S.M.B. - Logic and Rhetoric
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
YOU CAN'T BRING A CONFEDERATE FLAG TO THE TABLE OF BROTHERHOOD
I have supported Howard Dean in the past. No more. The guy has shown himself to be a traditional politician. He has courted constituencies that are diametrically opposed to everything I believe in.
The Washington politician I admired most was Senator Paul Wellstone, Democrat of Minnesota. His slogan, during his first campaign, was "this time, vote for what you believe in!" I've decided that I'm going to vote for what I believe in. I believe in single-payer health insurance, a right to organize, to bargain collectively and to strike. I think that government should be an active force that protects the interests of most people (without violating anybody's rights).
Our government right now is not acting on behalf of the interests of most people. Howard Dean is a strong candidate, especially in a classical, elite, political sense. He is good looking, white, easy to understand and does not concede much to his opponents. That Howard Dean would make any pitch for people with "Confederate Decals in their pick-up trucks" reveals the true nature of his candidacy; that he would seek to serve or appease a bloc of voters that insists that the offensive emblem be planted right on state grounds.
The Confederate flag is not just a symbol. The Confederate flag IS racial politics in the south. Politicians have lost their statewide jobs for not supporting the symbol of the Confederacy, the Old South, the land of slavery, lynchings and sharecropping. Since Howard Dean is too ignorant to understand why that symbol is so utterly hurtful to so many people, he is too ignorant to receive my vote.
It is not as if Dean had no other means to communicate that he wants to appeal to white, disenfranchised southerners. He could've substituted several words or phrases for "Confederate flags or confederate decals." Dean could've said "gun rack." He could've said "I wanna be the candidate for people in trailer parks," or "I'm the guy from Park Avenue who'll defend our fellow citizens in trailer parks."
As a voter, I understand that nothing in a political campaign is random. Dean had been saying the Confederate flag thing for weeks. Nonetheless, chosing that specific phrase, Dean's campaign obviously believes, enhances his stump speech. THIS IS DESPITE Southern Republicans' use of this appeal, this is despite STROM THURMOND'S use of this appeal! This appeal is not simply an appeal to poor southern whites, it is an appeal to racists everywhere that Howard Dean is comfortable enough with them to be their candidate.
So I say here, fuck racism and fuck Howard Dean.