Conservatives are all about the past. Which makes sense, because that's where they want to live.
The now is uncomfortable for conservatives. The future is terrifying.
So, anything that already was, is what they prefer. Especially if it suits them. If it doesn't suit them, well, then we have to go back to the way things used to be.
Take gold, for example. Gold was once the way wealth was managed in the world. It was hard to find, had wonderful properties as a metal, and was shiny and looked attractive. So, people assigned tremendous value to it.
When basing our economy on gold started to really fail in a huge way, we stopped doing it. Now, that means that people can no longer hoard money quite so easily, which is what the kinds of people who are conservative want. They don't want to participate in life. They want to curl around their precious shit in a ball and hug it like it's the only thing that matters.
So, even though gold-standard economies failed and failed so hugely they almost destroyed civilization, you can still hear gold-bug idiots gasping and gawping after a past that never was, where gold made things so much damn better.
Martin Luther King was in the past. He's over a generation in the past now. Of course, since things were always better in the past (except when Bush was President, apparently that time was so good we can't even remember it anymore), he must belong to conservatives.
But his message wasn't about the past. It wasn't a limp, meaningless paean to the greatness of some distant, unreachable icon. It was a direct statement about his hopes for the future, which belongs to liberals.
Conservatives can't handle that this man from the past that everyone reveres so much was actually taking about a future that didn't include their bullshit. In King's world there was one just vision of the future and it was his vision. It's a vision I firmly believe in, and as a liberal I think it is the only way forward. Equality is the point of democracy, and the purpose of America. There is no other vision of America that can be truly called American.
The white Southerner's version isn't America. It's some other country that thankfully never existed. The Confederacy would have been by all evidence a cesspool for tin-pot dictators and third-rate jackasses to milk, bilk, and trash. I don't think that's a stretch, either. Look around the South and you see for all intents and purposes the squalor and poverty and decay of a third-world country. A few islands of bright alabaster poke through the Kudzu and haze, but other than that it's a shithole and nothing to be proud of. And it is like that because of the institutionalized racism and bigotry, and self-stupidity that holds back not just the minority population, but everyone else too.
That is not the world I want to live in. Racism and bigotry and class warfare all go together, hand-in-hand. When we wake up this nation, fully, from the delusion of racism we will be able to move forward and actually live up to the brave words of our Founders.
But, we absolutely will never get there listening to Tea Baggers and their hatriot nonsense.