Thursday, December 04, 2008

Where Dragons Be


There are normally two impulses which cause a poltician to light on a particular perch.

The most common urge is politics. It is a safe place to land because it is the familiar and it is also about winning. Winning at politics means advancing a cause for some sort of gain and the gain all desire is re-election.

Less common is the ideological urge. Ideology is a precarious roost for politicians for it requires standing on principle. It can lead a particular species of ideologue called the "spending hawk" to vote against that needless contract even though it will cost the home folks the latest, greatest government doo-dad. When the home folks don't get their doo-dads, they sometimes opt to hire a new doo-dad getter.

But there is a third, very rare synaptic firing which may guide politicians into lands where dragons be. Insanity.

Sen. Seth Harp (R-Midland) wants to address the current budget crisis by merging Historically Black Colleges & Universities.

Merging Historically Black Colleges such as Savannah State University and Albany State College with nearby white-majority schools, Armstrong Atlantic State University and Darton College, will save our taxpayers and the state a significant amount of money.
So on which branch did this particular hawk alight?

Given the recent history of African Americans voting somewhere north of 80% for Democrats, it is hard to imagine a move to eliminate the legacy of their schools as a ploy to gain votes. So it ain't political.

Republicans claim to be the party of accountability. In fact, they frequently argue we should move beyond race and make judgments solely on merit. Yet, nowhere in Harp's proposal is there the idea of viewing all schools and then eliminating based on performance. So it ain't about principle.

Sen. Harp's only get one landing place left.

Perhaps, on waking in the morning, cleared of fever dreams, he will reverse course and seek one of the branches of the political tree he so eagerly swooped past.

(P.S. Sen. Harp, as some of your colleagues can attest, I'm always open to someone explaining to me why I'm the one perched in the crazy tree. Feel free to drop me a line)

13 comments:

Amber Rhea said...

That's not insanity, and to call it such is hyperbole.

That's ignorance and white privilege speaking.

Do you know how many white people in my life thus far I've heard speak about "reverse racism" and be totally serious?

I admire you calling him out, but this is certainly not insanity, and if we paint behavior such as this as "insane" we will never deal with the reality of racism as it is entrenched in society.

Johnathan said...

... if we paint behavior such as this as "insane" we will never deal with the reality of racism as it is entrenched in society.

One could defer that racism is insanity, but now I'm just getting too deep.

I don't think it's so much 'white privilege speaking as its a combination of ignorance and arrogance. Ignorance of the fact that this is something which has no logical need to be addressed (there are other ways to create efficiency in state spending), and arrogance that is revolting against a rising Democratic movement in the state.

It's a thumb in the eye under the guise of 'efficiency spending.'

griftdrift said...

I deal in hyperbole

Sara said...

Hyperbole, on a blog? Never! ;)

He's not suggesting the guy is mentally ill, he's merely pointing out that there's no political upside or reasonable justification for this proposal. It falls squarely within the category of things politicians do on a wild hair, sort of like Paul Broun proposing banning porn on military bases.

Unfortuantely, the most obvious motivating factor behind a proposal like this isn't even something as mild as ignorance or privilege, but a desire to race-bait here in Georgia by arguing that HBUC's shouldn't be necessary now that we elected a black guy President. I don't know anything about Sen. Harp, but that was my first reaction to this proposal and the comments elsewhere about the proposal have led me to believe he hit that target with a certain demographic, whether he intended to or not.

If we had women's colleges in Georgia (and maybe we do, I have no idea), would he want to merge those too?

Bender said...

Excellent post. "where dragons be". Awesome.

As to the point of the whole policy, who the F knows?

Amber Rhea said...

Yep, ignorance is part and parcel of privilege. Arrogance sometimes goes along for fun, too. I think again there may be misunderstanding of what the term "privilege" means - it's a common misunderstanding and sometimes I wish there was a better word.

Obviously I don't think the OP was saying the guy was *literally mentally ill* (and if it HAD been saying that, then I would've gone off on stigmatization of mental illness, anyway!) - my point is when you say stuff like this is about one person being crazy or an asshole or stupid (which they certainly might be) it's not focusing on structural systemic racism.

And privilege is not mild at all. it's what builds all of the systemic discrimination and oppression in our society. Again i think there is a misunderstanding of the terminology.

If we had women's colleges in Georgia (and maybe we do, I have no idea), would he want to merge those too?

We have Agnes Scott right here in Decatur. AndI was just saying to rusty this morning, if he'd proposed getting rid of women's colleges would he take nearly the opprobrium for sexism that he has for racism? It's an interesting thing to consider.

Anyway I might blog about all of this when I get time (which might not be til the weekend). I thnk there is a lot of misunderstanding.

Sara said...

I always think of privilege as sort of like original sin--we're all burdened with a form of privilege by virtue of our background. I guess both ignorance and privilege feel to me like they lack any overt intent. By contrast, I think a desire to intentionally race-bait is a much more sinister motivation. But hey, that's just me.

griftdrift said...

" if he'd proposed getting rid of women's colleges would he take nearly the opprobrium for sexism that he has for racism?"

Yes

Sara said...

Agnes Scott is a private institution though, right? So there would be no way to merge it into a public college or university.

Does Georgia have a military academy we could merge into something?

I have to disagree btw, I think eliminating HBUC's is much more third rail than eliminating girls' schools. Female students have outnumbered male in most higher education for decades now, so you'd be hard pressed to argue that there is any lingering difficulty for female students to gain access to highest of higher learning. That is still not true of African American vs. caucasian students, however. (Insert blistering argument over affirmative action HERE.)

griftdrift said...

I object to all forms of stupidity. No matter how it's labelled.

Sara said...

Man, I thought we were gonna fight about AA now. I was all excited.

Amber Rhea said...

I have to disagree btw, I think eliminating HBUC's is much more third rail than eliminating girls' schools.

I absolutely disagree w/ that but it's probably a tangent for this particular discussion. I need to write another post about privilege, I guess. One important thing to keep in mind about privilege is that intent is irrelevant. Intent doesn't even enter into the equation - once you start talking about intent it's something totally different. Will try to write that post this weekend.

Word verification: wines. I'm serious.

DaleC said...

"have to disagree btw, I think eliminating HBUC's is much more third rail than eliminating girls' schools."


A politician would much rather take on NOW than the NAACP, Rainbow/PUSH or event that clown Sharpton, so I think Sara is dead on target.

Is there an effective Feminist protest organization thee days?