Mark Karlin wrote:
Members of the white working class need someone to hate in order to feel a sense of self-esteem, because otherwise, they would be on the lowest rung of the social and economic ladder.
Right now, there is a significant segment of the US population that is so full of a self-eviscerating hate — due to the need for feeling affirmation and empowerment from an Anglo Saxon ruling class — that their bilious loathing may fatally wound a nation founded upon the resilience of an evolving democracy.
When you realize the Republican party has a small base, albeit very wealthy, it stands to reason that they would encourage other portions of the population to bolster their ranks. What could be better than to play to the hate and fear prevalent in this country? Racism wins elections for the Republicans. Greed wins elections for the Republicans. Mendacity wins elections for the Republicans.
Frank Rich writes of the Obama era:
It has certainly encouraged the GOP to unleash its id and wax with unapologetic nostalgia about the good ole days of the Jim Crow South. Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia issued a proclamation declaring Confederate History Month with no mention of slavery. Rand Paul, when running successfully for senator of Kentucky, disparaged the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Haley Barbour, the former GOP chairman and Mississippi governor and almost presidential candidate, reminisced about how things were not “that bad” back when the segregationist White Citizens’ Councils were in charge of Yazoo City during his halcyon youth. Toss in such other uninhibited party leaders as Newt Gingrich, branding Obama “the best food-stamp president in American history,” and Karl Rove, who labeled the public-spirited rapper Common “a thug” when Obama invited him to a poetry evening at the White House, and you see why some white voters in Steubenville, Ohio, were happy to confide to a Times reporter this month that they wouldn’t be casting ballots for a black man.
But this renaissance of neo-Confederatism on the right is retro. We’ve been there, done that many times in the decades since Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy” turned the party of Lincoln into a haven for the old Dixiecrats. What’s new in the Obama era are the less binary racial free-for-alls dramatized so vividly in [the play] Clybourne Park. Though some of these episodes have comic elements that seem like holdovers from The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe’s eighties satirical assault on liberal political correctness, they have become wackier in plot and boast a wider cast of characters: white conservatives and liberals, black conservatives and liberals, and a political-media Establishment that is more easily manipulated by racial provocateurs than at any time in recent memory.
Karlin’s premise is possibly true: The Racism of the Republican Party May Destroy Our Democracy. This country is rapidly moving towards an avoidable disaster, but isn’t that what the Republicans want? I suspect the concern is moot because while the petty Americans are arguing about American Exceptionalism, Asia is going to rise up and eat our lunch … and that is fundamentally unavoidable.
So who is the new Harold Bloom that is going to publish The Eastern Canon?