Since June 16, 2015, when his ignorant, showboating ass dramatically rode down the escalator at Trump Tower and delivered a highly offensive speech that maligned Mexican immigrants as “rapists” to launch his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has presented a unique conundrum for Republicans.
The party of the southern strategy, voter suppression, fear-mongering campaign ads, and a host of other racist politically-driven antics has long been a domicile for demagoguery. However, the key difference between them and Trump is that they have served up subtle prejudice, whereas Trump opts for grand displays of crudity. And because of that variance in delivery, members of the Grand Old Party have been given undeserving chances to grandstand and feign moral superiority over a monster of their own making.
All week, in the wake of Trump’s comments about the events that have taken place in Charlottesville—it doesn’t matter the day, they’re all fucking terrible—Republicans have felt the need to speak out and pretend to be better than the hateful imbecil they helped make president of the United States. But the question should not be, “When will Republicans stand up to Trump equating white supremacists, white nationalists, and Neo-Nazis with those who protest them?” but rather “When will Republicans be forced to look in the mirror and acknowledge their own racism?”
Yes, once upon a time, former president George H.W. Bush condemned David Duke when he was a candidate for governor of Louisiana. But he is also the man who became president thanks to the Willie Horton campaign ad, which purposely stoked a white electorate’s fear of black men.
As for former president George W. Bush, the name “Katrina” comes to mind.
Then there is Jeb! Bush, the man who once said as a gubernatorial candidate that he would “probably do nothing” for black voters, and in subsequent years would end affirmative action and actively work to disenfranchise black voters in Florida (which helped his brother’s quest for the presidency). Moreover, recall the last GOP primary in which then-candidate Jeb was asked at a South Carolina campaign event how he planned to attract black voters. He answered by noting that he wouldn’t be giving away “free stuff.”
Such stereotyping echoes another failed Republican presidential contender, Mitt Romney, who had the audacity to insinuate that black people just want handouts from the government...while addressing the NAACP.
Not to mention, for all Romney’s pre-election condemnations of Trump, he sure did seek a job as Secretary of State once the opportunity presented itself.
One cannot forget about another coward, Paul Ryan, who may say he finds white supremacy to be “repulsive,” but in years past faulted lazy black men for inner-city poverty, which ironically sounds like what he might call a “textbook definition of a racist comment.” He’s also had nothing to say about voter ID laws intentionally designed to keep black voters iced out in his home state of Wisconsin.
I’d be more impressed by the likes of Lindsey Graham if he didn’t dismiss rightful criticism about the racial politics of Jeff Sessions back in January. Graham even had the nerve to ask Sessions, “Would you agree that being called a racist is the worst thing that can ever happen to someone?” What about actually being a victim of racism—notably the kind of racism a walking confederate mascot like Sessions gets to yield with the power of the entire Department of Justice as attorney general?
Then there is our favorite non-maverick and Graham’s Senate BFF, John McCain, a man who voted against MLK Day, subjected us toSarah Palin, has excessively used the racist term “gook,” and whose 2008 campaign events were previously accused of invoking George Wallace. You know, just like 45.
Oh yeah: He has his own history of racist tweets, too.
Sure, “Little” Marco Rubio can tweet about his disdain of white supremacists, but never forget that he wrote an op-ed for the race-baiting site Breitbart News, a site he had previously written off as not a credible source of news.
Bob Corker called out the president, but while he disapproved of one racist ad back in 2006 leveled against Harold Ford Jr., he approved of another. There’s also the fact that this isn’t the first time Corker has addressed Trump’s racism, only to fall back in line later. This is a man who was touted as a possible cabinet pick or even a would-be vice president. He has long known what kind of man Trump is, but aligned himself with him, anyway.
As for RNC staffers who suddenly want to speak out about racist jackasses, if you truly gave a damn about racism, you would also condemn housing segregation, police brutality, work discrimination, and voter suppression.
These Republicans may not be running people over or shouting “Sieg Heil,” but they’re still making the lives of marginalized people harder by pushing racist policy. Their political stances, much like those Confederate statutes, are very much designed to keep the oppressed in their places. These Republicans want to make it harder for me to vote; they don’t mind that my life is endangered by trigger-happy cops; they are quick to stereotype anyone else who looks like me; they have absolutely no problem pretending my legitimate concerns about systemic racism are nothing more than a figment of my lazy black ass imagination.
Racism offered with subtly and innuendo is no less damaging than its louder counterpart. So why should any of us allow these Republicans who have banked on racism for half a century to act as if they are so much better than the overt racists on the streets of Charlottesville and their Confederacy-defending president?
Trump is not now nor has he ever been an anamoly within the Republican Party; he is their id. The same goes for those he has decided to defend. Republicans are not better than them simply because they express their racism in softer tones. Can we finally stop letting them believe otherwise?