Friday, April 23, 2010

Restore America Back to What It Was? Dear Conservative Americans, What Does That Mean?

When conservatives speak, how do you know the difference between code-switching language for turning back the clock to 1959 versus something else? What do they mean when they say "restore this nation to what it once was"? Which once? Which point in time? At what point in the past would any people of color be better off than they are now?

We have not yet reached the point in America where politics can be severed from race because many of the social policies of the last five decades that anger conservatives have hinged on perceptions of race in America. They know this.

Watch Glenn Beck talk to Bill O'Reilly. Notice how he brings up William Ayers, who the right already tried to tie to President Obama, in the same thought with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

The people who are currently in charge of our government, many of them -- not all of them, are the 1960s radicals, and they do have a very fundamental transformation of America planned. They need to have the typical American, the one who stands up and says, 'Wait, our founding fathers were good. Hang on, our constitution is good,' they need those people to look like radicals. See, what they learned when William Ayers was out bombing in the 60s and 70s, what they learned when Malcolm X went and said, 'We're gonna take it!' (Beck shouts), is they learned that Martin Luther King saying 'Peace' is the answer. Well, they learned it too late. So, now they're the man so they need to be able to say 'Look at these guys. They're violent, they're radicals.' (These guys being conservatives and Tea Party types.) [Beck on O'Reilly Factor]
First of all, did you catch that he infers that the people in charge call the people who don't have power "radicals" whether it's true or not? Is that his acknowledgment that conservatives slandered people in the 60s? He's also agreeing that his kind of people were actually the people in charge back then. Since John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson were the presidents who dominated the 60s and they were not Republicans, is Glenn reminding us that white people were in charge back then?

Second, he's banking on us not noticing, I suppose, that the only guy left standing in that trinity he built of Ayers, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X is the white guy. Unlike MLK and Malcolm X, who were both assassinated, Ayers is still alive. He's currently a university professor, and he was never convicted of anything. Sarah Palin and other conservatives resurrected his image as bomber to throw mud on candidate Obama in 2008 and apparently, Ayers still comes in handy when they target President Obama and progressives today.

Another point that Beck may not even know because he's not the sharpest pencil in the box is that Malcolm X was murdered after he began to espouse racial harmony and peace. The motive for his murder appears to be related to a power struggle within the Nation of Islam.

And, naturally, Beck doesn't want you to think of lynchings, church bombings, cross-burnings or the Oklahoma City Bombing. I suppose he hopes it escapes you that these domestic terrorist acts are committed by people who tend to identify with "conservative values" not progressive values. Also, let's pretend we don't see the gun-toters at Tea Party rallies and don't hear news of their more paranoid fringe training militias.

Nothing is apolitical in blackness, in race. In many ways, conservatives see black people as a political party that they must attack, and it's clear that Beck is happy to make it seem as though the prominent power figures on the left are African-Americans. So, when conservatives talk about returning America to what it once was, do you suppose that means to a time when they were in charge before the 1960s?


Max Reddick said...

The true genius of Ronald Regan, and the reason the right loves hims so, was that he was able to encode the openly racist language of Nixon in such a way as to appeal to the basest prejudices in people without awakening in them the accompanying guilt.

Now they desire to go back to the good old days, to the days when white privilege was even greater. They feel as though in order to level the playing field, white must somehow lose something tangible.

msladydeborah said...

I've got three points to raise in regards to this post.

1. This isn't the first time that there has been a national outcry for wanting to roll back to another time. It is the first time in a long time that those who want to see it happen have had a way to make it public and frequently.

2. A lot of this rhetoric is being aimed at Boomers. Malcolm X is still viewed as the ultimate militant in the minds of many White BBs. Even though towards the end of his life his political views had begun to take a different turn. There is still this underlying fear that Black people will rise up in total armed rebellion against them. MLK was not on the national list of heroes.
He was an outlaw and they worked in overdrive to make that image stick. I also notice that lately Faux's staff is returning to the rhetoric that Black folks used back in the day. "Whitey" is one of those terms that was spat out frequently. What's interesting about this attempt is the fact that no mention is being made about The Black Panthers, who truly preached armed struggle against the government. Nor do you hear them mention Angela Davis or Kathleen Cleaver when living radicals are mentioned. It's a lot easier to attack dead folks than it is the living.

3. I wonder if they think that they can force the voting age back to 21? Will that roll back include a mandatory draft into military service? And how in the hell are they gonna make women go back home into their idea of traditional roles? Even if they cold roll back there's another reality that they really don't know how to address. There is a portion of the Third World that is now wealthy, armed and proven to be dangerous. Plus what about China? There are a lot more nations with nuclear capapcity now.
Plus that there is also the population of this nation which is not even aware of it was really like back in the day. It is easy to spit this out without some for real thought to what that means in this century.

lilalia said...

Excellent post. I know one must know the enemy, but it really is hard to watch the Becks and O'Reilly's of this world. It is hard to hear ideas, facts, and mindsets that are obviously misconstrued. The times they want to return to never existed. The values they refer to they have never practiced.

Wouldn't it be good if everyone just turned off those television shows that present narrow and vile viewpoints or the media just didn't show up at The Tea Party rallies, or no one bought Palin's book? Wouldn't it be good if more people like you spoke out to expose things for what they are, or wrote to their congressperson about the changes they wish done, or spent the time they usually spend in front of their television with their family or in their community? I know I am sounding too adamant, but I feel so riled up after hearing those guys talk.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

Thanks, Max and Deobrah. They play on the fears of people who hope they get to have what the really powerful have, most of whom are white males. That way they draw people to long for the "way things were" who weren't even doing as well as they think they were doing back in the good old days. They just instinctively know they were better off than black folks back then.

Hi, Lilalia: I know exactly what you mean. I avoid Fox News. I get what I know of their shenanigans from online clips because if I watched an entire O'Reilly Factor or a Glenn Beck show, my head would explode.

Thank you all for the visits.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

Oh, Deborah. I forgot to add that conservatives did trot out the black panthers during the 2008 presidential campaign, and Texas is invoking them in its new textbooks perhaps to explain how afraid white people were of black revolutionaries during the 60s and that's what motivated them, in part, to pass Civil Rights legislation.

Texas Thrashes History.

Reggie said...

Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are all oxygen thieves, they're just not deep thinkers.