Wednesday, May 14, 2008

West Virginia and the babushkas

Social engineering is a concept in political science that refers to efforts to influence popular attitudes and social behavior on a large scale, whether by governments or private groups.(...) The most effective way for "social engineering" is through mass media and especially television.(...) Political conservatives in the United States have accused their opponents of social engineering through the promotion of political correctness, insofar as it may change social attitudes by defining "acceptable" and "unacceptable" language or acts. Wikipedia

"The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this." Albert Einstein

"Religion is the opium of the people: this saying of Marx is the cornerstone of the entire ideology of Marxism about religion. All modern religions and churches, all and of every kind of religious organizations are always considered by Marxism as the organs of bourgeois reaction, "
V.I. Lenin
Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression, and, ultimately, the elimination of religious beliefs. Within about a year of the revolution the state expropriated all church property, including the churches themselves, and in the period from 1922 to 1926, 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200 priests were killed (a much greater number was subjected to persecution). In the 1920s and 1930s, such organizations as the League of the Militant Godless ridiculed all religions and harassed believers. Atheism was propagated through schools, communist organizations (such as the Young Pioneer Organization), and the media. Wikipedia
Twenty years ago, any KGB officer found practicing religion would have been promptly sacked. Now, according to the “committed Christian” and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, religion “has a big place” in 21st-century Russia. That place has stretched deep into Russian Intelligence. As a former KGB foreign intelligence officer, Putin has more direct control of intelligence than any Russian leader since Joseph Stalin. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the KGB was its militant atheism. In March 2002, however, the FSB (Putin’s domestic security and intelligence service) at last found God. The Times
"The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is the true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow." Barack Obama

Victoria Switzer, a retired social studies teacher, was on phone-bank duty one night during the Pennsylvania primary campaign. One night was all she could take: "It wasn't pretty." She made 60 calls to prospective voters in Susquehanna County, her home county, which is 98 percent white. The responses were dispiriting. One caller, Switzer remembers, said he couldn't possibly vote for Obama and concluded: "Hang that darky from a tree!"
Washington Post
David Seaton's News Links
To avoid confusion, I'll put what I think is the moral of this story right up front.
It is important to fight for change, because in the process of fighting you may change yourself, but changing others even for the their own and for the general good may have unforeseen consequences... for them and for you.
Cultures change over time, but it is difficult to intervene in them to change them. It is like a neurosurgeon operating on a deadly brain tumor, a little slip and "oops! There go the piano lessons."

I started out this post with four photos and a slew of quotes about the Soviet Union's effort to eradicate religion. Contrary to what most people in America would think, this was not done out of "evil" intent, but rather with the best intentions imaginable.

Scientific opinion was largely that expressed in Einstein's recently discovered letter: religion was, "primitive and childish". Czarist Russia was a primitive, superstitious and priest-ridden society, well symbolized by the photo of the "mystic" at the top, Rasputin. Therefore Lenin's view was logical: religion existed solely for the "protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class" and Lenin was the man of action par excellence: Vladimir Ilyich was mister "see snake, kill snake".

The third quote from Wikipedia's article on Soviet atheism, gives a brief outline of the logical measures he and his successors took to effectively rid Russia of such a plague of ignorance and alienation.

Or so it seemed.

During the years of glasnost, before the collapse of the USSR, I was much surprised to learn from Spanish friends who were dealing on a daily basis with Soviet officials that all these loyal Communist apparatchiks confessed that they had been baptized and indoctrinated in the forbidden Christian practices from childhood.

I think that was when I first realized that the Soviet system's goose was really cooked.

This is where the lady in the third photo comes in: the eternal Russian granny, the "babushka".

The babushkas had kept religion alive in Russia.

Now as we see in the last photo, as far as Vladimir Putin, a former KGB colonel, is concerned, "that old time religion" is good enough for him.

All of this just goes to prove that Barack Obama is not the only one with a granny that makes her grandsons cringe.

Over the last 50 years or so, American institutions, especially the armed forces and Hollywood, have moved heaven and earth to change American racial attitudes root and branch, but like with religion in Soviet Russia, I'm afraid that in the USA too, the babushkas have it.

That there is and has been a racist backlash against the effort to eradicate such ignorant and hateful injustice is no secret. Barack Obama himself analyzed it very well in his historic, 'A More Perfect Union' speech.
"(...) these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition." Barack Obama
And all of this anger has been directed heretofore against surrogates: the Jimmy Carters, the Ted Kennedys, the Walter Mondales, the Dukakises, the Gores and the Kerrys; and all the racism was disguised in euphemisms like "state's rights" or "liberal" or "elitist" or "un-American".

Now for the first time the Reagan Democrats are going to get the chance to actually vote against a real black man who incarnates all the euphemisms, instead of a surrogate.

It won't even need any Rovian sulphur and brimstone, all the thing will have to do is sit there and be: the babushkas have already taken care of it.

I think McCain is going to win this thing if he doesn't have a stroke or a heart attack during the campaign.

That is the bad news.

The good news is that I think that there is going to be a massive splitting of ballots and that the Democrats are going to get comfortable majorities in both houses despite losing the White House. If they had run Al Gore, I think the Democrats might have had their biggest victory since Roosevelt, but being post-60s Democrats they had to blow it. DS


stunted said...

I think McCain will win, as well. If Obama should pull it out, he would most likely be a one-term president. Having promised, even in vague concepts (hope; change; a different kind of leadership), way more than he can deliver, the deceived will be brutal four years down the road. This, in turn, will no doubt insure another 30+ years of Republican reign in the White House as well as make another black candidacy for the highest office unthinkable for even longer. Of course, were he not deceptive, his own candidacy would be unthinkable today. If he does win, he had better damn well be a Messiah because he will need some very potent magic to keep the believers on his side as he doesn't pull out of Iraq, bring any useful reform to health care, lower the price of gas, cause Republicans in Washington to suddenly be overcome with an irresistable desire for bipartisanship or whatever else the believers or the hopeful think him capable of and willing to do. If he wins and has a sense of humor as well as funk, he would hire Isaac Hayes to perform the "Black Moses" album in its entirety at one of his inaugural balls and turn George Clinton loose in Chocolate City at another.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Your mentioning the "one true" Clinton, George Clinton, convinces me that you are both a scholar and a gentleman.

aml said...

So the Democrats are seeing a winner and dumping the so-called loser. You would think that Clinton's options are limited. However, she could ensure McCain's victory simply by running in the general as an Independent. Not such a crazy idea when you consider the results of the 1992 and 2000 elections, which involved third party candidates splitting votes. Also, Joe Lieberman proved that you can lose the Party but still win. Clinton could potentially make this threat to the Party leaders, and Obama, I think, has just enough ego to call her bluff. Could be interesting.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Interesting theory Aml, but I think Hillary just wants Obama to lose. Four years from now, McCain will be 76 and the world will still be a mess... it would be with Obama too, but he wouldn't be 76.

jackyt said...

The Babushkas are getting plenty beaten up in this whole fiasco. I visit several pro-Clinton blogs where the rules are explicit and enforced: NO racist slurs, epithets, rhetoric, dog whistles, PERIOD! So I haven't seen or heard anything even remotely close to what the Obama phone banker heard in PA.

That said, the mysogeny is palpable. Check out this youtube video in case you haven't seen or heard any of that going on. I guarantee, the sexism is way more overt in this campaign than the racism.

Anonymous said...

In coming across Orthodox sentiments against the "Obamanation" I found this repulsive post.

You, sir are an Idiot. Christianity cannot be stopped, it is the foundation of what you parasitically live on, the remnants of Europe, formerly known as Christendom, and the only thing you got right in this post, was to equate the evils of miscegenation on a culture with Jewish Bolshevik Propaganda, and Obama as the bastard offspring of such.

For the record, I am An American Anglo, a convert to Orthodoxy, and a race realist. I never saw things as I did until I came to Orthodoxy, but I certainly can see the Neo-con propaganda for the racial supremacist pile of crap that it is, and who are its' authors. God is not mocked. Obama is not worthy of the office, but the heretics of the modern Soviet will elect him. I only pray that his is the worst reign in recorded history. At least that will disabuse future Whites of the fitness of a slave people to rule. Good day - Fr. John