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At least I don't think so. The good sheriff took a pounding over the weekend
for his appearance before the Middle Tennessee chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. In case you've never heard of these guys, they believe black people are a "retrograde species of humanity" and "genetically
inferior," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Think of them as a top shelf version of the Klan, since they're at least capable of polysyllabic insults.
The sheriff contends he had no idea he was speaking to a collection of nutbags. I tend to believe him. After all, keeping track of off-shoot hate groups is like memorizing third basemen for the Houston Astros of the 1970s. There's not a lot of relevance to this pursuit, is there?
And if all you heard was the name, you might assume the Council of Conservative Citizens was merely a club for businessmen, talk radio fans, and the followers of The Really Mean God, not the refined brethren of sheet wearers.
But what leads people to believe Hall's racist is when you combine his appearance with his zealous roundup of immigrants. As Tim Chavez notes on his Political Salsa site
, "Hall's racism should be an embarrassment to a civil rights city as
Nashville, and so should the support of 287g by other Nashville
Maybe I'm just mushy or naive or stupid--or possibly all three--but I'm still not seeing Hall as racist. Politically shameless? Yes. Racist? No.
It's become an article of faith among sheriff's nationwide to jump into the immigrant game for political gain. Ever since the famed sheriff of Phoenix, Arizona went from forcing inmates to wear pink underwear to the more popular Bagging On The Immigrants Routine, the shameless elements of the sheriff species have followed suit.
Put yourself in their shoes: You have a job battling crime. But crime rarely goes down. So half your constituency always thinks you suck at your job.
Enter the exciting new field of rounding up immigrants. Suddenly, you're not just the guy who organizes work shifts for the jail. You're the guy protecting America from the Onslaught of the Brown Horde! And you've instantly won the allegiance of Goobers everywhere!
The scam's become so successful, it is to sheriffs what tax cuts are to Republicans or jobs to Democrats. Does this make Hall racist? Naah. It just make him an opportunist exploiting the brown horde for personal gain.