Not surprisingly, Tom’s post about Michele Bachmann and “The Marriage Vow—A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family” generated some controversy. It’s an anti-a-lot-of-things pledge that Bachmann signed, but most strikingly, she mentions that an African-American child was more likely to live in a two-parent household during slavery than he is now, under an African-American president. There’s been a huge response on Facebook, Twitter, and in the comments section. The best comment came from Steve Locke:
You can see the point she is trying to make? What point is that? Bachman’s invocation of the “plantation fantasy” of happy slaves in familial relationships is obscene. She shows a willful ignorance of her own history.
There is no such thing as black history. There is history and then there is the myopia created by racism and white supremacy. Slavery is a gigantic part of the history of America. To deny it is to deny the history of the country. To lie and distort it is to use it for political gain and stoke the fears of blackness that have been a hallmark of the contemporary Republican party. This sort of speech should not be offensive to black people exclusively. It should be offensive to everyone in the country who understands the history of chattel slavery and industrial servitude. She is insulting everyone who fought and died to end slavery.
To me, Bachman is in the same realm as holocaust deniers. Like them, she is saying these things to appeal to the deep seated fears in this country. She is not making a point and calling it theatre is a cynical response to the power of political speech. There is no defending these kinds of statements.
Thanks to Steve and everyone else who commented and spread the word. Let’s keep the conversation going.
—Photo AP/Charlie Neibergall