-meaning, decent, and intelligent White Conservatives wash their hands of Breitbart's Big Government?
Truly disgusting, yet a powerful barometer of the White backlash that fuels the Right wing populism of the present (and past):
by Michael Zak
Last week, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a crime syndicate dedicated to tightening the Democratic Party’s grip on America, dissolved its national structure. Too much of ACORN’s corruption had been exposed to public scrutiny for it to run its vote fraud and extortion rackets effectively. So, ACORN activists will have to soldier on in state-level organizations, such as New York Communities for Change and New England United for Justice in Massachusetts.
ACORN does indeed operate like the Mafia, but it more closely resembles another organization that began as an affiliate of the Democratic Party, the Ku Klux Klan. Aside from intimidating some bank executives, ACORN does not engage in violence, but like the KKK it has vote fraud as a top priority.
There have been two distinct organizations known as the Ku Klux Klan. The modern-day KKK, with whom most people are familiar, was spawned in 1915 by the Hollywood epic Birth of a Nation, premiered at the White House by a Democrat president, Woodrow Wilson. Cross-burning and other rituals were actually inspired by the movie. The Klan came to dominate the Democratic Party so thoroughly that the 1924 Democratic National Convention was known as the “Klanbake.”
It is not so much this Klan 2.0 that ACORN parallels as the original version. Established in 1866, Klan 1.0 was an affiliate of the Democratic Party during the Reconstruction era. Named for “kuklos,” the Greek word for “circle,” the Ku Klux Klan waged war against the Republican Party in the former Confederate states. Goofy titles for its commanders such as Wizard and Cyclops were intended to disguise the fact that the KKK was a paramilitary organization. In some areas, leadership of the Ku Klux Klan and the Democratic Party were indistinguishable.
Democrats used the Klan to suppress their political opposition, with vote fraud and intimidation and violence. Klansmen aimed at African-Americans, nearly all Republicans in those days, and at white Republicans who tried to help them. Once threatened by the KKK, Republicans could in many cases save their lives only by publicly swearing allegiance to the Democratic Party. According to a southern governor, “Few Republicans dare sleep in their houses at night.”
“The suppression of enough GOP votes could ensure a Democratic victory,” wrote one historian. “There’s no question that Klansmen closely watched the polls” – easy to do before the secret ballot was introduced in the United States in the 1880s. All too often, Republican ballots were not even counted.
Like ACORN, the Ku Klux Klan operated with impunity until Republican politicians and journalists sounded an alarm. In 1869, Nathan Bedford Forrest, the KKK’s Grand Dragon, ordered the Klan disbanded. Why? The national organization was getting too much attention, so Klansmen would have to soldier on in state-level organizations, such as the Red Shirts in South Carolina and the Men of Justice in Alabama. Nonetheless, most members of these spin-off groups considered themselves to be Klansmen.
A congressional investigation reported that “the operations of the Klan are executed in the night and are invariably directed against members of the Republican Party.”
In 1871, the Republican-controlled 41st Congress passed the Ku Klux Klan Act, and a Republican president, Ulysses Grant, signed it. Until overturned by the Supreme Court twelve years later, the law effectively banned the KKK. Federal troops crushed Klan uprisings in South Carolina and Louisiana, while hundreds of Klansmen were convicted in federal court. Law enforcement played a role in eliminating the Ku Klux Klan, but primarily the Klan disappeared because after Democrat regimes replaced the Reconstruction state governments there was no need for Democrats to suppress Republican opposition by covert means when government authorities could do so openly.
Back then, Klansmen had to contend with a Republican administration, but now, with a Democrat in the White House, ACORNistas know that the federal government is on their side. With Eric Holder’s Justice Department condoning polling place thuggery [pictured] and other illicit activity against the GOP, there is less incentive for Democrats to suppress Republican opposition by covert means when government authorities are doing so openly.
The Democrat-controlled 111th Congress has made ACORN spin-off groups eligible for billions of taxpayer dollars. Once an insurgency, community organizers are now part of the establishment. To the victors go the spoils.