Saturday, November 08, 2003
Heard Jesse Jackson Jr. speak tonight…
He misquoted Dean's actual statement making it seem less offensive, but while annoying, it is not worth blogging about here.
I enjoyed the first part of his talk. He started out with a great didactic on the history of race relations in this country. He rightly pointed out how the tenth amendment creating state’s rights has been used to justify many “sins” in our nation.
However, then he launched into an unrelated tirade about how Howard Dean is the only person who “wants to talk about race and ask white Southerners to vote their own economic interest.” Then he mocked the other presidential candidates in a wimpy scared voice saying how they were scared to talk about race.
Okay, yes, I know this is an illogical argument anyway… He is in reality asking them to ignore race and vote their own economic interest. My god, it isn’t like this is a new idea. How do think Democrats have won any races in the South in the last twenty years? However, this approach has never even attempted to heal the racial divide, instead it applies a band-aid approach of, “Let’s vote together for economic reasons and just leave race out.”
But the real question is how does he plan to talk about race when it no longer is in the best economic interest of whites? How does he expect white people to vote with him on reparations since it is not in their economic interests? How does this ignore race approach open the door to dealing with the root of racism? How can you pander to their “economic interests” on one subject and then ask them to support affirmative action in another since these are diametrical opposites? Any real discussion about race would have to include the holocaust of slavery, how African-Americans were written into our constitution as property not citizens, Jim Crow law, and the continuing disadvantage African-Americans face.
Funny thing about Dean and Jackson Jr lecturing the South on education and healthcare… Their own backgrounds give them so much authority to speak to the issue, two northerners, one from an overwhelming white state (with all white schools) and the other from an overwhelmingly African-American congressional district (with all African-American schools). I went to a Southern high school with 35% minorities and my wife was a minority in her Southern integrated high school. One of the first things we noticed upon our move to Chicago was the segregated neighborhoods and segregated schools. It was much worse than anything we ever experienced in the South. If you move up the North Shore you see rich village after village with their own tiny lily-white school districts (Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winettka, ring a bell). These villages offer their children enormous educational opportunities not afforded to African-American or Hispanic children on the South-side. Mr. Dean and Congressman Jackson if you are so concerned about starting a discussion on race in this society, why don’t you start in your own backyards? Sen. Kerry if you want to answer Rep. Jackson’s charge that you are scared to talk about race, why don’t you come to Chicago in his district and start the discussion?
White Southerners, who would fly the Confederate flag, are only a small minority of the white voters in their states. First, Mr. Dean and Congressman Jackson should not stereotype white Southerners as Confederate flag wavers. Second, that small percentage of Confederate flag wavers are not the ones you should be attempting to bring over to the Democratic fold. There are enough other white voters who could embrace the Democratic platform on economic issues if they trusted Democrats on national security. Step back about sixty years and read WJ Cash’s The Mind of the South. If you think Southerners are going to vote solely on economic issues, Democrats are sadly mistaken. You clearly don’t understand what makes them tick. Third, why are you asking white Southerners and African-Americans to overlook the flag and vote on economic issues if you want to start a discussion on race? Also, Wyeth Wire points out for all Dean’s blustering about wanting to talk to Southerners about race, he is full of crap. He was the only major candidate not to have an office or staff in South Caroline, had not bought the voter list (of the people he wants to talk to) and his supporters have been trashing the SC primary.
And back to the great speech Rep. Jackson Jr. started about state’s rights... Confusing since he endorsed a candidate who believes gun control should be left to the state. The Confederate flag was not what started the flack Dean has faced. It was how Dean tied the flag and his pandering to the NRA on states rights issues that got him in trouble. Dean is on record of supporting one standard of gun control for primarily white rural states and another tougher standard for states containing large cities with African-American inner cities.
Rep. Jackson also talked about creating a constitutional amendment to guarantee equal opportunities in education. John Kerry is the only candidate who has addressed the issue and offered solutions on how to overcome the inequalities in the educational system based on property tax. No other candidate has talked about this to date.
Only way I can explain Rep. Jackson position is the bandwagon effect of the media… Maybe if I want an African-American leader to discuss race relations in the South with white Southern voters, Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis is a better choice. He actually knows something about it (and endorses Kerry I might add).