Can rational minds really wrap themselves around how close Republican challenger Hershel Walker came to winning a Georgia Senate seat on December 6th, 2022? I suppose right-wingers might’ve claimed his victory as “true affirmative action” as intended by progressives who’d originally promoted it. As a candidate, the Old Bulldog manifested what detractors believed the policy represented.
Walker’s black and certainly proved himself unqualified yet he would’ve satisfied some quota. Although elevated way beyond his skill-set, the Old Bulldog’s visible presence alone should’ve quieted any clamor for “representation.”
That belief isn’t even simplistic. Just wrong.
“Representation” shouldn’t mean installing any room temperature body who ticks several badly selected boxes. In Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock Georgians had a superior choice. One for all Georgians. Only the senator’s identity dragged him down to Walker’s level. In an election burdened by ignorant Anglo racial notions, their discomfort leading to disingenuity, the incumbent Warnock should’ve trounced Walker so badly the Old Bulldog ought’ve begged referees to stop the contest, then cross the field to hand Warnock the ball.
The above football reference alludes to a squad being so beaten down its coach is compelled to concede the contest by turning over “the Duke” to his opponent. That’s not surrender. It’s submission. Boxing’s “throwing in the towel” and other sports “mercy rules” just don’t possess the gridiron’s ability to humiliate.
Before frightened, okay, guilty, Anglos perverted affirmative action to fit their prejudices, the policy merely sought to put qualified non-whites otherwise denied by their complexions into positions for which they were capable. Nothing more. Those lacking weren’t leapfrogging the fit. Admittedly, there have been instances when equally competent Anglo and non-white applicants vied for the same title with the latter filling those spots just through tangible attributes.
Easy to understand how such misperceived arbitrariness upset the denied parties. However, in defense those passed over would have myriad more opportunities elsewhere than the chosen entrants. He or she mustn’t have his or her candidacy favorably weighted by a kind of near benevolence, a kind of recognition towards baby steps of righting past systemic wrongs.
Yet the absolute cynicism demonstrated by Georgia Republicans isn’t just a low. It’s an insult.
If that state’s GOP wanted to play racial politics by countering with its own black candidate, doubtlessly the party apparatus has capable black men or women aligned with its ideology. In fact, since black balloters, like every other electoral group, aren’t monolithic perhaps running a worthy exemplar could’ve peeled a sufficient number of votes from Warnock’s tally.
The Republican Party as well as the rest of America might be surprised at the percentage of black voters who vote for Democrats out of pragmatic self-preservation rather than deep conviction. A lot of GOP economic positions appeal to the black aspirational class. The concept of earning instead of being given doesn’t exclude black strivers.
However, what could favorably redirect or at least lessen reliable black pluralities for Democratic candidates gets rightly negated by the GOP’s harsh social dictates. Republicans habitually promote policies which clearly disfavor anyone outside their narrow regimen. Certainly, if the GOP glommed giant chunks from Britain’s Conservative Party playbook by emphasizing financial issues and deemphasizing much of the social intrusions into and impositions upon Americans’ personal spheres – bodily, religiously, rigid adherence to gender roles and expectations, culturally – it would court a good many of those Americans it otherwise assiduously repulses.
Unfortunately, the GOP has chained itself to retrograde populaces who mostly reside in less dynamic America. Perhaps Democrats at one time, they’ll tell any who ask the Democratic Party left them.
No. For the longest the Democratic Party dragged them along into an expanded middle class and benefits that improved their lives. That was fine. The schism, as it were, occurred when Democrats started including our disenfranchised and ignored citizens in the promise of America.
Shame prevents former Democrats now turncoat Republicans from admitting this conceit. They never fully embraced fairness, justice, equal opportunities to achieve economic successes for all. These weren’t intended to have been extended to the marginalized and inferior. Or people marginalized and therefore deemed inferior.
As Republicans they can state the above freely.
Of course, the GOP recognized the immediate opportunities unnecessarily resentful Anglos presented. Rather than promote positive ideas or chart directions to advance America, it saw steady electoral victories in stoking invented grievances. The best canard being Anglos in America were being intentionally left behind because people they’d ignored, thought beneath them, received all sorts of unfair breaks that rendered the aggrieved prone.
Being honest, along with its corollary ability to apologize, are two of the hardest traits for Americans to practice and master. In an ultimate honest moment, the Republican Party needed to have told all its adherents what they regard as disadvantages are personal failures of their own devise. They got lazy. They became stupid. That the people who’ve leapfrogged them have done so through focused determination. That too many years of “it will always be thus” instilled inertia in pissy Anglos.
While they immobilized themselves, “the lower orders” put themselves into positions to make the “American virtues” produce for them. Barack Obama must be the apotheosis of this. He’s the point of a lengthy widening phalanx of overlooked and formerly reflexively dismissed Americans whose qualifications cannot be minimalized or denied.
Less crystalline than Obama, Rafael Warnock projects similar attributes. Obama was one thing. But his time has passed. Besides, he’s a Chicagoan. Warnock, though, a Georgian at that, he must’ve frightened keepers of the Peach State’s foulest flame.
Had those elements uncovered a convincing enough black conservative effectively espousing the sort of right-wing red meat that further warms insecure Anglo males, perhaps Warnock does not earn his full Senate term. A black conservative who knows how to speak to black audiences – not at them – might’ve calved enough votes to carry the election.
Instead, Republicans chose the lowest common denominator. Hershel Walker.
As a young Bulldog, today’s Old Bulldog had been a stellar back at the University of Georgia. He’d played for the Dallas Cowboys. He parlayed fantastic jock stardom into becoming some sort of businessman. His circle included famous people. He himself was a celebrity, a most glorious height only reached through wide shallow public approval.
To brainless Anglos the Old Bulldog must’ve looked like a shoo-in against dogged, seemingly plodding Warnock. The Republican hierarchy thought given a choice between an earnest learned man like Warnock or a vapid one-time larger than life vapid demigod, black voters would join vapid Anglo Georgians in flocking towards Walker’s emptiness.
Moreover, to that segment of the electorate favoring him, Walker presented a reassuring vision. They saw him and thought he comprised their ideal black man. Obama, Warnock, a renowned educator like Henry Louis Gates, an athlete such as LeBron James who bravely uses his fame to alert society of its disparities, none align or adhere with the popular preferred concept of trivial black men. Men of substance, none can be dismissed. Not only challengers of backwards long-held biases, but they also forced those fixed on such ideas to rejigger them.
And what’s more difficult to change than mired minds?
No, Hershel Walker made it too easy for most Anglo Georgian voters. He was the familiar black Buck. Running joke as he quickly became, Republicans accepted his presence as his campaign stretched on. A symbol, he provided Anglos perverse comfort.
After all, they saw him as their boy.
About 97% of black Georgian voters, however, saw Walker clearly. Coming across as dimwitted and inarticulate, accused of abusing and cajoling women, alleged to have impulse control problems, that Old Bulldog embodies what too many Anglo Georgians see as typical black male behavior. And as long as there are some handlers around to keep him in line, they’re swell with that.
Immaterial whether a black man exudes all the qualities society admires in men, it’s only veneer, not anything which wells up from within. One scratch and his whole civilized façade will crumble.
Shards at his feet behold Buck.
Having written the above, there are at least two or three generations of young Americans who’ll either disparage it as harsh exaggeration or insane fabrication. If read by blacks from earlier generations, it’s nothing new.
As I’ve stated elsewhere, I’m glad father and men of his generation who imprinted me weren’t among us to witness the spectacle of Hershel Walker. Those men worked hard to disabuse ignorant whites of their disregard of blacks. They were full-fledged human beings. Not mascots. They demanded that acknowledgement. Dignity was the main weapon in their armories. Changes were earned grudging drop by grudging drop despite their tormenters almost superhuman efforts to deny accumulation.
Watching Walker skylark through Georgia while campaigning, the profligate seemed intent to open the spigot wide and absolutely squander what had been achieved. Although mentioned little during the runoff between Warnock and Walker, on the evening results were tabulated, it heartened hearing various black newsers mention “dignity.” Um, not mention. Exult! Several could finally – and did! – skip any impartiality or objectivity. They expressed outright indignation at the Old Bulldog’s utter abandonment of self-possession. His.
Again, many in younger generations may ask the importance behind dignity. If they were truly “woke,” the question should be why such has been absent from their lives. The younger prefer being esteemed, no? Excessively so it seems. While respect is sought after, it may be bestowed by however many. And this often only situationally. Dignity emerges from within individuals.
All Americans truly invested in our nation need to thank Georgia voters who selected Warnock. In the last contest of the 2022 Election, they spared America from Buck.