As I write this, Rachel Maddow is making “cool kid” faces about Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who seems to be MSNBC’s favorite whipping boy these days. The governor has suggested that, as part of having their voting rights restored, former inmates of the Commonwealth’s prison system (known in most states as Department of Corrections) write an essay about their contributions to society since their releases.
Maddow has made this incredible connection: Essay equals “literacy test,” which equals a Jim Crow law that made it nearly impossible for Southern blacks in the 1960s to register to vote.
Rachel, get a new haircut. Get a new perspective. Sweet Jesus, woman, get a handle on reality.
Two things you need to know about this writer (assuming you’re the least bit interested in “this writer”): First, I am a liberal. Second, because I am a liberal, I teach English classes at Colorado’s largest prison here in my hometown. The reason I teach those classes is so that, when they are released into society, Colorado’s prison inmates will be able to use the Americanized English language to function in society. My purpose for teaching is to improve the literacy of my students and, as a result, improve their chances of functioning as contributive citizens in our society. I think my efforts are progressive. I think the State of Colorado is progressive because, in this time of slashed state budgets, the Colorado Department of Corrections has seen fit to continue to fund that very program that pays me to I drive out to the local prison twice a week and teach “literacy” to prison inmates.
Some of whom, Rachel, are black.
True to form, however, Maddow (like her mentor, the God Apparent of All Things Liberal at MSNBC, Keith Olbermann) has managed to take a perfectly good and useful and even progressive (yes, Rachel, PROGRESSIVE) idea like McDonnell’s and turn it into a Jim Crow throwback.
It’s easy for young smartasses like Maddow to trivialize (excuse me, kids, but I gotta do this) The Civil Rights Movement by comparing everything Republican to something cooked up in a KKK klavern. It’s also destructive and demeaning to those who marched, suffered, and even died so that black Americans can enjoy the rights our Constitution gives them, but that they were denied by the horrors of slavery and the ignorant hatred of Jim Crow for so very long. I don’t doubt that Maddow envisions that she daily strikes a blow for equal rights in America. She is deluded
I watched the civil rights struggle unfold on our black-and-white Motorola television every single day of my childhood. I shook hands with Andrew Young. I saw Ralph Abernathy speak in Denver. I saw tears fall from my father’s eyes (the father who was a policeman at the time) as Southern cops committed crimes against blacks under the color of law. I was just a kid during “the struggle,” but it was part of the fabric of my life. And I’m here to say Rachel Maddow is a piker, a poser, a media whore who uses her power of a television show to demonize men and women who simply want, in the service of American conservatism, to do the right thing.
I don’t mind when Maddow jeers at Sarah Palin. Palin is a great American political joke. But Bob McDonnell is a Southern conservative trying his damnedest to join the 21st century. The least we liberals can do is leave the man alone, let him govern the great Commonwealth of Virginia, and hope the Republican Party starts to understand his value. McDonnell is worth a dozen Mikey Steeles. Let people like McDonnell succeed, and my beloved Democratic Party will have no choice but to reach out and cooperate in the best interests of our nation.
Grandstanding tricks like Maddow tried on tonight’s show (4/13/10) used to be excoriated as crappy political stunts by politicians. Now they’re de rigueur crappy stunts by over-educated and under-smart talking heads like Maddow.
Leave Bob McDonnell alone, Rachel. You're not helping. Really, you're not.