Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another Proud Member of "Redneck Nation"

I've received quite a few emails regarding Michael Hirsh's piece in Newsweek with the oddly-familiar title, "How The South Won (this) Civil War."

If only Mr. Hirsh had read my book, he might have saved himself the embarrassment of writing this utterly wrong-headed analysis. His argument is essentially Sen. Obama's "they're clinging to their Bibles" argument, just more fully realized. And the reason America is the "radical nationalist" nation it is today is because Middle America shares the misguided, ignorant, backwards world view of the Deep South.

Reading Mr. Hirsh's argument, I laughed out loud several times as he inadvertently revealed himself to be the true (metaphorical) Son of the South.

First of all, he's whining about the Left losing. If that portion of America resistant to Hillary's politics or Obama's charms represented fewer than 250 electoral votes, we wouldn't be having this conversation. No, this is the "Oh, yeah--well, even if we lost, we're still better than you!" complaint heard from southerners daily since April 1865.

Secondly, he cannot escape the ultimate Confederate trap: identity politics. He doesn't argue that his liberal ideals are better for Texas and Tennessee and, therefore, he should work harder to reach those uniformed citizens. No, he argues--in similar fashion to the Confederates--that "it's a Northern thing, and you yokels will never understand." There's just something wrong with "them." (As opposed to Mr. Hirsh's enlightened "us.") So why should Obama waste his breath, right? Those red state rednecks will always be too dumb to get it.

And finally, Mr. Hirsh exposes a tin ear of Bull Connor proportions as he asserts, without irony or fear of offense, that Sen. Obama's relationships with a deranged racist mentor and unrepentant terrorist are so normal that they require no additional explanation:

Obama seems to be so leery of being identified as an urban Northern liberal that he's running away from the most obvious explanation of his association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and former Weatherman Bill Ayers: after Obama graduated from college he became an inner-city organizer in Chicago, and they were natural allies for someone in a situation like that.

Just as southern segregationists didn't understand the backlash they were creating when they used violence against black Americans fighting segregation, Mr. Hirsh and his friends truly don't get how truly bizarre it is for a major-party presidential candidate to have a racist lunatic for a mentor and an unrepentant terrorist for a political ally.
Parochial, ignorant, obsessed with identity politics and dismissive of those who are not like him, Michael Hirsh is a proud member of Redneck Nation.