What’s driving Nikki Haley?

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Americans routinely plugged into the news cycle are aware of the fact that much ado was made about something (yes something) when Nikki Haley responded to a question from an audience member at a New Hampshire town about the cause of the Civil War.

The Republican presidential candidate awkwardly (arguably intentionally) sidestepped the real issue that resulted in one of our nation’s most pivotal events – slavery!

Rather than confront the truth head on and provide an honest response to the questioner, Haley attempted to dance around with the skill of a fish riding on a bicycle and fell flat on her butt. The intense commentary and backlash that followed her intellectually dishonest remarks had the former governor and United Nations ambassador feverishly backtracking, and the story is still percolating in the political arena.

Not surprisingly, Haley went on defense and offense, initially conceding that “of course, the Civil war was about slavery!” while simultaneously accusing the questioner of being a “Democratic plant.”

Haley’s horrendous response gave her political rivals the opportunity to seize on her foolish behavior. The ever acerbic Chris Christie wasted no time chastising Haley, making it clear that slavery was the major factor that resulted in the Civil War. Period. Even Ron “slavery was really not all that bad for Black people “DeSantis had the unmitigated gall to weigh in, levying criticism of Haley.

How could a person who was once the governor of South Carolina, the state that led the initiative to begin the war at Fort Sumner in 1861, be so unaware of such a pivotal, indisputable reality? Taking such a shameful position is classic political double speak. It is a prime example of cowardice. Most people know that slavery was one of the most pernicious vices known to mankind. It is a retrograde factor that has been deeply embedded in the fabric of our nation.

Although she is a Republican, Nikki Haley is still a person of color. She is the child of Indian immigrants. Her birth name is Nimrata Randhawa. Thus, it is perplexing (at least to me) that as a non-white person and woman would fiercely embrace a political party that often denounces, demonizes, and disrespects nearly everything she represents.

Besides a burning desire to be president, what would prompt her to engage in such demeaning antics? Self-hatred? Political expediency? Some other motive? What gives? Inquiring, socially-conscious minds want to know.

To be sure, no group of people – that includes non-white people – are monolithic. In fact, there are indeed people of color who are conservative in their political affiliation. That being said, even those individuals of racial minority groups (at least a notable percentage of them) are likely to be very apprehensive in supporting a party that at this current state is largely sponsored and represents far-right wing white nationalism.

Deep down, something tells me Nikki Haley and many other of her right-wing cohorts know the real truth. Such twisted and dishonest mental gymnastics are a sad reality.

Copyright 2024 Elwood Watson, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate

Elwood Watson is a professor of history, Black studies, and gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. He is also an author and public speaker.