One of the comments on that last bunch of lists in my previous post, about the number of women compared to men, got me thinking about “quotas.”
Back when the whole Republican-“big-lie”-“dirty-tricks”-style-propaganda was refined under Nixon and replaced the much more obvious and centuries old “divide-and-conquer” strategy of previous regimes, the right-wingers used “crime in the streets” and “urban crime” as code for “uppity” n-words.
But when the right wingers finally got their man in—Ronald Reagan—that became “welfare queen” which was code for a mythical black Chicago welfare mother who had many fathers for the numerous children she used to collect so much welfare she could afford to ride around that city in a Cadillac limousine!
But after Reagan failed to fulfill any of his promises—something which in typical “big lie” fashion his supporters insisted was exactly the opposite, as he increased the size of government more than any previous president, increased the federal deficit more than all previous presidents combined, increased the incidence of violent crime, pregnant teens unwed mothers, welfare recipients, and created a whole new class of families called “homeless” etc.—while pretending to represent “family values” as the first divorced president and the first who ignored some of his kids to the point of dysfunction, he became the right wing’s FDR or JFK or RFK or any of the other heroes of the “liberal left.”
So much so his right wing supporters want to replace previous presidents on money and build a monument to him on the mall in DC. They say it’s for “winning the cold war” by bankrupting our country to pay for a military build up that was completely unnecessary since it turned out all the “secret” “intelligence” that was always deliberately leaked about how the Soviet Union was capable of defeating our military if we didn’t spend more and more turned out, as usual with “big lie” style rightwing propaganda to be a big lie!
In fact the Soviet system was crumbling from within, and their so-called military might consisted of disgruntled underpaid troops who were deserting at record numbers and weapons that were falling apart and not being replaced. Anyone who was in office while this was going on, merely had to blow a strong breath their way and the whole thing would collapse, which it did, under Bush senior, who ignored the ramifications of the “end of the cold war” and failed to take advantage of the possibilities for a permanent world peace, but instead used it to distract us as his regime sold off a lot of what we used to think of as “America.”
Then Clinton came in and fulfilled all of Reagan’s promises by being the first president to actually cut the size of the federal government, cut the welfare rolls, cut crime rates, cut teen pregnancies, while at the same time not just cutting the deficit but making it disappear and turn into the largest surplice in our history.
Under such successful conditions it was difficult to come up with “dirty tricks” and “big lies” that worked, outside of revising the realities of Reagan’s regime and focusing on “family values” and the Clintons “liberal leftist” lack of them, despite what appeared to be a rock solid marriage in the face of wide spread rumors of his infidelities (by the way have you noticed that the top three candidates now favored by Republicans, Guilliani, McCain and Gingrich, have been married several times each, while the top three favored by Democrats, Hilary, Obama, and Edwards, haven’t?).
So the right wingers pulled out the old race card and replaced “welfare queen” (when it was exposed as a lie by the as-always-several-years-late media) with “quotas,” meaning the “affirmative” reallocation of opportunities for “black Americans” to even out two hundred years of being deliberately and “legally” discriminated against.
“Quotas” became the big code word that got the right riled up again, that and “the homosexual agenda” to turn “America’s” children into mini-gays and lesbians.
The “gay” thing worked better because “quotas” just didn’t have the ring of “welfare queen.”
And because “quotas” and “affirmative action” were difficult to defend in some cases. Like when a working-class white kid from a family that never had anyone go to college, let alone graduate from one, worked hard to make the grades and fulfill the requirements for entry into a university and was displaced by an “African-American” student from a “middle-class” family with parents who graduated from college and were “professionals” and who, the student, hadn’t done as well in entrance exams and high school grades etc.
These cases were rare, but enough of them added up to anecdotal evidence of what the right very adroitly labeled “reverse discrimination.”
In the face of Clinton’s successes, the whole “quota” tactic failed to rally anyone other than die hard right wing Clinton haters anyway, so it slowly disappeared, used in a few local instances to raise some money or rally the base, but basically discarded.
But now, in response to my last post, about “some favorite” artists in one of my obsessive alphabet lists, it is noticed how few females I include. In my comment on it, I mention a 1974 poetry anthology I edited—NONE OF THE ABOVE—that had fewer female poets than males, and only one “black” poet.
At the time there were many anthologies of black poets, and since I was trying to gather poets who mostly weren’t anthologized anywhere, I ignored a lot of my favorite poets who happened to be “black.” Though I regret to this day that I didn’t include Ahmos Zu-Bolton, a friend and a fine poet, and discover more un-anthologized black poets than the only one I included, Lorenzo Thomas.
As for the proportion of female poets, there were more in my anthology than in any previous poetry anthology that I know of, outside of ones that excluded men altogether.
And the reality is, that if I had edited a poetry anthology any time sooner, say from the late 1950s until 1974, it would have consisted of almost nothing but “black” poets as my favorites, just as any anthology I edited from 1974 onward would have consisted of more and more women and gay poets.
But at this point in my life, despite continued inequities, so much of the racial prejudice and sexist attitudes of my youth have almost completely disappeared (yes I know in wage differences and job opportunities there is still a way to go, but that seems mostly residual to me as actual attitudes have mostly progressed, even allowing for the occasional back lash) that a lot of victimization based on racism or sexism seems often to be as knee jerk as the right wingers hatred of Clinton and attributing everything he accomplished to the “great communicator” i.e. liar, Reagan.
(By the way is it as true for your friends as it is for mine that a lot of "liberal" women seem to not like or support Hilary over the other Democratic candidates? As it also seems to be true that a lot of "black" Democrats don't support Obama, mostly because they don't feel he can actually win, but a few because they feel he isn't descended from slaves originally brought to "America.")
To prove it was an incidence of trying to be honest about “favorites” when the choices were arbitrarily limited to one per letter, I promised next time I couldn’t sleep I’d come up with lists of females for all those categories in the previous post. I hoped it wouldn’t happen soon.
But last night I was awakened by a phone call in the middle of a sound sleep, and as usual, had trouble getting back to sleep, so I did the female lists right there, some of which turned out to be easier than the mostly male ones, because, in fact, there are many women "artists" I admire greatly.
This post is already too long, so I’ll include those lists in my next post. And maybe after that I’ll do some all “black” ones.