"Accidental Racist" and Not Tolerating Intolerance:
So shitkicker singer Brad Paisley has this song out you've probably heard about, "Accidental Racist." If you haven't listened to it, you should know, before any interpretations of the thing, that it sucks. It sucks so hard that if it was a whore, it would be the most popular one in the brothel. It's lugubriously slow with shitty instrumentation and faux meaningful lyrics and an embarrassing rap by LL Cool J that is somewhere between bad Schoolhouse Rock and Uncle Tom freestylin'.
The premise of the song is simple: White guy says, "I ain't racist. I just like wearing racist shirts." Black guy interjects, "Hey, you misunderstand some things about me. Can't we all get along?" That's pretty much it, except it goes on for five goddamned minutes of tedious repetition.
The problem with the song is the things it equates. In the most absurd part, LL Cool J raps (within the whiny lyrics Paisley is singing like he's got a mouthful of tobacco or cock), "If you don't judge my do-rag/I won't judge your red flag/If you don't judge my gold chains/I'll forget the iron chains." And then J follows it with a rousing "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah." Oh, wait, no, instead he says, as Paisley sang earlier, "Can't rewrite history, baby." The implication being that we should just forgive and forget.
"Accidental Racist" starts with Paisley wearing shirt that he says shows his love of Lynyrd Skynyrd: "The red flag on my chest somehow is like the elephant in the corner of the south." You got it wrong, he says, "I'm just a white man comin' to you from the southland" and "I'm proud of where I'm from but not everything we've done." Except here's the deal: if you're wearing a Confederate flag, you're saying you're proud of a nation that went to war with the United States so it could keep black people enslaved. That's not accidental racism. It's just racism. Accidental racism would be something like a misinterpretation of the word "niggardly."
Paisley's defense of the ignorance of white southerners isn't the greatest sin of the song. It's the idea that somehow African American fashion that whites might find offensive is equal to support of racism. It's this notion that we have to tolerate intolerance. When the fuck did this happen? When did we have to be careful about offending the racists?
Yesterday, the Rude Pundit was on The Stephanie Miller Show, discussing a piece he wrote where he says, flat out, if you oppose same sex marriage, you're a bigot. It doesn't matter where you got that belief, be it church or political organization or your parents. You are intolerant and a bigot. A caller was outraged, outraged, damnit, that we would dare say that he is a bigot because he follows his church's teachings on gay marriage. The Rude Pundit wouldn't back down, telling the caller that his church was bigoted against gays and lesbians. "You're persecuting me," he said. "You're persecuting me for my beliefs." No, the Rude Pundit said, he wasn't being persecuted. He's allowed to belong to any hate group he wants. But the rest of us are allowed to say it's a group of bigoted fucks.
This notion that Christians or whites or straights are persecuted or under attack is utter bullshit. Is anyone taking away any rights from you? No? So you're equating "persecution" with someone saying "you're wrong." The thing is that white, straight, Christian (mostly) men are shit-scared of their power dwindling so they have to make themselves into victims. They have to shut down progress because they see it as just an attack on them.
The sad part is that the white, straight, Christian (mostly) men have been winning this argument, through rhetoric or force.
What has the Republican approach to governing been? Has it been to allow votes on things and then run on whether or not those things that pass succeed or fail? No. It's been to not even allow votes on most of the things the President wants or that the Democrats wanted pre-2010. It's been to say that they, the white, straight, Christian (mostly) men know best and how dare you attempt to do things differently than what they allow.
And it's been to the Democrats and especially President Obama's shame that they've gone along with this approach, validating it along the way, all in the name of some nonsensical "working together" shit. The Rude Pundit's said it before and he'll keep saying it: when the nation didn't prosecute the criminals in the Bush administration for war crimes and prosecute and regulate to death the criminals on Wall Street, the Democratic argument for change was lost. You don't build your house on top of the shitpile left behind by the previous owners. You clean that out, no matter how much trouble it is, and start from scratch.
Which gets us back to "Accidental Racist."
No one needs to "understand" why white southerners wears a rebel flag. Fuck them. They lost that argument back in 1865. It ain't the same as droopy pants. It ain't the same as a Malcolm X t-shirt. In fact, there is no equation, except for maybe a swastika tattoo. And Paisley's song is oh-so-earnest in reaching out for sympathy and harmony where there should only be condemnation.
We don't make great leaps forward anymore for fear of upsetting someone, some previously powerful group or some corporation or some industry or some herd of drooling idiots. Instead, we get milquetoast, overcompromised baby steps. The politics of politeness is the politics of capitulation.