Republican representative Lynn Jenkins of Kansas took some serious blows a few weeks ago for suggesting the GOP needed a "great white hope" to take on President Barack Obama in the next election. She backtracked from the remarks later, explaining that she hadn't really understood the racial implications of "great white hope".
At first I thought this is just an error of ignorance. It is possible. Both parties have had their share of idiots. Possibly she is not aware of the almost 100-year old cry of racism, or the victory & tragedy of Jack Johnson, or possibly even the end of the Civil War, or maybe that there was a Civil War for that matter. She probably doesn't read much or even watch award-winning plays & films with huge actors like James Earl Jones. I totally understand that. She is from a state where writers are limited in where they can work — it's either journalist at local paper or writing what they can fit in a greeting card at Hallmark's headquarters. (Of course I am kidding Kansas, here is a link to the Kansas Writers Assoc.)
I thought, "Ok, it could possibly be an innocent gaff on her part. A wildly ignorant and inflammatory gaff that does not reflect well on her intelligence, but a mistake all the same."
Thank goodness for the Ottawa Herald in Kansas! The Ottawa Herald (and news outlets nationwide, maybe not FOX) reported that Jenkins's excuse of ignorance are suspect, because about ONE month ago, the freshman representative supported a resolution that included the phrase "great white hope" in a historical context that made its origin crystal clear to Lynn Jenkins. It was a resolution that called for the pardon of the boxer Jack Johnson himself. The very man for whom the racist call to action of finding a "great white hope" to defeat the African-American boxer was first used. Jenkin's excuse now is that she didn't read the resolution. This is even worse in my opinion. The fact that she didn't read the resolution calls her rationale and intelligence into question more.
So this next part is for Lynn Jenkins. So there is no more ignorance on your part (actually you moved into the realm of stupidity, since any denials at this point would make you a liar), and so you understand the racial implications of your words and actions in the future, let me illustrate this to you, Lynn.
Jack Johnson was African-American, or more simply put, he was black not white and defeated a white champion, Burns, around the turn of the 20th Century (we are in the 21st now) and took the championship angering many racist whites across the United States. Hence, there was a call to the country by racist whites for a "great WHITE hope" to defeat him. Johnson remained undefeated. Johnson's final fall came later after becoming the target of racist violence, he was convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act against "transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes." The rule of law turned its back on him as it would later do to the late great "Hurricane" years later.
Too much boring history for you, Lynn. Here's a hypothetical you might understand better.
A hypothetical is like a bedtime story....
Once upon a time in a far off Democracy, a Black knight became president named Rock Obabla was elected into office along with a rainbow of members of congress from his own party in majority after a White knight predecessor named Greg Cush from the opposite party was in office with a majority of his party previous to and for most of his term as president.
Then for months after the election and after the inauguration, let's say 8 or 9 months, with cries from bigoted and sometimes paranoid pundits and fools of the old court of Fox County named Glen Flake and the court of Eib County named Lush Rimboy and a few other traveling snake oil men saying the Black knight president was not a naturally born citizen, or calling the new president a racist who hates White Knight Culture or saying he was only elected president out of novelty because he wears Black suit of armor (a statement which is actually unique in itself considering it represents a huge sea change in society's views on race with many sociological implications and a cause for another discussion).
So, after all these cries from racist pundits, fools and grifters for months, a representative of the kingdom from the White knight's losing party gets up and calls for a "great white hope" to bring the faltering party back to the limelight and take on this non-white knight president and then that representative even tallies off four possible names of party members who are of course all white knights as examples of possible "great white hopes".... ya-da ya-da... you know the rest.
Lynn "short for Lynching" Jenkins do you see the correlation, yet? Do you see why the conservative party needs to rid themselves of you and members like you (*cough* Palin *cough* W *cough* Bachman) and draw more sober, intelligent members of the GOP back into the fold who actually have a vocabulary, maybe practice law or know the law, know history, proudly read many books on a variety of subjects or at the very least read the resolutions they are signing as freshman representatives on Capitol Hill (That is the "kingdom" in the hypothetical above in case you are severely deficient). The GOP must do this before they will gain any footing and become real participants in the intellectual discussion of government, diplomacy and politics. One way is to become a party of acceptance not derision and exclusivity.
In case you were wondering, Lynn, here is what you supported in that resolution.....
In late July, the House of Representatives passed, by unanimous consent, a measure urging the president to pardon heavyweight champion boxer Jack Johnson. Included in the resolution, which passed on July 29, was the following phrase:
"Whereas the victory by Jack Johnson over Tommy Burns prompted a search for a White boxer who could beat Jack Johnson, a recruitment effort that was dubbed the search for the 'great white hope.'"
© 2009 David La Cava. All Rights Reserved.