Democrat and Independent Thinker..."The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." -Nietzsche

Commenting on many things, including..."A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from." - Keith Olbermann

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Party of Bigots
A few years ago, a business trip took me to through some of the great battlegrounds on this continent. Birmingham. Montgomery. Tuskegee. Selma. To my tour guide at the time, a liberal white judge from Alabama, they were as sacred to the American text as Gettysburg and Yorktown. He spoke with deep reverence about the struggle of black pilots to fly in the Second World War, the bus boycott, the Freedom Riders, and the bombings in Birmingham. He didn't shy away from the personal history, either, and strongly recommended Diane McWhorter's Carry Me Home, the memoir of the daughter of a white supremacist family in Birmingham. Her story, he said, was the story of thousands of white sons and daughters of Alabama.

When we walked through the brilliant Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, he had a quiet suggestion: things change, Alabama has changed, we've all changed.

And he was right. We have changed. But lately, I've come to feel we're not as far down the road as many of us think we are. Even as Alabama does a bonanza business in civil rights tourism, the history feels nearer; the bigots in our grand American tapestry are not so neatly sown into the margins. They're right there in the middle. They have a place in the national party of bigotry.

One national political party does business with bigots - openly and in thinly-coded language.

One national party came to power on the strength of a regional strategy aimed at scratching the scars of the civil rights era till they bled, and delivered a stream of bloody-red electoral votes.

One national party tolerates bigoted speech at its national gatherings, on its mainstream blogs, and on the lips of its grand commentators and media wizards.

That party is the Republican Party - the only national party where bigotry is accepted and in some quarters, openly encouraged.

Read all of Tom Watson's post.

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