Russell Pearce and the Neo-Confederate Cause

picresized_1290454741_kkkzona2.jpg
democraticunderground
The new Republican "neo-Cons," are neo-Confederates, led by Russell Pearce

Having recently returned from spending Christmas in my native North Carolina, an obviously older state than the almost-but-not-yet-100-year-old state of Arizona, I was struck by a sense of history that seems woefully absent here.

In the Old North State, as in many other states of the former Confederacy, there are reminders of the Civil Rights era, Reconstruction, and the Civil War itself nearly everywhere you turn, from the memorial to "Our Confederate Dead" on the state's Capitol grounds to old cemeteries filled with the remains of rebel soldiers to bookstores selling memoirs recounting the struggles of the civil rights movement and the fight to end segregation.

It's not that Arizona lacks history when it comes to issues of race, ethnicity, and the fight for justice. Far from it. For instance, I type these words in New Times' offices in Phoenix's old Booker T. Washington School, once an all-black elementary school, a reminder that segregation was hardly the exclusive province of Southern states.

Then there's the recent passing of civil rights activist Opal Ellis, who helped lead the fight for a Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday in this state. (Services will be held for her at 10 a.m. December 29 at the First Institutional Baptist Church, 1141 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix.)

And of course, there were the massive anti-SB 1070 demonstrations over Phoenix's long, hot summer of 2010. Protests and acts of civil disobedience that I hope are reprised when Arizona's biggest bigot, state Senate President-elect Russell Pearce, and lickspittle toadies, such as state House Representative John Kavanagh, roll out their futile, racist efforts to end birthright citizenship in January.

Yet, despite such examples, there's a telling ignorance in the local media when Pearce and his hateful allies use the term "states' rights" as their battle cry. Southerners know exactly what "states' rights" means. It was also the cri de guerre of the Confederacy in its misguided attempt to protect the institution of slavery, one that led to the bloodbaths of Antietam, Bull Run, and Gettysburg.

(For those revisionists out there who'll want to tell me that slavery was not the central issue of the Civil War, I direct you to this recent essay by writer Edward Ball, who turns that contention into mincemeat.)

Long after Reconstruction failed, "states' rights" was the mantra of segregationists, such as Alabama's Gov. George Wallace; Dixiecrats, such as South Carolina Governor and, ultimately, U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond; and, later, Republican senator from North Carolina Jesse Helms.

So when I hear Russell Pearce intone the phrase "states' rights," it has a definite resonance. Were he a Southern politician, he would not get away with using that term so freely.

Take, for instance, Pearce's recent statement at a conference on immigration, held by his fellow nativists at the wingnut D.C. group Judicial Watch, concerning the issue of states' rights:

"But it's right also in the Constitution, it says, when there is an invasion the states have a right, even -- even to declare war if you will, you know, they have a right to protect. And again, we're sovereign states, I mean, just like everybody here. We're not citizens of the United States. We use that term, well, we're actually citizens of one of the several sovereign states."

This is, of course, total bull. The 14th Amendment -- the one Pearce wants to undermine with an illegal and unconstitutional attempt to rip birthright citizenship from the grip of infant citizens -- clearly states: 

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

The 14th Amendment established a national standard of citizenship, one that could not be abridged by the states, hence the prohibition,

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

But Pearce, and his fellow neo-Confederates (i.e., the new "neo-Cons"), want to roll back the country to antebellum days, before the Civil War and the so-called Reconstruction Amendments (the 13th, the 14th and the 15th) that followed. In this, Pearce has much in common with Southerners who resisted Reconstruction.

They, too, were not fans of the 14th Amendment, which extended the federal government's reach. Most ex-Confederate states refused to ratify the 14th at first.

So the Radical Republicans in Congress (ironic, eh?) forced the 14th Amendment on the defeated rebels via military governance. To be readmitted to the Union, the former Confederate states had to ratify the 14th. After all, they had attempted to secede, had waged war on the Union, and lost -- so they didn't get to pick the terms of their readmission.

As to Pearce's contention that the sovereign states have the right in the Constitution "to declare war if you will," the senator once more falls victim to his pathetic slave-ocracy state of mind. 

Indeed, the Constitution clearly states that the U.S. Congress has the right to declare war. And Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution states :

"No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay."

In Pearce's delusional, troglodyte cranium, he probably thinks Arizona has the right to declare war on Mexico because hordes of wanna-be dishwashers and maids are crossing over the border daily. But even if he has drug cartels (enemies of the Mexican government) in mind, Arizona has no such power.

So whenever Pearce uses that term "states' rights," remember its bitter, bloody legacy. Pearce may long to fire on Fort Sumter, but in his desire to do so, he reveals what side he's on, as if it were ever in doubt: the side of slave owners, Ku Kluxers, the segregationists of old.

Recall, too, that though he has delegated the responsibility of pimping an anti-birthright bill to his Fountain Hills-based sycophant John Kavanagh, Pearce remains the ham-fisted, prejudiced puppetmaster. The ex-NYC Transit Authority (read: "New Yawk") constable Kavanagh is simply doing his majesty's bidding.

My Voice Nation Help
17 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Old guard
Old guard

The 14th needs to be amended it's self because people are abusing it.

Fred
Fred

This is a greatly confused article written by someone with a one-track mind that only focuses on race and "equality" through Federal power and centralisation. Mr. Lemons seeks to equates Neoconservatives with Confederates, which is more than utterly ridiculous. As someone myself who takes great pride in my Confederate ancestry and who supports States' rights and opposes nearly everything Washington, DC does, I can tell you that Neocons are our greatest enemies. If you know anything about the history of Neocons they developed on the Left and moved to the Right on some issues while keeping many of their Leftist views. They love centralisation and authoritarian power as well as warmongering. We traditional conservatives who comes out of the Jeffersonian and Confederate traditions disagree completely with them on these things. If anything I would love to see the Federal Government abolished completely and power restored to the local level, where it belongs. We're also against the imperialist-style wars the Neocons love to inflict upon the world (and which the Leftists seem to be willing to compromise on as well - look at Obama for a case in point, the Neocons are applauding him on the wars overseas).

Also, reducing the cause of States' rights and decentralisation to racism is bogus. States' rights is simply self-rule and local authority standing up to Federal tyranny. States' rights has been invoked to defend California from tyrannyical Federal anti-marijuana laws, for example. They have been invoked to defend the people and States' from tyrannyical Federal anti- free speech laws. There are many other examples. Pretending that is all comes down to race is playing stupid. I find that most modern Leftists love to play these games. They can only see the world through their race-centered glasses where the Feds are the good guys and anything that smacks of traditionalism, localism, self-rule and defiance to central authority is automatically "racist" and "Neo-Confederate" (a slur term that we who are proud of our Confederate ancestry never use to describe ourselves). Where are the anti-statist Leftists of old? What happened to them? I can at least agree with them on a few things - mainly our skeptical view of central authority.

Tina
Tina

Fred, you're entire post consists of convenient labeling and generalizations, disputing other labels, but you don't address the specific issue and the person that prompted the article: Russell Pearce and his excuses to introduce legislation that violates the 14th Amendment.

Doesn't matter what label you affix to Pearce, do you support his plan?Lemons has quoted both the citizenship clause and the due process clause, and quotedArticle 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution as well for your review.Let's get down to the nitty-gritty. What do think about Pearce's plan?

Boosting Immunity
Boosting Immunity

Fred, The only problem with the thinking you have is that if the "states" were left to govern themselves then people like Russell who have gotten into a position of power by beating the racist drum (something people tend to get behind) then they would be able to trample the rights of anyone that did not see things their way. It is the resposibility to of federal government to keep these quacks from actually declaring war on Mexico which I am sure if Pearce had that option he would.

Also for the record i am not left or right but i cannot stand this dude he is a duche who is a known racist.

Tina
Tina

Thank you Stephen for the history lessons, the comparisons, the analogies and the documented words of Russell Pearce. I was in disbelief at this statement of his at before that Judicial Watch group, and had to read it twice.

"But it's right also in the Constitution, it says, when there is an invasion the states have a right, even -- even to declare war if you will, you know, they have a right to protect. And again, we're sovereign states, I mean, just like everybody here. We're not citizens of the United States. We use that term, well, we're actually citizens of one of the several sovereign states."

In the last few months I've remarked -- in jest -- that the next thing Russell Pearce will be advocating will be to secede from the Union or declare war on Mexico. Even I didn't realize how nuts and far gone he truly is.

How I wish that every state legislator would read your article here.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Pearce is an idiot racist bigot. Not much else to say.

Fred
Fred

Ah! The brilliance of the Left. Anyone who is to the Right of Stalin is "racist" and "evil." lol

Porter M. Corn
Porter M. Corn

Excellent discourse Stephen

Fred
Fred

Excellent propaganda is more like it!

Shar Pei
Shar Pei

Since he is already interested in fucking with the 14th Amendment, Pearce is probably looking for a cool way to strip naturalized citizens convicted of a crime of their citizenship. The man who helped bring you Arizona's Death Panels would love to actually banish people.

Chad Snow
Chad Snow

Is it more shocking that someone who claims to love our Constitution goes to such great lengths to bastardize it, or that our state senators elected him their president?

Coz
Coz

Doesn't say much for any of them, birds of a feather flock together as they say Chad and they are the worst Arizona has to offer.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Stephen, Thanks for the much needed history lesson in Arizona that they don't want their students or the public to learn about.

azafvet
azafvet

I wish Pearce would go back to the Carolina's and live with his racist red-neck, KKK, friends. I remember well the old Rebel Yell I SURRENDER! The South lost the CIVIL war and this and other creeps AKA, Republicans want to start it up again. I'm armed and ready, their worst nightmare An Armed Yankee Liberal. Bring it on.

DoNoHarm
DoNoHarm

First of all it is the author, Mr. Lemons, that is from "racist red-neck, KKK" North Carolina - not Mr. Pearce. And as embarrassed as I am as a native North Carolinian to find that Mr. Lemons is from NC, I would be too embarrassed at the obvious irony and hypocrisy in the prejudice and ignorance of labelling an entire state, much more a quarter of the country, based on the rantings of a single left-wingnut suffering from internalized white guilt and self-loathing for the transgressions of anglo america. And not that it is dispositive of anything in particular, including an absence racism, but note that Pres. Obama carried North Carolina and not AZ

Jackson
Jackson

Recently Pearce was in a news clip talking about states rights and then rolling right into how god gave us rights. How does he justify taking those rights away, when he says that God gave us the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Isnt the freedom of travel one of those rights? Oh, i forgot to add the phrase, unless you are mexican.

Chilidawg
Chilidawg

What is a key point to remember here is that Pearce’s attack on the 14th amendment is not just an attack on the Birthright Citizenship clause, but rather an attack on the Due Process clause as well. Prior to the passage of the 14th amendment, the Supreme Court held that the bill of rights only applied to the federal government and not to the individual states. That is the ultimate goal of the states right-ers. They want to destroy one of the most powerful amendments to the constitution so that they can institute their own brand of theocratic, reactionary conservatism on a state and local level.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...