Finally Some Good News: The 2006 Elections
I had just about given up on the United States. Ever since 1964 and the signing of a great deal of civil rights legislation, the Republican party has taken over the racist mantle of the old Democratic party in the American South. Each year since then the stranglehold of the Republican party has gotten stronger and stronger in that region. The one party Democratic state in the South has been replaced by the one party Republican state of the South. But it's still the old south. There is no such thing as the bold, new south. The region is still alienated from those larger forces of social progress just as in the past the South was alienated because of the anti-slavery movement and then the civil rights movement.
The South and its mostly rural allies in other states constitute a real threat to further progress in the United States. Their evangelical religious tradition is really an apology for social injustice and racism and that's the way southerners want it. The businesses from the South are largely anti-union and anti-progressive. The thrust of southern politics, just as it was in the days of slavery and apartheid, is a drag on and a danger to further social and economic progress in the United States. Their thrust into areas of further medical research via stem cell research, for instance, threatens our position as a leader in medical technology. And this is just one area of many where backward thinking limits the United States.
The South likes to wrap itself in the American flag, but it works to keep the country a warrior society, like the Sioux of the Great Plains and the Japanese of their feudal era up to the end of World War II. The region likes to spread paranoia. It has almost always been a paranoid region afraid that the slaves or former slaves would revolt and kill them in their beds. Paranoia serves their political interests of severe social control and backwards thinking and so they continue to try to make everyone in the nation afraid. The South is not really patriotic, for fascism only leads to ruin for those who follow and promote it.
For awhile now the entire Confederacy has been voting Republican. The South is so Republican that it is hardly worth any effort to put much Democratic campaign money into the campaigns there. What is the percentage of white males in the South that vote Republican? I bet it is really, really high. And yet American commentators like to avoid the issue of race in the analysis of American voting patterns. Hey, the news media can't economically afford to offend a powerful, if backwards, region. But a concern for the Mammon of money doesn't stop me from telling the truth.
I grew up in the apartheid South with its love of separate but equal racial segregation. I grew up surrounded by racist thinking and a racist atmosphere. I was insulated from the worst of it because of my love of reading. Reading saved me from their racism because I knew that the real heroes like Lincoln knew that racism was just plain wrong and evil. I laugh at them now, but I distinctly remember how my writing in support of the goals of the civil rights movement just got me criticisms of being "one-sided" from my high school teachers. History has now embarrassed them, but that's the way it was in the South and still pretty much remains.
This is not to say there is not racism in the other regions of the United States (especially those of a more rural character). But they do not constitute regions of one-party dominance and largely still-racist thought.
I have written about the Southernization of the United Sates. I have wondered just how close to real fascism the country would get before turning from it. Proto-fascism is not the road to further progress in this country. It is the road to stagnation and further falling behind other nations.
The problem with their flirtation with fascism is that this is always a ruinous path of war-mongering and defeat. The Americans panicked as usual in a crisis and used the 9-11 tragedy to fight two wars and occupy two countries. These wars have so far come with a cost of a trillion dollars (and probably more before this is ended) with the consequent neglecting of educational and other social progress. But living in fear and engaging in war finally becomes so expensive and such a drag on progress that even the conservative U.S.A. has to turn back (even if only for their own future standard of living).
I am very relieved by the non-South U.S.A.'s seeming rejection of this atmosphere of proto-fascism. (What a disgrace for the Americans to let President Bush get away with pushing the idea of and actually practicing torture -- all in secrecy and cover-up of course.) The Republicans went from having all the power in the United States to losing the House of Representatives and the Senate.
I have no illusions that the United States will now be a progressive force in the world. The racism and ethnic tensions present in the country seem to always keep the majority of the people of the United States conservative. Even our liberals are actually just milder conservatives compared to the liberals in the rest of the world of advanced industrial societies. But I am happy that the non-South seems to have stepped back from the worst results of the nation's flirtation with fascism. I guess this means just further isolation and alienation for the South and the ruralites. Let's see how long this will last before the country returns to proto-fascism.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
November 18, 2006
P.S. The South loves to push the idea that the United States is the greatest country in the world. But if we actually did a comparison for an article on the best countries in which to live, I imagine the United States will come out around number 55 as that is probably its average rating on rankings dealing with educational, social and cultural standing. What the United States is number one in in the advanced industrial societies are in things like murder, rape, capital punishment, and crimes of hate.
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