It’s the kind of image and message you’d expect to stumble upon at a white supremacist website, and it’s been taken down after outrage about it spread, but the Chisago County Republican Party in Minnesota posted on its Facebook page a 19th century cartoon of a slave auction accompanied by the caption, “Against slavery? Don’t buy one.”
Talk about giving new meaning to free market ideology!
Here’s what’s being connoted: if liberal women can have abortions, why can’t white male conservatives own black slaves? Why shouldn’t owning black slaves once again be a choice, an option for whites who have no moral qualms about it? Let the market decide.
In Colossians 3:22, the apostle Paul wrote, “Slaves, obey your masters,” so this argument may also be a matter of religious liberty for some members of the Chisago County Republican Party, a complaint about liberal activist judges and federal legislators exceeding their rightful authority, making laws against things the Bible clearly permits.
So the message rings, subconsciously, the “states’ rights” bell of the contemporary right and combines it with that other hot-button issue, abortion. Fair’s fair. If liberals can get abortions, conservatives can get slaves. Do you think it’s morally evil to own a slave? Don’t buy one. Don’t live where slave ownership is legal. But let the individual states decide.
Put another way, liberals took away something conservatives once wanted to keep, slavery, and now conservatives want to take away something liberals want to keep, legal abortion. If conservatives aren’t allowed to do this–to have a win on abortion–then anything goes, and slavery should be brought back. It’s only fair.
It wasn’t so long ago that it would have been unthinkable for a major political party in a western democracy to even “joke” in this ridiculous and obscene manner. But the Republican Party over the past two decades has tragically metastasized into the George Wallace party. It needs to find its way back to be being a center-right Eisenhower party. I have no idea how it will get there.
You idiot. You’ve completely misread the meaning of the poster.
The point was that pro-choice logic taken to its logical conclusion justifies evils like slavery, and is therefore ridiculous.
Would you say that this is all the message would imply–a simple reductio ad absurdum–if it appeared on a white supremacist website?
Why does it carry no racist connotations when it appears on the Facebook page of the Chisago County Republican Party (as opposed to a white supremacist website)?
And why did the Chisago County Republican Party take the image down if it was so innocent–if it is so readily and obviously plain and limited in its meaning, implication, “humor,” and irony?
I detect more here. I hear white racist “state’s rights” defiance in the appropriation of “pro-choice” with this image and simply attempted to make it explicit (rather than implicit), showing that the image with those words hit all the subliminal bases of “state’s rights” rhetoric.
And a picture (as the cliche goes) speaks a thousand words. And context matters. The Republican Party in the 21st century has a lot of raw bitterness and racism among its base voters (as witness the visceral hatred so many of them express toward the nation’s first African American president and the popularity of confederate flags among the right in this country), and so this image with those words means more than your one sentence summary.
An image like this, therefore, cannot be as innocent as you would like it to be. Not all contemporary Republican voters agree that slavery and segregation were bad things, and there are a lot of Republicans happy to use stringent voter ID laws to depress black voter turn-out in their states. This complicates the meaning of this image with those words attached to it. I’m sorry, but it does.