Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Race, Health Care, and the ‘Southern’ Strategy

A website called Like the Dew has a no-hold barred analysis of the Healthcare Debate that dominated the Town Hall meetings during the summer of 2009. They call the grassroot anger of Healthcare "A Hoax" & says its all about race "pure & simple". You be the judge. Read this piece from Like the Dew.

Here's what Cliff Green of Like the Dew says:

Let’s cut to the chase: This orchestrated grass-roots anger over health care reform is a flat-out hoax, and the equally phony political debate going on in Washington is just as spurious. Neither one is about how much reform will cost, personal choice, or how many government bureaucrats will come between a patient and his or her doctor.

This is about race, pure and simple.

And since nothing scares the right-wing-nuts in the Republican Party more than the prospect of racial equality in anything, health care reform has become the latest outrage for their talk-radio stooges and, in turn, their never-ending search for higher ratings.

In the absence of facts that support the health care status quo, the radio ranters have been forced to reveal the outlines of the alternate universe in which they exist, that scary place where American voters last November elected a black Muslim born in Kenya who is using reform of this nation’s perfect-as-is medical care system as a way to usher in a Marxist-Leninist state.

Those who agree—but who want to remain socially acceptable—cloak the issue in different terms. They torture arguments into discourses on socialized medicine, cutting taxes, smaller government, market-based solutions and personal liberty. This bunch would never say aloud that President Barack Obama wants to convert Americans into Godless Communists, rather they imply that he would do something worse: turn them into single-payer-loving Canadians.

Tragically, large segments of the American public have bought into this reactionary nonsense and honestly believe that health care reform is a singular issue, a one-time thing that understandably divides the political left and the political right over the question of who should control a major sector of the American economy, private enterprise or the federal government.

But the argument is much broader and markedly more insidious. The debate has nothing to do with the cost of drugs, rationing medical care, or that constantly flogged waiting list for elective surgery. Its tap root reaches deep down into a steaming pile of racial muck dropped more than 60 years ago.

After President Harry Truman desegregated the military following World War II and the Democratic Party inserted a strong civil rights plank in its 1948 platform, southern segregationists walked out of that year’s convention and formed the States’ Rights Democratic (Dixiecrat) Party. Meeting later that summer in Birmingham, Alabama, that party picked South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond to head its ticket, and the upstart organization succeeded in winning four Southern states that November. The effort was not enough to keep Truman from being re-elected, but the wound in Democratic circles festered for years.

Observing this fracture up close was a young man from St. Matthews, S.C., named Harry Shuler Dent. A devout Southern Baptist who graduated from nearby Presbyterian College, Dent went on to get a degree from George Washington University Law School in 1957, and a master’s of law from Georgetown University in 1959. By the time he graduated, Dent had long been an aide to Thurmond, who by then was a U.S. Senator.

In addition to his expertise in the law, which he used to help his boss thwart civil rights legislation in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Dent had a sensitive ear for the political stirrings of the folks back home. And they were uneasy. When the Republican Party nominated Sen. Barry Goldwater for president in 1964, Dent caught a glimpse of the future. At his urging, Strom Thurmond switched parties, which leads to the other thread of the health care reform story.

After losing the 1960 presidential election to John Kennedy and the 1962 California gubernatorial contest to Pat Brown, former Vice President Richard Nixon was dismissed as a viable political candidate by pundits on both the left and the right. ABC News commentator Howard K. Smith even hosted a 30-minute, prime time television program titled “The Political Obituary of Richard Nixon.” But while others were dismissing him as a has-been, the Dark Prince of the GOP was plotting a return.

Nixon joined a New York law firm for cover and quietly spent years traveling the back roads of America, speaking at fund raisers and kick-off rallies for obscure Republican candidates seeking the most minor of offices. Over a period of time, he appeared in countless VFW halls, addressed hundreds of small-town coffees and endured thousands of photo-ops, all the while building up a huge cache of political IOUs. More importantly, Nixon was picking up on the vibe emanating from what would soon be called The Silent Majority. He and Harry Dent were destined to get on the same page.

Meanwhile, the nation was undergoing a revolution. In response to almost constant pressure from African-Americans, President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed a Democratic-controlled congress into enacting the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which gave black folks access to public accommodations, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which guaranteed them access to the ballot box. Federal courts were ordering school systems to abide by Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka and desegregate their facilities, even if that meant bussing students from one district to another, and Stokley Carmichael, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was talking about something new and scary called “black power:

Continue reading: Race, Health Care, and the ‘Southern’ Strategy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting piece.

This is a Rural Blog that provides views & insights from a Conservative Georgia Democrat

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