Karl Gallagher (libertarianhawk) wrote,
Karl Gallagher

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Defining Nullification

Anthony wrote in a comment on my last post, "I think the apparent connotation of racism with nullification and interposition is very weak at best . . . a new definition of nullification is growing in the minds of Americans!" Sure, there's people who care enough about political theory to find the original meanings of obscure terms. For most they'll go with the definition taught to them. Let's look at how a Democratic TV commericial would go about teaching people the meaning of "nullification and interposition."

EXT SHOT - video of MLKjr giving speech, intercut with most iconic still photographs of the protest:

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

STILL PHOTOS IN SEQUENCE with clip from speech repeated over each one:

George Wallace
"its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification"

Orval Faubus
"its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification"

Bull Connor (with dogs)
"its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification"

INT SHOT - Debra Medina at speech or press conference.

"The State of Texas should refuse to comply through nullification and interposition."*


"Debra Medina
Bringing Texas back to 1959.

Vote for Mickey Mouse"**

*From here. Or something close to that depending on available footage, anything with the key three words will do.

**Actual Democratic candidate TBD. But they probably could run Mickey Mouse and win.

"Martin Luther King jr. didn't like it" is a sufficient definition of nullification to get swing voters to turn against it. Fair? What's that got to do with politics? Harsh? It's arguably nicer than the James Byrd commercial run against Dubya.

The problem with nullification is that a concept or symbol can be ruined for centuries if it's used by an evil enough group. Putting angled extensions on a cross is a simple elaboration, with lots of artistic and religious precedent, but the Nazis have made it unusable. I work on a plane called the Lightning II. I'm sure some bright young artist wanted to make a logo with the lines of the roman numeral replaced with lightning bolts . . . but that's another symbol the Nazis have ruined. The catchphrases of the segregationists are going to be toxic in US politics until someone comes along who's even more wrong and defeated as thoroughly and we have a new set of off-limits terms.

Anthony included links to state governments resisting overbearing Federal laws. They show noncooperation with unfunded mandates and assertions of 10th Amendment rights. But there's nothing on the level of trying to prevent income tax collections. Most notably I haven't seen any statements by a governor using the word nullification . . . because they know it's toxic.
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