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September 04, 2010 08:49 PM UTC

The Name on the Ballot That's Not on the Ballot

  • 12 Comments
  • by: JO

Thanks to Mr. Maes for introducing an element of the absurd into politics; we all need a good laugh now and then, and I suspect there’s more to come. But the angst over whether his name will appear on the ballot has obscured a much more serious debate over a name that will also appear on the ballot.

That name is race.

In musing about this diary, I had thought of going on at length about Tom Tancredo’s well-documented efforts over several years to capitalize on racism in order to advance his career. Perhaps there are a few on this site who will try to argue the point by choosing another term, a more neutral and acceptable term–like “rule of law”–to describe the fears on which Tancredo has built his reputation outside the 6th CD. Save your fingertips.

Since at least 2008, and before that, Tom Tancredo has decided to make a name for himself by playing to fears generated by the sight and sound of people on the street speaking Spanish. Not speaking Russian, or Gaelic, or even Arabic. Never mind that the number of “illegal immigrants” is actually declining as the number of low-paid jobs available to them declines with the Great Recession. Never mind that no one wonders what language was spoken by the people working in the slaughter houses where the ground beef originated that ends up as Good Times, Salmonella Special, or Dead Cow on a Bun for a Buck. Never mind the skin tone and accent of the men and women cleaning the toilet bowl you used at the office during the day. Just like no one remembers whether the trains ran on time in ’30s Germany.

Tancredo–with limited success, be it said–has played to xenophobia-cum-racism, happily flirting with the Ku Klux Klan, Blowhard Mania of the Airways, or any other source of ignorance and hatred he can find in the dark corners of the American psyche. That is who he is.

I do not attribute his attitudes to all conservatives, although I do observe that in 1968 Richard Nixon played on racism in Dixie to convert Southern Democrats to Mainstream Republicans, a strategy that put Nixon in the White House; and I do observe that Ronald Reagan launched his 1980 presidential campaign with an anti-federalism speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, a place with deep meaning for the civil rights movement–and for opponents of civil rights.

I personally know of only one constituent of the Constitution Party, a participant on this site whom I have found to be sophisticated and knowledgeable about issues pertaining to South-Central Asia in particular and witty in general. I do not know anything about Constitution Party internal politics, or why and how the party’s chairman eagerly ushered Tancredo onto the ballot next to the party’s label. BUT, I do expect the aforementioned member of the Constitution Party to denounce the racism of Tancredo, all other issues notwithstanding. In this case, and on this subject, silence is consent, sir. The same goes for other self-proclaimed conservatives. IF you don’t like Mr. Maes, then you’re outta luck. You need to say so, you need to make it clear that conservatives have principles and that racism is not acceptable, even at the cost of having a DINO in the governor’s office for four years.

IF you see that Maes is a joke (at least you get it!) the main question on the ballot in November has become whether or not the citizens of Colorado will entertain or tolerate racism. Conservatives didn’t want it there, would prefer that it not be so. But with Tancredo’s name, this is the case. This is, after all, a state in whose capital the KKK pretty much ran the show in the 1920s. This is, after all, a year in which Arizona’s governor makes no bones (no skulls, for sure) about playing to xenophobia latina. I find this issue to be much, much more important than the question of who’s going to be the next governor. [Pop quiz: (a) who is governor now? (b) what difference has he made? See, nobody scores more than 50%.]

Comments

12 thoughts on “The Name on the Ballot That’s Not on the Ballot

  1. Contrary to the desires of race-obsessed Democrats, illegal immigration is not about race. It is about such silly things as FOLLOWING THE LAW and PREVENTING CRIME, DRUGS, and GANGS from TAKING OVER AMERICA and REDUCING UNEMPLOYMENT. Now I know that the “law” isn’t that high of a priority for Obama or the Holder justice department, but it’s kind of a big deal to regular Americans who would like to stay safe and employed.

    Now, with that said, I do not support Tancredo because I believe he is an egotistical big government guy who is using this one issue of illegal immigration for a naked power grab. I think Maes has it about right, naysayers be damned. If indeed it turns out that all these attacks are unsubstantiated and politically motivated, I predict he will do quite well.

    1. BJ is back to supporting Dan Maes!

      Anyone want to take bets on how many times BJ will switch from a Maes supporter to a Maes opponent and back before the election? Must be tough to follow Republican orders when your superiors keep changing their minds.

      Oh and YES, no matter WHAT YOU capitalize, no matter where AND HOW, Tancredo’s opposition TO ILLEGAL immigration is based ON RACE. Among his supporters this is even more explicit, as your buddy GOPwarrior demonstrates.

      1. I think it’s about certainty. Certainty within the framework of western civilization and Christianity.  Hence the math & letters.    I’d bet real money that the “letters” thing was classics – Greco-Roman western civ humanities.

        The desire for certainty. Nuance is for the weak minded.  The law is the law.

        Except when it isn’t.  If employers stopped hiring immigrants, they would stop coming.  If employers were punished for hiring them, employers would stop hiring them.  But the Maes post-amnesty conversion – position is to punish the employees people who followed the “free” market lure of a job.  It makes little sense, but it’s so certain and, in true Maesian fashion, it avoids the fight with the local capitalists employers.  Kansas PD fired him – we would too.  Let’s save ourselves the trouble (of moving) and not hire him the first place.

        John Andrews is right.

      2. as if you think breaking the law is a good thing.

        Since you obviously know nothing about what is going on the Republican side of the governor’s race, you should probably just keep your mouth shut rather than come out looking like a fool. Be my guest though.

        I have no orders to follow regarding the governor’s race. Well, the Tancredo people try to give me orders, but I ignore them. FYI, the GOP establishment is now supporting Tancredo, so once again we are back to grassroots vs. establishment.

  2. .

    the Tancredo promise to act to slow down (stop ?) illegal immigration across our Southern border would appeal to anti-Hispanic racists more than the other two candidates’ positions on the issue.

    But that by itself does not make Tom racist.

    For me, suggesting that local governments stop printing ballots or administering driver tests in Spanish is more problematic.  

    Some know that I’m married to an immigrant, who is the mother of my sons.  I’m a 5th to 7th Gen immigrant myself (escaping the potato famine, in part.)  Those ancestors had to overcome some pretty high barriers to entry.  

    My Mother-in-law came to the US to be the boys’ primary caregiver for several years.  When she was growing up, her country was occupied by a foreign power.  She was forced to speak their language, and she knew some folks who were killed for speaking their native Hangul language.  

    What impact would those “English only” restrictions have on someone who grew up in San Luis, Colorado, who only spoke English rarely, yet whose ancestors lived continuously right there in what’s now Colorado for over 400 years ?  Kinda puts a new twist on the idea of a nativist who is the NKOTB.  

    Tancredo is actually fairly well-aligned with the ACP position on immigration, even closer to the platform on that issue than me.  I think he gives too little weight to the fact that these illegal immigrants who come into the US through the Southern border are human beings, cherished by their Creator.  Most are good people.

    In their same position, I hope I would have the courage and determination to do the same thing and go North so I could provide for my family.  

    But, perhaps unlike you, I think that failing to regulate this influx tends to harm Americans at the bottom rungs of the US economic ladder, and they, too, deserve some measure of social justice through predictability.  My boys attended the high school in Somalia Springs where fatherless boys from Hillside were bused.  I knew a lot of boys who were likely to spend years sacking groceries, or in prison, because of their poor preparation for participation in the economic life of this nation.  They are the ones hurt the most by 10 million folks from Central America and Mexico being here and being willing to work for $2 per hour.  

    I support eVerify.  Sounds like you do, too.

    .

    1. I have not met Tancredo in person and would turn down the opportunity to do so. Reason: I don’t vote for individual personalities (“nice guys”); I vote for representatives of ideas whom I feel I can trust to represent and follow through on those ideas in government.

      I remain convinced that there is a large segment of the American population strongly motivated by tribal instincts that I call racism. These are the angry old white men in their SUVs wandering the southern border imagining themselves to be vigilantes. These are the resentful hillbillies from hills and dales all over this land who can’t stand the thought that a black man was elected president of their United States of White America, and who try to hide their fundamental attitudes by talking about Hawaiian birth certificates (to say nothing of simultaneous notices published in the newspaper, but never mind facts–nasty inconveniences that they are!) or middle names given by their fathers.

      Tom Tancredo is a junior high school teacher who decided he could graduate to something bigger by latching onto these attitudes and, since the N-word was no longer deemed acceptable, replaced it with a phrase: Illegal Immigrant. He has, and has had, nothing else to offer.

      He, and many of his supporters, enjoy conflating issues, most notably illegal drugs and lack of documentation. By doing so, he(they) try to project the idea that undocumented workers are all drug dealers, wrestling our precious young ‘uns to the ground and injecting marijuana/coke/meth into their veins, all the while chopping off heads in Open Spaces. Fuggedabout trimming the lawns, slaughtering the cattle, cleaning the toilets! The tasks performed by undocumented workers are all stolen jobs! Why, if it weren’t for undocumented drug dealing immigrunts, us Amurikuns would have our choice of jobs payin’ $20, $30 an hour plus full health benefits!

      It’s the conflation of these issues — crime, economic downturn, and illegal immigration [look no further than this very micro-thread]– that seals the deal: Them dark-skinned Spanish-speakin’ people gotta go! All 24 million of them, or whatever the number. Lessee yur papers, amigo!

      When ICE bravely raided Killem Kwik’s slaughterhouse in Greeley awhile back, can’t say I remember seeing any pix of senior management being dragged off in handcuffs, begging to be allowed to at least make provision for their little kids who would be coming home from school in awhile. No siree. Gotta get these dangerous criminals into custody right now and ship ’em off to Texas today! It happened, brother, and by their actions so shall they be known. I want no part of it, no part of that kind of governance, and no part of any candidate who promises to cheer ’em on.

      At bottom, this isn’t about Tancredo. It’s about the little franchise he thought was available. Like many politicians, Tancredo imagined that politics is a branch of business and that marketing is the key. Find a customer base an audience and structure your product message to appeal to them. High Road already crowded? Hey, lots of room on the Low Road, and off he went, muck & mire notwithstanding!

      This said, let me acknowledge your reasoned and entirely credible response, which I fully expected would be forthcoming. And most certainly we share One Big Thought: All Men Are Created Equal. With that in common, all things are possible.

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