Sunday, September 9, 2012
David Blight’s modest proposal, Frederick Douglass and why each of us should vote
Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War of Independence underlines the sharpness of the racism about the American Revolution still prevalent even among well-meaning history teachers and widely expressed in the commercial media. For black soldiers on the Patriot side as well as the Loyalist gave their lives at the battle of Yorktown; most of the corpses, reported Georg Daniel Flohr, a German private fighting for the Patriots, were “Mohren” (Moors, blacks). After this revelation which is underlined in my book, no one should speak of blacks as an adjunct, a few thousand Crispus Attucks's somehow incidental to the main event or a portion of Royal troops interesting from the point of view of identity politics but not central. Instead, blacks - and their and their white allies' struggles against bondage - were key soldiers of the Revolution, both in the fighting and in its consistency as a movement for human freedom.
The Democratic convention just concluded, a multiracial group, renominating Bsrack Obama to preserve and extend medical care to ordinary people, maintain social security, honor veterans, promote some public expenditure on common good sustaining projects (transportation, green energy) and not make too many wars (the danger of aggression against Iran continues). What it proposes to do is not enough. One needs a mass movement like Occupy to make these programs real and deeper.
Still, Barack's speech, Michelle’s, Bill Clinton’s and Joe Biden’s underlined forcefully the “Republican” obsequiousness to inequality. That party disguises and lies about the details of its program because it seeks to steal all this money from ordinary people and give it to the .0001%. There has rarely been an American election where the alternative is this stark. Call it an historic shift election with the "Republicans" avid to destroy what was decent in the New Deal.
Is Obama good? Well, mainly yes and importantly, no. He is a decent man who hopes, initially, to conduct policies which sustain the middle class (including but not necessarily the poor). And with the stimulus and medical care and the extension of civil rights for gays and lesbians and on other matters, he has done this.
But he is also the American President – the President of an Empire featuring militarism (the war complex and a more than trillion dollar a year expense, 1,280 military bases abroad - the chief competitor, the French, have 5 in former French colonial Africa- and the like). Obama has become an accomplice to torture, letting the elite war criminals go free while himself torturing Bradley Manning (he stopped after 9 months when protestors confronted him at a Democratic fund-raising party in San Francisco) and punishing Manning and other democrats who leaked true information about American government crimes. His administration has also fought habeas corpus for Guantanamo prisoners (see the New York Times editorial "A Court Denounces 'Executive Fiat' on the words of Royce Lamberth, a serious Judge of the Federal Distict Court yesterday here).
Last week Bishop Tutu spoke movingly of how he could not be at a conference with the war criminal Tony Blair. See here and Ray McGovern here. Yet Tutu's statement only condemned the criminal act of aggression in Iraq, not all the tortures and murders in custody (100 by Pentagon statistics) Bush committed and Blair/MI6 illegally and immorally watched/participated in/gained “information” from.
The case that Blair (and Bush – and all their high official colleagues) should be brought before the International Criminal Court in the Hague is thus powerful, both as Tutu indicates, and even more strongly than Tutu indicates. Since America will not prosecute despite its obligation in the Convention against Torture (signed by President Reagan in 1986 and ratified by Congress in 1994; such treaties are, by Article 6 section 2 of the Constitution, the Supremacy Clause, the highest law of land), any other government can arrest these former officials if they go abroad.
Fascinatingly, Michael Kochin, a reactionary Israeli political theorist, a Straussian, who is also a partisan of Greater Israel and criminal acts against the Palestinians (he also undermines the security and integrity of jews), hails Bush and speaks of the “’Bush lied about Iraq’ lie.” But he cites no facts. On the contrary, the evidence is extremely good that Bush and for that matter, Colin Powell knew the testimony of Saddam’s son-in-law Hussain Kemal who had defected to the CIA and MI-6 that Saddam had destroyed the weapons of mass destruction he had been given by the United States (the son-in-law who had been in charge of Saddam’s weapons program, decided later to return to Iraq, and Saddam murdered him). See here. Bush and Powell used other parts of Hussein Kemal's testimony in speeches, while concealing the document that reveals their lie.
Or there are the Downing Street memos including the need to trick – “wrong-foot” – Saddam because he had missiles that might go longer than 150 km. - the Coalition's restriction from the first Gulf War - but not ones that would endanger "London in 45 minutes." The Downing Street memos reveal Blair’s claim not as hysteria - the implausible, alternate possibility - but as simply a calculated lie. Or consider, as exemplary among lying, Condi Rice's brazen “the smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud” in America. See here.
Kochin’s reactionary denial - an exercise in mere sound, without counter evidence - was rejected very forcefully by Dee Ann Davis (see this discussion on my Facebook page for September 2 here). But this canard itself echoes the unmooring of American politics in the emergence of a radical anti-conservative party, one geared to authoritarianism (the leader will make the laws after the show of buying the election; there are no checks and balances which “commander in chief” power need respect, and so forth), imperialist aggression (even to attack Russia as well as Iran), one out to smash the welfare state and drive even more people into poverty, one rooted in the denial of science – about climate change and about government spending as the way of overcoming a depression as opposed to the planned austerity for ordinary people which deepens it.*
In contrast, since the Magna Charta in 1218, conservatives believe in habeas corpus, the right of each prisoner to a day in court and not to be tortured as the foundation of a system of law. In addition, conservatives often oppose crusading imperial wars.
This party is thus misnamed "conservative" in the American commercial media but there is no longer anything conservative about the so-called Republican party. It is not the party of Lincoln and Douglass below, but of authoritarian imperialism and nothing but impoverishment for the 99%, bought by Sheldon Adelson, David and Charles Koch, and other billionaires...
DemocracyNow caught Romney subserviently shaking hands with Charles Koch at the Republican convention on the way to give his speech; CNN flashed away, just for that moment, to two cheering women, and then back to Romney...
Now the Republican program to hide these corrupt, tyrannical aims from the American people for the period of the election is: racism and foreign-baiting. The Mormon candidate who should oppose discriminations instead styles himself loudly an “American,“ he and his wife “born here,” to attack a black President. Romney never makes a speech without invoking his alleged standing for “America” (this representation is falsely made in the name of “free enterprise,” but is really for using the government and "laws" to funnel even more money to the .001%) as opposed to the other (the "un-American" "foreigner" who supposedly stirs up bad things as conjured in anti-radical ideology**).
Now to be the President of an Imperial power, the leading one in the world, is mainly to do bad things. That Obama has in the stimulus and health care done some very good things – sparked a recovery to some extent and a green economy and saved the auto industry and all the related jobs and guaranteed health coverage for each (at least, no disqualification for "preexisting conditions" and the like) is unusual. The unexpected possibility of Obama's Presidency was brought about by a political – two losing occupations – and economic collapse.
Still, many feel (I will write more about this) that a vote for Obama approves the corruption of the regime.
But this sentiment misreads the situation. As Chad Kautzer, a philosopher at the University of Colorado at Denver, put it at a forum to Occupy last week, if Romney is President, we will have to fight for a woman’s right to choose and to legalize abortion again. Chad would prefer not to go back, not to have to take up this fight - one's energy for public life is not unlimited - to the exclusion of others…
And we will have to fight over contraception…
If Romney is President, we will have to fight against the privatization of social security, the voucherization of medicare or slicing of it in a quarter over a lifetime, the inability of those 65 and older to pay for treatment, and the disappearance of Medicaid (devoted largely, as Clinton said, to sustaining the elderly in nursing homes).
In rural areas, the white elderly, notably middle class and upper class (some ordinary people, contra the commercial press about the "white working class," are smarter***), are moved by fear of what will happen to them. The image before them is of darker cities and a dark President and they are blinded by the deliberately vague assurances - the opposite of the truth - of Romney.
Obama is almost a conservative (he has not restored the rule of law, is not up to serious conservatives in this respect). He has attended to big business and dangerously prosecuted no one for the banking fraud. The relation between Romney's supporters' imaginings and what Obama actually proposes is inverse. For instance, Obama stands up for the extension and protection of medical coverage.
Stunningly, the fear which most motivates the bigotry of some older white people will be realized – medical care for those who are not ultra-rich will be sacrificed by “Republican” cutbacks – by the “white” “American” Romney…
No one likes Romney (Republicans kept looking for some less monied and wooden racist, but...; opinion polls reveal that even after his acceptance speech, alone among recent Presidential candidates, his unfavorables among the public exceeded his favorables). But still he shines, whitely...
Yesterday, I went to register voters in Morrison with Shalynda Lund whom I have just met. Shalynda is white, from Utah, formerly ran a flower shop, and stands up to abuse. Today she was on I-70, a highway near Denver, near Ken Caryl ranch (where rich people have suburban homes). She had an Obama sticker on the back of her car. A car dogged her from behind, pulled up beside her. A man held up a sign BOzo (with the O like an Obama symbol) in the window. She gave him the finger. He swerved around her car, blocking her, forcing off the highway.
This is an interesting case of road rage (and shows that being white if you like Obama is dangerous in today's America, that racism is used to attacks whites as well as - more ferociously - blacks). He sped off, but she got his license number and two people who observed it also called 911. The police arrested the man at his house, finding the BOzo sign...
I made it a point to put an Obama sticker on my car and recommend doing so to everyone.
If Romney is President, war will certainly be made on Iran, a much larger war in the Middle East will ensue, and the dangers of nuclear war (with Israel doing it) go up immensely. And probably Russia, too (the Cold War mind-warp that Obama spoke of…)
Re-electing Obama will hold back many of these things. And in any case, it will enable us to continue to fight against torture and for the reestablishment of the rule of law, and the ever-present threat of America or Israel launching aggression against Iran.
As Chad Kautzer said in his talk to Occupy, he would prefer to continue working on inequality in America – the initial theme of Occupy – and other pressing current causes, and not be forced to organize full-time against patriarchy. And we would also meet defeat, at least temporarily, on some of these other causes, notably Iran and, inside America, torture…
Now we have many things to work on, even with Obama, but a dark night would close over this country if – and it is quite possible with a billion dollars to burn in lies and the power of racism here – Romney is elected.
The crucial issue, as Chad also insisted, is that Occupy, antiwar activists and others have mass demonstrations against any attempt of Obama to cut social security as part of a grand “deal” with the Republicans post-election, and continue to fight from where we are, from ground already won, to secure decency and a common good. And that requires mainly building a movement from below but, also, voting.
Still, one might object to my argument, social movements are not necessarily strengthened and, in fact, often undercut by electoral politics. As we can see with Occupy, there are many small meetings (30-100) and demonstrations. In Denver, one such demonstration is taking place at Sports Authority which has a camp-out for a sale with the approval of the city. Yet the city violently cleared out the Occupy tents in front of the state capital – an exercise of freedom of speech - this past spring. Speech is thus for sale in America, and not even Democrats - Mayor Hancock and Governor Hickenlooper - defend this core of the Bill of Rights...
Occupy's action last fall named the 99% v. the 1% and changed, along with Arab spring and the indignados in Spain and many others, the way many view American and world politics forever, a huge accomplishment. But such mass movements are hard to sustain (for the time being, there isn’t anything as big and the commercial media is silent or, rarely, nasty. Many sympathetic to Occupy have been temporarily deterred.
The political activity of ordinary Americans is not something covered, let alone fostered in the New York Times, the Associated Press or the commercial media which are supposedly proponents of democracy as long as ordinary people don't act up.***
And this year, there is also electoral politics. Obama has taken up, to an extent, the ideas of occupy (brought back to himself by the mass demonstrations and public sentiment, which as I used to say, “made him be Obama” again). He is fighting for ordinary people (for American productivity, including a green economy, and jobs), for the extension of civil rights - gays and lesbians have just as much right to marry, for instance, as any other adults, for women legally being able to make their own choices and not to be the property of desiccated white men, not to wage more massive aggression against Iran, and the like.
But electoral politics still diverts strength markedly from Occupy and other movements. People tend to get involved in it and not use their time to participate in other activities. So developing Occupy and other mass movements of protest – anti-war movements, for example – is necessary.
But to argue for such activities to the exclusion even of casting a vote (which takes little time, comparatively) or talking with others about the election also – easily combinable with organizing movements from below - is mistaken. As Chad suggested, such activities either have to be immediately vital for large numbers of people or growing toward significant civil disobedience – against war with Iran, say - by early November. And for most of us right now and certainly about war by itself (I am organizing against war with Iran now), that just isn’t the case.
So in an historical crisis or possible shift dramatically for the worse election, nonvoting is not a sensible alternative. This idea contributes nothing to check great social and political harms, and the setbacks in terms of many issues which the elevation of Romney would secure.
But what about voting for a very good third party candidate? If voting for a third party or candidate – there is Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party - would help with these things, Chad suggested, that would make such a vote a good thing. I should note, however, many who are good in certain ways and sound good initially find it hard when they come to power. One quickly becomes enmeshed with the configuration of power, particularly militarism.
Further, Ralph Nader, particularly bitter, sounded off in the last election about Obama siding with the people or “being an Uncle Tom for the corporations.” Being Lebanese-American, he ought to have known better than to adopt so racist an expression, and although I admire many things he has done and some of his analysis, I have not been able to take him seriously since (the Public Interest Research Group - PIRG - chapters he organized did not, in the anti-war movement against Vietnam, take part in any actions on campus). They have not yet faced what being elected means. There is yet to be a leftist party elected under capitalism, socialist or communist, which has done much better than Obama, and after an initial burst of reforms, some have done worse (see Ralph Miliband, Parliamentary Socialism and The State in Capitalist Society).
In addition, there is the plausible on the surface but awful argument: “the worse the better.” It is true that conditions have to be awful for a revolution to occur. But that doesn’t mean that just any awful conditions will produce a revolt over a whole epoch. The Nazis were smashed in Europe by the Soviet Union, not by the heroic German underground which, in terms of action, was circumscribed and dealt with ruthlessly.
The Argentinian dictatorship, backed by Henry Kissinger and Nixon, had ordinary women whom they grabbed off the street as “leftists” mass raped, drugged and thrown from helicopters into the sea (the men and boys they tortured and shot). It took the Mothers of the Disappeared demonstrating on the Plazo de Mayo, 50 of them, to initiate the process of bringing the regime down (the patriarchs – what they did reveals what patriarchy is – could not bring themselves to just shoot the mothers. And that was 25 years later, the beginning of their downfall). It was no planned or foreseen demonstration, just like Occupy.
In most situations, you can’t just call a demonstration and be like Charlie Chaplin running down a street with a traffic flag in Modern Times and a crowd of workers coming out behind you. One can call for decent actions, but that will not bring down a terrible regime. Such regimes must exhibit a long pattern of injustice which cannot be altered by any other means, as Locke says in the Second Treatise, and the split in the elite must become paralyzing for it, before a revolutionary situation ensues (see Lenin Left wing communism: an Infantile Disorder; there is some unfortunate sneering in the sub-title, but the point Lenin makes about it is serious).
In America’s situation of an historic split in the elite and one side now going for an authoritarian police state and against any attempt at green manufacturing and reviving productivity in America as well as trying to smash unions and stealing the money devoted to making the country decent and helping the poor, the unemployed, the foreclosed, not to vote at all or to vote for a third party is a mistake.
When Franco defeated the Spanish republic (it was no socialist regime, and Stalin who supported it was a criminal toward the anarchists – see here), the Falange then organized the transfer through “nurses” telling the mothers that their babies had died of some 30,000 children from “leftist” mothers (certified medically subhuman by the psychologist Antonio Vallejo Nagera) to fascist households. See here.
In the killing fields, Franco, murdered 137,000 people buried in mass graves, including the poet of Granada and Spain, Federico Garcia Lorca. This has just been publically uncovered in the last year…See here and here.
It was 40 years until there was another election.
The view that in such situations one should only protest against mainstream oligarchic politics from below, i.e. vote with your feet vote in the street – a slogan which I organized around for many years, really until the first Clinton election - is a mistake. I have sometimes voted Green but Obama is a pretty good alternative as head of the Empire.
Now it would be good when there is a mass social movement like Occupy but stronger, one ready to challenge elite policies by mass action and fight for power, to challenge the elite directly (yet, even the Mothers of the Disappeared were not initially this). Otherwise, particularly in the mainly rigged two-party system, there is still a clear choice between the abyss – what the racist, imperial, othering party of war and vote suppression represents as opposed to the Democrats as a multiracial party of – often - decency, and Obama as surprisingly, a sometimes decent figure even at the high level of President of the Empire.
Torture needs to be fought and the rule of law restored. Obama has backtracked on this. Anger and revulsion at Obama’s torture of Bradley Manning or complicity with torturers who walk around without any legal hearing (in violation of the Convention against Torture) or Obama's contrasting crusade against democratic whistle-blowers or bellicosity toward Iran short of war or murder of American citizens by drones abroad without any legal or even public proceeding or the killing of many innocents by drones are all further horrors that need to be stopped. Voting for Obama, let alone idealizing him or believing the Democrats’ self-image, as many do (and is partly a psychological response to the necessity for getting out and doing the work of mobilizing ordinary people) is also a mistake.
It is a long way to go as Obama said three nights ago – and, ironically for his words, one not simply involved with reelecting this President. But he did say that the course of the country is up to “you,” that is each of us. A single member of the .0001% has made a contribution to Romney of $100 million (Sheldon Adelson, the bankroller of Netanyahu and Romney, the casino magnate who wants to buy aggression against Iran…). If we are to have a democracy much longer, we the people have to counter this.
Look again at the multiracial group at the convention in Charlotte and the white complacent if often holding their nose for Romney faces at the one in Tampa.
This choice is clear.
David Blight below, an historian of the Civil war at Yale, wrote a brilliant New York Times op-ed on Frederick Douglass, the former slave and great orator and politician for abolition in the 19th century. Douglass is a man who couldn’t vote if the Republican voter suppression laws carry forth.
To oppose such laws is not a partisan matter. The right to vote is a natural right. It is a right given “by their Creator” as an endowment to every human being, black as well as white, old as well as young, indigenous as well as wealthy and Mormon. People have died for this right in the American Revolution and the civil rights movement (see John Lewis’s interview with Amy Goodman here)
To get the grossness of voter suppression – or why this is a historical shift election - right, Blight (and the Times editorial page which is good on this issue unlike the Times “reporting” which is in the bag for the racist imperial party) conjures a version of the Jonathan Swift’s modest proposal. Perhaps the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson, the billionaires licensed by the Supreme “Court”*****, could simply pay out $711 to the poor and the elderly to buy the non-vote of each. It could be a little contribution to paying down debt-slavery for students…
$711 – what English abolitionists paid to free Frederick Douglass. The “Republicans” could pay the same amount as the freedom of Frederick Douglass cost – the Fred Douglass voucher - to buy the election instead of just stealing it. Why they could use the “free” market to do it. Can the restoration of bondage be far behind?
How about a “Republican” toast to sexual slavery?
The satire reveals the crime…
New York Times
Voter Suppression, Then and Now
By DAVID W. BLIGHT
Published: September 7, 2012
SUPPRESSING the black vote is a very old story in America, and it has never been just a Southern thing.
In 1840, and again in 1841, the former Frederick Bailey, now Frederick Douglass, walked a few blocks from his rented apartment on Ray Street in New Bedford, Mass., to the town hall, where he paid a local tax of $1.50 to register to vote. Born a slave on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1818, Douglass escaped in an epic journey on trains and ferry boats, first to New York City, and then to the whaling port of New Bedford in 1838.
By the mid-1840s, he had emerged as one of the greatest orators and writers in American history. But legally, Douglass began his public life by committing what today we would consider voter fraud, using an assumed name.
It was a necessary step: when he registered to vote under his new identity, “Douglass,” a name he took from Sir Walter Scott’s 1810 epic poem “Lady of the Lake,” this fugitive slave was effectively an illegal immigrant in Massachusetts. He was still the legal “property” of Thomas Auld, his owner in St. Michaels, Md., and susceptible, under the federal fugitive slave law, to capture and return to slavery at any time.
It was a risky move. If required, the only identification Douglass could give the registrar may have been his address in the town directory. He possessed two pieces of paper, which would only have endangered him more. One was a fraudulent “Seaman’s Protection Paper,” which he had borrowed in Baltimore from a retired free black sailor named Stanley, who was willing to support the young man’s escape.
The second was a brief three-line certification of his marriage to Anna Murray, his free black fiancée, who joined him in New York just after his escape. A black minister, James Pennington, himself a former fugitive slave, married them, but on the document he called them Mr. and Mrs. “Johnson.” Douglass was at least the fourth name Frederick had used to distract the authorities on his quest for freedom. He once remarked that a fugitive slave had to adopt various names to survive because “among honest men an honest man may well be content with one name ... but toward fugitives, Americans are not honest.”
Should this fugitive, who had committed the crime of stealing his own freedom and living under false identities, have been allowed to vote? Voting reforms in recent decades had broadened the franchise to include men who did not hold property but certainly not to anyone who was property.
Fortunately for Douglass, at the time Massachusetts was one of only five Northern states that allowed suffrage for “free” blacks (the others were Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island).
Blacks in many other states weren’t so lucky. Aside from Maine, every state that entered the Union after 1819 excluded them from voting. Four Northern states — New York, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin — had reaffirmed earlier black voter exclusion laws by the early 1850s. A few blacks actually voted in New York, but only if they could pass a stiff property qualification. The sheer depth of racism at the base of this story is remarkable, since in no Northern state at the time, except New Jersey, did blacks constitute more than 2 percent of the population.
We do not know when Douglass cast his first vote. It might have been in 1840, in the famous “log cabin and hard cider” campaign mounted by the Whig Party for its candidate, Gen. William Henry Harrison. If so, he likely supported the Liberty Party’s James G. Birney, who represented the first genuinely antislavery party, however small, in American history; it achieved some strength in the Bay State.
In 1848 he spoke at the national convention of the newly formed Freesoil Party, and after 1854, haltingly at first and later wholeheartedly, he joined and worked for the new antislavery coalition known as the Republican Party, which ran and elected Abraham Lincoln in 1860. To this day, that “Grand Old Party” still calls itself the “party of Lincoln” and still claims Frederick Douglass as one of its black founders.
And indeed Douglass saw himself as a founder of that party, but only many years after a group of English antislavery friends purchased his freedom in 1846 for £150 ($711 at the time in American dollars). Douglass was in the midst of a triumphal two-year speaking tour of Ireland, Scotland and England; when he returned to America in 1847, he moved to New York in possession of his official “manumission papers.” He was free and legal, eventually owned property and could vote. Valued and purchased as a commodity, he could now claim to be a citizen.
In Douglass’s greatest speech, the Fourth of July oration in 1852, he argued that often the only way to describe American hypocrisy about race was with “scorching irony,” “biting ridicule” and “withering sarcasm.” Today’s Republican Party seems deeply concerned with rooting out voter fraud of the kind Douglass practiced. So, with Douglass’s story as background, I have a modest proposal for it. In the 23 states where Republicans have either enacted voter-ID laws or shortened early voting hours in urban districts, and consistent with their current reigning ideology, they should adopt a simpler strategy of voter suppression.
To those potentially millions of young, elderly, brown and black registered voters who, despite no evidence of voter fraud, they now insist must obtain government ID, why not merely offer money? Pay them not to vote. Give each a check for $711 in honor of Frederick Douglass. Buy their “freedom,” and the election. Call it the “Frederick Douglass Voter Voucher.”
Give people a choice: take the money and just not vote, or travel miles without easy transportation to obtain a driver’s license they do not need. It’s their “liberty”; let them decide how best to use it. Perhaps they will forget their history as much as the Republican Party seems to wish the nation would.
Such an offer would be only a marginal expense for a “super PAC” — plus a bit more to cover the lawyers needed to prove it legal under federal election law — and no one would have to know who paid for this generous effort to stop fraud. Once and for all, the right can honestly declare what the Supreme Court has allowed it to practice: that voters are commodities, not citizens.
And, if the Republican Party wins the election in November, this plan will give it a splendid backdrop for next year’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of its great founder’s Emancipation Proclamation.
David W. Blight, a professor of history at Yale, is writing a biography of Frederick Douglass.
*Actually, as Krugman pointed out today on an ABC talk show, affirmed by Rand Paul, Romney is for military Keynsianism (spending more than what the military requests), just not for Keynsianism for a common good. He is, in this case, a hypocrite as well as a monster.
**Anti-radical ideology is the idea that all oppressed people, slaves, peasants, workers are happy, "singing' down on the plantation," until some outside agitator, some unAmerican,"foreign" person, speaking in a dogmatic and barely decipherable rhetoric misleads them. As the case of Angela Davis shows, even one such agitator on a faculty of 3,000 at UCLA had to be fired by the Regents. Note how little confidence in the truth or decency of their case against Davis and of the intelligence of other UCLA faculty members and UCLA students the Regents displayed. Democracy and freedom of speech and truth winning out in the end - not a chance for these ideologues. This ideology dates back to the Roman empire and its suppression on the slave uprising led by Spartacus. It is a widespread outlook, more dangerous, because unlike racism and sexism, it is not yet widely recognized or named.
For a more thorough account, see my Must Global Politics Constrain Democracy?, Democratic Individuality, ch. 12 and Michael Rogin, Ronald Reagan the Movie and other Studies in American Political Demonology.
***Recently, when my car broke down, the tow truck driver for a local garage was a big, middle aged, white mountain man, somewhat unkempt. He had been homeless, he told me, for the better part of a year. But his mother had run the observatory at DU; he had learned some geology; he had helped someone prospect for valuable minerals in California, which his partner had found, and the fellow, grateful, offered him his home in Colorado for a year. He was for Obama and expressed huge distaste for Romney.
He told me that he had been a custodian last year at a Jewish summer camp. He had some trouble being accepted - people judge by appearances and stereotypes quite often. A meeting at the camp had worried about bears. The head proposed putting barbed wire around the camp to nods.
"What do you think barbed wire around a camp for Jewish children," the custodian asked, "reminds people of?"
The camp avoided barbed wire...
****The tea party is something of an exception except that there was a lot of money – the Koch brothers and the like behind it…There are limited exceptions like Thom Hartmann on AM 760 in Denver or Democracy Now on public radio.
*****That court is an organization designed to and justified by upholding the basic equal rights of all Americans but in reality, a terrible enemy of those rights, putting a decent democracy, as in Citizens United, on life support.