Perhaps you recall way back last Sunday when the most notorious bigot of the 21st Century told four members of the House of Representatives to go back where they came from, where they should be trying to fix those shithole countries (to borrow a phrase he applied to such lands eighteen months ago) instead of annoying him.
The optics aren’t good here, but let’s face it: we are a nation that is completely polarized. This president really could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue near his tacky Trump Tower #1 and not lose support from his base – which is somewhere between one third and two-firths of the American electorate. He could then try to have sex with the bullet hole (to borrow a concept from my old pal and editor Paul Krassner) and, even if he couldn’t get “it” up his base will gladly hold it for him.
Two days ago, when White House correspondent Andrew Feinberg asked White House counselor and living pestilence Kellyanne Conway about Trump’s comments, Ms. Conway responded with “What’s your ethnicity?” So, it’s not as though these people are incapable of learning. They are simply the result of Trump’s hiring policy: if you’re not a white supremacist, you’re not qualified to be Trump’s spokesbigot. As a human being, once again Conway has proven to be a crawling piece of shit.
Kellyanne’s husband George Conway wrote an amusing op-ed for the Washington Post under the headline “Trump is a racist president.” George is the former president of the Yale Law School’s conservative/libertarian Federalist Society, a former co-conspirator with Ann Coulter and Matt Drudge and, prior to marrying the ever-thoughtful Kellyanne, had dated the vivacious modern-day she-wolf of the S.S., Laura Ingraham. Nonetheless, he declined a position in the Trump administration because it was “like a shitshow in a dumpster fire.”
Yeah. It’s getting harder to find space in the right-wing gene pool.
In the real world, those optics are horrific. All four of those Congresswomen are, as the name implies, women. Exactly none of them are white women. They all are United States citizens. Moreover, three of the four were born in the United States, just like Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama. They don’t have to go home; they already are home. As is the fourth, former Somalian refugee Congresswoman Ilham Omar, has been here twenty-two years. That’s longer than some members of Trump’s most verbal goose-steppers have been alive.
If we could communicate with the dead, I think praise would be heaped upon Trump and his Trumpettes by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, as blood-thirsty as any white supremacist. After he was defeated at the end of America’s first civil war and, thus, could not return to his former position as a slave trader, General Forrest found himself a new gig: he became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. A Tennessean, Forrest was honored last week by his home state and its governor, Republican Bill Lee – just as Forrest is honored each year.
If you find that outrageous, well, you’re not alone. They say politics makes for strange bedfellows – and I use that term in the pre-Trumpian sense of “bedfellows.” Even right-wing Republican Senator Ted Cruz spoke out against that one.
If you made it through your high school American history class, you probably are aware that 78 years ago we fought a war to end white supremacy in Europe. We won that war in Europe at the cost of 418,500 American lives. It’s a shame that sacrifice had no lasting impact on our shores.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, at least five American presidents were members of the Ku Klux Klan: William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Harry Truman. To be fair, as Truman did integrate our armed forces; by that time he had quit the KKK not because of its attitude towards blacks and Jews (a.k.a. “mud people”) but because they would not permit Catholics into their cross burning ceremonies. Both Harding and Coolidge held Klan functions at the White House; indeed, Harding was indicted into the Klan at a White House ceremony. Let us keep in mind that the White House was built with the physical labor of slaves.
So, when it comes to tearing down statues and stripping Klan members from municipal, state and federal honors, just how far can we go? Should we remove McKinley, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, and Truman from their current positions of honor?
You’re damn right we should. It’s time we honored the sacrifices made by so many good people in the name of putting an end to white supremacy. We must finish the job.
Don’t count on support from the Grand Old Party. Outside of Cruz and a tiny handful of others (most of whom equivocate like a bowl of Jell-O in an earthquake), the Republicans have maintained ethical silence on Trump and his acolytes. Granted, they’ve been quite busy looking around for their missing body parts: possibly a brain here, maybe a heart there, and courage nowhere at all.
They keep on reminding the rest of us that they are the party of Abraham Lincoln, that it was their party that ended slavery. That’s nice, but it’s true in name only: within a half-century, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party had pretty much swapped policies, priorities and attitudes. Their silence in the wake of Donald Trump’s appointment to the presidency and his bigoted, totalitarian dictatorship has whelmed the world.
A missing brain, a hallow heart, and a complete lack of courage. The Republican Party has become the Wizard of Oz from Hell, and we all know who the man is behind the curtain.