Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Joe Biden's "Chains" of Slavery: Who Would Have Guessed That Mitt Romney is a Closet Black Nationalist?



Does Mitt Romney have a dashiki in his closet? Is he hiding bean pies and bow ties in his garment bag?

Apparently, Joe Biden wants to put "you people" back in chains. Barack Obama is also running a political campaign of hate, anger, and division. Such claims by "Bat Bain" Mitt Romney and the "Boy Wonder" Paul Ryan reek of the rancid stink of desperation. How low will Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the Tea Party GOP sink before election night in November?

It is clear to most thinking people that Joe Biden spoke a plain truth when he suggested that the banks, credit card companies, and the financier classes basically have the American people in a state of debt peonage. By rolling back modest consumer protections enacted by President Obama, the Tea Party GOP and Mitt Romney would only make our shared pain even worse.

In these heady political conversations, we must be careful to not forget how chains are actually pretty useful objects. Chains hold bikes to poles so that thieves will not abscond with them. My dog wears a chain so that he will not run off, acting the fool, and get hit by a car. Some people like to play with chains for fun. I like professional wrestling for example, and miss the old school, chain wrestling, Texas catch-as-catch-can style matches from the 1970s and early 1980s. There are also criminals who need to be in chains so that good citizens, and we civilians, will be kept safe from harm.

In all, the vast majority of references to chains have little to do with the horrors of slavery, the Middle Passage, and the Black Holocaust. That Romney's campaign would play with such historically potent imagery--efforts made even more insincere given the Tea Party GOP presidential nominee's blatantly racist Barack Obama is a lazy negro welfare king ads--is not surprising.

In the United States, the history of black Americans is commonly denigrated, made fun of, and mocked by the Right. Moreover, conservatism and racism are one in the same in post Civil Rights America. Consequently, a not so refined mix of race baiting and racial demagoguery is the air that the New Right breathes; it offers them life and sustenance. People can also get high and die from oxygen poisoning; an oxygen rich environment can also burn you alive. If Romney and Ryan continue to play with the combustible politics of white racial resentment and overt bigotry they may suffer either outcome: I can only dream that such an improbable turn of events may yet come to pass.

Sometimes a person has no choice but to yield to the absurd in order to protect their sanity. As such, I will take Mitt Romney's obsession with the chains of racism and Joe Biden as an opportunity to have a cathartic laugh, and to turn matters on their ear, in order to expose the foolishness and insincerity which colors the Right's most recent discovery of anti-black racism.

As I alluded to above, chains are very useful and practical. References to chains are also common  in popular music. Given Mitt Romney's obsession with chains, let's help him build a playlist of "chain" related songs to listen to on his jet alongside the theme from the Harrison Ford movie Air Force One.

Updated with your suggestions....

A few suggestions to start us off:

1. Unchained melody by the Righteous Brothers
2. Breaking the Chains by Dokken
3. Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin
4. In Chains by Depeche Mode
5. Chain of Love by Journey
6. Chain Heavy by Kanye West
7. Unchain My Heart by Ray Charles
8. Chains by Carole King and Gerry Goffin (performed by the Beatles)
9. Chain Gang by Sam Cooke

What songs would you add to the list?

19 comments:

theblacktongue said...

Chain Heavy by Kanye West

fred c said...

"Unchain My Heart," by Ray Charles. I had a radio show for a year or so, "English by Songs," in Thailand. I refused to play popular songs, preferring to proselytize the music I love, like "Sick and Tired," by Chris Kenner, for instance, and "Unchain My Heart." Songs using straightforward English to tell simple stories, and exposing Thai people to American music that they'd never heard before.

I explained to my audience, mostly Thai English teachers, some students, and some cosmopolitans, in a small province, that the image of chains was very powerful to American Blacks. V.P. Biden knows it too, and I think he used the image appropriately, and reasonably. The Republican reaction, on the other hand, attempts to twist the use of the imagery to their own purpose.

Absurd, the lengths that they'll go to; and sorrowful that their echo chamber will go for it.

nomad said...

"I hear sumpin sayin'
...hup!...hah!...
Well don't you know
That's the sound of the men
Workin' on the chain...
Gan-an-ang."

or from the song I was jus' listening to last night.

"No chains around my feet but I'm not free" (in this Concrete Jungle)

Aadonis219 said...

Very true @ Nomad. Sam Cooke's "Chain gang" is still to this day both absurdly moving and accurate (privatized prisons give me chills).

makheru bradley said...

The key words here are “back in chains.”

The buffoonery of Joey “The Clown” Biden is only rivaled in American politics by George W. Bush. It was the loose lips of this clown which forced President Obama to come out of the closet and support homosexual marriage. Now he puts the POTUS in the position of having to support the racially insensitive comments of a fool. Who else can “back in chains” refer to, other than the most loyal base of Barack Obama?
The Obama Campaign says that “chains” refer to the pro-Wall Street agenda of Mitt Romney. Well, as my granny used to say “the pot can’t call the kettle black.” What president has been more pro-Wall Street than Barack Obama? Dodd Frank is an absolute joke.

Just last week the “Department of Justice announced it will not prosecute Goldman Sachs or any of its employees in a financial-fraud probe.” Why might that be, considering the destruction caused by Goldman and other Wall Street banks via derivatives and the sub-prime mortgage crisis?

“In 2008, Goldman Sachs employees were among Barack Obama’s top campaign contributors, giving a combined $1,013,091.”

Apparently the “chains” of the Black president are not a problem. It’s the threat of “chains” by a white Republican that drives Black folks berserk; sort of like the reaction to murder of 7-year-old Heaven Sutton versus the reaction to the murder to Trayvon Martin.

As Dr. Asa Hilliard said: “Mental slavery is invisible violence.” Obviously a lot of people don’t realize how much psychological trauma they’ve suffered.

chaunceydevega said...

@Kanye. Romney bumping Kanye...interesting.

@Fred. Great song. The classics are classics everywhere, no?

@Nomad. If there is an audio book for Slavery by Another Name then that song should be the epigraph.

@MB. I imagine you as the brother who shows up at the spades game and gives a lecture about black political economy and thus ruins our good fun. I mean that nicely. I know you must have a song in you, come on, offer it up.

Thrasher said...

Sam Cooke's Chain Gang is one of my favorites..I can see my pop's spinning it right now on the hi-fi
record player..

Kyle D. Younger said...

"Chains" by Carole King and Gerry Goffin (performed by the Beatles).

OTB said...

My vote goes to "Shackles"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZeCtPlkAu4

Biden's talk was about shackles, NOT chains, and he later stated that he meant to say "unshackled" (which makes less sense -- "put y'all back in unshackled"???)

nomad said...

I'm racking my brain for more chain songs. Here's a real oldie, though chain isn't in the title. James Brown:

"Alone night after night you'll find me,
Too weak to break the chains that bind me.
I need no shackles to remind me,
I'm just a prisoner of love."

makheru bradley said...

Sorry to spoil the fun. I do have a song

“Ship Ahoy:” The story of the largest forced migration in history in song. The O'Jays at their very best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1LQNsqp9Fc

“Biden said he meant to say unshackled.” LOL--there is no limit to the incoherent, imbecilic incantations of this buffoon who is one heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States
.

fred c said...

Upon reflection I'd say that Mr. Biden was being insufficiently sensitive to his audience. The "y'all" put it over the top. The message may have been well intended, but the formulation was incautious, and guaranteed to offend some listeners. That's Joe, I suppose. I would have spoken more generally myself.

You know that I always prefer to put things in racially non-specific terms. Chains, not so much, but the Republicans do want to put the working class in the position that they were in during the Gilded Age, with all of the insecurity, poverty and early death that that entails.

It's not just the Republicans, it's the entire moneyed interest cabal. And the "working class" has been expanded to include professionals like doctors and lawyers (and university professors). We're all in the free-fire zone now, and our prosperity is in jeopardy.

So good then that Joe is out there fighting, and speaking to natural allies, but he should be more circumspect about it. The Republican response to his statements proves that he created at least the appearance of impropriety, which is only a short step removed from impropriety itself. Buy the man a dog whistle, for Christ's sake.

fred c said...

About those classics, at first my friends would frankly tell me that they didn't like the music that I played. It was just too unfamiliar to them. Later on the same people told me that they had come to enjoy the music. Classics are classics for a reason, as you suggest. And we're all just people, and capable of responding to the same simple stories set to great music. "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," and "Imagination," (the Jimmy Scott version) were favorites of the locals.

chaunceydevega said...

@mb. great song! you didn't derail at all. i just know that you are probably really funny with a dry sense of humor. thus my request.

@fred. he was putting on the black affect. something about old joe gives him a pass. i could see him at the cookout or the neighborhood bar here on the South Side of Chicago being cool with the people with no anxiety at all. i like him. color me--pardon the turn of phrase--i am cool with dude.

what are some other songs, Motown in particular, that people in your neck of your woods like?

Abstentus said...

Fleetwood Mac The Chain.

nomad said...

Yeh, I have to cosign Biden's clumsy, PC incorrect coolness. What'd he say back in 2008 bout Obama? Clean or sumpin like that. LOL! Not too crazy bout the company he keeps tho'.

OTB said...

@Nomad:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," Biden said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Biden issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying: "I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone. That was not my intent and I expressed that to Sen. Obama."

nomad said...

Foot in mouth disease. Can't be cured.

Anonymous said...

am black and I think Biden is an idiot

I am a black male from the south whose ancestors were slaves and Biden's comment was wrong! Totally wrong. This is the kind of comment that shows how white liberals can be ten times more racist than any right winged republican. To treat the african americans in the audience who in that part of virginia are mostly educated, own land and pay taxes like he is speaking to a bunch of thugs in detroit was insensitive and racist. It was racist even if he would have said it to the underclass in detroit or toledo ohio but blacks of the southeast are a different breed. They know who their great grandma is and where she is buried and they may still own the land she was buried on. They send their kids down to north carolina to be educated in the best schools that the Southeast has to offer so watch out Democrats. Keep up this kind of insensitive sterotyped talk to blacks and loose the upper middle class black vote that hangs in the balance right now. No I am not a far right winged black republican. I am however employed, a manager and pay a lot of taxes for everyone else the rich white folks and the black poor ones and I am sick of being overlooked. Biden when you come to a black middle class area act like it respect the demographic that put you in office this goes for all the other democrats. I don't expect this from republicans but I expect more than a speech with a lot of fear tactics from Joe . Put some substance in your speech when you come to southeastern united states the fomer colonies and watch your mouth!

P.S. Barack anytime you want to get a new running mate like a younger one whose wife is as fine as Paul Ryan's and really get ready to fight for this election let us know there are a bunch of us in D.C. , Viriginia and Atlanta that's ready for that decision.