Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ragheads, Rednecks and Greene Machines

Peculiar politics in South Carolina is a never ending
saga. On June 15, South Carolina Republican State Senator Jake Knotts of Lexington told the South Carolina Senate he is proud to be a redneck and would not resign from the Senate for having called Nikki Haley and President Obama ragheads. Haley is a former Sikh of Indian ancestry and front-runner for the Republican nomination for Governor in the June 22nd run-off.

On June 17, Democrat Alvin Greene’s stunning landslide victory in the Democratic Primary for the US Senate seat held by Jim De Mint was upheld by the SC’s Democratic Executive Committee’s 38.5 to 7.5 vote after hearing a protest by his opponent Vic Rawl. Rawl’s witnesses argued that voting machines malfunctioned to provide a landslide victory for Greene. Greene, a Forrest Gump figure, is an unknown, unemployed, African-American veteran, who also faces a felony obscenity charge. In a brief phone interview Greene said. "They did the right thing," "I am the best candidate for the United States Senate in the state of South Carolina." Rawl is a former judge, and legislator whose 59 to 41% loss shocked the political establishment. Rawl said he didn’t have enough time to prepare his case before the hearing.

Jake Knotts said the Lexington Republicans who asked him to resign for his raghead comments were hypocrites because he had been called a redneck and no one came to his defense. He said he is a true redneck if that means a farmer who works from dawn to dusk and whose neck is red from the sun. When Knotts said, “If all of us rednecks leave the Republican Party, the party is going to have one hell of a void,” he was telling it like it is.

In 1968, the party of Lincoln devised a Republican Southern strategy to co-opt George Wallace’s appeal to white bigotry which has been the building block for Republicanism in the South ever since. I was a Wallace staffer from 1967-71 and became Executive Director of the Wallace Presidential campaign. I witnessed Wallace’s clever appeal to the prejudices of working class white folks.

In 1970, Wallace spoke to a crowd of textile workers in Alabama railing against the "Northern, liberal media who want the Federal Government to control every phase and aspect of our daily lives.

I mean, the long-haired, pointy-headed, pseudo-intellectuals writers at the New York Times, who don't have enough sense to park their bicycles straight. They look down their noses at us and call us pea pickers and pecker-woods, lint-heads and red-necks. If they call us red-necks because our necks might be red from an honest day's toil in the Summer sun, then call us rednecks because there's two things about them; they wouldn't do an honest day's work in the summer sun and

their hair's so long their necks wouldn't get red anyway.

When Fidel Castro was launching his offensive in the hills of Cuba, the New York Times called him the Robin Hood of the Caribbean and we all know he is a Communist.

But if you had asked any cab driver in the streets of New York City or Montgomery, Alabama what they thought about Castro when the New York Times was singing his praises, the cab driver would have told you that he was a Communist. The cab drivers know this by instinct. They are everyday people like us who have fierce contact with life.

We had fierce contact with some contentiously contested election protests when I served on the Democratic Executive Committee of South Carolina in the 1980s and ‘90s, but never one as interesting as when Vic Rawl made his case for a new primary election for the Senate race. Rawl’s attorney argued that they did not have to prove corruption, but only that because the machines were unreliable, the outcome was not correct.

Rawl’s protest focused on the voting machines that leave no paper trail to substantiate their reliability. The Election Systems & Software (ES&S) machines use software whose reliability was criticized in the 2008 Presidential election race in Ohio. Dr. Duncan Buell, a mathematician and computer science professor from the University of South Carolina testified that” “We should treat these machines with an enormous amount of skepticism.”

Rawl’s protest claimed that: the machines are susceptible to accidental or intentional modification, alteration or tampering; numerous voters experienced difficulty in trying to cast votes for Rawl; that the results cannot be verified; and that inherent unreliability of the machines constitutes evidence that the election is invalid.

Big money controls politics. The US Supreme Court has just ruled in the Citizens United case that money counts as free speech. Money talks in America. If the votes were accurately counted, and the candidate who spent no money on media ads, signs, or a web site won, it would be a good thing for our democracy.

When South Carolina seceded from the Union in 1860, James L. Petigru, a former South Carolina legislator and Attorney General said, "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.” Considering our ragheads, rednecks and the Greene machines, Petigru’s description still applies.


  1. As a transplanted Yankee-who used to have an absolute LOVE for anything and everything Southern, and would spend my visits back north defending the slow, easy, friendly Southern way, I am absolutely floored by the blatant corruption that has piled up in the past few months. The simple fact that it is not just confined to politics, just points to equal opportunity idiocy!! The political corruption--you can almost accept. Politics by sheer nature is corrupt. Most politicians start off with noble intentions I think. They start off wanting to make a difference, and they think that they will be the ones to bring honesty and integrity back to the people. But, the wrangling and deal brokering eventually break even the best of men/women. There are no Mr. Smiths. I wish there were. But, in SC, there is possibly more corruption in places where there should be NONE. The one sector where you expect the players to be above reproach--the one place we all feel has our backs--protects us--helps us--that is the place it really just knocks you off your feet when it turns out they are as corrupt as the politicians. I am speaking of the SCHP. Everyone knows about the Benjamin crash. Poor Ms. Rubens--her life forever changed b/c the new Mayor of Columbia couldn't tell his lights were off-really? The SCHP was called to "verify" if he was impaired or not. Wrong entity for that job. Considering the fact that the SCHP allowed a man that killed a child in February to drive away without so much as a slap on the wrist--the man told the trooper on scene that he had taken drugs. But, this man happened to call the right attorney (instead of 911) from the scene. And the crash was blamed on the child. Nice. Someone, somewhere (MK @ DPS) has some serious ‘splainin to do. Apparently the good Director who once said: “Many people are of the impression that they can only be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, but this problem extends beyond that. The law in South Carolina says that a person can be arrested for driving under the influence of other substances -- such as narcotics or drugs -- which appreciably impair their ability to operate a motor vehicle,” Keel said. “This is a serious problem that requires a team of highly trained and qualified law enforcement officers to make a difference.” 1/09

    The same man on 2/10 said: Mr. Dutton did nothing wrong, he said he took the drugs 7-8 hours earlier. The girl should have been walking on the sidewalk. OK--There are no sidewalks--and the man had told the troopers at the scene that he had taken the drugs just 5 hours before the crash. But given that--since when do police take the word of someone that had just killed a child, or anyone for that matter?? Why wasn't he tested?? Good question--the only answer we have received was there was "no probable cause". I apologize--but the man SAID he took DRUGS--he KILLED a 15 year old girl--she was NOT wandering the streets at all hours--it was 7pm. They were in the streetlights--and they had flashlights. The man's wheels were 6-8 inches from the curb when he hit her--sending her 78 feet to the bottom of the hill. He never stepped on the brakes--and did not stop for over 100 feet AFTER impact. Only when he saw cars coming towards him did he stop. He NEVER called for help--a witness called 911--not Mr. Dutton. Yet there was NO PROBABLE CAUSE to test him. The trooper let all witnesses go--with the exception of the girl's friend, and another couple that came upon the scene after the impact. The man was allowed to leave the scene after a brief written statement: I WAS DRIVING ALONG AND DID NOT THE GIRL that was it. He said that he would talk to police the following week after he spoke with his attorney further. They NEVER interviewed him any further--to this day--there has been NO interview. Tell me where the justice is?? This man was impaired--he killed a 15 year old girl--and he gets away with it 100%. All because he knew the right attorney to call. I just don't get it. I wish someone could explain it to me.

  2. Yes Tom, how dare this uppity negro challenge the typical white liberal lawyer DNC candidate. Shouldn't the poor know how well Judges have done protecting their rights? Yes... It is too bad the poor don't understand what great things mother "whitey" is going to do for them.

  3. To the previous poster... You live in a country that has been dropping bombs are poor brown skinned people in the Iraq neighborhood since 1989. Get a fuckin clue!

  4. I checked out your blog and though I don't agree with Ayn Rand's belief in unrestrained capitalism she was right on about war profiteering. The trouble is that the biggest war profiteers are the banksters who are the core of capitalism. We do not have an economic system of small shop keepers competing to keep prices down for the benefit of the people like Adam Smith described in The Wealth of Nations but rather monopoly capitalism which allows the giant corporations to control our government, fix prices and make out like the bandits they are.

    As a former racist in denial I appreciate your comments on racism that is as alive and as malignant as it was when I worked for George Wallace.

    Thanks for your comment.

  5. Golden Scrooge--are you schizophrenic or just stupid? Your comments make no sense whatsoever. In your second post--were you refering to my post? If so, you have no sense of decency, or compassion. I was speaking of the idiocy that is SC politics, as well as the ability to buy "get out of a jam for 10 or 15,000 dollar" cards that are traded around here. The 15 year old girl I was speaking of, is MY daughter. This happened to MY daughter, and MY family. As you are from OHIO-I honestly do not see where SC politics are any of your concern. While I agree with you on the public school system, and Ayn Rand, I can honestly say I do not understand your venom towards my post. I am sorry for you, I am sory that you are so angry that you have to go out on the internet and find people to spew your venom at. I did not deserve it--I was simply looking of answers to questions that I know there are no answers to. I am fully aware of the injustice in this country, I am aware that it is not going to get better, but will only get substantially worse. Maybe that is the answer to my question--my daughter was too sweet and too gentle to really survive in this world. She was a dreamer, and an optimist. She only saw the good in people, even when there was no good to be seen. She loved to read and draw and write stories and songs. She played her pink violin like an angel. Maybe it was as Don McClean sang in "Vincent":"this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you." So, Golden Scrooge, I say to you respectfully----"Get a Fuckin Clue"


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