Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Whitewashing Of History

It's one thing to constantly put up the Republican party's dog whistle Southern Strategy racism, but it's quite another to have a Republican Congressman go on television and pitch actual white supremacy arguments during the party convention. And of course, it's Iowa Republican Steve King making an ass of himself and his state again.

Appearing on MSNBC Monday evening, King was part of a panel of four people discussing the Republican National Convention. Esquire’s Charles Pierce, one of King’s co-panelists, commented on the dominance of “loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people” at the RNC. King objected not so much to Pierce’s factual premise as to the notion that the monochromatic nature of the GOP is a bug.

This whole ‘white people business’ though does get a little tired,” King declared. “I’d ask you to go back through history,” he added, “and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people your talking about. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

Holy hell.  He actually said this.

When host Chris Hayes asked King to clarify whether the congressman was asserting that no race contributed more to society than white people, King made a slight rhetorical shift, claiming instead that “western civilization” that is “rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America, and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world” is the greatest contributor to civilization.
And I mean this, guys, he actually said this.

So....yeah.  White people made the "greatest contribution" to the planet.  I'm sure that's news to Africa, The Americas and Asia, with civilizations around millennia before Europe was settled.  What the hell did the Egyptians, Babylonians, Mayans, Songhai, Aztecs, and Chinese ever do for the world, anyway?  Probably nothing as good as Hot Pockets and TV, man.


And yet this guy is a sitting congressman, spouting white nationalist garbage on TV.  This is your modern GOP, guys.  Own up to the racism, or do something to stop it.

It's Just A Piece Of Paper, Right?

John Nichols at The Nation reminds us that not only are Trump's ridiculous plans for the nation after his election obscenely unfeasible and heartlessly immoral, they are also strictly unconstitutional in just about every aspect.  Trump's stated platform (which is now the GOP's stated platform in many cases) is a massive violation of multiple amendments in the Bill of Rights.

As Republican Party “constitutionalists” prepare to nominate authoritarian billionaire Donald Trump for the presidency this week in Cleveland, the American Civil Liberties union has determined that the candidate’s proposals would violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution. 
It is not news that Trump has, during the course of his campaign for the GOP nomination, put himself at odds with basic premises of a Bill of Rights that defends a free press, guarantees freedom of religion, and guards against torture and abuses of privacy. But when his proposals are pulled together—as the ACLU has done in a new analysis of the Republican candidate’s public statements and policy positions—the extent to which Trump would shred the Constitution in general and the Bill of Rights in particular is breathtaking. 
“Taken together, his policies and positions, if put into place, would violate the Constitution and federal and international law,” says Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU, which reviewed the candidate’s agenda and determined that “Trump’s proposals would violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution.” 
Trump has from the start of his campaign sparked controversy with statements, actions, and proposals that disregard the First Amendment. He and his aides have created blacklists of journalists, and the candidate has expressed an interest in rewriting libel laws in order to intimidate, punish, and potentially silence critics of powerful individuals and interests. Trump has, as well, proposed schemes to discriminate against Muslims and to spy on mosques and neighborhoods where Muslims live—with steady disregard for the amendment’s guarantee of protection for America’s diverse religious communities. 
But that’s just the beginning of Trump’s assaults on the Constitution.Trump has encouraged the use of torture and blatantly disregardedprivacy protections that have been enshrined in the founding document since the 18th century. He has attacked the basic premises of a constitutionally defined separation of powers, with rhetorical assaults on individual jurists and the federal judiciary so extreme that House Speaker Paul Ryan described one such attack as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” He has proposed instituting religious tests. He has shown open and consistent disregard for the promise that all Americans will receive equal protection under the law. 
“If implemented, Donald Trump’s proposed policies will spark a constitutional and legal challenge that would require all hands on deck at the ACLU,” says Romero. “The ACLU and its more than 300 attorneys in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., stand ready to challenge and impede implementation of his unlawful proposals, should he attempt to see them through.” 
It should never come to that.

I'm glad the ACLU stands ready to fight the GOP on this, but the simple fact of the matter is they are now the party of blatantly racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic fascism, and nominating Donald Trump will cement that for a generation.  Trump never should have gotten this far, but here he is, about to be nominated as the presidential candidate of a major political party, because that party has enabled hatred and bigotry in a desperate attempt to consolidate political power.

In the short term it has been wildly successful at the state and local government level, all but wiping out the Democratic party in the South and most of the Midwest, leaving isolated pockets of resistance between the coasts.

In the long term, we're going to see that fall apart.  But there's still quite a bit of damage that the GOP can do in its death throes, and the reactionary election of Trump is still not out of the question.


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