Open Thread: “How Could It Not Be Political?”

Jeb Lund, in Rolling Stone:

In the biggest surprise of recent memory, the young man arrested for massacring nine black people in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was a person with “strong conservative beliefs,” a commitment to his heritage and tradition who only tried to take his country back. Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old bowl-cut whelp, has been captured, and with 50 percent of major American political parties telling people like him to fetishize arms and rebellion just as the truth of their America is absolute and under attack, it’s amazing that we don’t meet a new version of him every week…

Thankfully, we can now move on to performative lamentations about politicizing the event, forgetting that terrorism, like war, is the advancement or retrenchment of a politics by other means… The fact is, this is political because American movement conservatism has already made these kinds of killings political. The Republican Party has weaponized its supporters, made violence a virtue and, with almost every pronouncement for 50 years, given them an enemy politicized, racialized and indivisible. We can’t afford to allow political discussions of these events, because if we do, we might notice what’s already there, wracking the body politic like gangrene…

For the neoconfederate ghouls driving movement conservatism, that [Confederate flag] rag represents the first leftist-directed black theft. A quite literal one: They are taking the black people that are our property. It’s there to repudiate Reconstruction — government redistribution of property for former slaves and reshaping of government to create a proportional voice for blacks. It was dragged back out to respond to the Civil Rights movement: the theft of whites’ ability to codify privilege and plunder into the law, “robbing” them of a permanent subservient underclass created through systemic disenfranchisement and deprivation. That last reaction is the permanent subtext of one half of the American political dialogue, the long low dog whistle that entered the mainstream of American conservatism with Nixon and the Southern Strategy in 1968 — a toxic mixture of anti-government resentment, absolute refusal to recognize the left as legitimate, and racial loathing…

65 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Bobby Jindal LOL

  2. 2
    lamh36 says:

    Google says it will remove content containing confederate flags from Google Shopping & ads – Reuters

  3. 3
    Botsplainer says:

    Trent Lott, former Senate Majority Leader and his links to the CoCC

  4. 4
    piratedan says:

    but it’s about HERITAGE!! yes, it’s a Heritage of Hate, but it’s still a Heritage!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. 5
    Olivia says:

    Has anyone started the “It didn’t really happen, it’s a government and liberal media plot to take away all our guns” myth yet?

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    I think we should have a new tag for these posts called “Appomattox II: Electric Boogaloo.”

  7. 7

    @Botsplainer: I doubt that Lott is the only one with those ties. Some one should compile a list of the GOP office holders with ties to the hate group.

  8. 8
    Turgidson says:


    I don’t think anyone of any note has said it didn’t happen or made some sort of “false flag” argument, but Slick Rick Perry was quick to the punch in calling it an “accident” that would be used by Obummer to confiscate real God fearin ‘mercans guns.

  9. 9
    lamh36 says:

    Posted in the last thread, but I’m gonna post it again.

    Scalise!!!! yeah..naw…

    NEWS: All 3 top House GOP leaders to Charleston for the Pinckney funeral. @SpeakerBoehner leading delegation. McCarthy and Scalise going.

    Oh and hmmm wonder what their polls are telling them:

    McConnell: Kentucky should rethink Jefferson Davis statue

  10. 10
    Baud says:


    Kentucky needs to rethink McConnell and Rand.

  11. 11
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    To people who are unfamiliar with firearms, it may have passed, but I couldn’t help noticing that Whine is standing in front of actual honest to God hunting rifles, bolt actions with a max capacity of 5 or 6 shots. I find this interesting because there has been a big push among firearm manufacturers to sell military style rifles as the ultimate hunting weapon (pick up any gun porn at Wally World and flip thru the articles, you will find at least 3 articles extolling their “virtues”) with a big helping hand from the NRA. The reasons for selling these guns to the general public are obvious: They cost more (a lot more) and people run through a lot more ammo shooting one ($$$$$).

    The pic is just a slick bit of rope-a-dope and surprising coming from him. He’s not normally shy.

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Every gun is precious.

  13. 13
    ultraviolet thunder says:

    I was in Texas Sat & Sun and saw plenty of the hateful symbol displayed on bumpers and back windows. Some worked into another design, presumably for people who like their dog whistle extra high pitched.
    In NC now and none are visible, but I’m in a university community.
    It’s time to just shame the users of this ugly thing. Then as John Oliver says, we’ll know who the real assholes are.

  14. 14
    WereBear says:

    @Turgidson: An “accident.” Like one of those Final Destination movies.

    Uh huh.

    Still, like it or not, this is a huge public defeat for the Southern Strategy. Push their dog whistles so far underground they’ll have to send their voters to classes so they know what their leaders are saying. Which will put a big crimp in their message.

    Because their voters don’t want to learn anything new.

  15. 15
    Botsplainer says:


    This is the old McConnell, and he may be onto something that could enable him to kill off the Tea Party. Let him roll with it – the old McConnell believed in a shitload of decent infrastructure spending and was interested in governing in a relatively nonideological fashion. The Teabigots have shackled him away from the table and denied him his favorite meal of rich, greasy pork – this could be just the thing needed.

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I had a conversation with someone on Saturday about the difference between a political party and a movement*; we both agreed that the GOP has ceased to be a political party interested in governance and become a movement. Anyone outside the movement is instantly othered. Institutions outside the movement have no legitimacy. It’s actually a scary thought.

    *Because that’s the kind of nerd I am.

  17. 17
    Botsplainer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Damn, you know how to party.

  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: Yeah, it probably doesn’t mean anything. And yet….

  19. 19
    Turgidson says:


    Yeah. I’m just expecting that Haley’s move will be used by the political and media elite to change the subject to the juvenile gossip they’re more comfortable with.

    Like “see, Gov. Haley proved that the GOP is totally not racist and totally doesn’t pander to racist voters, and their presidential candidates shouldn’t have to talk about this unpleasantness anymore. Coming up next, we’ll talk about how Obama is the real racist since he said the word niCLANG in that podcast. After that, let’s talk about some new faux Hillary Clinton scandal, since we haven’t had one of those in a few hours.”

    In fact, I suspect that was the whole point of Haley’s announcement.

  20. 20

    @Botsplainer: Both McConnell and Boehner have long memories and some serious cause to want to burn the Tea Party to the ground.

    I think lost in all this discussion of the Traitor’s Flag is this: the psychological blow of having their favorite “fuck you nigger” symbol suddenly turned into something so radioactive nobody – not even WalMart, where the shitbags go to shop – wants to touch it must be devastating.

    I’m not sure it will have good long-term results but the short-term entertainment has been most entertaining.

  21. 21
    BGinCHI says:

    But Haley Barbour isn’t worried or bothered by the flag, so what’s the rumpus? I mean, it’s not like the white men who run the GOP are going to do anything but use even this to gin up the hate.

    The GOP is a White Supremacy Party. It has been since 1968. This is its evolution.

  22. 22
    opiejeanne says:

    Is that Wayne?

  23. 23
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Botsplainer: In my defense, was in the early afternoon and not at a group social event. I note as I type this the lameitude of my defense.

  24. 24
    lamh36 says:

    So ya mean to tell me…some enterprising person couldn’t get their hands on the padlock keys or lock cutters in Charleston….I mean, I’m just saying?

    Hint, hint

  25. 25
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    Like “see, Gov. Haley….

    They were going to do that anyway. But now they can’t wave the CSA battle flag while they do it.

    Makes me smile.

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Were you high in the early afternoon? Otherwise, it’s not a defense.

  27. 27
    Tree With Water says:

    What happened in Charleston last week occurred on a more industrial scale in Iraq twelve years ago, and on an even more massive scale a mere 5 decades ago in Vietnam. The violence is all inseparably intertwined. Acknowledge that fact, and this country will take a giant stride in righting our ship of state, as well as towards our own redemption as a people. It is that simple. Recall that Martin Luther King counseled likewise just weeks before he was slain. We possess the capacity as a people to admit error. The undeniably profound civil rights advances we have achieved during the past half century attest to that capacity. So why not rise to the occasion and heed the advice of Doctor King? We’ve got it in us.

  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @lamh36: I believe they have guards around it.

  29. 29
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @piratedan: Get a better heritage. There must be things in the South that are worth celebrating and are less divisive and/or racist.

  30. 30
    Anne Laurie says:


    Is that Wayne?

    Yup. Mr. LaPierre, High Priest of the Death Cult.

    (Some people would say he only does it for the money, but then, there’s lots of Catholic cardinals had the same motivation behind their “vocation”.)

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Botsplainer says:


    Yertle plays a long game, and is a master of it. He’s got a very expensive tassel loafer on the neck of Ted Cruz, and is adding pressure to the heel as he grinds it back and forth. The moves against Rand are subtler, but he’s fucking him slowly.

  33. 33
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Patricia Kayden: You go to war with the Heritage you got, not the Heritage you want.

  34. 34
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Tree With Water: Amen, although our Conservative Brethren would not be pleased with America (aka the greatest country in the world) admitting its faults. Every time President Obama talks about historic missteps, he’s accused of not acknowledging “American Exceptionalism,”


  35. 35
    Cpl. Cam says:

    @Turgidson: Oh, shit. I get it now. Because someone “accidentally” let this kid have a gun and he turned out to be “crazy.” (And really don’t you have to be a bit crazy to be so true a believer of such a loathe some philosophy?) Therefore guns can only be failed. I’m starting to understand the conservative mind and that scares me.

  36. 36
    gian says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    When I see the phrase “movement conservative” I get thoughts of toilet paper flushing and hand washing. Part of me is still 10 I guess

  37. 37
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @ultraviolet thunder: I agree with Oliver. I like to know who the racists are so let them keep their Confederate flag paraphernalia.

  38. 38
    jl says:

    Yeah, I have heard and seen some so-called ‘experts’ on terrorism, or security or this that and other trying to explain why the attack was not terrorism. None of them were convincing at all.

    The main line I have heard is that there was no political motive. That is not true. The gunman did not walk into that church and shoot those people because he had a personal grudge, or because voices in his head told him they were demons or our reptaloid masters from planet Xenos.

    He thought Jewish bankers where orchestrating a black take-over of our society, and the threat was so dire, and so unappreciated, it was his responsibility (even if he did not really feel like doing it after sitting through prayer meeting in a Christian church) to shoot a bunch of people in order to spark a civil war in which blacks, being far outnumbered would ‘go’, that is, all be killed. That is, he wanted to start a genocidal race war.

    That seems to be one of the ultimate political statements. The fact that it was a miserable failure at starting a genocidal race war, does not mean it was not political.

    As a mass murder it was successful. As terrorism intended to accomplish its political goal, it was a complete failure. But IMHO, that does not mean it was not terrorism.

  39. 39
    lamh36 says:

    Chief Justice Of Alabama Supreme Court Once Addressed White Supremacist Group Cited By Charleston Shooter:

  40. 40
    Poopyman says:

    @Baud: We’re a long way from Appomattox II. It’s more like Sumter II.

  41. 41
    shell says:

    They’ll never get rid of Robert E. Lee though. He’s just too venerated.

    On a happier note, on TCM tonight.

    DAMES (1934)

    A reformer’s daughter wins the lead in a scandalous Broadway show.
    Dir: Ray Enright Cast: Joan Blondell , Dick Powell , Ruby Keeler .
    BW-91 mins, CC,

    Bet there’ll be gams, lots of gams.

  42. 42
    raven says:

    @Baud: Easy, that’s my wife’s hometown!

  43. 43
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    Slate says that the Supremes have signaled their intent to rule in favor of marriage equality by refusing to invalidate stay on Alabama’s ban. They say ordinarily the SC would stay anything that they still have under consideration.

  44. 44
    gogol's wife says:


    And it’s introduced by Edgar Wright, writer/director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. I’ve seen Dames, so I’m more interested in The Last of Sheila at 9:45, a weird James Mason/Tony Perkins vehicle that I’ve never seen. Our power is out and there are no estimates for its restoration, but the generator seems to be operating the television all right — hope it holds!

  45. 45
    gogol's wife says:


    and Guy Kibbee

  46. 46
    Gene108 says:


    Interesting. Did not realize Larry Pratt, head of Gun Owners of America (an uncompromising gun rights group unlike the squishes at the NRA) worked for Pat Buchanan’s 1996 Presidential run and was forced to step down because of ties to white supremacist groups.

  47. 47
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: You people are mean.

  48. 48
    J R in WV says:


    I have to say if it was my family, those guys would be escorted outside, politely but firmly, but the largest guys in South Carolina with suits to wear.

    Really – talk about inappropriate! Like having Tojo to FDR’s funeral. Or Mussolini.

  49. 49
    Elizabelle says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Pimiento cheese for all! That could be the new Southern symbol.

  50. 50
    raven says:

    @Elizabelle: I go to a joint that sells a Veg Neck sammy, pimento and collards on thick toast.

  51. 51
    Tree With Water says:

    @Patricia Kayden: But we’ve got them outnumbered, and we can righteously speak from the high road doing it. And to repeat myself, it is do-able.

    Consider today’s democrats scattered throughout the South as Lincoln once viewed the Union sympathizers that inhabited large swathes of the Confederacy (down the spine of the Appalachians primarily). Or perhaps more apropos, as if they are stuck behind a Stalin era iron curtain, yearning to breathe free. Their voices will inarguably be vital to that righteous dialogue being sustained, and they will of course rise to the occasion… MLK was Southerner, for crying out loud…

  52. 52
    lamh36 says:

    S.C. Sen. Lindsey Graham: Emanuel AME Church service changed my mind on Confederate flag

  53. 53
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @lamh36: What a profile in courage. Phhtt.

  54. 54
    trollhattan says:

    @lamh36: @Iowa Old Lady:
    It’s only missing: “Buys first Nelly album.”

  55. 55
    shell says:

    Sen. Lindsey Graham: Emanuel AME Church service changed my mind on Confederate flag

    Graham IS a flag. Twists around in whatever is the prevailing wind.

  56. 56
    WereBear says:

    @shell: Fax machines must be red hot back at HQ.

  57. 57
    lamh36 says:

    Politico details the deliberations behind the GOP’s Confederate flag reversal. No empathy, no remorse, just CEOs/$.

  58. 58
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    There’s been an influx of northern foreigners into the south. I wonder if their mass has become critical enough to force these changes. Businesses don’t like the controversies.

  59. 59
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    @lamh36: It didn’t last week. Something is in the air.

  60. 60
    Mandalay says:


    The Sunday service closed the deal for me. I don’t know how I would ever go back into that church and be able to justify denying their request to remove the flag.

    How dense do you have to be, how incapable of dealing in abstract ideas do you have to be, how dull and unimaginative do you have to be, to need to attend a church service before you realized the need to get rid of that vile flag?

    Graham really is a disgusting piece of shit.

  61. 61
    Botsplainer says:


    If it’s shitty and Southern, there will inevitably be connections with either:

    Sam Francis;
    Roy Moore;
    D. James Kennedy/Coral Ridge Ministries;
    League of the South;
    Irwin Schiff;
    SCV; or
    The Constimatooshin Party.

    Usually, the shit is in combination.

  62. 62
    Stillwater says:

    [Edit] Whoops. What I wrote makes no sense. Thanks to both AL and Betty (separate post) for linking this stuff. Awesome.

  63. 63
    A guy says:

    I bet those folks killed at the church in charleston were pro-life!

  64. 64
    Tree With Water says:

    @Mandalay: “Graham really is a disgusting piece of shit”. Yes, yes he is. He can also be rendered a political anachronism by the democratic party if cards are played correctly.

  65. 65
    Ruckus says:

    @Patricia Kayden:
    Really, what other heritage do they have? They possibly could have had a different heritage but they seemed not to want anything else. They went to war over it, lost and still embrace it. Many in the south have been worshiping racism since the end of the civil war. Not that others haven’t been as well but in the south it is several notches above the rest because they institutionalized it.

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