The G.O.P.’s Dixiecrat Problem

From The New Yorker, an interesting look at the origins of the current political dysfunction on the right: it all goes back to 1948:

The [Confederate] flag, defended by its stalwarts as an apolitical symbol of Southern pride, actually came to prominence not in the aftermath of the Civil War but eighty years later, in defiance of civil rights. The massive resistance campaigns that inspired the Southern Manifesto and shut down school districts rather than comply with Brown v. Board of Education were orchestrated under the banner of the Stars and Bars. The election that galvanized the brand of racialized acrimony and indignation we’re now seeing in the country was not the one that brought Barack Obama to office in 2008; it was the one in 1948, which brought us the Dixiecrats.

The G.O.P.’s Dixiecrat Problem : The New Yorker

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The Case for Abolishing the DHS

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was a panicked reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks. It owes its continued existence to a vastly exaggerated assessment of the threat of terrorism. The department is also responsible for some of the least cost-effective spending in the U.S. government. It’s time to admit that creating it was a mistake.

You know, if Businessweek is advocating that the Department of Homeland Security is a bloated mess that should be abolished, it’s maybe not such a crazy radical left pinko commie idea anymore.

(via Businessweek)

Stages

I remember learning a long time ago about the five stages of grief, as defined by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. I wonder if there are similar stages to describe the suicide process, and if there are where I would fall on the spectrum.

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How to deal with an infamous legacy

There’s an interesting BBC News article today that presents an intriguing contrast between how the hometowns of Adolf Hitler in Austria and Josef Stalin in Georgia choose to face their respective legacies.

The town of Gori in Georgia largely looks at Stalin as “local boy made good” and plans to re-install a large statue of the former Soviet leader in its Stalin Museum. The statue formerly stood in the town center until 2010, when the Western-leaning Georgian government ordered it removed. Now a new government seeks to deepen its ties to Russia, and has chosen to again embrace its Stalinist past.

In contrast, the town of Braunau am Inn in Austria has no public commemoration of Hitler. The house where he lived is privately owned but leased by the Austrian government to ensure that neo-Nazi groups cannot create a Hitler shrine at the site. Some local groups would like to turn the building into a center that would examine the Nazi era dispassionately. Others would prefer to see the building used as something innocuous, such as an adult education center or apartments.

Should towns acknowledge both the good and bad that come from their midst? Or are negative things better hidden and never acknowledged? It’s an interesting question, but I come down on the side of the Austrian man quoted at the end of the BBC story: “You get criticised whatever you do,” he said, “but it is usually better to talk.”

BBC News – Home towns struggle with legacy of Stalin and Hitler.