Secesh 3.0: Fear of a Black President

kkk-rallyWhen the Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) disrupted the President’s healthcare address before a joint session of Congress, it was not the first time that a president from Illinois had trouble from a South Carolina lawmaker.

The first time, of course, was when the Palmetto State became the first to secede from the Union. South Carolina politicians such as John C. Calhoun and Preston Brooks stirred the pot and inflamed passions with talk of states’ rights, limited government, nullification, and slavery. The other Southern states followed suit, forming the Confederate States of America and resulting in a Civil War that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

During the Civil War, which I will call Secesh 1.0, the issue was whether White Southerners had a right to kidnap Black people and keep them chained in their backyard. (Secesh means Secessionists, as in, “Colonel, we’re gonna whup the Secesh!”) The South lost, but was a sore loser. And President Lincoln was assassinated by a disgruntled fan of the losing team. Since that time, the losing side has continued its quest to shape the nation in its ignorant, regressive, and repressively racist image.

Secesh 2.0 was Jim Crow segregation and the days of the civil rights movement. That was the era of conservative White resistance to equality and Black aspirations, under threat of violence and death. At issue was whether states had a right to treat “their” Black folk as they pleased. The federal government was the enemy, as were outside agitators and carpetbaggers, civil rights workers, sympathetic Whites and uppity Blacks, Jews from up North, anyone from up North, Communists and other troublemakers.

And the white-collar Klan, represented by the White Citizens’ Council and Democratic politicians, kept up the segregationist rhetoric to make the voter base happy. Meanwhile, the unwashed, down-and-dirty real-deal Klan mobilized in the streets and backwoods, with a regime of terror and murder against African Americans and proponents of constitutional democracy. Lynchings, church burnings, prison, and voter intimidation were some of the weapons of choice.

For Billy Bob, Bubba Lee, and Skeeter (substitute your name of choice), the issue was whether there was a right to keep their children free from integrated classrooms and high school proms, and prevent young Black men from race-mixing with their daughters. For that “genteel” old white dude from In The Heat of the Night who slapped Mr. Tibbs in the face, the issue was whether he had a right to lynch Tibbs after Tibbs slapped him back—just like the good ol’ days.

Well, now we’re living under Secesh 3.0. The crazy and sometimes armed Right-wing fringe groups of the 1990s—the militias, conspiracy theorists, domestic terrorists, and the like—became racialized in the 2000s. So now, these groups are crazy, armed and also racist. Whether they are militias, birthers, anti-immigration Minutemen, White nationalists, tea baggers, or others, they are united in their hatred of the government—and their hatred of a Black president they believe is foreign and illegitimate. They also believe he is a fascist, communist, terrorist, Kenyan citizen, Muslim, and so on.

The Republican Party’s Southern Strategy—a raw appeal to racist White voters in order to win elections—led to a gradual party shift for the Dixiecrats. The White Citizens’ Council changed its affiliation from Democratic to Republican, but the sentiment remained. And the extremist G.O.P. base that remains is now mostly an uneducated and ignorant regional party, led and fed by paranoia, jingoism, and bigotry. The South helped the Republicans win elections, and the South (minus the red states that Obama turned blue) is nearly all they have left.

Under the current release, Secesh 3.0, some people say they want their country back. The issue for them is whether the states have a right to be free from Black rule in the form of Barack Obama. This includes real or symbolic rejection of the stimulus money; calls for secession from the U.S.; states’ rejection of healthcare reform, a.k.a. “socialized medicine” or “Obamacare”, and calls for investigations into the President’s citizenship. And in this effort, a seamless coalition, a dangerous coalition has formed, consisting of: Republican lawmakers; corporate lobbyists; fringe groups and nut jobs off the street; right-wing talk radio hosts and mainstream cable news entertainers. Their efforts began with displays of racism at last year’s McCain-Palin rallies and this year’s tea parties and disruptions at the healthcare town hall meetings. And it has culminated in the recent “Million Moron March” on Washington, and Rep. Wilson’s interruption of Obama’s address by shouting “you lie!”

It is appropriate that Rep. Wilson—whose outburst has energized support for his Democratic opponent, Rob Miller—is the poster child for Secesh 3.0. After all, Wilson is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), a radical White supremacist group that has been well-documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center. “The slackers and the grannies have been purged from our ranks,” as Kirk Lyons, an SCV operative announced, in a move to turn the group into “a modern, 21st century Christian war machine capable of uniting the Confederate community and leading it to ultimate victory.”

As a state legislator, Wilson was one of seven Republicans to vote to keep the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina state capitol. Moreover, he was forced to apologize to Essie Mae Washington-Williams—the African American daughter of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond and his Black maid—after she publicly revealed her father’s identity. Thurmond was, of course, the legendary segregationist and originator of the 1956 “Southern Manifesto”, a declaration against the 1954 Brown desegregation ruling. Calling Ms. Washington’s revelation an “unseemly” act that served to “diminish” one of his “heroes”, the former Thurmond page said “It’s a smear on the image that [Thurmond] has as a person of high integrity who has been so loyal to the people of South Carolina.” And no one had even questioned Washington’s veracity, as Thurmond’s family acknowledged her, and she had received financial support from him for years.

So, the question that arises is, where is all of this foolishness leading us? To be sure, as in past releases, we are entering dangerous territory. One side won the 2008 election, while the other side has turned its radical fringe into the mainstream. And the ones who are crying fascism these days seem like the real fascists.

david.jpgIn a sobering report, Homeland Security had already sounded the alarm on the rise of violent right-wing extremist groups. Now is the time to watch your back, and someone else’s if you are able. And don’t forget to sleep with at least one eye open.

David A. Love

This article first appeared in The Black Commentator and is republished with permission.


  1. says

    Why is so much hatred being hurled toward President Obama? That’s a no-brainer!

    He’s a Kenyan born Arab terrorist who wants to bring DEATH PANELS to this grand and glorious land of ours so he can pull the plugs on Granny and Gramps.

    HE’S A DANGED LEFT WING SOCIALIST whose education was funded by the American Communist Party, MoveOn.Org, Barbara Streisand and Ed Asner.

    He named his daughters Sasha and Malia – YO! WHAT’S UP WITH THAT???

    He would prefer to have dinner with Mahatma Gandhi over Ronald Reagan. RONALD REAGAN!!!

    He wants to start a TROTSKY FOR TOTS program for our children.

    He’s just an evil person!

    EVIL, I SAY!


    My fellow Americans, heed my warning,

    The Big, Black, Bolshevik Bogeyman is gonna git’cha!

    It has not a thing to do with race.

    I am a white person. I would not lie to you.

    But seriously, folks….

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

  2. Marcy says

    First, my apologies for the first two posts — pretty ironic for you to be told that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery (well, maybe if you weren’t a black slave back then, it was about taxation and government intrusion, but if you WERE a black slave…that’s ALL it was about). (And no, I’m not black — I just think rationally. We could use a bit more of that these days.) Just one look at some of the signs at that 9/12 rally made it perfectly clear to most Americans what was motivating so much of the anger. Shouting about taxation and government spending (which I daresay none of those folks did during the prior eight years) was merely a convenient cover for the racist loathing that truly motivated them to action.

    Just one thought about your post: why call it “symbolic” rejection of stimulus money? It’s SHAM rejection! Just look at Bobby Jindal: pontificating ad nauseum about how he wouldn’t take Obama’s stimulus funds one day, and running around the state the next with super-sized checks, with his signature, to give to local government bodies in his state. And where did the money “he” was handing out come from? FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA’S FEDERAL STIMULUS FUNDS. Can anyone say “hypocrite”?

    Phonies and crackpots. I’d laugh at them if their hatred and bigotry didn’t make them so dangerous.

  3. Delia Lopez says

    You need to read a bit more. The civl war was not about slavery, read historic documents. Lincoln freed the slaves in the far south, the slaves in the north remained enslaved. The war was over federal taxation and increase in federal power. The federal government was limited in it’s power by the constitution. If the federal government was within it’s constitutionally limited bounds our overseas empire building could not be happening. The federal war on drugs, the unconstitutional searches and kicking in of doors, all of these are from a massive increase in government. We live in a Republic NOT a democracy! Read the constitution, bill of rights, declaration of independence never once was democracy mentioned. Our founding fathers considered democracy the vilest form of government ever created by man. The Jim Crow laws were democracy in action “mob rule” if 51% of the people want to keep a black chained so they do the work, well we voted on it! This is a democracy! Right? WRONG! This is a Republic and it was created so the government would protect the rights of the minority, all were to be equal under the law. The Republicans were the ones against slavery remember? Read “Republic or Democracy” by De La Rosa it is linked on my webpage, it’s getting harder to find on line. If you look at the photos from th 9/12 march on DC you will see people with dark skin as well. I did not vote for Obama so I am called racist? I did not vote for Mcain, I can not vote for anyone that would vote for the patriot act or FISA bill or any of the other unconstitutional increases in government power and infringements on our rights. Ever hear of Alan Keyes? He would be a much better president, he understands the encroachment of government and the elimination of our rights, he would serve our people of all colors.
    As an aside Strom Thurmond had black and white pall bearers when he died, it was not about race.

  4. Tim says

    MAn…you are nuts and your facts are iout of context, false, or mis used…You my friend are the problem with Race relations. Disagreeing on policy does not mean one is a racisit.

    The man was elected….. You need to focus on issues instead of this crap.
    .-= Tim´s last blog ..Threadless Tshirt Giveaway at =-.

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