Sunday, June 23, 2019

Unity: What is it Good For?

By Nellie Bly
Spy Washington Bureau

A specter is haunting the political discourse of politicians, gasbags, and other favored professions of otherwise unemployable white men: unity.


What is it?  What is good for?

To borrow a few bars from Edwin Starr:  Absolutely nothing.


The public's supposed yearning for unity has propelled the candidacy of the amazingly-lifelike Joe Biden 3.2.72834 to the top of quite a heap.  His campaign kickoff speech stressed that he could and would unify a bitterly divided country.  The contrast with the incumbent, who loves stigmatizing and dividing people almost as much as raping women in department store dressing rooms, could not be starker.

But in a pitch to rich Democratic Wall Street finaglers for pelf, Biden invoked the spirit of unity, entering the Waybac machine to return the time when the Senate was ruled by a oligarchy of white racist Southern Democrats (later to be replaced by Southern Republicans holding better-modulated racist views):

"I’ve been around so long, I worked with James Eastland,” Biden said when he was stumping for Jones two years ago. “Even in the days when I got there, the Democratic Party still had seven or eight old-fashioned Democratic segregationists. You’d get up and you’d argue like the devil with them. Then you’d go down and have lunch or dinner together. The political system worked. We were divided on issues, but the political system worked.”

Those were the days.  It later turned out that Biden had collaborated with loathsome racists like Eastland of Mississippi and Talmadge of Georgia on unifying legislation designed to undercut the use of busing to remedy intentional racial school segregation in violation of Brown v. Board of Education.

The enduring value of collaborating with Senators who “ thought black Americans belonged to an “inferior race” and warned that integration would cause “mongrelization”” has been subject to heated debate then as now.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. thought that choosing unity over justice was nothing but a heartbreaker.  Actually he said it a little more elegantly in his Letter from Birmingham Jail:

Black people, shown here being divisive
I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." 

Indeed the entire Civil Rights Movement was an attack on the unity that had frozen into place an unspeakably cruel and unjust system of white racism and segregation since Rutherford B. Hayes stole the Election of 1876.

And if you look back a little further,  consider what happened when unity was prized over . . . pretty much everything else.

When the literal and spiritual ancestors of white Southern bigots so beloved by Joe Biden threatened to destroy the Union rather than permit free territories to become states that banned slavery, they named their price for unity: enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act and extension of slavery to all territories.  In other words, according to James McPherson,  tells us: “Republicans would have to make all the concessions.  Republicans refused to succumb to what they considered blackmail.”  J. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom at 251.

How did that turn out?  600,000 dead later, Abraham Lincoln summed up:

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.  . . .

Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.

At least they were unified
You don't have to hit the history books to understand that there are things more important than unity.  In our lifetime, in addition to fighting for civil rights despite its supposedly corrosive effect on unity, we marched to end the futile effusion of blood and treasure that was Vietnam.  Yesterday we finally got something resembling health care for all despite Republican whining about how divisive curing the sick was.

Today, our Republic is threatened more severely than at any time since the Civil War by felonious Russian agent President U Bum and his craven Republican lackeys.  We are told that employing the Constitutional remedy of impeachment to remove the criminal President is alas “too divisive.”

But as President Lincoln warned us, the destruction of our Republic is too high a price to pay for “unity.”  And despite Joe Biden's pretty stories of happy times with Strom Thurmond, we're not inclined to wait for a “more convenient season.”

You might even say that in the current crisis, unity is an enemy to all mankind.
As for us, the point of unity blows our mind.

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