Friday, October 31, 2008

vote against their own and almost everyone else's interests

Here's an article from yesterday's
Guardian on the uninformed voting habits of white people. The reader comments at the Guardian's site are interesting too--a lot of them accuse the author of being a racist. What do you think of this modest proposal? [h/t to Carmen Van Kerckhove]

Why Whitey Shouldn't Vote

Over-emotional and unready, white people in America have shown that they cannot be trusted with the right to vote

Jonathan Valania, thursday october 30 2008

As a lifelong Caucasian, I am beginning to think the time has finally come to take the right to vote away from white people in America, at least until we come to our senses. Seriously, I just don't think we can be trusted to exercise it responsibly anymore.

I give you Exhibit A: The last eight years.

In 2000, George Bush and Dick Cheney stole the election, got us attacked and then got us into two no-exit wars. Four years later, white people re-elected them. Is not the repetition of the same behaviour over and over again with the expectation of a different outcome the very definition of insanity? (It is, I looked it up.)

Exhibit B is any given Sarah Palin rally.

Exhibit C would be Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and congressman John Murtha, who in separate moments of on-the-record candour they would come to regret, pointed out that there are plenty of people in Pennsylvania who just cannot bring themselves to pull the lever for a black man--no matter what they tell pollsters.

These people are ruining things for the rest of us white people who are ready to move on. Sure, they have their reasons, chimerical though they may be: He's a Muslim. He's a terrorist. He's a Muslim terrorist. He's going to fire all the white people and give their jobs to blacks.

But those are just the little white lies these people allow themselves to be told, a self-induced cognitive dissonance that lets them avoid saying the un-sayable: "I cannot pull the lever for a black man."

Hey, some people just aren't ready yet, even the governor said so. Just like some people aren't ready yet for computers or setting the clock on the VCR.

Or, to hear Murtha tell it, some people--specifically some people in western Pennsylvania--will never be ready. But the fact is, if you did a state-wide head count of racists, you'd find just as many in eastern Pennsylvania as you would in the western part of the state.

That's why this ban on white people voting has got to be national. And I'm sorry to say, it's going to have to include all white people, even those who would vote for Obama, because you can't just let some white people vote. That would be unfair.

By this point, you either think I am joking or are calling me an elitist. I assure you I am neither. OK, maybe I'm a little of both. But it wasn't always like this. I come from the coal belt, from that Alabamian hinterland between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, as per James Carville's famous formulation.

I am, in fact, just two generations out of the coal mines that blackened the lungs of my grandfather, leaving him disabled, despondent and, finally, dead at the ripe old age of 54.

So, understand that I am saying all this for the good of the country and, in fact, for the good of those hard-working white people that Hillary Clinton used to pander to.

I know those people, I come from them. They are not some shameful abstract demographic to be brushed under the rug of euphemism by Wolf Blitzer and his ilk on CNN.

I have broken kielbasa with those people. I have gone to Sunday Mass with a deer-hunter hangover with those people. I went to school with their children. They are bitter with good reason, and they are armed because they are scared. They mean well, but they are easily spooked.

I fear for what is to become of them after the campaigns leave town for the last time, and Scranton and Allentown and Carlisle go back to being the long dark chicken dance of the national soul they were before the media showed up.

* * * * *

If you didn't go to the original version at the Guardian to check out the reader responses to this article--mostly by British readers, I'd say--here's a sampling:

Your post is a brilliant confirmation of the Republican argument that Dems are elitist - your post positively reeks of patrician has a 'how dare the little people like Palin...the very thought of it gives me the vapors...' tone.

I'm beginning to think white people shouldn't be allowed to write columns for the guardian.

This is a truly shocking article. Really depressing that racist dross like this ever got posted.

I fully endorse this article's proposal. Actually, what would actually be a good idea would be to only let poor people vote - say the bottom 70% of any country. That would even things up a little bit given that all the rest of all forms of every kind of power rests in the hands of the other 30%.

In any case, i think this cause could be the new suffragette movement. No votes for whitey.

If Obama loses and there are full scale riots, white writers and commentators like this will have a lot to answer for. The paranoia and false expectations they are whipping up will be hard to contain.

Hey guys, chill out. He's white. He's entitled to denigrate his own kind. What's the white equivalent of an Uncle Tom?


  1. democracy should be 'power to the people' and one weakness of how most nations vote is one person - one vote. Already in numbers, majority vs. minority, such elections are unfair, because only the already dominant group will be represented by voting systems like this.
    When you then add the anti-intellectualism and difficulties of many mostly whites to comprehend complex issues, I think that the concept of democracy should find new solutions which demand the maturity and capability of people to understand what they are doing.
    But a break for white America, to have nothing to say, at least this one time, to have no possibility to mess this up again, yes, a thought I admit I already had. Because at the end of the day, it is also the entire world who has to deal with white America's decision.

  2. Your next post should be " to understand satire."

  3. I think Thomas Frank "What's the matter with Kansas" speaks about this phenomenon in depth.

    Like JW said, anti-intellectualism, inabiity to understand complex issues, and excessive jingoism all play a role in influencing voting patterns.

    To the democrats' benefit, things have gotten so bad that no one can deny it and republican duplicity will not work this time around.

    And another thing, I find it funny that white commentators are calling another white author racist. Maybe the author is finally calling out on some people's BS or like sarahmc said, there is a failure to understand simple satire.

  4. Heh heh--"modest proposal." I saw what you did there.

  5. I love how the comments gloss over the last 8 years of Bush. Why get upset about the reality of what opened the door of one of the worst Presidents when you can whinge about hurt feelings?

    Certain Americans should lose their right to vote because their too damn psychologically immature to critically analyze the choices before them.

    Yes the author was being socially specific but oh well.

  6. That shit = Fucking funny.

    Thanks for becoming a follower of my blog, by the way. Keep reading! Good things are coming!

  7. SarahMC said it best.

    I've been complaining about dumb voters for a minute.

    God, I cannot wait for this election to be over.


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