Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Alternative title: "What's in it for me"

Elbert Guillory is a Louisiana state senator who recently switched (back) to the Republican Party. In this video, he explains why. In this blog, I take his words apart.

I wanted to take a moment to explain why I chose to become a Republican. And also to explain why I don't think it was a bold decision at all."

"It's because I'm a politician in Louisiana, and I want to stay in office."

"Somehow it's been forgotten that the Republican Party was founded in 1854 as an abolitionist movement with one simple creed: that slavery is a violation of the rights of man."

Yes, forgotten by the Republicans themselves in the age of the Southern Strategy.

"The first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln."

The first black president is a Democrat.

"It was the Republican president Dwight Eisenhower—"

A moderate nonpartisan with virtually no connection to today's GOP—

"—who championed the Civil Rights Act of 1957. But it was the Democrats in the Senate who filibustered the bill."

Actually, the filibusterer in question was Strom Thurmond, who later defined the racist right of the Republican Party. Until the early 1960s, the Democratic Party was such a monopoly in the South that the designation meant virtually nothing (much like the direction the GOP is heading in Louisiana). But then Thurmond and other conservative-leaning "Dixiecrats" began beelining in droves for the Republican Party. Why? Civil rights. 

Pictured: Obamabots.
So far, Guillory isn't too impressive with his grasp of history. Let's see how he does with politics.

"At the heart of liberalism is the idea that only a great and powerful big government can be the benefactor of social justice for all Americans. But the left is only concerned with one thing: control."

And if today's conservatives abhor anything, it's control. Why, they hate it so much that they don't want to control you, or help you in any way, at all! But still, give them your vote so they can enrich themselves while you're free to enrich yourself unencumbered by "help."

"And they disguise this control as charity. Programs such as welfare, food stamps, these programs aren't designed to lift black Americans out of poverty."

They're meant to offer a short-term helping hand to anyone who is struggling to make ends meet. That's one of the primary functions of our government — to serve the people it represents.

"They were always intended as a mechanism for politicians to control the black community. The idea that blacks, or anyone for that matter, need the government to get ahead in life, is despicable."

What's truly despicable: equating social programs with race, when the statistics don't bear out those connotations. Also despicable: the idea that blacks are a monolith of easily snookered people. And Republicans wonder why they have a racist image?

"And more important, this idea is a failure."

What is a failure, that government provides aid to its most downtrodden citizens? The only failure I see is that such programs constantly get cut to the bone while massive subsidies to the rich and well-connected continue unabated and unencumbered by racially charged sophistry.

"Our communities are just as poor as they've always been. Our schools continue to fail children. Our prisons are filled with young black men..."

Yes, we should really give Republicans a crack at fixing communities and schools and reducing the incarceration rate of young black men. It's high time the GOP brought jobs and infrastructure to the inner cities; increased funding of public schools; and stemmed the tide of an increasingly privatized prison-industrial complex that punches its ticket on arbitrary drug laws and substandard public defense that disproportionately dooms young black men to extended prison sentences. It's practically the party's linchpin!

"Our self-initiative and our self-reliance have been sacrificed in exchange for allegiance to our overseers—"

Overseers, elected representatives, same thing, amirite?

"—who control us by making us dependent on them."

This is something a white Republican politician can't politely say. But Elbert Guillory can! 

"Sometimes I wonder if the word freedom is tossed around so frequently in our society that it has become a cliché. ... It's the idea the economy must remain free of government persuasion."

I'd say that's tossing around the word freedom...

"It's the idea that the press must operate without government intrusion. And it's the idea that the e-mails and phone records of Americans should remain free from government search and seizure."

Because Republicans would never draft and pass legislation that would allow for exactly that. Right?

"It's the idea that parents must be the decision-makers in regards to their children's education, not some government bureaucrat!"

No. Many parents aren't fit to make that decision. It should be up to an elected body of qualified school officials to ensure that every single school is worth attending. The Republican idea that schools should be in competition with each other is one born of greed and elitism. Oh, and it doesn't work.

"But most importantly, it's the idea that the individual must be free to pursue his or her own happiness, free from government dependence and free from government control. Because to be truly free, is to be reliant on no one—"

I've known lots of poor people of all races, and virtually all of them wanted a better life. What they didn't want was the prospect of being completely abandoned by society in the likely event that such a transition would be difficult. It's not as if people's needs vanish in times like that. Ayn Rand never thought that one through, apparently.

"—other than the author of our destiny."

So much for self-reliance, huh?

"So, my brothers and sisters of the American community, please join with me today in abandoning the government plantation—"

Wonder how long that winning line sat on a speechwriter's desk before it became useful?

"—and the party of disappointment."

I guess when the alternative offers zero expectations, disappointment isn't an issue.

"So that we may all echo the words of one Republican leader—"

Let me guess ... the non-Republican Martin Luther King Jr.?

"—who famously said, 'Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we're free at last!'"

Man, I'm good. (Or Guillory's far too predictable. Can it be both?)

Forget his incomplete history lesson; Elbert's real reason for defection is political expediency. His deal with the devil is that, in exchange for validating condescending racial rhetoric, he can be the latest Black Republican Rising Star. That's something the Democrats can't offer, with the deep black bench they attract organically.

Critics might be tempted to accuse Elbert Guillory of being a turncoat or a race traitor, but I don't think those allegations are fair. No, he's simply another politician thinking in the short term, so that his term isn't short. It's all about his own prospects.

In that sense, he's right where he wants to be. And where he belongs.


steve B said...

SO Guillory who is a duly elected Democrat in a highly democrat district switches parties for political reasons. Are your blogs this full of delusion ? How about Guillory finally gets it .He has seen the failed policies of the Democrats and sees the country failing. Only a lib reporter like you could twist this guys words and assume what he is thinking. You my friend are whats wrong with the country.

steve B said...

One last thing I commend you on.You titled your blog page appropriately.

Ian McGibboney said...

Yes, it happens all the time here in Louisiana, mostly as it pertains to larger political aspirations.

His stated reasons for doing so are pretty boilerplate, which leads me to think it's the standard politicized decision rather than any change of heart. Why anyone finds that inspiring is beyond me ... aside from the cynical reasons, obviously.

And thanks for the second comment. Before that, I wasn't sure you disapproved of my work.

steve B said...

I believe you misread Govt stats on welfare. 38 percent of the total recipients are black yet they only have 13 percent of the population. Whites are 70 percent and comprise the same percent of the total.
But that shows the much higher percentage of the black population is on welfare than whites.I could go on but I have to go to bed.
We dont want a European Socialist state= they are all failing as we speak. Nice idea but it doesnt work.

Ian McGibboney said...

Welfare is equated with fraudulent and freeloading blacks in almost every debate. Going by your statistics, whites should be equally represented in the connotation. But of course, they aren't, because poor whites are less enticing of a target to conservatives (and also, they're a major voting bloc).

As for why blacks are on welfare at a disproportionate rate to their population, well, there are multiple factors. But one of them is not because they are inherently lazy people. There are very real and tangible factors that aren't as alluring or flattering to the GOP.

Hiram said...

Why is it ,when a gentleman is not scared to prepare his district for the future collapse.The oppressed hide under the color of authority. This administration has been writing checks our great grandchildren will not be able to cash.My grandfather once told me ,son when you came into this world all you had was your two hands.there is alot of dirt now go build yourself a mountain! The only thing that separates all of us is mind set.if you can dream it,make it.Once you had made it use it. So IAsk you do you want to be a messenger for the machine or a free thinking journalist? The pursuit of happiness is not a free check on the first of each month,but the right to own land ,to earn a decent wage through an occupation of one's choice.It was JFK. who said " ask not what your country can do for you,but what you can do for your country" !!!! Those words still ring true today maybe we would be in a better economic position if the(people) would hold these truths to be self evident. I would like to ask you did you earn your freedom,orhas someone else earned it for you? Goodday and God bless America.