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.