Put down your cup of coffee, I’ve got something that’s really going to shock you. This week Rush Limbaugh race-baited. He sought to inflame white fear and hatred of non-whites. Unbelievable, I know. But it’s true. Unfortunately for Rush, the story he presented to his listeners turned out not to be (he fell for a satirical, Onion-style piece posted on a blog, and had to admit on the air that he’d been duped). This kind of race-baiting — whether relying on blatant falsehoods, deceptively presented facts or gross misinterpretations of reality — is something Limbaugh has done countless times throughout his career. More broadly, it is a tactic that the white economic elite, starting with the colonial-era slaveocracy, has employed going back to the time before we had even become a country.
A crowd of thousands cheer in support during a speech by Rev Dr. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP in Asheville, NC’s Pack Square Park during Mountain Moral Monday on Aug 5, 2013.PHOTO BY MIKE BELLEME FOR MSNBC
During an appearance at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C, a key center of power for the conservative movement, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory portrayed himself as a business-minded policy wonk, earnestly extolling the benefits of infrastructure development and government-efficiency measures. He might as well have been describing someone else.
For the last year, McCrory has engineered a hard-right shift in North Carolina that has crippled millions in his state. His 2012 election gave Republicans control of all three branches of the state’s government for the first time since Reconstruction and they took advantage of it. In 2013 alone, North Carolina has said no to expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, approved a tax plan that redistributes wealth from poor to rich, cut education by half a billion dollars, instituted perhaps the toughest voting restrictions in the country, weakened campaign-finance laws, and passed its own version of Texas’ controversial abortion measure.
Working ballot by ballot, county-by-county, the Republican Party is attempting to alter voting laws in the biggest and most important swing states in the country in hopes of carving out a sweeping electoral advantage for years to come.
Changes already on the books or in bills before state legislatures would make voting harder, create longer lines, and threaten to disenfranchise millions of voters from Ohio to Florida, Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, Georgia to Arizona and Texas.
Efforts underway include moving election days, ending early voting and forcing strict new voter ID laws. The results could significantly cut voter turnout in states where, historically, low participation has benefited Republicans.
In the 10 months since President Obama created a bipartisan panel to address voting difficulties, 90 restrictive voting bills have been introduced in 33 states. So far, nine have become law, according to a recent comprehensive roundup by the Brennan Center for Justice – but others are moving quickly through statehouses.
“We are continuing to see laws that appear to be aimed at making it more difficult to vote—for no good reason,” Daniel Tokaji, an election law expert at Ohio State University, said in an interview.
Lord, I have lived three score and seven years as black man in America. As a young and sensitive black boy in the south in the 60′s, one white president gave me hope that, though a Negro, I could live a life akin to that of my white neighbors, full of civil rights and protections of The Constitution. I watched President John F. Kennedy on black and white television speak to the nation as a prophet and being to me the incarnation of hope for Negro America that finally the times were changing, even though our struggles would include much suffering and death. There would be beatings, attacks by dogs and billy clubs and much invective. You cannot imagine the shock this young naive boy felt on November 22, 1963, when a voice on my high p.a. system siad that ‘they’ killed Jack Kennedy and silenced the voice of hope. In my whole life no death has affected me more.God bless you John F. Kennedy. God save your soul!
[It is important to note that our hopes were not dashed. God also gave us Martin Luther King, another saint.]
In 2010, a record 10 percent of opposite-sex married couples told America’s census takers that they lived in an interracial household—up from 7.4 percent in 2000. Given America’s racial history with blacks, Latinos, Japanese and Chinese, 1 in 10 is no doubt a pretty intriguing fact about the country, a reflection of big social transformations that have taken place over the past few decades, and worth examination on its own. But the numbers don’t just tell us about where the country is—they suggest a dramatic story about where it’s headed.
President Barack Obama is the living embodiment of this trend—a one-man melting pot, as he noted during his March 18, 2008 address on the long-since-forgotten Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy. “I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents,” he said, “and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.” He was re-elected in 2012 amid historic turnout among minority voters, a fact that has not been lost on his opponents, especially the white conservatives who inhabit the outer reaches of the far right.