The complete sentence in the title goes “In the old days we could have grabbed a rope and ‘properly’ LYNCHED those UPPITY N!%%rs.
Now Republicans both in TN and around the country in far too many places will deny they or some of their colleagues feel that way. Some hotly, and some in mealy-mouthed fashion but I stand by what I wrote. Three, count em THREE Democratic TN House members voiced support (by chanting) with the mass of students clogging the hallways of the TN Capitol demanding meaningful gun reform. Two of them were young black men, and one was a near middle-aged white woman. Without any of the normal process all three faced an expulsion vote today from a TN House with a GOP super-majority. One kept her seat (albeit she, like her two colleagues had already been stripped of committee assignments and had their electronic badges deactivated) and two were expelled.
Do I really need to say which one kept her seat by a single vote? (A two-thirds vote was required for expulsion and the GOP had the numbers to do it) The WHITE woman is still, for now at least a member of the TN House. Those two young, bright and passionate black men? Expelled!
Any, and I mean ANY Republican who says race had nothing to do with it is a liar. A g-damned liar! It had everything to do with it. These are exactly the kind up “uppity” black folk that KKKonservatives who now rule the GOP hate. And for the percentage (smallish) that don’t hate such people at least wish they be “good n!%%@rs” and be polite and not make waves.
I flashed back to an epic moment in an Oscar winning film from when I was a kid. Much of it was shot in Sparta Illinois, not far from my own hometown. It was “the slap heard round the world” because Detective Virgil Tibbs (portrayed by the iconic Sidney Poitier) got slapped by the racist cotton magnate Eric Endicott and Tibbs immediately slaps HIM back across the face. The sheriff played by Rod Steiger didn’t know WTF to do and says so when Endicott asks him. Making things worse for Endicott was his (black of course) butler had just come into the greehouse and saw the whole thing. Blinking back tears Endicott says “There was a time… When I could have had you shot.”
That seared my consciousness as a kid when I first saw it, and has every time since particularly due to the physical resemblance (not to mention the racism) of my piece of sh!t grandfather, a police Captain in a small southern city before they had to flee in the middle of the night. Long story. But the Klan got him hired on as a Federal Railroad cop, a job he held till retirement. The point though is those attitudes have never gone away. Oh, despite all the turmoil of the 1960s and Hoover driving the Klan underground for a time (not because of racism but his agents down in MS started getting threatening phone calls) but the attitudes? Like the shingles and other viruses that can go dormant and flare up again so it is with racism.
And plenty of racists, mostly but not all registered Republicans lost their sh!t when Barrack Obama became President Obama. Things got worse as in more organized (thanks in no small part to the internet & social media and cell phones – especially disposable ones) and once Trump got into the WH and pretty much told them to let their racist freak flag fly they’ve become emboldened. Including and especially by Republican state legislators and Governors with a big assist from the a-holes Mitch McConnell rammed through in federal courts including SCOTUS. I won’t list all the voter surpression laws and tactics that have been enacted but it’s pretty clear that while the want to hinder any Democrat’s ability to cast a vote and have it counted, special attention (a LOT of it) has been targeted at non-whites and black people in particular!
I grew up in a part of Illinois where that type of thinking was prevalent and I’ve seen it over and over again in my six and a half decades on this earth. Growing up in the 1960s I wasn’t quite old enough to fully process it but I sure as hell am now. And Charlottesville and events since suggest things are as bad now as then. Worse in many ways because those ready and even eager to do violence to protect white “supremacy” are armed not with lynching ropes but weapons of war. Guns designed specifically to kill lots of people in a very short time.
When I was in school we had tornado drills (mattered a lot where I grew up) and “disaster” drills too – those ridiculous “duck and cover” drills in case of a nuclear attack. Even early in grade school it made no sense to me or my classmates to hide for protection from a fireball under a wood desk! Oh well. But the tornado drills made sense pretty early on. So did fire drills. Now, we have an entire generation that has grown up practicing Active Shooter drills! I never had kids but it breaks my heart things got to that point.
It also makes me angry as hell.
Conservatives refuse, REFUSE to even discuss much less take some very much needed steps to cut back on gun violence. Their cowardice in the face of the gun lobby has cost them at the ballot box too. After the Parkland mass shooting students got organized in a way we’ve never seen before and demanded action. Not just there but around the country. More importantly they haven’t just protested, they’ve voted! And organized voter registration drives and GOTV efforts that have proven successful. Millions more will turn 18 before 2024 and by a substantial margin this one issue will matter to them. As will the GOP’s taking away reproductive rights, refusal to address climate change and other stuff like college affordability. In Tennessee too.
After a mass shooting in Nashville students not only staged walkouts but went to their Capitol to demand action. And the GOP blew them off. Then adding insult to injury when three Democratic House members had the “audacity” to voice support for them from the floor of their chamber the GOP freaked out!
With stunning swiftness they voted to expel two of them. Two BLACK men, and as I said for now let the white woman keep her seat. There’s something else us old farts need to keep in mind. Younger generations are less bound by the racial attitudes folks my age and older grew up with. Sure, kids who grow up in conservative homes will be taught to be racist and sadly in too many instances that teaching that grooming will take. However Republicans/conservatives make up only a little over 30% of the population. Democrats a little more and Independents are now the largest group. The GOP is giving them yet another reason to say “to hell with these Republicans unless/until they get their act together and stop being a-holes.”
It’s “Holy Week.” Damned near every one of those GOP critters who voted to expel two of their God’s children just because those two men have African American heritage will sit there in church, piously claiming their love for their Jesus as they celebrate his resurrection yet in their hearts know, know they rejected his teachings. If I’m wrong and there is a God, the time will come when they have to justify themselves. And they won’t be able to do it!
Especially the ones who wished it was the old days and they could have taken those proud, intelligent and outspoken black men outside and strung em up with a rope! Don’t tell me there weren’t people in that TN House chamber who thought EXACTLY that. I’ve known such people my entire life. They exist and some of them hold positions of power and influence.
To paraphrase a pundit I saw earlier, the country has just gotten a lesson in Critical Race Theory more clearly and powerfully than any law or graduate school presentation could ever give.