Wouldn’t it be ironic if the salvation of the South was engineered by a black president with the unlikely name of Barack Hussein Obama?
If so, just think of all the weeping and gnashing of teeth in conservative Christian circles, where to castigate and denigrate President Obama seems to be vastly more important than anything that happens to the country.
But let’s not forget that white Southerners once had similar opinions of Abraham Lincoln, who saved the South from the evils of slavery despite the bloodcurdling screams of defiance emanating from the scornful gentry, in between sips of mint juleps and the cracking of whips urging slaves to greater productivity.
Could history repeat itself? Could the most unpopular president since Lincoln in the eyes of the white supremacists prove to be their savior? Yes, I think it’s possible — perhaps even likely.
Take, for instance, the economy and taxes. What the more clannish hayseeds fail to see is that this time they are the serfs — not the lords of their own destinies they imagine themselves to be — while the people cracking the whips are the super-rich elites who mete out injustice through their political lackeys (euphemistically called “Republicans”). The hayseeds scream obscenities at President Obama for giving other people “entitlements” without considering their own predictable fates when they can no longer work. How many of them have saved enough money to last through their retirement years? Probably not one in ten; perhaps more like one in a hundred.
But fortunately for them, despite their bigotry and lack of foresight, President Obama seems to have outflanked their harsh overseers and will hopefully be able to rescue the bumpkins from certain doom.
Obama seems poised to snatch victory from the tobacco-juiced jaws of defeat because he rather easily outflanked the elites’ lackeys, who now seem poised to plunge like a pack of lemmings over a fast-approaching Fiscal Cliff.
Lawmakers have just a few weeks left if they want to avert automatic across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases. Obama recently reiterated his willingness to let that “economy-rattling double whammy” take effect unless Republicans agree to allow the wealthy to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden.
“Just to be clear, I’m not going to sign any package that somehow prevents the top rate from going up for the folks in the top two percent,” Obama said. “But I do remain optimistic that we can get something done that is good for families ... [and] the American economy.”
Unless the president and Republicans reach a deal, the George W. Bush tax cuts will expire for everyone a few days after Christmas. Republicans have been outflanked because if the cuts expire, the American public will know who the Grinches are, since Obama steadfastly worked to defend the poor and middle classes, while the Republicans constantly stonewalled in favor of the fabulously wealthy.
It looks like an obvious checkmate to me. Either Republicans will cave and finally do what is best for the country, or the next elections will see them joining the unemployment lines.
If Mitt Romney or anyone else is willing to wager, I have $10,000 that says the smartest man in the room will have his way, and one way or another, tax rates will rise for the richest Americans. And while they will no doubt call him a traitor, a tyrant, and a totalitarian ... in the long run the good ol’ boys will be the winners, as the economy expands once the poor and middle classes have more money to spend, while the people who can easily afford it help pay a few more of the nation’s bills, averting downgraded credit ratings and eventual insolvency.
Lincoln saved the South from enslaving other people. Let’s hope Obama can save the South from self-enslavement.
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.