Fresh Hell Friday Reads: Full on KKK Rallies and Hair Furor FacismPosted: July 19, 2019
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
I’m old enough to remember George Wallace speeches and rallies and I don’t even think his racist segregationist ass was as bad as it’s getting at the Trumpfuckistan Hate Fests these days. The happy news from yesterday is that Minnesota District 5 is having none of it! Their duly elected Congresswoman Illhan Omar was welcomed home by a full on brigade of Minnesota Nice. I fear for her and the other 3 members of her squad as I feared for Hillary Clinton on that stage with that orange monster stalking her. As my mom used to tell me, we can disagree without be disagreeable. Trumpf and his cult are definitely Disagreeable Deplorables.
Ever notice that the resentful, angry wipipo at these rallies only chant threats at women? This is from Ellena Plott writing for The Atlantic: “Trump Supporters Don’t Make Chants About Men.
Where the president’s fans once called for a female opponent’s imprisonment, now they are longing for another woman to be literally banished from the country.”
Lawmakers and presidential candidates know to expect a particular set of reactions after criticizing Donald Trump. He might call them a loser, or give them their own unique nickname—the provenance of which might depend on how often he thinks they lie, whether they look sleepy, or how pencil-like he finds their neck. He might go so far as to endorse their primary challengers, or even the critics themselves, if he thinks his stamp of approval might hurt them.
Only for women, though, do Trump and his supporters deploy their most sinister lines of attack. In 2016, it was not enough to call Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary” or criticize her vision for the country. Rather, it was necessary to call for her physical removal from public life, and her sentencing to a place where she wouldn’t be heard from again. “Lock her up!” is as identifiable with Trumpism as “Build the wall!,” and the chant continues at rallies to this day, even as Clinton, true to Trump’s wishes, has faded into the background.
There was a troubling sense of déjà vu, then, when the crowd at Trump’s rally in Greenville, North Carolina, on Wednesday trained their eyes on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, chanting “Send her back!” in a play on Trump’s own words from a few days before. It was an evolution, an even darker version of the invective against Clinton—where the president’s supporters once called for a female opponent’s imprisonment, now they are longing for another to be literally banished from the country. The episode prompts urgent questions not only about what Omar can expect as Trump’s 2020 campaign ramps up, but also about what Trump’s eventual challenger, if it’s a woman, can anticipate as well.
Notice who has her back as well as her constituents and other Minnesota folks. And, that vintage KKK billboard up there is exactly what his Base is about. Now, for some pictures of our better angels greeting the Congresswoman because most of us are bright and kind enough to realize every American has te right to disagree with their government.
I’m old enough to remember the “love it or leave it” Nixonian Days. The silent majority was represented at the airport and would never be present at the Trumpfian Hate Fests that represent the worst among us. The deal is though, we have to get out there and vote him out if Congress isn’t ready to put him out.
This has become the “me too” moment for black and brown Americans with many sharing their own stories of when they first heard an angry, hateful white person say that to them. The NYT’s Editorial board discusses the reality of this vitriolic, racist, xenophobic shriek.
What the hell, indeed?
Mr. Trump appears to see the presidency as a giant megaphone for stoking racial and ethnic animus. It is not just that he pursues policies aimed at exacerbating divisions, like banning migrants from majority-Muslim nations or building a wall on the United States-Mexico border. He seeks to demonize those who oppose his policies as dangerous extremists out to destroy America. In cases where his critics are not white — whether congresswomen of color or a judge of Mexican heritage — Mr. Trump is eager to spotlight that fact.
The president is looking to divide Americans along color lines, to conjure a zero-sum vision of America in which whites must contend against nonwhites for jobs, wealth, safety and citizenship. He thinks this approach will win him another four years in the White House. At this point, does it much matter if he is acting purely out of political cynicism, with no element of personal prejudice? The rage he is nurturing and the pain he is causing are all too real. The damage he is doing will take years to undo.
So, enjoy the pictures of Minnesota Nice White People and others with much better intent and understanding of what it is to be an American and a decent human being. And we continue to hear the silence of the politically complicit louder than we hear the shouts of bigots. This is from the editorial board of the St. Louis Dispatch: “Congressional Republicans shame themselves with their silence on Trump’s racism.”
You don’t hear whites — say, Irish Americans or Italian Americans — in 2019 being told to go “back where they came from.” Today, that particular expression is intended to deprive people of their Americanness based on skin color and ethnicity. It’s racist to its core, and those who don’t call it out enable it.
Yet of the almost dozen Republican members of Congress who represent Missouri and southern Illinois, precious few have made any public statements at all about it, clearly fearful of upsetting Trump’s base.
Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., meanwhile, lunged to Trump’s defense with an obtuse tweet chiding critics who “interpret” racism in Trump’s remarks. Read them again, congressman; no interpretation is necessary.
From most of the region’s GOP delegation, though, as with most congressional Republicans in the country, the response has been a cowardly, mute void. This includes, notably, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., the freshman senator who has had no problem speaking his mind on pretty much every other issue out there.
There is a remedy for this: “The Movement to Impeach Donald Trump Is Far from Over” but when will we see some real progress towards that end? This is from John Cassidy writing for The New Yorker. Tabling Congressman Green’s Impeachment resolution is the latest news on that front.
The ninety-five votes that were cast on Wednesday in support of Green’s most recent resolution represented about forty per cent of all Democratic representatives. Another way to look at it is that the forces demanding a rapid move to impeachment fell just twenty-three votes short of achieving majority status in the Democratic caucus. (To get there, they would need a hundred and eighteen votes.)
Moreover, it’s clear that the level of support for Green’s resolution understated the support for impeachment. Among the Democrats who voted to table Green’s motion were a number of prominent impeachment supporters who, following Tuesday’s unanimous vote by House Democrats to condemn Trump’s racist comments, didn’t think this was the most opportune moment to move ahead. “We’re trying to keep the caucus together as we respond to the most lawless administration of our lifetimes,” Representative Jamie Raskin, of Maryland, told the Washington Post. “I’m enough of a political pragmatist to believe that you call votes when you think you can win them, not when you think you can lose them.”
It’s also worth looking at who among the Democrats voted nay on Wednesday. Not so long ago, support for moving rapidly to impeachment was a position adopted, mainly, by those on the left of the Party. Now it has gone mainstream. An article at The Hill noted that a number of powerful committee chairs broke with the Party leadership. They included Nita Lowey (Appropriations), Bennie Thompson (Energy and Commerce), Raúl Grijalva (Homeland Security), Jerry Nadler (Judiciary), Jim McGovern (Rules), and Nydia Velázquez (Small Business).
What explained the votes of such Party stalwarts? Certainly, they are disgusted by Trump. In many districts, they are also facing intense pressure from constituents and activists. As Thompson said on Wednesday, “My district wants me to vote for the immediate impeachment of Donald Trump.”
To be sure, Thompson represents a deep blue area of western Mississippi. It is sometimes said that Democrats, when facing competitive races in 2020, will never support impeaching Trump, but that isn’t necessarily true. Citing her responsibility to uphold the law, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, who represents Arizona’s Second District, said, “I’ve come to the conclusion that the House of Representatives must open an impeachment inquiry.” Kirkpatrick was following the example of several other Democrats in competitive districts, including Tom Malinowski, of New Jersey, and Katie Porter, of California.
Susan B Glasser–also writing for The New Yorker–argues that Trump’s racism is calculated and that he believes is ‘winning’ with it. This is a frightening idea because this means it will all get worse as we get closer to November 2020. I already hate this time he’s had even when he’s not actively being a terrible human being which is most of the time.
How do you write about a week like this in America? There have been many breaking points in the Trump Presidency; everybody has his or her own triggers. But here it is, 2019, and we are debating racist Presidential tweets, and who is a real American, and whether “concentration camps” is the right phrase for what is happening at the southern border. On Friday, Vice-President Mike Pence saw with his own eyes hundreds of men kept in inhuman and inhumane conditions in Texas, men forced to exist in such squalor that their armed guards wore masks to stave off the stench of so many unwashed bodies. It was terrible. And then Trump and Pence denied that it was any such thing at all. It couldn’t be a “concentration camp,” Trump even said at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, because it was very well run.
Republicans, meanwhile, are not only sticking with Trump as the country’s division and discord deepens, they approve of it. Many are even cheering him on. On Capitol Hill, just four Republican representatives joined with Democrats on a symbolic resolution condemning the tweets. Half of the country is appalled but not really sure how to combat him; the other half is cheering, or at least averting its gaze. This is what a political civil war looks like, with words, for now, as weapons. As if to underscore the point, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary account tweeted this during Trump’s rally: “Tonight’s top searches, in order: racism, socialism, fascism, concentration camp, xenophobia, bigot.” Whatever you call what is happening in America right now, Trump is convinced it is working for him, which is why we are in for many more such weeks, all the way through 2020. “I do think I’m winning the political fight. I think I’m winning it by a lot,” Trump told reporters before he boarded Marine One for the North Carolina rally, at which he would call the Squad “hate-filled extremists” intent on the “destruction of our country” all over again. “I’ll never change.”
Trump’s unwavering belief that race-baiting and immigrant-hating work to his electoral benefit is already the subject of raging debate in political circles. Many Democrats spent the five days and counting of this tweet controversy worrying that they were both required to call out Trump’s words and also doomed to see their condemnation of his racism play right into his hands. The Party is divided about how to counter Trump, and it shows: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has remained firmly against impeachment as the numbers inside her caucus favoring it grow. (Wednesday’s vote on an impeachment resolution by a defiant Democratic backbencher got ninety-five votes, including those of two key committee chairmen.)
A number of Republicans on Capitol Hill, for their part, showed how ridiculous they are willing to make themselves look by condemning the racist chanting of Trump’s North Carolina rally fans while steadfastly refusing to condemn the racist tweets of the President those fans were echoing. “Send her back” is “nativist, terrible” and “also electoral suicide,” the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt tweeted, pointing out that there are more than four hundred thousand naturalized residents in Pennsylvania and two hundred thousand in Michigan, two key states without which Trump would not have won the Presidency in 2016. By midday Thursday, Trump himself was taking this position, when it became clear that the “Send her back” chant had even Republicans worried. “I was not happy with it,” the President claimed. “I disagreed with it.” He did not, however, disavow his own words that led to the chant in the first place.
We’re a long and far ways from this style of leadership.
There’s a lot of other news out there and I wish I could find more that would lift us up. The only thing that I can say is that if you read the majority of it, you’ll realize again, there are a lot more of us out there and there are communities that understand this kind of hatred: From ABC “Rabbi in Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s district compares Trump rally to ‘Nazi Germany’ .
Rabbi Avi Olitzky of Beth El Synagogue in Minneapolis, Minnesota, called chants of “send her home” at the president’s rally Wednesday night in Greenville, North Carolina, “terrifying.”
In an interview on ABC News Live’s “The Briefing Room,” Rabbi Olitzky told MaryAlice Parks he can’t “sit or stand silently while our sitting president issues such racist rhetoric.”
Olitzky went on to compare what he saw at the North Carolina rally to some of history’s darkest hours.
“This is a very eerie wave of similar situations in history, be that Nazi Germany or elsewhere,” he said, adding that people don’t seem afraid to be “publicly hateful and publicly loud.”
The rabbi called on all political leaders to stop using “the Jewish community as a political football.”
In an op-ed in the Times of Israel titled “Enough with the Noise and the Vitriol,” Olitzky wrote, “We cannot fall victim to the political tricks that rely on racism, and the meme of antisemitism, to bolster both sides, while still doing immense communal harm.”
The question is how and when does the descent in to Trumpfian Hell stop? I’m pretty certain that just speaking out isn’t going to do it. But, it’s a start.
and this from USA Today: “Michelle Obama beats out Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey as most admired woman, poll says.”
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?