Posts Tagged ‘race’

Race and the race

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Obama-as-monkey; Powell as racist because he’s endorsed a fellow black man; (white) small towns as the only “real” America; the economy collapsing because Fannie Mae lent too much money to minority householders; Obama dolls found hanging in effigy; and all the while all too many McCain supporters keep on denying that their campaign’s feeding on racism (while some, to their credit, speak out against it).

But you have to turn the clock back a long way to put it all in perspective.  People say the Civil War was a tragedy, but the real tragedy was the failure of Reconstruction.  The Union should have kept its boot on the South until it cracked, and the KKK should have been throttled with its own umbilical cord.  Consider:  in the early 1870s, a majority of the Mississippi and South Carolina state legislatures were black, and the former state was sending black Senators to Congress.  For a tantalizing moment, a new political/social order seemed to be in reach.  A hundred and thirty years later, we’re still living with the consequences of our failure to attain it.