North Will Rise Again
By David Michael Rothschild
The old Southern concept of government is simple; use fear
to rally people away from questioning their economic and social
In 1860, an elite minority of rich, white slaveholders held
their oligarchy of power together, by convincing the under
employed and exploited mass of white citizens that their paramount
concern should be the continuity of the moral hierarchy in
their society, instead of the state of their lives. They were
able to control the hunger of these masses by exploiting their
fear of black people and the external threat of the North
(regardless of its merits and potential benefits).
In 2003, an elite minority of rich, white stockholders hold
their oligarchy of power together, by convincing the under
employed and exploited mass of mainly white and some Latino
citizens that their paramount concern should be the moral
state of the society over the condition of their lives. They
are able to control the hunger of these masses by exploiting
their fear of a deteriorating morality in society, subtle
racial concerns, and the external threat of terrorism.
In both cases, an elite group is able to exploit the innermost
fears of security and morality to silence the people's misgivings
about a society that has neglected its responsibility of economic
opportunity and security, and individual liberty. The old
Southern mindset is not solely about race, it is about power
and economic advantage; race is merely one vehicle of fear
that the powerful used to channel the anger of the oppressed
away from their more direct concerns.
In 1965, exactly one hundred years after General Lee's surrender
at Appomatax Courthouse, America had finally fulfilled the
vision and the promise of the Civil War. We began a Great
Society, where civil rights was to be the standard, we would
provide equality of opportunity for all Americans, and we
would help those who were too young, disabled, elderly, or
otherwise unable to help themselves. Yet, somehow we journeyed
from that high point of domestic responsibility and understanding
to this nadir of apathy and puritanical moral hypocrisy.
The victory of 1964, as so many total victories do, forced
those who would oppose progress to reinvent completely their
methods and their message (although their end game would remain
the same). The weight of pure racism was no longer strong
enough to block the desire of America's underclass from appreciating
the assistance of the federal government to build up its institutions
and provide for its citizens. In response, instead of misguiding
the people behind their fear of African-Americans, the old
Southern strategy built a larger coalition using fear of general
moral decline and fear of the North (read: liberal do-gooders).
There are two complacent victims in this peaceful Southern
takeover who we must target when we take back to the country:
the Southern worker, and fiscally responsible Northerners.
There are many good, God-fearing Southerners who send representatives
to Congress because of their social proclamations, and never
contemplate how they spend most of their time in Congress
cutting social services, eliminating funding for schooling,
and generally siding with big business and its continuing
exploitation of the workers.
These "NASCAR Dads" are ideal Democratic voters. For generations,
Southern voters demanded socially responsible government,
especially in the impoverished and less industrial areas.
We need to tap into that desire for economic opportunity:
school funding, scholarships, and vocation training. We need
to talk to them about healthcare, welfare, and other safety
nets that the Republicans have been weakening. Simply, we
need to help them understand that we all can be better off
if we leave the preaching to ministers and the legislating
to people who care about the daily, not necessarily spiritual,
lives of their constituents.
That, of course, needs to be balanced with a general understanding
that Democrats are not as morally deprived as the Republicans
like to pin us. It is way too difficult to explain to the
American people the extreme lack of morality that would allow
a person to so blatantly lie to his countrymen about the consequences
of legislation (read: tax bill), allow him to offer fabricated
evidence to start a war (read: many of the memos involving
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction), or simply have such a
callous disregard for the welfare of those he swore to help
(the way he can cynically let Medicaid benefits lapse and
blames the states).
We are much more capable of defending our morality by illustrating
the direct moral hypocrisy of our accusers. I wonder if Livingston
or Gingrich ever turned over in bed and told his mistress
how despicable it was that Clinton had affairs?
We carried the entire Northeast except New Hampshire (where
Nader was the difference) in 2000 and I do not anticipate
anything different in 2004. The midterm elections and the
actions of Senators Snowe and Chafee seem to indicate that
the voters in the Northeast are somewhat capable of discerning
the difference between a popular President, and one who represents
Now is the time when we can destroy the Republican Party
in the Northeast. The Republicans continue to run Southern
conservatives in places like New Jersey (read Bret Shundler,
a pro-life candidate for governor, funded by the national
party and southern PACs and subsequently slaughtered in the
general election). Yet, we do not do enough to force the voters
who act and think like Democrats to avoid their affiliation
with a national Republican party that has completely forsaken
their socially liberal, fiscally responsible roots.
Except for the most high profile Senators, many people elected
as Northern Republicans forget their constituents once they
realize that the only path to power in the Republican Party
is to forsake their principles. Governor Whitman of New Jersey,
when she thought she was going to the Senate, softened her
pro-choice stance, and then became an advocate for many of
the disastrous environmental policies that she fought as governor,
when she was EPA chairman. Just as the South was a one party
system for 100 years, we can turn the Northeast into a one
We are going to win back this country by reminding enough
people that we represent what is good for them, while the
Republicans are just exploiting them under a vale of fear.
We need to make them angry with a party that has used their
deepest fears, so that they can rob them of both their wealth
and their liberty. Get angry, talk to your friends, volunteer,
register, and register your neighbors.