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MoPOP at dusk, Seattle

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Southern Strategy

untitled woodcut, Claire Leighton
A portion of the late Republican consultant Lee Atwater's famous 1981 "Southern Strategy" interview with Alexander P. Lamis:

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger.

1 comment:

Richard Carpenter said...

Abraham Lincoln did not die in vain. He died in Washington, D.C.

Firesign Theater, 1970.

You can make laws and try to enforce them but how do you change men's hearts? One reads political essays, studies history, partakes of the worlds religions and yet it still evades us, true compassion. I think John Lennon had it right when he said all you need is love. He was shot. Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers. He was crucified. Atwater had his moment of remorse just before he died. He asked for forgiveness for what he had done. All those people with the hidden racial intention to "cut this and cut that" do not realize that there may be a day of reckoning when all the hatred is turned on them. The emptiness is depicted well by the cover of the King Crimson album, 'In the Court of the Crimson King'. The song '21st Century Schizoid Man' is appropriate here. I would place the picture but we have our limitations here. Maybe you could do that Robert. I know you like that album too.