Hey, thanks for not enslaving me…

Apparently Governor Paul LePage believes that (African-American) Rep. John Lewis owes a “simple thank you” to (white) Republicans of old for abolishing slavery.   It doesn’t require an especially uncharitable interpretation of the Governor’s words—especially given his track record on race—to read them as implying that rights are rightly understood as the property of whites to dispense—or withhold—as they see fit.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes
Michael Bailey
About Michael Bailey
Michael is Associate Professor of Government and International Studies at Berry College in Rome, GA. His academic publications address the American Founding, the American presidency, religion and politics, and governance in liberal democracies. He also writes on popular culture, and his articles on, among other topics, patriotism, Church and State, and Kurt Vonnegut, have been published in Prism and Touchstone. He earned his PhD from the University of Texas in Austin, where he also earned his BA. He’s married and has three children. He joined OTB in November 2016.

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    Similarities between Lincoln and Trump:
    – nominally Republican
    – tall

  2. Hal_10000 says:

    I”m trying to come up with ways that LePage can damage the GOP more and I’m just drawing a blank at this stage. I mean, I guess he hasn’t been caught with a live boy or a dead girl, so …

  3. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    But let’s be clear on this one thing–race as an issue is gone in America, kaput, doesn’t exist, and the problem with causes such as Black Lives Matter is that the perpetuate the fiction that America has race problems. Those were over and done with back in 1863. And what John Lewis either doesn’t realize or won’t admit is that the Democrats have been the source of any race problems that continued–it was Democrats that created Jim Crow laws, it was Democrats that were turning the fire hoses on civil rights demonstrators in the 1960s, and it is Democrats like John Lewis who are currently stirring up the fires of racial hatred through their willful ignorance of history now.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    Basically, Governor LePage is a Super Fund Site.
    However, as appalling as he is, he’s a mainstream Republican.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    LePage, like many of the bigots that haunt this site, refuses to acknowledge that anything has happened between now and then; that the Democrats who brought us Jim Crow are today’s Republicans and the Republican party of Lincoln is today’s Democratic Party.

    @Hal_10000:
    If the Republican Party hasn’t been irretrievably damaged by now, it cannot be damaged.

  6. ptfe says:

    There’s a special comedy in telling Lewis to bone up on history, then citing Hayes as “fighting Jim Crow laws”. His election, iirc, effectively started an official blind-eye policy toward those very laws.

  7. SKI says:

    @ptfe:

    There’s a special comedy in telling Lewis to bone up on history, then citing Hayes as “fighting Jim Crow laws”. His election, iirc, effectively started an official blind-eye policy toward those very laws.

    This.

    Not only is LePage once again demonstrating his racism and bigotry but his understanding of history is ridiculously flawed. In his telling, Jim Crow laws and segregation ended during Hayes Presidency (which ended in 1881). I guess the Civil Rights fights in the 20th century didn’t actually happen….

  8. KM says:

    I love the irony of telling Lewis to bone up on history when he *was* a part of that history. I mean, it’s not like he was there or anything during watershed events…..

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Those were over and done with back in 1863.

    And if not, in 1964 and ’65 when Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

  10. An Interested Party says:

    LePage has definitely shown himself as someone who would fit right in working for Trump…I’m sure they can find something for him to do once his current term ends…

  11. Scott O says:

    @gVOR08: Actually, Trump is the shortest president in the history of this country. And he has the smallest hands. It’s 2017, we can make up our own facts now.

  12. michael reynolds says:

    As a Jew I have nothing but gratitude to the German people for not, you know, killing me. Danke! You’re the best!

  13. DrDaveT says:

    So the Republicans have finally come up with a party line answer to the question “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”. The answer is “Yes, and the b__h should be grateful.”

  14. MarkedMan says:

    Not only did the people of Maine elect this guy, they re-elected him. Why am I not surprised that Maine is a freeloader state, getting back about $1.75 for every $1.00 they contribute? Yes, the good people of Delaware, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio, New York, Colorado, Utah, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Massachusetts and California subsidize this Governor’s state.

    Gotta admit, it surprised me to see OK, WY, and NB on the list until I realized that comes from oil, gas and fracking. So once that’s gone they’ll be back with their hands out.

  15. bill says:

    well it was the republicans who freed the slaves, even from black slave owners! and over a half million people (mainly white)died in that war. more than all wars combined since…..but let’s not open old wounds now.
    and democrats did nothing to help blacks afterwards unless you call the kkk a local assistance charity. they obstructed voting rights for women and blacks too. then they destroyed the black family in the 60’s.
    so really, what good have democrats done for blacks- i mean constructively?

  16. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    As a Jew I have nothing but gratitude to the German people for not, you know, killing me. Danke! You’re the best!

    You know, as a German, the question whether to press like on that post took quite a few minutes of untangling logical knots 😀

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @bill: Take your stupid pill this morn? Yes, yes you did.

  18. An Interested Party says:

    well it was the republicans who freed the slaves, even from black slave owners! and over a half million people (mainly white)died in that war. more than all wars combined since…..but let’s not open old wounds now. and democrats did nothing to help blacks afterwards unless you call the kkk a local assistance charity. they obstructed voting rights for women and blacks too. then they destroyed the black family in the 60’s.
    so really, what good have democrats done for blacks- i mean constructively?

    The easiest way to refute this idiotic nonsense is to note that the overwhelming majority of blacks in this country vote for Democrats…perhaps you think they do that because they’re stupid? While it is true that Republicans from the 1860s were actually trying to help black people, today’s Republicans are trying to make it harder for black people to vote…yeah, there’s some real “progress” there…

  19. DrDaveT says:

    @bill:

    well it was the republicans who freed the slaves

    See, here’s where Bertrand Russell’s theory of definite descriptions comes in handy.

    The people behind abolition were members of the Republican Party. The people behind Jim Crow were members of the Democratic Party. That’s all true. But a funny thing happened over the next 100 years… The things that the Republican Party stood for in 1865 somehow became anathema to the people who called themselves Republicans in 1965, and the things that Democrats stood for in 1865 became anathema to the people who called themselves Democrats in 1965. Kind of like how the Green Bay Packers didn’t believe in throwing the ball much in 1960, but throw the ball all the freakin’ time in 2016. Same continuous organization, but a totally different team in every way.

    People with actual working brains care about the positions, not who held them in 1865. People with actual working hearts care about outcomes, not about team loyalty. I’m sorry if this is too complicated for you.

  20. Kylopod says:

    @bill:

    and democrats did nothing to help blacks afterwards

    It was a Democratic president who desegregated the army.

    It was a Democratic president who signed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, effectively ending Jim Crow.

    Maybe you should try picking up a history book for a change before lecturing others about its subject.

  21. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Both his election and re-election were due to the vote being completely fractured, the first time between five candidates, the second time between four. In other words, he’s serving as a minority-elected chief executive. In related news, Maine voters approved ranked-choice voting, which will begin in 2018.