Friday, January 18, 2008

Mike Huckabee's Flag-Waving Racism

SARAH PALIN: I know you're at Ft. Benning for your son's graduation from infantry training, and that you've visited this site. You and Track are much in our thoughts and prayers. Please keep "tuning in." As young American patriots, your son and his friend John Bates are in exactly the right place.

My next column will appear tonight (Saturday), after the South Carolina Primary. If John McCain wins in SC, he probably will end up as the GOP's nominee. If he doesn't, then things will continue to remain very complicated. The Florida Primary occurs in 10 days and "Super Tuesday" will be in 17 days. Will we have a nominee by Feb. 6? Anyone who knows the answer to that question should let the rest of us in on it. Also, is it just me, or does Obama look like someone who's going to be nearly impossible to beat in the general election? As the saying goes, "we live in interesting times."

One of my biggest problems with "Mike" Huckabee is his embrace of the Confederate Flag, a symbol of the nation's darkest days to many in S.C. and the nation. A little good ole Arkansas racism seems to be the way to get some vote from the Pavlovian "evangelicals," who make up most of his supporters. A little offense against Black folks isn't going to hurt him in in the heart of Dixie.

Of course, the Confederate flag means different strokes to different folks. To African-Americans, a group that doesn't "like Mike," the flag stands for racism, slavery, segregation, and humiliation. To the group that drives dusty pick-ups and drinks throws Blue Ribbon cans out the window, the flag reflects a time when Black people "knew their place."

Mike Huckabee claims to be a Christian -- a claim for which I see no evidence. I don't take him at his word, because I don't see any deeds. I see another Southerner out conning the boobs.

Of course, many politicians in the Republican Party (including Mark Foley and Duke Cunningham) have made the faith claim. But I have no earthly (or heavenly) idea what Mike Huckabee believes -- if anything. He exemplifies the stylistics of a backwater form of what passes for Christianity in rural areas of the Deep South, but I don't see anything more substantial. He seems to love his neighbors, but not the ones two streets away.

As I've tried hard (but failed) to explain to Larry Perrault, a big backer of Pastor Mike, people can claim to believe anything, and of course some of them believe nothing. I increasingly tend to think Mike falls in that category. And I'm beginning to wonder about Larry, who seems to have two issues: abortion and gay marriage, which happen to Huckabee's key issues. For someone like Larry, disagreeing with him constitutes a deviation from "The Word of God."

Huckabee knows (and so does Larry) that the chances for a constitutional amendment on either issue are about the same as polar bears migrating to Miami. (The last effort at an amendment on abortion was in 1983, and it fell 18 votes short of passage in the Senate.) Mike knows there's no chance for such amendments, but if that waves his rhetorical version of the bloody sheet in front of the primitives, some grunt and some drool.

The only way we can determine an individual's beliefs -- be it Larry or Pastor Mike -- is by their acts. "By their fruits ye shall know them." If the fruit is rotten, well . . .

Mike's "fruits" right now seem to be confined to cozying up to the Primitive Baptists and racists crawling out of the S. Carolina swamps. The push-polling on his behalf is Exhibit B of the racism and foulness that afflicts his campaign. There has been an effort in 2000 and another one this year by Huckabee supporters (Christians all, one presumes) to make false statements about John McCain. Pastor Huckabee could stop this, but he chooses not to.

The claim made in the sewers of South Carolina politics is that John McCain "faithered an illegitimate Black child." As I've explained, John McCain and his wife Cindy adopted a dark-skinned orphan in BanglaDesh, and she's been their daughter for many years. As I mentioned, Mike Huckabee could stop the slurs about the McCains, but he chooses not to.

Are there enough good Republicans in S. Carolina to repudiate Mike's tactics? I guess we shall see soon.

The admonitions of Jesus Christ are difficult ones, and the "evangelical favorite" is falling far short of living up to them. He's Goomer Pyle with an attitude -- and not a good attitude.

Regarding another Huckabee supporter, Triva, of Greenville, SC, she and I have had an interesting "relationship." She made many comments on this blog, and I reprinted all of them. I made a few comments on her blog, and she reprinted none of them. I guess that struck her as fair.

Triva is a homeschooler, a group that strongly backs Mike Huckabee. She doesn't send her children to public school in Greenville, SC, because, as she explained, "the schools aren't good enough." In the Deep South, the "not-so-good schools" are code words for having too many people that don't resemble "us."

I told her that her views on the free exchange of information didn't augur well for preparing her children -- many pictures of whom she prints on her blog -- for life in a diverse world. She didn't appreciate the advice, mainly because she hasn't yet grasped the fact that some people disagree with her! There are occasional signs that Triva could actually be a good person, but somehow that doesn't look like a realistic possibility. Self-righteousness and goodness don't go well together.

She doesn't like me, and right about now the feeling has become mutual. As for Mike, he reminds us why so many people continue to view Southern Baptists as symbols of narrowness, sexism, meanness, and intolerance.

In the 2000 SC Primary, John McCain backed off on criticizing having the Confederate Flag fly above the capital. In 2008, McCain called his earlier position "an act of cowardice." Of course, John McCain is a 20th century model of American heroism.

Somehow, I have the strong feeling that terms like cowardism and heroism have little meaning to Mike Huckabee, who is the former but not the latter.

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