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Response to Howard Dean's Speech
Posted: Friday, December 12, 2003

From the Official Howard Dean Weblog, December 7, 2003
"Restoring the American Community", delivered by Governor Howard Dean in Columbia, South Carolina.

Response by Rootsie,
December 11, 2003

Well Governor Dean, as that 'different Republican president' also said 150 years ago, "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time. But you can't fool all the people all the time."

You talk about Nixon/Reagan/Bush era politics, saying they "fracture the very soul of who we are as a country." And just what might that be, that 'soul'? The sickness in the very soul of the United States is what the Nixons, Reagans, and Bushes express. They are the mainline of U.S. History, not deviations from the norm. When was there ever racial justice here? The American Revolution itself was fought for the benefit of slave merchants. There was a hideous civil war back then fought on the frontier by poor settlers who knew this Revolution would not be of benefit to them.

When in the history of this country has the wealth NOT been 'concentrated at the very top'? You talk as if the Republicans are the sole architects and sole beneficiaries of this system. Well it takes two to tango. The gap between rich and poor opened up to unprecedented levels during the Clinton years.

But you can say anything you want really, and spin your rhetoric, because we have a broken educational system that graduates illiterates, let alone producing citizens who have some sort of grasp on their history. History. That's the thing. No one in this country wants to talk about history.

"There are no black concerns or white concerns or Hispanic concerns in America. There are only human concerns." What country do you live in? And the hundreds of millions who live 'south of the border', who also consider themselves 'Americans,' might be surprised to hear that their concerns are not Hispanic ones.

This is the way the liberals think to get around the issue of race. They talk about 'celebrating diversity' and our 'multicultural heritage', as if these pretty phrases can obscure the truth of United States history. And really, how long has corporate media North America been 'celebrating diversity' anyway? I suppose the fiends who dragged Richard Byrd along the highway a few years ago until his head was torn off don't matter in the equation of 'American progress' any more than the black children in Mississippi who are being tortured in 'training schools' as I write this. 40 years ago these stories went untold, that's true. So I suppose one could say that there has been some improvement. But to say that there is no such thing as black issues, as Native American issues, as Hispanic issues, is the worst kind of political demagoguery.

"We're going to talk about justice again in this country." Again?? When was the first time we talked about a level playing field for blacks? When was the first time we talked about restoring an iota of what was stolen from Native Americans? Whatever progress those groups have made certainly did not originate from the top. It was empowered individuals from those groups who fought and shed blood for what little justice they have received. If we find it hard to go on our merry way these days without a thought for the Richard Byrds of this world, the Leonard Peltiers, it is because of them, and not because of any reform or cry for basic justice that issued from our 'leaders.' Abraham Lincoln was a racist all his life, and anything he did for blacks was not out of love for them. The sharecropping system that replaced slavery and still exists in some places in the South today worsened the condition of blacks. At least if you own a horse, you will see to it that it stays relatively healthy.

You accuse your opponents of 'turning America into a battle of us versus them.' But Governor Dean, you are 'them'. By virtue of your skin color alone. You speak of the poor white children. I work with some of them. But I very well know there would be no political will at all to address poverty if poor whites did not exist. This you seem not to understand. You do not understand that you benefit directly from this system, that you are a true product of it. There can be no 'talk' of 'building' this and 'building' that without straight talk about race. We have to address the rot in the foundation before we can think to build a thing. I would like to hear a politician just once say 'I benefit directly from the system of white supremacy. I want to devote my excess resources to dismantling this system.' That is the only solution. Whites have to be willing to surrender their privilege. Period.

These empty calls for unity rouse much emotion in ignorant people. But to achieve true unity there has to be a reconciliation with history. Some great truth-telling must take place.

"United together, you can take back your country." When did this country ever belong to all of its people? Never yet.

"Because it is only a movement of citizens of every color, every income level, and every background that can change this country and once again make it live up to the promise of America." I remember the words of chief Red Cloud of the Lakota: "They made many promises. More than I can remember. But one they kept. They promised to take our land and they took it." You can't eat promises. We think a little patriotic rhetoric and flag-waving will suffice to bring this country into line with its many promises. What golden age of America are you referring to anyway?

40,000,000 Americans voted for George Bush. This time it will be more. There is no New Englander who can win in the South or the Midwest. There is no Democrat who can defeat George Bush. Hilary Clinton knows this. Otherwise she would be running. The Democrats cannot defeat George Bush because they do not legitimately wish to dismantle the system of global corporate colonialism for which he is the figurehead. It's a two-party gravy train. And those millions without the education and the civic engagement to see the fraud being perpetrated on them-what can be said of them? What can be said of the millions who are rich and want to stay that way, and damn everybody else?

What did you say about NAFTA and GATT? Did you say you want to dismantle them? If basic justice were your concern this is what you would say. You made some vague comments about paying foreign workers more.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I prefer George Bush right where he is. At least we citizens have to look at the worst face of what we have done to the world every single day.

I am saddened that blacks in the United States are falling for this typical Democratic bill of goods. I wish they would remember Clinton and the million jail cells. Because Democrats are the masters at putting a 'kinder gentler' face on capitalist piracy, they tend to put dissent to sleep. Like any disease, this needs to come to a crisis in order to be cured. A doctor should know this.

There is such a thing as race. There is such a thing as issues that are specific to specific groups. Rhetorical cries for unity ring pathetic at this point. There is no unity without truth.

It is so typical for a white to run on a platform of 'race doesn't matter.' But the fact that there are some blacks falling for this is ominous.

It is not possible to 'restore' what has never been.

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