Back In Fashion

« December 2008 »

Memo to James and Linda Vandiver: YOU ARE VANDUMB.

One of my post-election predictions that didn't actually make its way into the column is that the election of Barack Obama would bring back classic racism in much the same way bellbottoms came back in the 90's - flamboyantly, briefly, and thanks to select individuals who just don't know any better. And while you'll have to take my word for it that I made the prediction, thanks to James and Linda Vandiver of beautiful downtown Huntsville, Arkansas, you don't have to take my word for it that it came true.

Because on election night itself, when the election swung to Obama, the Vandivers went outside the motel they own, lowered the American flag, and raised the Confederate flag.

This act raises a number of interesting logistical questions. How did they just happen to have a Confederate flag in reserve for such an eventuality? Was it in the attic? Being used as a throw rug? Was it taped to the roof of their 1969 Dodge Charger? Or, having learned to count as a result of being small business owners, did they see the poll numbers and, with malice aforethought, make sure they had a Confederate flag ready in case Nate Silver was right?

We may never get the answer to those questions, because the Vandivers are much too busy trying to explain how raising the Confederate flag to protest the election of America's first black president isn't racist. Of course. For fuck's sake, if we could take the word of all the racists in this country that they weren't racists, we'd have eliminated racism decades ago. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"We think socialism is deeply rooted in him, and we’ll see it manifest in all areas. This doesn’t have anything to do with despising Mr. Obama’s color. We’d like to celebrate the fact that for the first time we have a black president. But we can’t." - Linda Vandiver.

As part of You Are Dumb Dot Net's continuing service to the racist community, allow me to point out two additional things that mean you may, despite your protests, be a racist. First, using phrases like "deeply rooted in him". I've never heard anyone say that fucking things up was "deeply rooted in" George W. Bush, and he actually fucks things up a lot. But Obama, who hasn't done anything remotely socialist, ever, has socialism "deeply rooted in him". At, say, a genetic level? Another good way to tell that you might be a racist is if you find yourself strangely unable to celebrate the election of the first black president.

Some other handy tips? You fly the Confederate flag, which is an inherently racist act no matter how many times you utter that "heritage" word you probably learned phonetically. Any other subtle hints of racism we can pick up? Well, let's turn to Linda's husband James and see what we can find.

"If Obama was just a regular Joe Citizen, he would not be able to get security clearance to get in the White House. This is the only way I know to send a message to the people of our country that we are in protest of someone like this being in the position of president." Hm. "Not a regular citizen". "Someone like this". It almost makes me feel sympathy for racists, who want desperately to not be called racists, and are only singled out for being racists because they keep doing and saying racist shit. Because other than that, they're the most egalitarian folk on the planet.

I will say this for one argument put forth by both the Vandivers and some of their pigfucking apologists. The Confederate Flag is, in fact, a symbol of a struggle against tyranny. Unfortunately, it's a symbol of one specific struggle (secession) against one specific tyranny (the United States government trying to outlaw slavery), so as a symbol, it's really not as cleanly transferable to other situations as the Vandivers might wish.

So when Linda Vandiver opines that "Our statement in raising the flag is ‘ Barack Obama is not our president'. If the Democrats can say that about President Bush, then we can say that about Barack Obama.", she needs to consider that the last time that flag was used to say the president-elect "wasn't their president", the president-elect was Abraham Lincoln, and the people flying the flag picked a whole new president who was more amenable to keeping black people in chains. And then she needs to consider that she and her husband are the Chris Robinson's* six-inch pant cuffs of the racism revival.

*If I had to look it up to make the joke, you have to look it up to get the joke. Them's the rules.