Bird Feeders and Dog Whistles

A reasonably busy morning for a retired person: writing a book review, catching up with friends on Facebook, posting an entry on the hashing blog, answering email from people who want their addresses removed from a list I have nothing to do with, refilling bird feeders, replacing lightbulbs, taking out garbage, rounding up all my outdoor towels (last used to wrap pipes against freezing) and putting them in the wash so they’ll be clean for when I wax my car (which I probably would have waxed if Donna hadn’t taken it today), going for a bicycle ride.

And it’s only noon.  Time to sit down and commit more bloggage.

I spent three years of my childhood in post-war Germany, during and just after the Allied occupation.  As far as I know, no one has ever called me a Nazi or accused me of having a non-American outlook on global politics.  Barack Obama spent five years of his childhood in Indonesia, and politicians and Fox News regularly accuse him of being Muslim and of having a non-American outlook.  Unless, that is, they are accusing him of being Kenyan and having anti-colonial views.  Mike Huckabee, the politician other politicians invariably describe as a nice guy, has convincingly shown he’s anything but by blowing the birther dog whistle for all he’s worth … Jesus, he even managed to drop in a line about the Mau-Maus.

The thing is, politicians blow that dog whistle because they know there’s a bloc of voters who’ll respond to it.  The question is, do out-and-out racists in this country outnumber the rest of us, and can a right-wing politician mobilize enough of them to win an election?  I’d like to think that can’t happen today, that what was a valid strategy during the Nixon years (it even had a name: the Southern Strategy) is no longer valid today.  Of course that only works if we lefties go out and vote (hint, hint).

© 2011, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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