Thursday, August 23, 2012

Urban light talk

Roy Edroso found this under a rock somewhere, but didn't have time to write about it: a blog called "Conservative Read" with a discussion of Romney's speech to the NAACP, with invidious comparison, I believe, to Vice President Biden:
Last month Mitt Romney spoke to an all black audience. He did not say, “Yall or Yo or any other type of vernacular that could be construed as urban light talk. Instead he remained himself and spoke from his heart. He was not looking for votes, rather looking to open up hearts. He spoke the truth and he spoke with purpose. Barack Obama and the Democrat Party’s policies are hurting the Black community.
The truth sometimes is supposed to hurt and Mitt Romney stuck the needle filled with truth serum deep inside the vein of every single member of the audience when he spoke at the NAACP.
Ouch! Well, maybe not that deep.
Urban light graffiti. From WebUrbanist.
Unlike Romney, the author here is looking for votes: black people should vote Republican on the grounds that that was the progressive party on racial issues a hundred and fifty years ago. We quote Frederick Douglass, who
once famously quipped, “I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to no other party then the party of freedom and progress.”
Oops, is that a little urban light talk sneaking into the conversation? I believe Douglass said "any other party" and wrote "than", not "then"—if he said anything of the kind at all, that is; because the "quip" itself seems likely to be spurious anyway; nobody has been able to find the source in all the well-indexed, largely online corpus of Douglass's writings.

That's right—odds are he never did say that. Sad thing for the Republicans, too, because they're starting to like it just as much as Dr. King's "judged by the content of their character."

Douglass really was a Republican, of course, or at least worked with Republicans, because he was an escaped slave and an abolitionist, and they were the abolitionist party, and proved it by fighting the Civil War. That does not quite prove that he would be a Republican now, or even in 1882.

The current Republican idea is that slavery was actually a liberal institution, as I have had occasion to mention here briefly before, brought about by creating a "dependency culture" among the enslaved, getting their food and clothing, like charity, from the Big House and never needing to develop an entrepreneurial spirit. Young bucks hanging outside their shacks all day, you know, playing their banjos, with no clue as to how to dress for an interview, speaking that heavy rustic talk.

I don't know quite how they square that with states' rights, though, and tentherism. They've been telling us all along that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery, and was fought over the purest of constitutional issues. This may take some getting used to.

 If the Civil War era Republicans were the conservative party and the Democrats were the liberal party doesn't that make your South Carolina nullificationists and Texas secessionists of today liberals too?

Oh, well. Here's something Frederick Douglass really did write, in October 1882, in a letter to a friend in Paris. This was when the Republican party was halfway through its evolution into its hideous modern or postmodern self, from the party of radical liberation to that of insatiable greed, not so long after the wholesale takedown of Reconstruction, and just when President Arthur couldn't get any Republican votes for getting rid of the endemic corruption of the civil service and had to go to the Democrats (who won the midterms that November in a big way, incidentally):
 It is sad just now to see
the once great and powerful Republican
party which has done so much for
our country, for humanity and
civilization being now literally stabbed
to death, assassinated by men who
have hitherto been its staunch defenders.
A spirit of rule or ruin is
abroad here. 
Rather more appropriate than the fake one they've been bandying around.
Frederic Douglass, Radical. From Agabus.

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