Watching the Republican Convention Liberals Need to be Aware of Their Own Blind Spots



Watching the Republican Convention tonight on the west coast I have to remind myself that all of this took place hours ago.  Living in the Eastern Time Zone gets one used to seeing things more or less in real time.

It has been physically exhausting and emotionally painful listening to the speakers.  Ordinarily, amateur citizens speaking would be a welcome relief after months of name calling and outrageous claims by professional politicians, but these amateurs have been run up on the stage to give personal stories to make personal Mr. Trump’s talking points.  We have seen token Hispanics and Blacks produced to speak in sound bites and non sequiturs in an attempt to give the impression that a significant number of voters who are not white and male are happy with either Donald Trump or the Republican Party.

Searching for something else on line it was noted that NBC News had already fact-checked a number of claims made by speakers tonight.  Most of the claims made were either unfounded or in direct conflict with facts. 

Most liberals have come to accept that conservatives use the tactics of ad hominem attacks, repeatedly telling lies until those who want to believe them are sure that they are true, and repeatedly calling for investigations of incidents, even when they have already been investigated with a finding of no fault or no guilt, and repeatedly attempting to repeal laws with which conservatives have disagreement.  These latter tactics have the combined negative effect of convincing the public that the findings of investigations are suspect, and that the laws conservatives want to repeal are actually flawed.

These tactics work on susceptible people.

We probably all have acquaintances that become livid when Benghazi, Hillary’s email, or Obamacare are brought up, even when they know little or nothing about any of these issues.  For the uneducated poor white person the “bubble headed bleached blond” on Fox News is both knowledgeable and truthful.

Here’s the problem; liberals have their own blind spots.

We often get trapped in a bubble just like conservatives.  When we only talk to those who believe as we do our beliefs are bolstered and we begin to think that everyone thinks that way.

For those with specific causes there is often a lack of sympathy for others causes.  A champion of black civil rights may feel that their cause is more important than those of the LGBTQ community, and vice versa.  This may be because an individual actually does not agree that a group should be given a voice, or because of a fear that their own efforts will be diluted.  A rising tide, it has been said, floats all boats. 

Some LGBTQ individuals are also black or Hispanic.

Some with Hispanic surnames are also black with ancestors who were slaves.

Rewriting history, or denying the importance of history may be carried out in an effort to make one’s own cause more important, or more just.

Today, in a comment thread Newt Gingrich was referred to as a Georgia Cracker.  “Cracker” is a pejorative term in any sense, but the history of the term indicates that it goes back farther in time than its purported derivation from “whip cracker”, implying that ‘crackers’ were originally whites who punished slaves who did not perform to expectations by use of a whip.

"Cracker" goes back at least to the 16th century in England where it was used to describe Scot-Irish immigrants to England.  From the beginning the Scot-Irish, formerly crofters in the Scottish Highlands, have been characterized as rogues, difficult for governments to control, and outspokenly rebellious.

     “What craker is this same that deafs our ears with this abundance of superfluous breath?  (From King John published in the 1590s.)

The term, cracker, followed these same people to the Americas where Scot-Irish immigrants moved south through the Virginias to the Carolinas and Georgia.  These same poor white rural subsistence farmers did hire on as cattle drovers and slave overseers, where a term already in use in America by the 17th century took on a second meaning.


Knowing this does not lessen the horrors of slavery or punishment by flogging. 

The knowledge that most “crackers” were poor hardscrabble farmers, people who gladly went to work in textile mills in the Carolinas in the early 20th century rather than try to eke out a living on rocky hillsides, may have the effect of making one a little sympathetic to these individuals, something that is hard to do when you have thought they were all evil plantation foremen.  It is even harder when we know that they are, in large part, the lynch pin in the GOPs Southern Strategy, poor whites who illogically support programs that work against them because, as in Great Britain, they suspect the government of evil and are clannish.

Views: 242

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on July 19, 2016 at 4:49am

Oh yes they can work and yes we must take due diligent care. And the photos are wholly apt to your piece.  

Comment by Ron Powell on July 19, 2016 at 5:40am
"These same poor white rural subsistence farmers did hire on as cattle drovers and slave overseers, where a term already in use in America by the 17th century took on a second meaning."

To this I would add:

Particularly when used by slaves to describe white overseers and slave drivers.

Nicely written...
Comment by Ron Powell on July 19, 2016 at 5:53am

Are we talking "crackers" here:

Comment by koshersalaami on July 19, 2016 at 6:34am
Liberal bigotry is mostly classist. Liberals look down on poor Whites. It's a serious ethical and tactical mistake.
Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on July 19, 2016 at 6:47am

Liberal bigotry is mostly classist.

Oh, bullshit!  Liberals have as many bigoted, biased and prejudiced people as any other group.  (and not just against people's race).  I could give you dozens of recent examples, but that statement is too stupid to be worth the effort.  We need to own our own shit and not play it off as something semi-benign or less than what it is.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on July 19, 2016 at 7:43am

The biggest blind spot for many Liberals is the notion that problems can be solved with a checkbook. I couldn't listen to the RNC.  Watched a DVD of The Dark Knight instead Heath Ledger's last performance as the Joker reminded me of Trump.  I'm too distracted and weary with my own BS to care much anymore.

Comment by koshersalaami on July 19, 2016 at 8:37am
If it's too stupid to be worth the effort, why did you put in the effort?

If you're liberal and express bigotry about race or sexual orientation among other liberals, you're likely to find disapproval whether or not they feel the same way. However, talk about rednecks and they'll all join in. Talking trash about rednecks for some reason does not violate PC. The term "trailer trash" doesn't generate disapproval to anything like the same extent (if at all) as other slurs.

There are also some religious exceptions. The big one is Christian fundamentalism, though that can be viewed as overlapping with the redneck category.

As to the idea that liberals believe that problems can be solved with a checkbook, that misperception is rooted in the idea that problems can be created or aggravated by starving groups or problems of funding, which is absolutely true. The flip side of this is the conservative claim that education doesn't need money or anything like the money directed toward it, though the conservatives claiming this typically have kids either in very well funded school districts or in private schools, also obviously well funded.
Comment by Rodney Roe on July 19, 2016 at 9:21am

kosh, Class gets confused with a lot of other things.  Blacks often feel that other Black Americans who have become middle class aren't "black enough."  White liberals are often biased against fat people when obesity, ironically, is a mark of poverty.  Liberals seem to be more biased against behavioral traits than ethnicity or race, and they look down on poor whites as shiftless. As a liberal tree it's hard to get a look at the liberal forest. 

JMac, I'm sorry for your troubles.  I think watching the DVD was a good move.

There are two problems with using the governmental checkbook to fix things.  Some people are just deadbeats, and to construct a monitoring program that really worked would require a lot more taxpayer money.  The other problem, to quote Ronald Reagan quoting an old adage, "Don't give a man a fish.  Teach him how to fish."  Most deadbeats aren't interested in learning.  This approach, though has the disadvantage of ignoring those who can't learn to fish or only have one arm. (It's hard to bait your hook when you only have one arm. or are blind.)

Once you get past the size of a small village it is hard to have a good social welfare network.  The problem at that size is that all sorts of social tests provide excuses for not helping.  It is both good and bad that in a small town everybody knows your business.

SBAmy, we do.  See above.

Ron, that clip is great.  I can never seem to find things like that.  It's useful to remember that while George Wallace, and Lester Maddox had every marking of a Cracker,  Jimmy Carter would admit that he is a Cracker as well.

Jonathan, thanks.

Comment by Rodney Roe on July 19, 2016 at 9:58am

Gads! Donald Trumps wife du jour apparently plagiarized Michelle Obama's speech.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but come on...

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on July 19, 2016 at 10:03am

Gads! Donald Trumps wife du jour apparently plagiarized Michelle Obama's speech.

Here's the thing...  there are at least three new posts today condemning Trump's wife for stealing Mrs. Obama's words.

Until I see the same people condemning good 'ol $Hillary for REPEATEDLY stealing Sander's words (often word for word) it is all political kabuki BS.


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