Silver Rights

News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.

Saturday, November 13, 2004  


News: Washington Dems call provisional voters

Good news for Democrats. Make that limited good news. It is limited because it applies only to Democrats in Washington, and, to a very specific situation. Party officials there have won the right to contact persons who cast provisional ballots Nov. 2. That matters because the Washington gubernatorial race remains undecided. The candidates, Democrat Christine Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi, have traded the lead back and forth since Election Day night. As of Friday, 50,000 votes were still uncounted and Rossi had a 2,000 vote advantage.

Wired reports.

SEATTLE -- Democratic Party volunteers are frantically calling voters whose provisional ballots are in dispute, urging them to make sure their vote is counted in the state's still-undecided governor's race.

The volunteers went to work Friday night, after party officials successfully sued to get access to the names of 929 voters -- all in heavily Democratic King County -- whose ballots were questionable. They planned to keep working through the weekend.

Elections officials said there was no reason to release the names, because voters who cast provisional ballots know those ballots may need to be verified, and it's up to each voter to contact the county and make sure the vote was counted. Provisional ballots are used primarily when a voter is not at his home precinct or if registration is in question.

King County Superior Court Judge Dean S. Lum said it would burden the county little to release the names, and that state law favors openness in government. "No right is more precious than the right to vote," he said.

. . .Election results are scheduled to be certified Wednesday. The county deadline for voters to resolve problems with their ballots is 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The outcome of the successful appeal to the judiciary has given the elephant a headache. Republicans are perturbed. King County GOP Chairman Pat Herbol has described contacting provisional voters to remind them to be available to support their ballots as "another Florida." He goes on to imply Rossi has won the race and Gregoire should concede. However, that is not true. With the number of ballots still unexamined, Rossi's lead could evaporate.

The procedure for finding out if there are still problems with a provisional ballot requires the voter to take the initiative. He must either call the county elections office or locate its website and check for his name there. Considering the cumbersome process, allowing others to contact the voter seems justified.

The best scenario for both parties is that their candidate carry the race without needing to rely on the provisional ballots, but that the challenged votes be available if needed. Having the voters clear up discrepancies will help achieve that goal. I would not be surprised if the Republicans start contacting provisional voters, too.

Reasonably related

Residents of Washington have milk. The question is: Got governor?

posted by J. | 1:38 PM

Thursday, November 11, 2004  


Commentary: The undeserving veterans

All veterans are not equally deserving of being honored. That seems pretty clear to me, especially when the veterans at issue fought against United States. But, the managing editor of a small town newspaper in North Carolina says she doesn't get it. Lee Raynor was surprised to be button-holed by an African-American veteran and told that he was offended by a local performance that honored Confederate soldiers. The man attended a musical memorial called "Salute! A Tribute to America's Veterans" in Kinston. Raynor wrote about her confusion in The Free Press.

Near the end of the program talented T.W. Rogers sang "An American Trilogy." The hauntingly beautiful piece, recorded by Elvis Presley, is a medley of "Dixie," "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Hush, Little Baby." It's both poignant and rousing. The familiar words of "Dixie" and the melancholy words whispering "You know your daddy's going to die," are followed by the rousing, "Glory, glory hallelujah."

What few people noticed, and even fewer people heard, was the outrage of a highly-decorated retired Army lieutenant colonel, a man who pulled duty in Vietnam and who has, for years, worked hard in this community.

Joe Tyson was infuriated by the song.

"It was out of the context of what they were doing," Tyson, who is black, told me later. "It was out of place. Why didn't they just wave the Confederate flag?"

Images of hoods and hangings and slavery ran through Tyson's head as Rogers sang.

"I don't expect you to understand," he said. "I almost got up and walked out, but I realized that was unprofessional."

Instead, Tyson and his wife found Salute Chairman Herman McLawhorn and Pride of Kinston Director B.J. Murphy and expressed their feelings - vehemently. Tyson has not complained to anyone else, he said, and has not discussed the incident with anyone except me.

Tyson has worked with the Salute committee since the event began. He's supported it in all areas of the community - black and white. But he won't do it again, he said. He's washing his hands of Salute.

Tyson is right. I don't understand. I know he's a good man, honorable in his intentions, a student of the Civil War, a member of the Battlefield Commission. He's not a racist - far from it. But I still don't understand even though he tried to explain his and his wife's reaction.

I find it almost unbelievable that Tyson's reaction needs to be explained. The American Civil War was fought to preserve the Union and to end slavery. The Confederates fought to secede from the Union and maintain slavery in the new country they sought to establish. Confederate soldiers fought against the U.S. They were traitors. So, they don't deserve to be included in ceremonies honoring the veterans of the American military. What is so hard to grasp about that, Ms. Raynor?

Another oddity of her column is looking in Tyson's direction for racism. Does she subscribe to the pathetic diversion tactic 'the minorities are the real racists'?

Nor do I find Raynor's effort to cleanse "Dixie" of its connotations convincing. It doesn't matter who wrote the song. It is the sentiment of the lyrics -- that the antebellum South was an ideal place -- that many people find offensive. The possibility that the author of the lyrics may have been a black man does not rehabilitate them. However, it does remind thoughtful people that African-American entertainers have often curried favor with white audiences by telling them what they want to hear.

I can think of no rational reason for Raynor's alleged ignorance about the cause of the Civil War, and, why it is inappropriate to include Confederate veterans in an event honoring veterans of the American armed forces. So, I must assume she has an irrational reason -- the myth of the genteel South -- for the claiming not to understand.

posted by J. | 8:23 PM

Tuesday, November 09, 2004  


Commentary: Blogger, libertarian and bigot

Blogger, libertarian and bigot Andy Nowicki has been giving some thought to the extinction of his 'race,' -- which he believes to be "white people." He is also considering what is wrong with the American Right. Nowicki is peeved, as much with conservatives as liberals. He says that the Right is wrong not to be more racist. He has posted his lamentations at Thornwalker.

There is much consternation on the Right these days about low birthrates in Western countries and all that this trend signifies.

Naturally, the consternation is shared only by real conservatives, not the Limbaugh/Hannity shilling-for-Bush crowd, which may be called the "Right-light." After all, expressing concern about the decline of the populations of Western countries is equivalent, basically, to saying that you care about the future of the white race. And that's "racist," isn't it, class? Yes, of course it is. What good little boys and girls you all are. You've learned your lessons well.

Of course, I needn't add that the same principle doesn't apply for anyone of any race other than whites, because you already knew that, too. Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and anyone else of a non-Caucasian persuasion can care about the futures of their races, but whites are not allowed to be anything but indifferent about what will become of their own kind. White "Right-light" spokesmen such as Rush and Sean, and their legion of (predominantly white) followers, don't dare say they believe in anything other than "colorblindness," racially speaking. They don't spend much time worrying about the fact that white people aren't reproducing, and if by some accident they happened to stumble upon Pat Buchanan's book, they would conclude that the "death of the West" he describes is much ado about nothing.

. . .It would never occur to them that the precipitous demographic decline of the white race could have many unpleasant, unwanted ramifications, not just for white people, but for all people. After all, they aren't so "racist" as to think that race can mean something more than mere color of skin, i.e., that St. Martin might have oversimplified things a bit for rhetorical purposes.

For despite their seeming refusal to get with the multicult program, most Limbaugh Republicans are good little boys, too. They capitulate to neo-Stalinist etiquette and use terms such as "African American" whenever possible, ostentatiously furrow their brows over "racism" (a concept they never define but still acknowledge as the greatest evil to befall the world since man's expulsion from the Garden), and claim St. Martin as one of their own. At the same time, they never demand to be called "European Americans" and always shy away from truly biting satire, such as demanding that whites receive reparations in return for being subjected to cannibalism and the more modern varieties of violent crime. And they wouldn't mention the Wichita Massacre for a million dollars — not that most of them need the money, anyway.

Let's be clear on what white people mean to Nowicki. Like many racists, he believes all the fruits of civilization have been the output of Europeans. Darker hued humans are either dependents -- the white man's burden -- or savages bent on destroying civilization, ergo references to cannibalism. (Which, incidentally, has been rare in human history. One hopes Nowicki does not sleep in a full metal jacket in fear of being eaten.)

But, why is the intemperate fellow angry with Rush Limbaugh? As many of us know, the drug-addled talk show host has made noises in support of 'scientific' racism. Last year, he claimed that black Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was not up to task, apparently because planning plays requires the ability to think.

However, on Sunday, September 28, Limbaugh went for it when he probably should have punted. He said: ''I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,'' Limbaugh said on Sunday's show. ''There is a little hope invested in [Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan] McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team.'

For someone like Nowicki, Limbaugh does not go far enough. The commentator did not explicitly state that blacks have brawn, but not brains. (Though anyone familiar with racist thinking knew what Limbaugh meant.) Nowicki prefers white conservatives who do not blanch from being explicitly in favor of white supremacy. So, he approvingly cites Jared Taylor of American Renaiisance, one of the foremost racists in the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center has profiled the man.

Taylor entered the active racist scene in 1990, when he began publishing American Renaissance, a magazine that focuses on alleged links between race and intelligence, and on eugenics, the now discredited "science" of breeding better humans.

"Never in the history of the world has a dominant people thrown open the gates to strangers, and poured its wealth out to aliens," Taylor wrote in his magazine, under the pseudonym Thomas Jackson, in 1991. "All healthy people prefer the company of their own kind." Blacks, Taylor writes, are "crime-prone," "dissipated," "pathological" and "deviant."

. . .In the late 1990s, he came out with The Color of Crime, a booklet that tries to use crime statistics so as to "prove" that blacks are far more criminally prone than whites. That racist booklet is now a staple of white supremacists like former Klansman David Duke.

Taylor is a racist's racist.

Nowicki says he does see a silver lining in the decline in the 'white' birth rate worldwide. That's because he believes the extinction of whites will mean the end of liberalism. According to Nowicki, nonwhites lack the ability to sustain an ideology, including the one he most hates.

What is one to make of blogger, libertarian and bigot Andy Nowicki? I believe he is representative of public opinion that is not as fringe as some pretend it is. That kind of opinion -- openly white supremacist -- is readily available on the Internet, including in the blogosphere.

Reasonably related

What is the Wichita Massacre? In 2000, two African-American robbers killed four people they victimized. The victims were white. Why is the crime described as a 'massacre'? The terminology makes it seem equivalent to much more deadly episodes in American history. Racists often exaggerate crimes in which the perpetrators are white and victims nonwhite to support their claim people of color are genetically disposed to violence.

posted by J. | 10:39 PM