For Senator Mitch McConnell the most important thing in the world is for him to be Senate Majority Leader; because, as Senate Majority Leader, Sen. McConnell has a lot of power. In Washington DC, power is a commodity. Being Senate Majority Leader pays well. For McConnell to be Leader, he needs to raise a lot of money for republican senatorial candidates. If he raises money for a candidate’s campaign and the candidate wins, the candidate owes McConnell big time. With enough allegiance from enough republican senators, Mitch gets to be Leader; gets his power. Power which he peddles in exchange for campaign funds for republican candidates who will be indebted. Rinse and repeat.
Never mind that Sen. McConnell has never deliberately, directly, or even unintentionally done anything for the benefit of working-class Americans; or for the nation. Power being the coin of the realm in his realm; the Senator dances with them that brung him. If that coin buys a pound or so of bacon for his voters that is paid for by the blue states; that’s like getting paid triple. How does Sen. McConnell get by with it? Sen. McConnell speaks lingua pavlovian; a language something akin the lingua franca of old. But, whereas the lingua franca of the Mediterranean was made up of words that might not have even been words from any language, but were words that were understood by all involved in Mediterranean commerce; the language spoken by McConnell and other red state Republican politicians to their manipulables is made up of words or phrases meant to evoke a predictable conditioned response.
This particular lingua has always been intended to be manipulative. When former slaves began to get elected to office after the Civil War, white supremacist, aka former slave owners, cried, “Socialism!, Socialism!” “They will bring socialism down on us all.” To the manipulable, it came across as, whatever the word means, it was surely something very bad. And, bad it has been ever since. Like “Yankee”, “Northerners” and Abe Lincoln; socialism was a word meant to be spat, not understood. For all these years, all a white southern politician needed to do was whisper one of these words and their manipulables start looking for a voting booth and ballot in order to vote against whomever the charge was directed at or being associated with. Manipulables are at their best when they are being against something or someone.
Some of the more recent contributors to this lexicon include: Orville Faubus, Ross Barnett, George Wallace, Newt Gingrich, Frank Luntz, The Readers Digest, Look Magazine, and, of course, Mitch McConnell. Manipulators, the lot, they’ve added words like “Unions”, “Liberals”, “Blue States”, “Godless”, “Abortion”, “Pornography”, “Atheist”, “Baby Killer”, “Hillary”, “Pelosi”, “Ultra Liberals”… all of which, too, are meant to be spat, not understood. It only was not important that folks understood the meaning of the words nor knew of the person, better they didn’t; it was far more important that they associated the word with something or someone to be really disliked, perhaps even hated. What with “Sex Ed”, LGBT, “Woke”, “CRT”, and “Antifa”; it is getting harder and harder to keep our children ignorant. Wonder if Gov. DeSantis knows that if his manipulables understood what “Woke” means they would drop him in a heartbeat.
When former slaves began to get elected to office after the Civil War, white supremacist, aka former slave owners, cried, “Socialism!, Socialism!”
[ Please precisely reference this passage when possible. ]
—What politicians mean when they cry “socialism” in America today is something entirely different. It is a product of the years immediately after the Civil War, when Black men first got the right to vote.
Eager to join the free labor system from which they had previously been excluded, these men joined poor white men to vote for leaders who promised to rebuild the South, provide schools and hospitals (as well as desperately needed prosthetics for veterans), and develop the economy with railroads to provide an equal opportunity for all men to work hard and rise.
Former Confederates loathed the idea of Black men voting. But their opposition to Black voting on racial grounds ran headlong into the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which, after it was ratified in 1870, gave the U.S. government the power to make sure that no state denied any man the right to vote “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” When white former Confederates nonetheless tried to force their Black neighbors from the polls, Congress in 1870 created the Department of Justice, which began to prosecute the Ku Klux Klan members who had been terrorizing the South.
With racial discrimination now prohibited by the federal government, elite white southerners changed their approach. They insisted that they objected to Black voting not on racial grounds, but because Black men were voting for programs that redistributed wealth from hardworking white people to Black people, since hospitals and roads would cost tax dollars and white people were the only ones with taxable property in the Reconstruction South. Poor Black voters were instituting, one popular magazine wrote, “Socialism in South Carolina.”—
Terrific and excellent full explanation. Just what was needed.
Your essay is superb, and with the explanation should be especially helpful.
I am grateful…
Again, this is an especially important essay for the historical rooting of the accusation of “socialism.” The identification of “socialism” with peoples of developing nations we wish to discredit is rooted there and used currently.
Nicely done, indeed.
Lastly, Democrats in Congress and this Administration are using the “socialism” slur against country after country, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, of course and continually China…. The President’s Press Secretary put on a special show in this way just yesterday. I am appalled.