Larry Flynt

Archive for April, 2013

Going South

Monday, April 1st, 2013

re old white men genuinely nuts, or are they just throwing a collective tantrum? What is it about the Barack Obama Presidency that pushes so many of them over the edge? In this past election, white codgers— joined by some younger men who are dumb beyond their years—were exposed as the only major demographic group in the nation that felt deeply threatened by a well-spoken, moderate- to-a-fault, mixed-race President who was clearly brainier, more informed and far better intentioned than his intellectually unhinged and morally adrift Republican opponent.

Were he white, Obama would have been embraced as the dream candidate of the moderates who used to make up the base of the Republican Party from Abraham Lincoln through Dwight D. Eisenhower. That base consisted of largely modest and tolerant folks who supported racial integration even in the Deep South, where white Republicans stood for civil rights and opposed the racist Dixiecrats who, back then, controlled the Southern states’ Democratic Party. When Lincoln freed the slaves and Eisenhower sent federal troops to the South to complete the job of guaranteeing equal rights for all Americans, Republicans from coast to coast rallied in support.

But Eisenhower’s Vice President, Richard Nixon, was already hatching a plan to betray the proud Republican record of commitment to full racial equality. What came to be known as Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” involved an about-face on civil rights.

When Lyndon B. Johnson—a Democrat who had represented Texas in the U.S. Senate—became President, he betrayed the Dixiecrats by getting the Voting Rights Act passed. Suddenly, this was not your granddaddy’s South anymore because the descendants of former slaves finally were fully emancipated with a federally guaranteed right to vote. When LBJ signed the historic legislation in 1965, he threw the switch that turned the Deep South from blue to red, thus ensuring that whites below the Mason-Dixon Line would become the last bastion of racist idiocy.

Nixon jumped on that opportunity to champion reactionary madness when he successfully ran for President in 1968. He blatantly appealed to the evil that lurked in the white Southern soul as evidence of a “normal” America as opposed to the Democratic Party’s subversive “hippies” who had rallied around Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and were also labeled as unpatriotic because they opposed the stupidity represented by the Vietnam War.

Nixon was shrewd enough to know that he couldn’t campaign in the South as an avowed racist without alienating the bulk of the nation’s Republican and independent voters beyond the old Confederacy. So he used code language by identifying with the South’s Christian Right.

The Southern Baptist church was a product of the moral deformity of slavery and segregation, and Nixon seized upon the white Baptists’ alienation from the post-Dixiecrats Democratic Party. The result of that unholy alliance was a revamped and indelibly racist Southern GOP, whose central goal was to prevent recently enfranchised black voters from hooking up with moderate whites to form a truly modern New South.

Instead, thanks to the sly endorsement of religious bigotry, the South became the haven of intolerance. But now the cracks are showing. The economy and demographics of the South have profoundly changed. In this past Presidential election, we witnessed a rise in reason when Florida went for Obama, who garnered considerable support from Latinos as well as younger white and female voters.

The times are a-changing, and given the shifting sands of population demographics, even older white males will be forced to become more rational. They cannot secede from the Union, not only because no other nation wants them—they have enough geezers of their own—but because being old means you are expecting those younger folks to carry the load while you struggle to stay alive on government subsidies of an increasingly burdensome aging population.

Don’t get those younger-male, diverse and female voters who carried Election Day for Obama too riled up, or they may cut off your senior benefits—including the God-given right to Medicare-funded Viagra


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