White southern racism has caused more death and suffering to America than all of the other regions of the country combined; more, even, than all the rest of the world combined. Of course, to say “white Southerners” is not to say “all white southerners.” But it is to say an “effective mass” of them, comparable to a “super-majority” in politics, usually 60 to 75%. When the effective mass is that large, the super-majority can do whatever they want to do.
The virulent racist nonsense white southerner slave-owners used to justify living their pseudo-aristocratic lives on the backs of enslaved Africans is still corrupting our nation’s soul. Even though the indefensible and illogical doctrine of white supremacy has been exposed repeatedly as empty and meaningless, it is still causing hatred, fear, and violence, and clouding the minds of American citizens.
The Civil War
When white southerners saw that the rest of the United States could no longer abide the abomination of slavery, they started the American Civil War. The cost: 750,000 Americans dead and a country that is still divided.
Jim Crow Segregation
Fifteen years after the Civil War, white southerners instituted Jim Crow segregation, and enforced it with murders, ethnic cleansing, and political corruption. The cost: At least 4,400 African-American men, women, and children were murdered in terrorist lynchings and hundreds of thousands of Americans were deprived of the equal rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. It is, by the way, pretty easy to find the number of lynchings because many were held on the courthouse lawn and covered in the local newspapers, so that blacks would get the message.
Legal Jim Crow segregation lasted from 1880 until 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was passed by a “traitor to his race,” Democratic president Lyndon Johnson from Texas. Ironically, legal segregation lasted longer in the United States than it did, as apartheid, in South Africa. The Cost: When he signed the Civil Rights Act, LBJ said, “We have lost the South for a generation,” though it has turned out to be longer than that.
Divisive and Lying Politics
In the rednecks’ anger at the Civil Rights laws, Richard Nixon saw an opportunity. White southerners understood his call for “law and order” as a code phrase for “keep the niggers in their place.” White southerners also fell for Nixon’s condemnation of opponents of the Vietnam war as immoral, un-American drug addicts. The Cost: Richard Nixon made it possible to seek election by using racism, xenophobia, and self-righteousness to turn Americans against Americans—all to get elected. When he was released from prison after Watergate, Nixon’s henchman John Ehrlichman was asked about the drug addicts. He said, “Of course we lied about the drugs,” as if it were obvious. So we should add The Big Lie to campaign tactics Nixon introduced to American political life.
The National Debt
Only seven years after Nixon resigned, white southerners elected Ronald Reagan, who began the process of bankrupting America with the practice of insane budget deficits. Had you been told the Democrats were responsible for the beginning of the crazy deficits? Well, you were lied to. Reagan, by the way, was trying to create a deficit so America would have to eliminate the social programs he hated. The Cost: We have saddled our children and grandchildren, unto at least the seventh generation, with an insane debt that will restrict their options, lower their standard of living, and impoverish their lives.
Government of, by, and for the Owners
And now they have elected Donald Trump, (because without the votes of white southerners Trump would not have won, nor would have Nixon or Reagan). With Trump’s election, all of the laboriously won laws regulating corrupt and lying corporations are going out the window. Dodd-Frank, for instance, the set of regulations designed to prevent the greedy bastards who caused the Great Recession in 2008 from doing it again, is already gone and the Environmental Protection Agency’s preservation of clean water, air, and soil , and cleanup and prevention of toxic waste dumps, is going fast. This has been the other greatest issue in the last 150 years (in addition to racism), preventing corporations from turning us all into economic slaves, and poisoning the planet and all of us on it—all in order to make more money. The Cost: Do we really want all of America to more closely resemble the south, in terms of carcinogens and toxic wastes, quality of education, quality of health, equal rights, and equal justice.
“This is a show tune, but the show hasn’t been written for it yet” Nina Simone, Mississippi Goddam