Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Talking about race is not a loser, Mr. Carville. But Dems should still listen to what he says

I wanted to discuss the recent interview in Vox with Bill Clinton political adviser James Carville, as he had some provocative statements about what Democrats should do politics in the 2020s.

We have to talk about race. We should talk about racial injustice. What I’m saying is, we need to do it without using jargon-y language that’s unrecognizable to most people — including most Black people, by the way — because it signals that you’re trying to talk around them. This “too cool for school” shit doesn’t work, and we have to stop it.

There may be a group within the Democratic Party that likes this, but it ain’t the majority. And beyond that, if Democrats want power, they have to win in a country where 18 percent of the population controls 52 percent of the Senate seats. That’s a fact. That’s not changing. That’s what this whole damn thing is about....

Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it. It’s hard to talk to anybody today — and I talk to lots of people in the Democratic Party — who doesn’t say this. But they don’t want to say it out loud.
That's a pretty circular argument there: "We have to talk about race", but "wokeness is a problem." I got a few takes on this.

First, I am very tired of old white Dems telling us that putting racial issues front and center is a bad thing. Being on the right side of equality is an electoral winner, and people of color are an important part of the Democratic electorate that should be acknoweldged and listened to. Besides, I’d like to find one Dem running in these places that is talking more about “wokeness” (whatever that is) over economic issues and voting rights.

While I agree that we need to talk in a language that more people can understand, I am also done with the reverse snobbishness that says we constantly have to dumb ourselves down and not ask people to be better. We do not need to waste time with people who are too weak and lazy to want to improve, or so insecure that they get angry and resentful at people that are smarter at them.

I do get what Carville is saying from the perspective that the voices that play small ball are used by the GOP lie machine to allow the weak-minded to ignore the bigger point (asking to tear down the Abe Lincoln Statue at UW? "Abolish the police" vs improving policing, etc.). GOPs use these extreme examples to ignore the real issues of racial disparities and injustices, and also claim to be the ones victimized when people dare to talk about those disparities (somehow).

Here's a good example from Wisconsin's "reasonable" Republican Congressman.

And here I thought military strategy included knowing a place's history to understand why things are happening. Guess Koch-boy was sleeping that day.

So how to handle this? Dems should respond by not concentrating on small, individual cases, but go big-picture, and say it along these lines.

“We demand respect and equality for all Americans because WE ARE DECENT HUMAN BEINGS. And people who abuse their power and repress others should be called out and be held accountable (key words) for their words and actions. We aren’t going to sit by and let this happen any more.”

That’s a majority position in this country, and it doesn’t come off as accusing the average white person of being complicit in the problem (they're benefitting from past racism, but they don't need to be told that). It should then follow where Dems ask GOPs “Don’t you agree that something should be done?”, and then KEEP POUNDING THEM as they try to dodge the issue.

Dems should also point out the two-step that GOP politicians do with racists, because Republicans need the votes of bigots to have any chance of winning, and ask voters “You're not a scumbag. So why would you associate with those scumbags?” Which goes to the part of the Vox article that I agree with Carville on. Tie the GOP’s racist, anti-democratic act around their necks, and throw them to the bottom of the lake with it.

Here's more from Carville along those lines.
Tell me this: How is it we have all this talk about Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and we don’t talk about Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker of the House in Congress? If Hastert was a Democrat who we knew had a history of molesting kids and was actually sent to prison in 2016, he’d still be on Fox News every fucking night. The Republicans would never shut the hell up about it.

So when Jim Jordan was pulling all these stunts with Anthony Fauci [Fauci was speaking at a congressional hearing about ending coronavirus precautions], why didn’t someone jump in and say, “Let me tell you something, Jim, if Fauci knew what you knew, if he knew that a doctor was molesting young people, he would’ve gone to the medical board yesterday. So you can go ahead and shut the fuck up.” [Ed. note: Jordan denies knowing about the allegations of abuse when he was an assistant coach at Ohio State University.] I love that Congresswoman Maxine Waters told Jordan to “shut your mouth,” but that’s what I really wish a Democrat would say, and I wish they’d keep saying it over and over again.
I understand that Dems and President Biden want to get things done with infrastructure, and that legislative accomplishments are a good thing to have going into 2022 (especially since no GOP politicans are voting for these measures, even if many GOP voters want them). But an insurrection was attempted, and the Big Lie is being allowed to permeate throughout GOP Bubble World. That Big Lie and the people spreading them need to be smashed down, and NOW.

Nancy Pelosi has been far too weak and willing to try to operate “business as usual.” The reason a 1/6 commission hasn’t started is because she is still trying to get amoral GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy to agree to the parameters to make it look like a bipartisan effort for the common good. Hey Nancy, just plow ahead and do an investigation on what happened to 1/6, who plotted it, and who paid for it. GOPs can choose whether they want to be part of it, or not.

After all, we know GOPs only care about one thing, don’t we Rep. McCarthy? Not solving problems or learning facts, but gaining POLITICAL ADVANTAGE.

So start the 1/6 commission TODAY, and put two-bit hot tub salesman McCarthy on the spot to see if GOPs really care to find out the truth about the attempted overturning of the people's choice. Either way, they will look bad, as crooked lowlifes should.

“Going high” and being “the adult in the room” only gets you so far these days. Especially against an amoral group of GOPs and their RW media machine who will sink to any depth if they think it helps them get control of our government. Dem voters need to be inspired to turn out, while also hammering a message that causes decent non-Dems to be turned away by the GOP’s racist, anti-democratic behavior to turn against them. That’s the winning strategy for the 2020s - fiercely supporting universal rights and human decency combined with a strong progressive economic agenda. It’s meeting the voters where they are at, without sacrificing an inch on demands for racial equality and bringing the criminals to justice.

Let’s play a little hardball of our own, shall we? A 1/6 commission has the extra advantage of being a legitimate investigation (unlike Benghazi and other GOP nothingburgers) that can actually bring lawbreakers and their political accomplices to justice. Because while James Carville may be operating on a 20th Century mentality where back-burnering racial issues is something Dems should do (sorry Jim, that’s not enough), he does understand that ultimately you have to WIN to be able to make the changes in the country that you want to see.

This is all an exercise in framing, as many things are in 2021, where our country feels beseiged in a Cold War of propaganda. Most real Americans support what Dems believe, but Dems have to be constantly reminding people of whose side they are on (and which side the Republicans are), and puncture the Bubble of BS that encloses 1/4 to 1/3 of the country.

1 comment:

  1. We are in a period when police have been revealed to be grave threats to anyone black or brown. Woke-identity politics are a dogma begun by a narrow slice of people who understand very little, and contrive a cult existence. Their conclusions are imbecilic, very few intelligent people actually advocate this nonsense.