|November 14, 2002||EDITORIAL ARCHIVES|
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
You know if anyone is going to use racial code words and race bait, it would be someone with a name like Sonny Perdue.
But before we tell you a bit about Sonny, we wanted to reflect one more time on the Paul Wellstone "controversy."
As BuzzFlash has editorialized, Wellstone was honored in a public memorial event that in form and content exemplified the energy and winning spirit of the man and his mission (see http://www.buzzflash.com/editorial/2002/10/30_Wellstone.html). Of course, before the rousing October 29th evening was even over, the right wing junkyard dogs and their lapdog media pundits were condemning the event as shrill and inappropriate.
Never mind that it is the ultimate hubris to tell people how to mourn. Never mind that the GOP opponent to Wellstone had savaged Paul mercilessly prior to his death. Never mind that the opponent -- and victor against Walter Mondale -- was and is the quintessential Grand Hypocrisy Party (GHP) hollow man and hypocrite, according to Garrison Keillor.
All that mattered was that the right wing GOP pundits had gotten their marching orders from the White House to savage a memorial service. The usual bullying/enabling dynamic was set into place: the Karl Rove minions attacked and the Democrats apologized.
The overpaid and overstuffed media poobahs talked endlessly about how the energized and spirited memorial service would "backfire" against the Democrats.
And the Democrats, true to form, cowered in guilt for something they owed no apology for. In fact, indignation and outrage would have been the more appropriate Democratic response to the shameless Republican outpouring of chastisement and endless fulmination. But the Democrats are caught up in an abusive relationship with the bullying GOP, in which, with rare exception, every time the Dems get beaten up, in true battered partner syndrome, they accept that they are the cause of the abuse committed against them -- and apologize.
BuzzFlash is revisiting the "conventional wisdom" take on the Wellstone Memorial because it contrasted so sharply with the lack of media discussion about the outrageously offensive and racially divisive victory speech of the Republican Governor-elect of Georgia, Sonny Perdue. Here was a man who apparently won the governorship largely because he supports reinstating the Confederate flag as the state flag of Georgia. Maybe in this day and age of a national neo-Confederate GOP that doesn't rank high as a news story, what with all the time needed to continue bashing a memorial event for a liberal from Minnesota.
But Sonny Perdue wasn't content with gaining the governorship because he won the "Back to the Confederacy" vote, he had to use his victory party to mock Dr. Martin Luther King.
According to a November 9th article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Perdue usurped King's most noble rhetoric to herald the arrival of a newborn Georgia Confederate state, free of the "shackles" of the Democratic Party (as in "the black people's party"):
How strange that we didn't hear the right wing national media "punditocracy" endlessly proclaiming that the Republican Party in Georgia (headed by the former bad boy of the Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed) had "blown it." How odd that we didn't hear that the future of the Republican Party and Bush's standing might be hurt by the incendiary race-baiting implications of Perdue's victory and racially divisive dishonoring of Dr. King, in his home state. How peculiar that we didn't hear the national Republican Party -- or for that matter the national Democratic Party -- decrying Perdue's remarks as inappropriate for a victory speech, when a governor-elect is supposed to be magnanimous.
No, we hardly heard a peep out of any of the blow-dried media celebrities. In fact, you had to look hard to even learn about Perdue and his racially provocative victory.
Of course, the "crime" that occurred at the Wellstone memorial was that Democrats urged a victory for a pluralistic America: in short, for a democracy. In this retro-world of a country ruled by neo-Confederate ideology (in which the defining moment when America went wrong for the Bush GOP was the triumph of the civil rights movement), there's no "crime" in fanning the flames of racial divisiveness.
Heck, it barely merits a mention in the papers. After all, this was also a Georgia election, where a draft-dodging Congressman (Saxby Chambliss), who urged that Muslims be stopped from entering Georgia, beat a true American military hero who lost three limbs in Vietnam. You can forget all that nonsense about how angry white males "resent" politicians who avoided the Vietnam war. The southern angry white males keep voting for Republicans who ran yellow belly from fighting in foreign wars.
Because, in the battle for the southern vote, it still comes down to race. And the Georgia "Confederacy vote" will pick a cowardly "pro-white" candidate over a war hero who represents all Americans, because many whites haven't yet, in their hearts, conceded the Civil War.
So all of these points might make for some incisive media commentary that the Republican Party in Georgia is so far off the racial sensitivity scale that it might harm the image of the party nationally, right?
Forget about it, this IS the true image of the modern Republican Party (just in a cruder form), so it's not news.
But mourn a liberal with enthusiasm and a winning spirit and -- you know what -- you've gone too far.
* * *
of King quote strikes a raw nerve
Keillor on Norm Coleman
otherwise noted, all original