Archive for Sunday, August 20, 2017

Opinion: GOP laid out racist welcome mat

August 20, 2017

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It is important to look beyond the riot.

Yes, last week’s violent demonstration by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., culminating in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, made for a carnival of obscenity as sickening as it was riveting. But the thing is, it did not spring from nowhere.

And while your first instinct — unlike the moral imbecile in the White House — is condemnation, that’s the easy part. What you have to remember is that this is said to have been the largest public gathering of white supremacists in many years. There is, it seems, an unmistakable new energy on the extreme right.

So you might want to ask yourself: Why?

It’s easy to blame the aforementioned moral imbecile, but truth is, he didn’t create this energy. It created him.

The election of the first African-American president surely had something to do with it. By simply existing, Barack Obama embodied a reminder that the days until white people become a racial minority are ticking down fast. Some handle this pending demographic demotion better than others.

Right-wing radio and Fox “News” have also played a role. For years, they’ve pushed a drumbeat narrative of white normalcy under siege from job-grasping Mexicans, terrorist Muslims, degenerate gays and criminal blacks. Small wonder some white people retreat into bunkers of unreason and fear.

But without question, the most repugnant contribution to this new dawn of white supremacy comes from the Republican Party. It has called to these people, invited these people, for decades. It has done so overtly, with laws and statements demonizing LGBTQ people, Muslims and immigrants. Republicans have also employed so-called “dog whistle” politics, coded words, policies and imagery that preserve deniability while speaking with implicit clarity to white racial and cultural fears. From the Willie Horton ad that helped George H.W. Bush become president to the suggestive white woman ad that helped sink a black candidate’s Senate bid in Tennessee, from photo ID voter suppression to birther conspiracies, from Newt Gingrich condemning a “food stamp president” to Paul Ryan’s complaining about “a tailspin of culture in our inner cities,” the GOP has seldom missed a chance to lay out the welcome mat for white supremacists.

Maybe it was just political strategy. Maybe it was true belief. Doesn’t really matter.

Its machinations have delivered to the GOP the presidency and both houses of Congress. Yet seldom has a party controlled so much and looked so bad doing it. Republicans find themselves saddled with an incompetent president elected on an implicit promise to make America white again. Under him, they are able to accomplish exactly nothing. They cringe as he suggests moral equivalence between bigots and those who protest them. As if all that were not bad enough, a newly revived hate movement now arrives, looking to cash in its chits.

You think it’s unfair to lay all this on the “party of Lincoln?” How many Hillary Clinton voters do you really think were out there rallying for racism? Indeed, whose name did those bigots chant?

“Hail Trump!” they cried. “Hail Trump!”

No, Republicans may denounce what happened in Charlottesville to their heart’s content. This mess is on them. And while they may rush to condemn this ugliness, the more moral thing would be to own their role in creating the environment for it and repent thereof. There is no wiggle room here. They’ve sent invitations for years.

They can’t be surprised to see guests arrive.

— Leonard Pitts is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Miami Herald.

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 months ago

Yet another great article by Mr. Pitts!!..... "unlike the moral imbecile in the White House"!!

Excellent description!!!!

We have at our disposal, impeachment.......we have the 25th amendment in the Bill of Rights.

It is time to act.....The Congress needs to get a backbone and remove this intolerable scourge on the country...it is time this damnable fool is gone......before we have North Korean rockets falling on the U.S. Before the the miniscule fabric of civility and credibility that is still left disappears completely.

Chump should be impeached. He should be sent back to his "Towers" to learn about the American Way. He should not continue.......As one commentator I have heard recently....."How did we come to THIS??.

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 months ago

Why are people afraid of whites becoming the minority race? Just curious. Why would that be so bad? You know that Blacks don't want to take over, they just want equal rights. Gay people don't want to end straight marriage, they just want the right to marry.

Jeremy Smith 10 months ago

Dorothy,

Gay people just want the right to marry? They have that right! By your logic, since they have that right now should they not need to make any more noise yet they do. If blacks do not want to take over then why do groups such as BLM take credit for shootings of white police officers? Blacks can have equal rights when they earn it. Instead of complaining about race all the time maybe they should get up and make equality happen. Violence and crime will not get them equality.

Greg Cooper 10 months ago

Maybe they should go jut and make equality happen? Are you really saying that? How about you and those who think like you just go out and treat people as equals? No, how about you treat people as white? How about that, Jeremy? Or maybe blacks and gays and Jews and Native Americans and Arabs and everybody else not "white" isn't smart enough or Christian enough or born with the right skin tone to be worth having equality of opportunity. Take a look, Jeremy, at your own words and then tell us that you're not prejuiced. Really, Jeremy, it'd be interesting seeing your thoughts about that.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 months ago

"Blacks can have equal rights when they earn it." WHAT?? How do you like being part of the problem, Jeremy?? Do white people have to "earn" this right?? Huh??

Certainly gay people have the right to marry......unless you live in some of the backwater states like Mississippi and Alabama where local bigots do all they can to prevent this. Just because you have a "right" does not guarantee that you will be respected to this right.

Bob Smith 10 months ago

The modern definition of a racist is anyone who disagrees with a disappointed progressive.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 10 months ago

And, that would be the GOP as a whole. Thank you, Bob, for the clarification.

Greg Cooper 10 months ago

Deflecting the subject won't work her, Bob. Do you or do you not believe that racism exists and is it a Dem or Rep issue only? It's that easy, Bob. Answer the questions, and, for a change, be honest. Oughta be pretty instructive.

Ray Mizumura 10 months ago

He can't. Those who use reason, such as LP, scare the hell out of BS.

Jim Phillips 10 months ago

Ladies and gentlemen, this article has been brought to you by a member of the political party that gave us the Confederacy, the KKK, Jim Crow laws, the fight against desegregation, and the ever popular racists organization, BLM. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental. No wonder they are trying to erase and rewrite history! More popcorn please!

Ray Mizumura 10 months ago

My take on what JP's saying is that he's calling attention to the racism of the Democratic Party not because he's upset by that racism, but because it helps him not have to deal with what LP's article says. And, JP is showing us that he's no slouch when it comes to erasing and rewriting history, i.e. the Republican party's racism.

No surprise that JP would do this to avoid engaging Pitts's argument. He doesn't have a chance against LP, but it's touching and even a little cute that he would try.

Jim Phillips 10 months ago

Thank you, Ray! Your comments validated mine! Much appreciated.

Ray Mizumura 10 months ago

It's grand to see the Confederate statues coming down. That's the kind of thing I like to cheer, as opposed to celebrating the beating down and ejection of protestors at Trump rallies, or the beating down of reporters by the likes of thug Gianforte in Montana, or the fleecing of the American people by sub-snake oil salespersons who want public utilities privatized, but drain the Secret Service's resources instead of hiring their own damn bodyguards. Guess the federal government is good for some stuff, after all.

Haven't seen too much of Donald Trump Jr. lately. Or Kellyanne Conway. I kind of like it that way. The fact that those two can be considered successful people -- two who have nothing going for them except their whiteness and their connections to other powerful whites -- that sums up racism beautifully. Almost as much as DT, the biggest nothing of them all, rewarded for behavior and talk that no person of color would dream of engaging in.

If anything, LP is far too restrained in his argument against the GOP. I admire his controlled fury.

Bob Smith 10 months ago

You seem to be okay with the violent leftists currently afflicting America.

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