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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today’s Republican Party, Ladies and Gentlemen

A George W. Bush appointed Republican judge in Montana “jokes” that the President is Black because he is the result of the union of his mother with a dog, meanwhile a Republican candidate in Illinois indulges in Holocaust denial. Just awful people.


jimf said...

> Just awful people. . .

But just like I remember my own family, like you remember yours,
and like so many Fox-News-watching "just ordinary folks" diner-goers
I get to overhear in Queens and New Jersey. (I **never overhear**
"left wing" remarks at the places I frequent. On the other hand,
I don't live in Berkeley. Or even Manhattan, for that matter.)

But speaking of New Jersey -- I could swear that the "Gay and Lesbian
Studies" section at the 3 Barnes & Nobles in my area have been
steadily shrinking in recent years. And in fact, one of the 3 stores had
a major move-the-sections-around (and expand the kids' merchandising)
reorganization recently, and I went looking for the "Gay and Lesbian Studies"
section, and **I couldn't find it**! (It's never in the "Sexuality"
section -- which is always next to "Relationships", "Self-Help",
and "Psychology"; it's always next to "Cultural Studies", and
"Women's Studies". But I couldn't find it anywhere.)

jimf said...

A blog comment:
Re: A Cruel Joke

Well, this type of joke is standard fare in my neck of
the woods. Why should anyone be surprised that just
because someone is a federal judge that they would view
things any differently than your standard, working class

by Richard Bachman on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 10:03:45 AM EST

Dale Carrico said...

Given that judges perform a function that requires for its intelligibility and force on a reasonable expectation of impartiality it seems to me the biases that make for "standard fare" may conflict with the "higher standards" of his position. I don't think this is an impeachable offense, but I do think people in public life, especially in responsible positions, should confirm the respect they have for their offices far more often than they seem to do by resigning from them when their conduct suggests disrespect.

About the glbtq sections of bookstores -- you have probably noticed that many glbtq publications, the gamut from academic press series to popular periodicals, have also folded and maybe these shrinking sections reflect that, er, wider shrinkage. Or maybe this is a displacement of don't ask don't tell onto a new institutional domain? I have to say I'm not happy about the incredible shrinking glbtq movement -- although I can't say I am particularly surprised that the recent spate of scattered superficial successes of the most consumer-friendly portion (military service, gay marriage) of what began as radical gay liberation struggle is showing signs of seeming quite content to call it day before getting on with the actually radical actually emancipatory queer liberation struggle gay liberation flowered into, before even actually securing the victories they were already cheerfully settling for. Grumpy old pinko commie queer rant over and out.

jimf said...

> Today’s Republican Party, Ladies and Gentlemen
From _Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion,
Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism_
by Darren Dochuk. W.W. Norton, 2010

The dominant narrative of evangelical politicization goes something
like this: After decades of exile from public life following a series
of embarrassing and highly publicized defeats in the 1920s,
Bible-carrying Christians entered politics in the 1970s. Led by
preachers-cum-pundits like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson,
an entire generation of Christian conservatives mobilized in
response to issues like racial integration, abortion, and gay rights.
Almost overnight, this army of holy warriors, marching under the
banner of the Moral Majority, descended upon the nation’s capitol
with a goal of resurrecting the mythical “Christian America” of yore.

As with all generalizations, this narrative contains nuggets of
truth. But, as Purdue University professor Darren Dochuk argues. . .
the traditional account obscures a fascinating regional and
political tale. . . [which] begins with the migration of hundreds
of thousands of white evangelical Christians from the
“western South” -- states like Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas --
to the West Coast. And it ends with the political ascendancy of
Ronald Reagan, who claimed the presidency in 1980 thanks largely
to the efforts of a unified evangelical electorate. . .

Arkies, Okies, and Texans. . . migrated to [California] in
the 1930s and 1940s in hopes of finding well-paying jobs. These
Dust Bowl migrants carried with them their deeply held religious faith,
as reified in the numerous Baptist, Pentecostal, and
Churches of Christ congregations that cropped up all along the
West Coast in these years. Soon, these evangelicals discovered
that their native Californian neighbors were not always sympathetic
to their Southern ways. . .

jimf said...

Those who defected to the Republican Party often felt that they
had betrayed their southern heritage and a political vision that
rightly provided for the poor and dispossessed. Those who stayed
true to the party of their youth were increasingly alarmed by
California Democrats’ visions of a racially egalitarian,
politically progressive New Deal society -- a vision that challenged
evangelicals’ notions of white privilege, self-determinism,
and economic security.

In a few short years, political shifts within both parties
finally forced evangelical Democratic stalwarts to the realization
that a change was necessary. That change came in the form
of an alliance between evangelicals and big business—an
alliance that linked disenfranchised plain folk Democrats
with pro-capitalist conservative businessmen and intellectuals,
both Christian and non-Christian alike. Partially an effort
to prevent permanent New Deal reforms from taking hold,
and partially an effort to create a united conservative
coalition that could challenge an encroaching liberalism
at the state and federal levels, this alliance ultimately
succeeded in bringing evangelicals out of the economic
and cultural margins and into the mainstream. More importantly,
this alliance worked to unite the politically fragmented
segments of evangelicalism, enabling these Christians
“to continue their errand for Christian Americanism together”. . .

[Accumulating] ever-increasing amounts of social and economic capital. . .
[i]n the postwar years, many of Southern California’s white evangelicals
ascended into the burgeoning upper-middle class and secured lucrative jobs
in the region’s expanding industrial and professional economy. Now secure
in their newfound wealth, evangelicals replaced Depression-era economic
concerns with fear of communist infiltration and “one-world-order schemes”
(as they often described the United Nations). Southern-born celebrity
preachers like Billy Graham drew on these fears. . .

[E]vangelical entrepreneurs formed alliances with suburban housewives
and right-wing politicos to create a subcultural network of evangelical
schools and colleges [which] they hoped, would produce students
dedicated to Protestant nationalism and free-market values. . .

Evangelicals’. . . desires. . . now merged with more mainstream conservative
aspirations -— national defense, individual autonomy from the state,
racial privilege -— to spur political activism. . .

jimf said...

Evangelicals increasingly believed that their goal of a Christian America
would come not just through evangelization but also through legislation. . .
[T]hrowing their considerable resources behind the presidential campaign
of Barry Goldwater. . . California evangelicals enlisted their churches,
schools, associations, and ministries on behalf of the Republican contender.

When this campaigning failed. . ., liberal commentators declared the
death of conservatism and almost giddily dismissed evangelical activism
“as a final, fruitless attempt to thwart modernity”. Their conclusions
were woefully short-sighted. . . Goldwater’s defeat. . . set the stage
for. . . Ronald Reagan.

They had looked askance at Richard Nixon, suspicious of his sympathies
toward silk-stocking Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller; they had supported
Goldwater despite his Jewish heritage and nominal Episcopalian faith. . .
Reagan. . . claimed their same born-again faith. . . [E]vangelicals --
comfortably ensconced in upper-middle-class respectability
and pristine suburban enclaves by the late 1960s and early 1970s -- praised
Reagan. . . [who] would run on a Republican agenda. . . in command of the
political center. . . proclaiming a “color-blind conservatism” that placated
evangelicals’ desire to address “the race issue” without resorting to liberal
schemes like civil rights activism or big-government intrusions like
social programs. . .

Reagan galvanized the evangelical electorate, uniting them as a consolidated
and influential voting bloc. . .

Once provincial and divided, these Bible-toting Christians now constituted
one of the most powerful and visible movements in American society.
They had cultivated more than a modicum of intellectual respectability
and. . . middle-class mobility. . . [T]heir Sunbelt alliance [comprised an]
informal network linking Los Angeles to Oklahoma City, St. Louis to Miami.

jollyspaniard said...

I get to overhear in Queens and New Jersey. (I **never overhear**
"left wing" remarks at the places I frequent. On the other hand,
I don't live in Berkeley. Or even Manhattan, for that matter.

I live in what is arguably the most progressively minded town in the UK and I don't "hear" progressive remarks very often. If a straight person has a perfectly cordial normal conversation with a homosexual you don't "hear" a progressive remark. If someone makes a disparaging remark about someone due to their sexual orientation or ethnicity that is what sticks out.

Plus racist assholes tend to whine and vent hatred whereas people don'e tend to rant about how tolerant and accepting they are of other people. So you can't measure progressiveness by counting noise in my view as there's selection bias and assymetry at work.

I don't have to wander far to hear a bunch of racist assholes mouth off though. I live in a very progressively minded bubble. The neighboring suburbs are full of some pretty reactionary people.