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“OK, This Trump Thing Isn’t Funny Anymore”: Shouting ‘White Power’ At Rallies, Endorsed By The Daily Stormer, The Joke Is Over

It has been more than two months since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, and slowly but surely the entertainment factor as been on the wane and the fear factor has been on the rise.

As his poll numbers steadily keep him in a comfortable first place in the crowded GOP field, and he packs stadiums—receiving raucous applause in Alabama and along the Mexican border—his fiery and divisive rhetoric has taken on a new meaning. His positions have now become the focal point of the GOP field and all candidates must respond to Trump before they can proceed.

What he and his supporters say can no longer be considered a joke. During his rally in Mobile, Alabama, screams of “white power” could be heard from the audience. And last week, two white ex-cons from Boston beat up a homeless Hispanic man, and upon their arrest they told the police, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

In response to the attack, Trump said, “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.” He did not initially decry their actions, but later stated on Twitter that he thought the attack was “terrible.”

The joke is over. The horrors of a Trump presidency should not be lost on anyone. His immigration plan calls for the deportation of the estimated 11-12 million undocumented immigrants who have entered via our southern border. This position has definitely stoked the fire of Americans who are not pleased with our immigration policies, but an America that rounds up and forcefully removes a race or class of people is most certainly a dystopian nation that encourages lawlessness and anarchy.

If these policies were enacted, what would prevent American citizens from destroying the documentation of legal Hispanic immigrants, and forcefully deporting them or using the threat of deportation as leverage for rampant abuse? Arizona already has the “show me your papers” provision of SB 1070 that essentially treats Hispanics as illegal until proven innocent.

This reality might seem farfetched, but in fact America has traversed this territory before. My forebears in South Carolina were free persons of color since the late 1700s and lived as second-class citizens, but in the 1860s prior to emancipation, certain municipalities started requesting that FPCs show their papers or be forced into slavery. Many FPCs had never needed papers before, so they regularly went about their lives without documentation.

But overnight this changed. Without papers you were assumed to be a slave, and white America would see to it that you were “returned” to a life of slavery. Additionally, it was illegal to educate blacks in South Carolina, so some FPCs were illiterate, and therefore even if they had documentation it was difficult for them to prove the papers’ legitimacy. Many FPCs ran for their lives, and attempted to flee the state, but countless of them were rounded up and forced into slavery.

Essentially, even though 150 years may have passed, too many Americans are still advocating for oppressive, segregationist, and pre-Civil War policies. But this time these Americans may have decided to direct most of their hatred towards a different shade of people.

When you examine Trump’s unilateral and authoritarian foreign policy positions more red flags are raised. Invading a country to take its oil is something America has already attempted with dire consequences. Does he honestly think that he can force Mexico to pay for the construction of a wall along our border?

Concerning women’s issues and basic respect for another person he is equally troubling, and the rekindling of his vile and sexist war of words with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly shows this. He again called her a bimbo and demeaned her physical appearance. If these were merely the comments of a clown, we could brush them off and ignore them. But when it is a billionaire clown that is the GOP presidential front-runner, we all should be incredibly concerned. If this man had the authority to create and approve laws, what would his policies regarding women’s rights look like?

Even his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” stokes a nationalistic fervor that makes some Americans—predominately conservative white Americans—feel as though they are under attack from ruinous anti-American elements that need to be defeated. Yet if American greatness existed prior to the 1960s, I am sure that countless other Americans would not want to return to that era, which sure wasn’t very welcoming for them.

In another time and another place we would probably view Trump’s rise to prominence along a fascist trajectory similarly to the European movements of the early 20th century and discuss his every move as a cautionary tale, but as of yet we have not. But we should pay attention when the Daily Stormer, a conservative, Neo-Nazi and white nationalist publication, endorses Trump for president, as it did Tuesday.

This is alarming. Yet I wonder if this lack of alarm exists because his language is not foreign to American society. We have always proclaimed ourselves to be a meritocratic society where anyone can work his way to the top with hard work, but parallel to this narrative was the reality that persons of color have always had limited opportunities for advancement. Therefore, it has always been commonplace to demean the poor and/or persons of color because they supposedly had “earned” their lower station in life due to an assumed predisposition toward sloth or some other negative activity.

As long as America ignored its oppressive structures then people had an unlimited license to demean and ridicule people who they felt had “earned” less than they. It now became acceptable to fabricate negative narratives to explain an oppressed group’s lower station in life, and Trump is invoking this cultural trait to a dangerous effect.

Trump is rallying his supporters around a narrative of nationalistic pride, collective frustration, and dehumanizing language regarding persons of color and women, and this cannot be a platform American society can embrace again. Our collective fear concerning his candidacy should be about what era of America’s past he wants to return us to in his quest to “Make America Great Again.”

 

By: Barrett Holmes Pitner, The Daily Beast, August 27, 2015

August 28, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Persons of Color, White Supremacy | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Tragic History Of Race Wars”: 70 Years After A Flash Of Soundless Light Blasted Away 60,000 Lives

He wanted to start a race war.

That, you will recall, was what authorities say white supremacist Dylann Roof had in mind when he shot up a storied African-American church in June. It might have surprised him to learn that we’ve already had a race war.

No, that’s not how one typically thinks of World War II, but it takes only a cursory consideration of that war’s causes and effects to make the case. Germany killed 6 million Jews and rampaged through Poland and the Soviet Union because it considered Jews and Slavs subhuman. The Japanese stormed through China and other Asian outposts in the conviction that they were a superior people and that Americans, as a decadent and mongrel people, could do nothing about it.

Meantime, this country was busy imprisoning 120,000 of its citizens of Japanese ancestry in concentration camps and plunging into a war against racial hatred with a Jim Crow military. The American war effort was undermined repeatedly by race riots — whites attacking blacks at a shipyard in Mobile, white servicemen beating up Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles, to name two examples.

So no, it is not a stretch to call that war a race war.

It ended on August 15, 1945. V-J — Victory over Japan — Day was when the surrender was announced, the day of blissfully drunken revelry from Times Square in New York to Market Street in San Francisco. But for all practical purposes, the war had actually ended nine days before — 70 years ago Thursday — in a noiseless flash of light over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. One person who survived — as at least 60,000 people would not — described it as a “sheet of sun.”

The destruction of Hiroshima by an atomic bomb — Nagasaki followed three days later — did not just end the war. It also ushered in a new era: the nuclear age. To those of us who were children then, nuclear power was what turned Peter Parker into a human spider and that lizard into Godzilla.

It was also what air-raid sirens were screaming about when the teacher told you to get down under your desk, hands clasped behind your neck. We called them “drop drills.” No one ever explained to us how putting an inch of laminated particle board between you and a nuclear explosion might save you. None of us ever thought to ask. We simply accepted it, went to school alongside this most terrifying legacy of the great race war, and thought nothing of it.

The world has seen plenty of race wars — meaning tribalistic violence — before and since 1945. Ask the Armenians, the Tutsis, the Darfurians. Ask the Congolese, the Cambodians, the Herero. Ask the Cherokee. The childish urge of the human species to divide itself and destroy itself has splashed oceans of blood across the history of the world.

The difference 70 years ago was the scope of the thing — and that spectacular ending. For the first time, our species now had the ability to destroy itself. We were still driven by the same childish urge. Only now, we were children playing with matches.

This is the fearsome reality that has shadowed my generation down seven decades, from schoolchildren doing drop drills to grandparents watching grandchildren play in the park. And the idea that we might someday forge peace among the warring factions of the planet, find a way to help our kind overcome tribal hatred before it’s too late, has perhaps come to seem idealistic, visionary, naïve, a tired ’60s holdover, a song John Lennon once sang that’s nice to listen to but not at all realistic.

Maybe it’s all those things.

Though 70 years after a flash of soundless light blasted away 60,000 lives, you have to wonder what better options we’ve got. But then, I’m biased.

You see, I have grandchildren playing in the park.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist, The Miami Herald, August 3, 2015

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Race War, White Supremacy, World War II | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Why Does The Senate Honor A White Supremacist?”: It’s Time To Ditch Richard Russell For Bob Dole

As I write these words on Monday, the South Carolina State Senate is poised to remove the Confederate battle flag from its capitol grounds entirely. These developments in the Palmetto State and elsewhere are all positive, and of course it’s high time for them. But Confederate battle flags on capitol grounds do not constitute the most conspicuous symbolic tribute to white supremacy in our political-architectural landscape.

No, the symbol I have in mind isn’t to be found in Columbia or Montgomery or Baton Rouge or Jackson. It’s right here in Washington, 2.6 miles from where I sit typing these sentences.

Hey, United States Senate: What in the world are you still doing with a building named in honor of Richard Russell?

As I trust you know, Richard Brevard Russell was a senator from Georgia from 1933 until his death in 1971. In his day, he was respected and revered. When you read about him you often read sentences like “the Senate was Russell’s mistress, his true and only love”; and indeed he never married, bore no children, and seems to have spent his waking hours thinking almost exclusively of how to bring honor and dignity to what we’ve long since stopped calling the world’s greatest deliberative body.

And sometimes, he did bring honor upon that body. His chairmanship of a special joint committee into President Truman’s firing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur is considered a model of deliberative bipartisanship. It was a highly sensitive time that carried a Seven Days in May kind of whiff about it—MacArthur wanted to invade China and enjoyed a huge popular following. It was an easy situation to demagogue, and Russell did not. So yes, he did good.

But: He was a racist and a segregationist who, precisely because of the esteem in which he was held high even by Yankees for other reasons, may have done more to hold back civil rights and integration in this country than any other single individual, including Strom Thurmond and anyone else you care to name. Thurmond wrote the initial draft of the infamous 1956 Southern Manifesto, the resolution signed by Southern senators and House members stating their support for segregation and their refusal to obey Brown v. Board of Education. But Russell rewrote a lot of it and was a key or even the key figure in rounding up the votes against civil rights legislation.

He was a white supremacist—not a cross-burning white supremacist, but a white supremacist all the same. Does that sound harsh? Well, here (PDF) is something Russell said while campaigning in 1936, when his opponent was accusing him of supporting New Deal programs that would promote integration: “As one who was born and reared in the atmosphere of the Old South, with six generations of my forebears now resting beneath Southern soil, I am willing to go as far and make as great a sacrifice to preserve and insure white supremacy in the social, economic, and political life of our state as any man who lives within her borders.”

He opposed every piece of civil rights legislation that came his way. In fact, he had participated in his first anti-civil-rights filibuster the year before that 1936 election, when he helped block an anti-lynching law. He helped block another anti-lynching law in 1938. After the war, according to political scientist Robert D. Loevy in his To End All Segregation, Russell was the leader of the Southern bloc. Want to understand how committed he was to that position? In 1952, he could have become part of the Democratic Party’s Senate leadership structure. But going national in that way meant, as he knew, that he would have to soften his views on race. He refused.

On and on and on like this we could go. But here’s all you really need to know. In 1964, after his party finally succeeded in leading the push for civil rights legislation, what did Russell do? Decide to change a little? Throw in the towel just a bit? Nope. He refused to attend the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. And his racial views never changed.

He died in 1971, and they named the building after him the next year. Such were the times that his racism could be contextualized as an understandable and forgivable flaw. Maybe it’s still understandable, given the time and place of his birth and rearing. But it’s no longer forgivable to such an extent that one of only three Senate office buildings has to bear his name,

The other two Senate buildings, incidentally, are named after completely honorable men whose escutcheons carry no such stains. Everett Dirksen was a tad conservative for my tastes, but as the Republican leader in 1964, he did go along with LBJ and Senate Democratic Leader Mike Mansfield in support of civil rights. And Democrat Phil Hart of Michigan was one of the great public servants of his time. Yes, his politics were my politics, but it was his sense of honor that most defined him. He once learned that an aide in his Detroit office was taking a little honest graft. Aghast, Hart called a Detroit newspaper reporter to give him the story; to bust himself. The reporter didn’t run with it, telling Hart that no one would believe a Phil Hart-corruption story in the first place. This is what made his colleagues decide immediately that the new office building that was going up in the mid-1970s should be named in honor of their cancer-stricken colleague.

Sorry, a racist who spent 30 years making sure black children went to inferior schools and black adults couldn’t vote doesn’t deserve to be in their company. The Senate must change the name. But…to what?

Sitting where I do on the ideological parking lot, I turn naturally toward a figure like Hubert Humphrey. He was a giant of the Senate, and I rather like the symbolism of erasing a racist’s name and replacing it with the Senate’s most forward-thinking and courageous integrationist.

But I’ll tell you what. Let’s not make this a partisan thing. So I say, give it to a Republican. How about the Robert Dole Senate Office Building? He’s not exactly my dish of Kansas corn on a number of issues, but by cracky, as a young member of the House of Representatives, he voted for the civil rights bill in 1964. And then of course there was his later work on civil rights for the disabled. That’s reversal enough of Russellism for me. And he’s still alive, and it would be a nice thing for him, and into the bargain the Senate could make up for that shameful slap it administered to Dole’s face three years ago over that UN disabilities treaty.

Mitch McConnell, get on it. You once worked for a great moderate Republican, John Sherman Cooper, one of the few Southerners who voted for the civil rights bill. Harry Reid, this ought to be a no-brainer for you. Senators Pat Leahy, Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand—you feel proud giving out your Washington address to your constituents? Somebody make a play here. Try to keep pace with South Carolina, will you?

 

By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, July 7, 2015

July 8, 2015 Posted by | Civil Rights Act, Confederate Flag, White Supremacy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“This Flag Comes Down Today!”: Reciting Prayers, Woman Takes Down Confederate Flag At South Carolina Capitol

A woman publicly took down the Confederate flag at the South Carolina state Capitol grounds early Saturday morning, climbing the pole at the Confederate memorial and removing that flag before she then submitted herself to be arrested. A new Confederate flag was then put back in its place.

The woman has been identified as Brittany “Bree” Newsome, an African-American resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, Columbia’s newspaper The State reports. Newsome has been detained on a vandalism offense — and in the hours since, a popular hashtag has emerged on Twitter, called “#FreeBree.”

Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) called this week for the Confederate flag to come down, in the wake of the massacre at a historic black church in Charleston by a confessed white supremacist. Haley’s statement has in turn kicked off a process of debates and votes in the state legislature, which is still ongoing. That flag has been located at a Confederate war memorial on the Capitol grounds since 2000 — a compromise measure after it had previously flown from the state Capitol Dome itself, placed there in 1962 as a gesture of state defiance against desegregation and the civil rights movement.

In a video posted on YouTube, showing Newsome clad in climbing gear, she grabbed the Confederate flag and cried out: “You come against me with hatred, and oppression and violence — I come against you in the name of God! This flag comes down today!”(http://youtu.be/gr-mt1P94cQ)

Newsome also recited Christian prayers as she descended the pole: “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Who shall I fear?”

As she descended, the pole was surrounded by three police officers. She assured them in a calm and friendly tone of voice: “I’m gonna come, sir. I’m gonna comply. I promise you, I’m coming down. I’m prepared to be arrested.”

Of the three arresting officers, two were black and one white. The arrest appears to have gone smoothly, with Newsome and the officers cooperating to help her over the waist-high iron fence surrounding the flagpole before placing both her and a white male accomplice in handcuffs.

The State also reports:

At about 7:45 a.m., a maintenance worker and a state security officer, neither of whom would give their names or comment, raised a new banner after removing it from a plastic sheet. The two state employees who arrived on the State House grounds to put the flag back up were African-Americans.

A member of a group associated with Newsome express disappointment to the paper that the Confederate flag was put back up again: “All they had to do was keep it down.”

 

By: Eric Kleefeld, The National Memo, June 27, 2015

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Confederate Flag, South Carolina Legislature, White Supremacy | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Hard, Cold Politics Of Neo-Confederacy”: Now Fly Under The Flag Of “Constitutional Conservatism” With Tricorner Hat Of The Tea Party

Even as a lot of conservatives advanced dumb revisionist histories whereby no Republican had ever expressed sympathy for the Confederacy and its symbols, RealClearPolitics’ Sean Trende offered a clear-eyed analysis of the politics of the matter in recent decades, and while I don’t agree with all his conclusions, it’s a breath of fresh air.

Long story short: Trende argues that the “flag” controversy became a big deal during a relatively brief period when the older downscale rural white southerners who care about it were up for grabs (at least in non-presidential contests) between the two parties, and is now coming to an end because Democrats have lost them and Republicans can now take them for granted.

Because Democrats no longer see any electoral payoff in talking to guys with Confederate flags in the back of their pickup trucks, they no longer have any incentive to make even weak gestures toward keeping the flag around. Progressives are freed from their need to keep up their awkward dance with rural Southerners for the sake of maintaining some degree of power in the South (a dance that dates back at least to FDR’s reluctance to endorse anti-lynching laws). Polarization has forced them – and freed them – to explore new paths to power.

At the same time, it’s important to realize that most prominent Southern Republican politicians have roots in either the suburban or old establishment Democrat wings of the party. I doubt if Nikki Haley or Bobby Jindal grew up with much affection for the Confederate flag. The same goes for Mitch McConnell – who entered politics in Jefferson County (Louisville), an old Union town whose Republicanism was strong enough that it almost voted for Herbert Hoover in 1932.

The examples Trende offers of this dynamic include one with which I am very familiar: Zell Miller coming out for a “flag” change in 1993 and then losing badly among white rural voters in 1994. Cause and effect are not easy to untangle here, however. Miller was already going to lose a lot of support in rural North Georgia in 1994 because in 1990 he benefited enormously from a “native son” effect–North Georgia had rarely produced governors in a state long dominated politically by South Georgia “black belt” pols–that would not appear a second time. He also had an alternative strategy for a majority, based on his education initiatives, and in fact, he won in 1994 because some of his rural losses were offset by suburban gains. All of this is consistent with Trende’s theory that “polarization” eventually took the “flag” off the table, but real politicians had real risks and decisions to make.

As for Trende’s idea that neither party has had any interest in defending the Confederate heritage once Battle-flag-loving rural whites died off or became part of the GOP “base,” I think he misses the broader resonance of neo-Confederate ideology, which isn’t just about battle flags and whistling Dixie. As I argued at TPMCafe earlier this week, all sorts of notions associated with the Confederacy, from absolute state sovereignty and absolute private property rights to a hostile/paternalistic attitude towards African-Americans, remain active elements of hard-core conservative ideology. That they may now fly under the different, red-white-and-blue flag of “constitutional conservatism”–complete with the tricorner hat of the Tea Party–doesn’t change that.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, June 25, 2015

June 26, 2015 Posted by | Christian Conservatives, Confederate Flag, Racism, White Supremacy | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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