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December 19, 2012

The secession of Louisville

Holy secession, Batman! Apparently, the U.S. is going to lose a few states — at least that’s what some Southerners would like to see. Immediately following Barack Obama’s re-election, a New Orleans resident petitioned the White House to allow Louisiana to secede. As is the wont of their twisted ilk, sympathizers throughout the region followed suit. Petitions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas accrued more than 25,000 signatures, the number the Obama administration says it will reward with a staff review of online proposals.

Forgive my frankness, but this is one of the silliest moves by conservative Southerners in, oh, the last 15 minutes. The only surprising thing for me is that Kentucky hasn’t joined in. On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t be — Kentucky was late in choosing sides during the Civil War, too. So who knows what the great, enlightened citizens of the commonwealth will eventually do.

Let’s get to the heart of this. Since it’s inception, America has been defined (and often marred) by the over-arching idea of whiteness. Whether stated or not, whiteness has sat at the center of our philosophical, social and political universe. All other people have had to adjust to and measure themselves by this reality. Of course, there have been moments when this country has made movements — sometimes monumental — to allow marginalized races to bleed into the center a bit. However, the core position of whites and whiteness were never seriously threatened … until now.

As Dylan said, “The times they are a-changin’.” We have now reached a point when the “given” that “whiteness is paramount” is not over, but its end is certainly on the horizon. Some whites (not all) steeped in their historical and contemporary privilege are very aware of this fact and are making the statement that their place of dominance will have to be pried from their cold, dead hands.

Barack Obama, for all his shortcomings, did not defeat Mitt Romney because he offered young people, blacks and Hispanics “gifts” and “free stuff” as the embittered Romney and some of his supporters believe. Obama beat Romney because he was a better candidate. He won because Romney belongs to a political party that is infected with a retrograde view of women, ethnicity, race, God, and the world that many Americans not only consider distasteful, but dangerous. If it doesn’t relent, the GOP will become anything but “grand.” It will morph into little more than a national political anachronism.

Let me be clear, no matter how much some people want to deny it, the face of America is changing. Mitt Romney won more than 60 percent of the white vote, but lost the election. It’s not hard to read the handwriting on the wall. Whites can no longer call the tune by themselves. They must now engage in a different level of true social, political and racial respect in this new world.

That said, we should also be aware that the Republicans and their 19th century ideology can still succeed on the local and state level in some places. How many people are anxious to live in places like Mississippi, Alabama or Georgia? Not very many. Why? Outside of a few outlier cities, they’re backwards. It’s not a coincidence that these types of states are on the secession list (Mississippi probably hasn’t filed because half of its population still doesn’t know the South actually lost the Civil War, slavery is over, and the Internet exists).

As we enter 2013, the question is, what will Kentucky look like as we move forward? Will it eventually come into the 21st century or stupidly hold on to an antiquated mentality that will continue to send men like Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul to Washington? We can catch up with the world or stay on most people’s “DNV (Do Not Visit) List” along with the aforementioned Secession States.

There’s been a lot of secession talk and actual leaving in other arenas. The latest being the University of Louisville seceding from the Big East. I’m from Atlanta and now live in Louisville. Atlanta is the greatest and only real city in Georgia, and Louisville is the gem of Kentucky. If folks in bass-akwards Georgia and Kentucky won’t change their courses, maybe Atlanta should secede from the Peach State and Louisville should get the hell out of its Old Kentucky Home. Dropping that deadweight would really make us “Possibility City”!