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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's Regional

August 2nd, 2011

One of the reasons many of us don't see the same level of Tea Party activism in our midst as others do is apparently dependent on where we live. Michael Lind writes for Salon:

"The mainstream media have completely missed the story, by portraying the Tea Party movement in ideological rather than regional terms. Whether by accident or design, the public faces of the Tea Party in the House are Midwesterners -- Minnesota's Michele Bachmann and Joe Walsh of Illinois. But while there may be Tea Party sympathizers throughout the country, in the House of Representatives the Tea Party faction that has used the debt ceiling issue to plunge the nation into crisis is overwhelmingly Southern in its origins."

Here's an even more dramatic view.

Lind's really important obersavation helps contextualize the rise of this movement:

"From the earliest years of the American republic, white Southern conservatives when they have lost elections and found themselves in the political minority have sought to extort concession from national majorities by paralyzing or threatening to destroy the United States.

The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 asserted the alleged right of states to "nullify" any federal law that state lawmakers considered unconstitutional. This obstructionist mentality led to the Nullification Crisis of 1832, when South Carolina refused to enforce federal tariffs. Civil War was averted only when President Andrew Jackson, a Southerner himself, forced the nullifiers to back down.

In 1820 and 1850 the South used the threat of secession to force the rest of the United States to appease it on the slavery issue. In 1861, the South tried to destroy the United States, rather than accept a legitimately elected president, Abraham Lincoln, whom it did not control.

Following defeat in the Civil War, the former Confederate states regrouped as "the Solid South," a one-party region, first Democratic and now Republican, that has tended to vote as a bloc in national affairs. The South sought to block the federal civil rights revolution by a policy of "massive resistance" to court orders ordering racial integration. Some Southern states went so far as to try to abolish their public school systems rather than integrate them. It is hard to avoid seeing a link between this racist rationale for privatization and modern conservative plans to scale back Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, relied on disproportionately by black and brown Americans and low-income whites, while increasing taxpayer subsidies to private retirement and healthcare accounts enjoyed mostly by affluent whites."

Yes, we've been here before. But before we chalk the movement up to a simple pattern of history, let's remember that the old "Solid South" didn't have Rupert Murdoch.

1 comment:

  1. SIgh...

    no surprise. They don't represent the entire country but seem to think that do.