Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ohio's Voinovich Deaf to Southern Dog Whistle

At last, the usually silent [and thereby complicit] GOP senator from Ohio, George Voinovich, exposes the sludge of his party: "It's the Southerners!" Because he is retiring at the end of this term, Voinovich apparently feels that he can [at last] bring this topic to the attention of his once-grand old party. He said, in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, ""We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns. It's the Southerners. They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr.' People hear them and say, 'These people, they're Southerners. The party's being taken over by Southerners. What the hell they got to do with Ohio?"

I don't know, senator, what the hell South Carolina and Oklahoma have to do with the people of Ohio. As the 50's tune went, "it's YOUR party and you should cry if you want to!"

Kathleen Parker, no bleeding liberal, said in today's Washington Post, "Whatever Voinovich's sound effects were intended to convey, his meaning was clear enough: Those ignorant, right-wing, Bible-thumping rednecks are ruining the party." You betcha! Kathleen. She goes on, "Southern Republicans, it seems, have seceded from sanity."

Parker recalled the Nixon quote from 1966 after visiting Dixie, "This is the party of the future, right here in the South!" Then she writes, "That same rage was on display again in the fall of 2008, but this time the frenzy was stimulated by a pretty gal with a mocking little wink. Sarah Palin may not have realized what she was doing, but Southerners weaned on Harper Lee heard the dog whistle."

Parker concludes her piece, "What the GOP is experiencing now, one hopes, are the death throes of that 50-year spell that Johnson foretold. But before the party of the Great Emancipator can rise again, Republicans will have to face their inner Voinovich and drive a stake through the heart of old Dixie."

That's a tall order for the current Republican Party. How will it 'kill' the southern ideology without killing their spirit? Or are the two bound tightly, Prometheus-style? What is the Southern passion, anyway? Is it the Bible? States Rights? Jim Crow? Far-right-wing ideology?

What makes the South so 'solid' these days? Is it all negativity- the party of no? Do most southerners begin their statements with, ' I don't want no...'?

I have often attempted to get into the mind of the far-right to try to understand what they are all about. I often hear the usual platitudes like, 'less government' and 'individual rights.'

Well, it seems to me that this nation has 'been there, did that' in its history and we learned a valuable lesson- mature democracies do not function with those two ideals leading the way.

That was pioneer America. That was the Wild West. That was the Confederacy. That was Jim Crow. That was pre-Civil Rights Act.

Ohio has moved on and so has the mid-West, the Northeast and the far West. We're turning gray and have years of wisdom upon which to make judgements about the type of government we want. And it doesn't look at all like that of the Jim DeMints and Tom Colburns.

Thank God!

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