“Watching My South Fall for Donald Trump” is a featured Politico piece written by Issac J. Bailey. “His popularity has revealed a dark truth about the region,” intones the byline, quite ominously.
It’s a piece that starts off like a badly written novel. (I love liberal hit pieces that do this.):
The little white boy was 10 years old, maybe a few years younger. He wore jeans and a T-shirt and stood frozen next to a makeshift stage in the middle of downtown Charleston, South Carolina, as his older relatives, dressed in colorful Ku Klux Klan garb, yelled at a crowd through their bullhorns.
He didn’t want to be there and probably didn’t know why he was or why all those strange people in the crowd were calling his family members ugly names.
It was in the middle of the summer of 1990, just a short walk from Emanuel A.M.E. Church in a park where the country’s most prominent slavery proponent, John Calhoun, is honored with a three-story tall monument. The Klan was holding the rally portion of its parade after receiving a police escort in a march greeted by an interracial mob angry at the group’s audacity to remind residents of an ugly past that had faded into the background.
I can’t remember why the Klan showed up that day. Neither can I forget that little boy, who grew up immersed in a kind of hatred for his fellow man few can imagine. His image was the first that came to mind when news of Dylann Roof’s killing nine people at Emanuel in June began to spread…
How’s that for stretching things?
To his tale of woe, Bailey offers a momentary caveat:
Of course, the vast majority of Trump’s supporters aren’t going to follow in Roof’s footsteps and shoot up a church. But all together they can do way more damage, by standing in the way of the kind of transformational progress the region must undergo to become a “New South” in more than words…
Before launching into an Obama-styled “But”:
There’s little reason to pretend, as some are, that the anger Trump has tapped into in the South, which has propelled him to a near sweep of Southern states and to the top of Republican polls, is primarily about white Southerners’ anger about their changing economic fortunes. If that were the case, Southerners would also be embracing Bernie Sanders, another candidate seen as a political outsider running on a populist economic message.
Instead, while Sanders eagerly touts his civil rights past, Southerners—including those who long claimed the principles espoused by their conservative Christian faith influence their every decision—have picked the one presidential candidate who claimed (at first) he didn’t know enough about the Ku Klux Klan to have an opinion about it—the one candidate the Klan has said it is using as a recruiting tool.
Southern whites couldn’t possibly be against Sanders because they tilt conservative. We can then naturally deduce that Black Democrats in the South are anti-Semitic, given how they’ve gone 80/20 to Hillary over Bernie in the southern primaries.
For Jews, behind every tree is 1933.
For blacks, behind every tree is a white-hooded racist.
But, hey, any press is good press for the AFP and AmRen!
Yes, Trump’s coalition includes nonracists; a relative handful of black pastors; people who are just fed up and want to see major changes in Washington; those who feel disenfranchised by the emerging global economy that require skills they weren’t able to acquire, in large part because of school systems starved by a runaway disgust for government; and those fooled by Trump’s supposed high business IQ. But none of that can detract from the fact that Trump’s supporters also include white nationalist groups like the American Freedom Party and American Renaissance whether he wants them to or not. To them, Trump has come as close to sounding like former Klan wizard and Louisiana Rep. David Duke that a politician can—and still potentially win high national office. That should give pause to the millions of other Trump supporters, or would-be supporters, who are ignoring his bigotry because they are so desperate to see a political sea change.
After providing a litany of counterfactuals to his notion that southern whites are racists, Bailey then lobs out his unfalsifiable theory of how things operate amongst Whitey and Uncle Tom blacks:
White Southerners have shown an uncanny ability to compartmentalize: They are increasingly more willing to break bread and work and go to school and pray with members of minority groups even as they are often unwilling to do the hard work necessary to uproot decadeslong racial problems too many of them believe were solved with the signing of the Civil Rights Act.
And black Southerners have shown that same kind of compartmentalization, willing to forgive and even defend the worst racial offenses in an attempt to hate the sin, not the sinner, which in its own way has made further progress harder to come by.
Compartmentalization: Yes, that’s got to be it!
Bailey, it should be pointed out, has a book titled Proud. Black. Southern. (But I Still Don’t Eat Watermelon in front of White People).
That first word in the title is key.
He and his race are allowed to have it.
Whites are not.