Thursday, September 1, 2011

Another Lost Post

How strange. Friday I drafted, and late Sunday I posted, a piece about affinities between the Tea Party and recurrent intolerant/racist/nativist movements in American culture & politics: the Know-Nothings/American party (1850s), Bedford Forrest's Klan (1860s-70s), the mainstream Klan (1910s-20s), the modern Klan (1950s-60s), and now the Tea Party (2008ff), united by religious hatred (anti-Catholic in the earlier movements,* anti-Muslim today), nativism (hatred of foreigners, esp. immigrants), racism (originally anti-Irish, oddly enough; perpetually anti-Black, and now anti-Hispanic as well),** all wrapped up in a sort of uber-patriotism incongruously linked to heated denunciations of America and their fellow Americans, a self-professed veneration for the Founding Fathers combined with heaping scorn upon the institutions they set up, like the Supreme Court. I ended by linking to a story about a study from some sociologists claiming to have identified common traits among Tea Party adherents.

But Monday, it had vanished from my list of posts. I didn't save a draft, so I really can't reconstruct the post now. I do still have a url for the piece I linked to, so here that is:

In any case, after I'd made the post, Janice sent me an interesting piece about the death of a remarkable man I'd never heard of: Stetson Kennedy, who apparently played a large role in the de-legitimatizing of the Klan in the 1940s (the 1920s Klan having widespread public acceptance, while the Klan of the '50s and '60s was a furtive, though still dangerous, remnant).*** Of his books, the "Jim Crow Guide: The Way It Was" sounds like the most interesting (though I'm not clear if this is a separate book from "Jim Crow Guide to the U.S.A." or merely variant titles for the same book). Luckily, Suzzallo-Allen seems to be well-stocked with his works, so I shd be able to find out soon for myself. In the meantime, here's the link to the story about his passing:


*according to family lore, the local Klan ran off my grandmother's fiancee because he was Catholic; this was in Kentucky back in the 1920s.

**as a sub-set, we cd probably add anti-German and anti-Japanese during the world wars, though that's a special case; if we go that route, might as well bring in anti-Asian (19th century West) and anti-Eastern Europe (the Palmer Raids era). And that doesn't even begin to get into anti-Native Americanism, which is pretty much the dark bedrock this country was built on (less 'how can we learn to live together' than 'let's kill them and take their stuff').

***I'm told Leonard Cline, who's mainly remembered as a horror/fantasy writer (THE DARK CHAMBER) did some prize-winning exposes of the Klan in the 1920s that started the process.

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