… because I might change my mind.

I was fine

In case you were in a coma, we elected a new President yesterday. The person I voted for didn’t win. But I can appreciate the historical significance of the results. And, I admit, there is a part of me that is proud of this country for arriving at this moment — even though I do not agree with the winner’s philosophies.

And I was fine with where things stood until earlier this evening when I was driving home.

I was listening to NPR. Yes, I sometimes listen to NPR. I also read the New York Times (well, the online version). What better way to know how the other side thinks than to listen to and/or read their main media outlets?

So anyway, I was listening to NPR on the way home. Actually, I was listening to their program called Fresh Air. The host was interviewing Bill Moyers. Now Mr. Moyers was on the staff of Lyndon Johnson from 1963-67, serving as his Press Secretary from 1965-67. Mr. Moyers was serving with LBJ when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. These are very important pieces of legislation in American history.

The host wanted to ask Mr. Moyers about his perspective on the election given his proximity to history in 1964 and 1965. In the course of the discussion, Mr. Moyers shared that after LBJ signed these two bills into law, he made the comment that “we just lost the South.”

This was an obvious comment about the state of race relations in the South in the middle of the 1960s. We know what that decade looked like. We’ve seen the black-and-white footage. We’ve watched Mississippi Burning. Many of us — if we’re honest — are embarrassed by that part of history. The country’s history. The South’s history. But that was more than 40 years ago.

The follow-up question from the host was whether he thought, given the election results, the South had moved past that. Past that decade. Past that comment from LBJ. Past those racist beliefs.

I was fine up until this moment.

Then Mr. Moyers gave his opinion.

He said that sadly, he thought the election results showed that the South had not moved past its racism. And he said that was reflected in all the red states on the map throughout the South. Like it was obvious from the mere fact that those states had not voted for Obama.

It’s not possible that the majority of the voters in those states had serious concerns about Obama the man? Obama the candidate? Obama the guy who wouldn’t be completely forthcoming about what he meant exactly by “change” but resorted to platitudes instead?

For Mr. Moyers to paint with such a broad brush is beyond offensive to me. Not to mention the millions of people — IN THE SOUTH — who voted for Obama. Mr. Moyers even commented that only 1 in 6 white Mississippians voted for Obama as evidence that they must have voted on the basis of race.

Worse, the host of Fresh Air just let Mr. Moyers‘ assumptions about the Southern voters sit out there. She never pushed back on the absurdity of his hypothesis. She never asked him if the fact that 9 out of 10 black voters voted for Obama meant they voted because of race. Or whether that was OK for some reason.

The notion that the South voted as a bloc against Obama because of his race is belied by the millions of Southerners who voted for the man — not to mention by the results in Virginia and North Carolina.

What this really reveals is the underlying paradigm among the Democrats or liberals or left or whatever label you want to put on it. As long as you agree with their positions, you are enlightened or smart or sophisticated. Dare to question their positions or — gasp — oppose them, and you must be a blithering idiot. Oh, and a racist apparently.

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2 responses

  1. I was listening to Fresh Air on this, and I turned it off once Moyer’s mentioned the “deeply racist South” and how it was a shame that it is a Republican stronghold. The exit polling doesn’t appear to support his hypothesis. In Mississippi, whites voted 81/18 for Bush over Kerry in 2004. In 2008 whites voted 88/11 for McCain over Obama. That doesn’t scream out deep racism to me. It screams out, heavily republican.Exit polls in Georgia show the same thing. In 2004, it was 76/23 among whites for Bush vs. Kerry. In 2008, it was 76/23 among whites for McCain vs. Obama.

    November 6, 2008 at 1:21 pm

  2. i think you should send this letter into NPR… go for it!

    November 7, 2008 at 11:05 pm

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