From Pine View Farm

The Second Deconstruction 4

Bruce Ackerman fears that the arc of moral justice cited by Martin Luther King, Jr., in one of his most famous quotations, is in retreat.

. . . the arc of justice is now once again in sharp decline, during America’s Second Gilded Age.

The Supreme Court is playing a leading role in this act of betrayal. Just as the 19th century court struck down the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which would have banned discrimination in public accommodations and transportation, the Roberts court has struck down key provisions of the modern Voting Rights Act. What is more, it keeps chipping away at other basic principles established during the civil rights era, as in last week’s decision on affirmative action in university admissions. If these dynamics continue, the annual celebration of Martin Luther King Day will turn into a tragic recital of his lost legacy.



  1. George Smith

    April 29, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I’m going to have to disagree with that a bit. Nixon may have, indeed, “calculatingly” given the racist vote to George Wallace around ’68 but it doesn’t tell the entire story to readers who may not know it. Wallace primaried with the Democrats in 72 and this is amply chronicled in another great book, Hunter Thompson’s Fear & Loathing On the Campaign Trail. And he took the racist blue collar Democratic Party vote in a significant part of the south. This in turn, was part of the tidal wave that led to the total collapse of the Democratic Party and McGovern’s historic and catastrophic loss to Nixon. I’d also say that MLK Day is already a tragedy. For the past few years many in the GOP have tried to grab it, notably Ted Nugent, who writes several times a year that he’s a disciple of the man. Fear & Loathing is a remarkable book because so much of it resonates today. There was a feeling at the beginning that McGovern was onto something, that if the youth vote could be rallied, Nixon was toast. And as the book goes and the primaries spin out this turns into utter despair as everyone realizes what is going to happen and what the country is really about. That Wallace was shot by a crazy person probably made no real difference. The white blue collar Democrats who voted for him in primaries because they believed he was going to give ’em Hell in Washington, then voted for Nixon in the general. And they all had children. And all of them still alive and their offspring are today’s GOP, or WhiteManistan, if you will. That’s the legacy and as the man writes, it’s a terrible one.

  2. Frank

    April 29, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    For all that Ackerman may have missed some details of the events, I do think his conclusion is valid. To put it bluntly, thanks to Nixon’s odious Southern strategy, racists run the Republican Party and are planning to resurrect Jim Crow–it may be Jim Crow v. 2.0, with a nicer user interface and a slicker look and feel, but Jim Crow it is.

    Racism shall yet be the undoing of this great experiment.


    I have never really forgiven Robert Kennedy for jumping into the race for the Democratic nomination once Gene McCarthy had shown the potential of the sane vote.

  3. George Smith

    April 29, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Los Angeles, as you have seen, was alight today with the death penalty the NBA meted out to Donald Sterling. I know a guy in my tribe, a friend, upset that a gossip spy recording released by TMZ has done him in but I feel it’s justified in these times. The GOP and its flamethrowers have whipped reflexive racism as a way of uniting their people in an entirely unprecedented way in my politically conscious lifetime. They have played with social dynamite, going right up to the edge of incitement of revolt and armed violence and have achieved many bad things through it. It’s only Donald Sterling’s misfortune that he came in the same week as Cliven Bundy and shortly after Ted Nugent. He’s just another now famous plutocrata, a piece of unreconstructed high button trash completely uncognizant of the society he lives in because he believes it inferior, being himself. The American south never went through what had to be done and was done in Germany after WWII. There was de-Nazification and it was successful, as successful as the removal of Japanese warlord and emperor rule in Japan at the same time. Both efforts resulted in much better countries. We suffer from WhiteManistan because our correction and reconciliation was not achieved. What justice there is had to evolve almost without it. And now there is nothing to do but endure the consequences until it is swept away by historical erosion. That’s failure on a grand scale.

  4. Frank

    April 30, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I have no interest whatsoever in the NBA, but it’s been impossible to avoid that story. Sterling clearly viewed his team (and it would seem everything else) with a plantation-owner perspective.

    The North won the war; the South won the peace. There is no better evidence of that than the existence, let alone the veneration, of Gone with the Wind.