This is where I came into the movie....
If I keep posting about racism, it's because it keeps coming up:
"What struck me about [the Sherrod speech] was that sort of little, casual aside, where she says something about health care, and 'I've never seen people so mean' ... The implication is -- and she uses the phrase at one point 'the black president' and 'we endured the Bush years'. And the implication to me was that she was saying 'if you didn't agree with Obamacare then you're a bigot,'" Lord said. "The essence of the formula is 'scare race X to death that race Y or Z is coming after them in some fashion, and then, you know, you get all the votes and the money, etc, etc, etc. And that all that's gone on over a couple years of history of the Democratic party is that the races have changed."No, don't stop there; it gets crazier. Lord actually argued, earlier, that progressives are the real racists, although everybody stumbled over his insistence that "lynching" can only mean "death by hanging." It's a stupid point to cavil over, but he stands his ground:
Barraged by criticism Monday, Lord later expanded his critique of Sherrod by arguing that Hall wasn't beaten to death by enough people to constituted a mob, and therefore it couldn't have been a lynching in two different ways. He stands by that assessment.It's an unintentionally ironic pose for Lord, but it also proves by his own words that he's just an inflammatory idiot. The central contention in Lord's original piece is that Hugo Black is somehow the responsible author for the the opinion in Screws v U.S. Government, a case that was remanded for new trial on 14th Amendment grounds. (The opinion was written by Douglas, with Black and three other justices concurring.) Lord doesn't understand or address the holding of the case, but rather uses it (because Shirley Sherrod mentioned the case in her speech) as a club to beat up on Hugo Black, and, by extension, all progressives. The unintentional irony is that the Court's opinion turns on very fine definitions of statutory and Constitutional law, definitions established by precedent which the Court is at great pains to cite. Lord, on the other hand, just grabs hold of a definition of "lynch" and insists he's in charge of it. Sort of like he insists Hugo Black wrote an opinion Black apparently just found to be sound legal reasoning on a Constitutional issue. Oh, Lord also gets to determine what a "mob" is, too. Which means nothing to legal definitions, or to any other user of the English language; but then, everyone else is wrong. And a racist.
"Certainly the image in my head of a lynching is rope around the neck," Lord told me. "And when we really got into this, it was quite apparent to me that there was all sorts of other things. That there has to be a mob -- mob action. Well what is a mob? Is it two people? Is it three people?"*
Does that last statement seem to go too far? Not for Lord, who has set himself up as the French Academy, deciding by fiat what words mean and who's to be the master of them. Jeffrey Lord is Humpty-Dumpty; a racist Humpty-Dumpty.
As I've said before, I really don't think this amounts to much. Lord and his ilk are on the backside of the cultural wave. They are the fringe of a fringe, gaining notoriety more because of modern technology than for the power of their ideas. As Rachel Maddow said of the Tea Parties recently, "objects in media are smaller than they appear." It's even an old strategy, to speak of outreach to black voters like this:
"Get out there and engage on race," Lord said. "There's no reason in the world that we can't be getting the black vote. But it's our job to separate black from left and talk about left and right."Reminds me of my childhood; and the strategy worked really well then, too (as you can tell today by the support the GOP has from blacks). I think the Biblical metaphor for what Lord is doing is straining at gnats and swallowing camels. Lord is really nothing than a sideshow attraction, a carnival geek. What's worse is this:
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' investigation into the New Black Panthers case -- specifically, whether racial bias played a role in the Justice Department's decision to close the case -- is part of a pattern at the commission: A pattern of investigating almost exclusively, for lack of a better word, reverse racism.Like I said, the subject keeps coming up. The struggle never ends. Does it?
The conservative majority on the commission, as well as former DOJ lawyer J. Christian Adams and much of the right-wing (including many Republican senators), believe that black members of the New Black Panther Party engaged in widespread intimidation of white voters on Election Day 2008. Further, according to Adams, the Obama administration is purposely dropping cases against black defendants in a blanket policy of pro-black racism.
*Two people suffice for most state statues, according to Wiki.
Today lynching is a felony in all states of the United States, defined by some codes of law as "Any act of violence inflicted by a mob upon the body of another person which results in the death of the person," with a 'mob' being defined as "the assemblage of two or more persons, without color or authority of law, for the premeditated purpose and with the premeditated intent of committing an act of violence upon the person of another."No, that's not the best source in the world, but it's good enough for Lord's argument.