Few things get me more riled up than blatant, willful ignorance and racism. In the last week or so leading up to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, the ignorance and racism across the United States came slithering out from the shadows and into the broad daylight. It wasn’t that racism and hatred had suddenly risen again from the dead; it had been bubbling just under the surface all of this time.
Many people had been claiming that since we elected the first non-white president in 2008, this was a sign that we were finally a post-racial nation – but nothing could be further from the truth. While segregation is technically illegal along with other practices of the Jim Crow Era, that doesn’t mean they went away. Here in Louisiana, Jim Crow is alive, and drinking a case of Natural Light in the trailer park. Whether it is in the bayous of Louisiana or the hills of Tennessee, racism and resentment is still present, and there’s always a market with the far right for someone of color to tell them that their feelings are justified.
In order to deflect from the very real problems with diversity in the Republican Party, they find someone of color who is willing to throw everyone else from their community under the bus by saying that racism isn’t a problem these days, and that minorities just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. In 2012, that person was Herman “9-9-9” Cain, a non-serious presidential candidate who the GOP gladly used to attack President Obama and basically claim any criticism of him from the Republican Party wasn’t based on race. Leading up to 2016, that person will be Dr. Ben Carson, a black conservative who is more than happy to take a political shit on the very system he used to escape inner city poverty. What they love about him even more is that he will gladly claim that white liberals are the ones who are racist, not white Republicans, deflecting the blame away from the very party who still plays footsie under the political table with the racists in the ranks when they think the media isn’t looking
Here in Louisiana, the rising deflection star of the GOP’s state party is one Elbert Guillory, a state senator from Opelousas who will say and do anything to rise in the ranks. This includes promoting fear of immigrants and bigotry, along with insulting other members of the black community in a couple of ads he shot for the Republican Free At Last PAC which is attacking Mary Landrieu on the behalf of her opponent David Cassidy. He also appeared in ads attacking Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina’s Senate race as well.
Perhaps because he is black, Guillory believes he cannot be accused of trading in bigotry and fear. Perhaps he believes that his race means that black voters won’t question his falsehoods about President Barack Obama’s record.
Maybe there are reasons for black voters to consider the Republican Party. If so, Guillory never mentions them. Having nothing positive to say about his party, Guillory relies on what so many Republicans claim to hate — class warfare.
In his first video, released in September, Guillory stands in a poor neighborhood in Opelousas wearing a finely tailored, blue three-piece suit. In this incongruent scene, he scoffs at wealthy Democratic Party leaders who he says have ignored black voters. “You are not Mary’s cause, and you are certainly not her charity,” Guillory declares. “You are just a vote — nothing less, nothing more.” Never mind, as I noted last week, the Senate candidate of Guillory’s own party won’t campaign for black votes. (Source)
For those of you who aren’t from Louisiana, Opelousas is a majority black city, many of whom live in poverty. Republicans, including Sen. Elbert Guillory, want us to blame the victim, instead of looking at the real culprits which are the policies benefiting the richest and most powerful people in his district and across the country. Elbert Guillory is naive enough to think that he can tell the black community that they alone now bear the responsibility for their plight and that Democrats want to “keep them on the plantation,” as some conservative pundits and politicians have disgustingly said when talking about the policies of the Democratic Party.
While Republicans may have convinced the temporarily embarrassed white millionaires who believe that they alone are entitled to food stamps and other government assistance to vote for them, Elbert Guillory isn’t going to convince black voters of anything other than his own willingness to shit on everyone else to become lieutenant governor – or perhaps the next U.S. Senator from Louisiana should David Vitter win the 2015 gubernatorial race. Racism is alive and well, and Elbert Guillory’s attack ads are proof that the GOP has nothing else to offer minority voters other than more fear, bigotry, and blame.
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