NOTE: Due to travel and other issues, YAD will be updating more irregularly than usual during the first two weeks of September. Follow YAD on Twitter if you need YAD methadone during this time.
You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Old Massa Hubbard
Memo to Jon Hubbard, Roy Mauch, and Louie Gohmert: YOU ARE PIONEERS.
One of the most inexplicably successful right-wing tactics of the recent past has been the re-normalization of things we all had once agreed were abhorrent. You know, like letting poor people starve, racial discrimination. But you've got to commend Jon Hubbard for really taking it to the next level. Not only did the Arkansas state legislator publish a book containing a bunch of his letters to the editor, he included, I guess, all of them. Because he included the one that said this:
"The institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth."
To be fair to Hubbard, this is not an uncommon view amongst old white people in the South, or, to use a common colloquialism, fucking racists. But it's usually not put forward as an actual argument by a person in an actual position of power, mainly because it's madness.
Very few of the slaves brought to America were granted citizenship, because slaves were here for over a hundred years before the Civil War, and the life expectancy of your average slave was considerably shorter than that, on account of, you know. Being slaves. So a few slaves got citizenship, such as it was. Some of their descendants got another hundred years of second-class citizenship, and now, fifty years after that, they can, with a bit of luck, live in one of the states that isn't trying to systematically disenfranchise them.
But Hubbard's Arkansas co-worker, Roy Mauch, went one better on the slavery kick. He defended it on general terms. See, as a white Southern Republican*, the worse slavery is remembered as, the more it can be brought up as a bad thing. Since that's bad for white Southern Republicans, Hubbard is doing his part to rehabilitate slavery. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861?"
See? The condoning of slavery doesn't count as evidence that Jesus, the Bible, or the Founding Fathers were bad people. Since none of those things can ever be bad, it's proof that slavery was pretty good! So stop whining when we ask you for an ID you can't get/afford to vote on the one day you can't get off work!
Lest you think this madness resides solely on the state level, there's always column regular and known waste of oxygen Louie Gohmert chimed in on the relative badness of slavery in the run-up to election:
"We strayed away different times. Andrew Jackson’s time was not a great time, different times slavery was a blot on our existence, But the trouble is we have never as an entire nation overall been so far away from God’s teaching and so openly rebelling, even from the top, against God’s teachings in the Bible."
Slavery? That was bad. A blot on our existence. But we're even less godly now than we were when we were holding other human beings against their will and beating them if they didn't do back-breaking farm labor for free. You know, because we're letting gay people hug each other in public and letting women use birth control or something.
Because let's face it, if we can all just agree that something as awful as slavery wasn't so bad, then maybe we can all agree that people as awful as Hubbard, Mauch, and Gohmert aren't so bad either!
*Yes, I know the party history and yes, I know where the spiritual descendants of the Dixiecrats ended up, so fuck you.<?p>