People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex

Richard Cohen, a political columnist for the Washington Post, wrote a very…surprising thing in a column yesterday. The column is about the familiar (and very dull) subject of the Republican party and whether it can ever achieve happiness when it combines normal mainstream country club only slightly racist conservatism and the off the wall fanatics of the Tea Party and the theocracy faction. Oh gosh I don’t know, can it? Let me know when you figure it out.

So there we are: the moderates turn off the barn-burners while the barn-burners turn off the swing voters lalalala chorus and finish.

Iowa not only is a serious obstacle for Christie and other Republican moderates, it also suggests something more ominous: the Dixiecrats of old. Officially the States’ Rights Democratic Party, they were breakaway Democrats whose primary issue was racial segregation. In its cause, they ran their own presidential candidate, Strom Thurmond, and almost cost Harry Truman the 1948 election. They didn’t care. Their objective was not to win — although that would have been nice — but to retain institutional, legal racism. They saw a way of life under attack and they feared its loss.

Yes, got it, moderates v fanatics, and how the competition between them is a threat to normal average mainstream moderateness.

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

Excuse me?

These not-racist people with their conventional views “must repress a gag reflex” when they think about an interracial marriage? One with – gasp – some former being a lesbian hiding in its already gag-worthy closet? And that’s not racism? It’s not racism to have a gag reflex at the thought of a white person married to a black person? How, exactly, is that not racist?

And what are the “conventional views” that entail having a gag reflex when thinking about an interracial marriage? Oh I know, I get it – the gag reflex is a manifestation of disgust, one of the core universal emotions. So the “conventional views” must be that Other Races are disgusting and the thought of close contact with someone of an Other Race is disgusting and triggers a gag reflex.

But that’s not racist.




  1. Wylann says

    I like the vague ‘troubled about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism[.]’ line, but when he gets to a specific example….straight to the racism.

    You suppose he actually reads his own words? I wonder if the disclaimer in front of the blatant racism is enough to mollify the internal voices in the bigot’s head that it really isn’t racism, and it really is about those other things?

  2. A. Noyd says

    Well, conservatives have managed to absorb the message that racism is really, really bad. But since they know they’re not bad people, clearly nothing they do could ever be racist. Even when they’re gagging at interracial marriages. Or shooting black people for the crime of being accident victims looking for help. Or accusing a 10-yo Muslim boy of being a terrorist and kicking him off the bus after he dropped his bus pass and muttered “oh god” in Arabic instead of English.

    And so on times a few billion.

  3. screechymonkey says


    Wow. Way to out yourself and your party as racist to the bone.

    I’m not sure that Cohen identifies as a Republican. But his record on race is… troubling to say the least.

  4. says

    I’m not at all sure what the fuck is wrong with Cohen. He used to be a relentlessly self-righteous hyperemotinal liberal on nearly all issues, including racism. Offhand, I’m guessing he just ran out of steam, gave up defending liberal ideas because he never really learned how to do so, and let himself get bowled over by pushy right-wingers.

  5. kosk11348 says

    Racism, as defined by the GOP, is hating all black people just for the color of their skin, even the little babies. Hating all black people for any other reason, like how lazy and greedy they all are, is not racism. And being disgusted by interracial relationships? Why, that’s motivated by loving concern for any children spawned from such a union, who are doomed to face a lifetime of prejudice. Nothing can be done about that, unfortunately.

  6. Claire Ramsey says

    The non-racist, non-bigoted Republicans will never be happy. They don’t want to be happy. They want the rest of us to do what they say and if we are unhappy, it’s good enough for them.

    And what they (or Cohen) think is “conventional” is actually out of sync with the majority of Americans. . . those guys may also be out of sync w/the rest of the Republican party. Gag reflex. . . what a total putz.

    They are on the wrong side of time. And on the wrong side of history. I hope to hell that they and their un-American ways will melt away very soon. . .

  7. Gordon Willis says

    So, the “avant garde” is now a heterosexual married couple raising their children together?

    No, it’s people being themselves without harming anyone else and with full moral responsibility in a disgusting way. Disgust=moral acumen, you see.

  8. ismenia says

    Classic example of “I’m not racist but…”.

    “I’m not racist but the sight of mixed-race children makes me want to vomit”. Charming.

    People seem to think that racists are full-blown neo-Nazis and everyone else who is racist can be excused because “they don’t mean anything by it” or because they are not as racist as some.

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