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CSotD: And the Race is On

I really puzzled over which of several cartoons on the topic to lead with, but Tom Toles puts it on the line: Despite having only been a Republican for a few weeks before running for President on their ticket, Trump has since been welcomed in, sheltered and protected by a silence that can only be called cowardice.

 

Sousa and Machado remind us that, in former times, better men took stronger stances.

I find it interesting that this quote was not only written before Lincoln ran for the presidency but was in a letter to one of his closest friends, who supported slavery.

Lincoln famously did not choose his friends or his cabinet members by whether or not he agreed with them on every topic, but neither did he fail to declare his own position, not simply “even” if it differed from theirs, but “especially” if it did.

And while few people shine in comparison to Lincoln, the contrast between his principled stance and the cowardly evasions of Republicans and other conservatives is particularly striking.

Here, for instance, is former Congressional Rep. David Jolly, described by Wikipedia as a former Republican and prominent Trump critic.

I’d like to have a critic like that, who not only would back me up with a “Fact Check” but would ignore plain, obvious, documented facts in order to do it.

Although, in fairness, I’m not the first wit to suggest that sending Americans back to birthplaces like Detroit, Cincinnati and the Bronx might well put them in totally broken and crime-infested places.

 

As Jen Sorensen points out, we’ve always had people who were eager to defend the indefensible and proclaim their racism in polite, quasi-rational terms. It’s only today that we give them a bullhorn with which to present their well-reasoned responses.

They used to have to show up in person.

 

Meanwhile, though David Hume is famous for declaring that you can’t really prove anything, Brit Hume works furiously to prove that, in fact, you can prove anything at all, including the astonishing idea that telling people of color to go back where they came from is not racist.

Here’s the standard definition, and Brett apparently feels that, if you call African, Caribbean and South American countries “shitholes,” and tell people of color to go back to “countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all),” you’re not suggesting that European countries are at all superior.

Even if, when you called those other countries shitholes, you also said you wished we had more immigrants from countries like Norway.

(Maybe he didn’t mean “white.” Perhaps he meant “places with universal health care.”)

As part of Hume’s process of straining out gnats and gulping down camels, he terms these remarks “politically stupid” which doesn’t mean he disagrees, only that he wouldn’t have said it out loud.

I’d also point out that, even if you spell “counterfactual” correctly, you won’t find it in many dictionaries, and it sounds to me like one of those polite workarounds people used in the 18th century, like “you have said the thing that is not,” which was a way of choosing your words carefully in order to avoid having to choose your weapons.

Well, Brett, it’s not simply a lie but a goddam lie, and not simply a goddam lie but a goddam racist lie.

Which makes you a liar.

 

As Darrin Bell points out, the days when we could pretend not to see what was in front of us are over.

To which I would add this fillip: Back in 2016, it’s entirely possible that not all Trump supporters were racist. But, at some point, even the pig gets up and walks away, and, if you’re still lying in the gutter, given the mire and filth that’s been added since, well, that’s where you belong.

 

Not maybe. Not probably.

As Steve Brodner puts it, you invited the thing in, and you can’t be surprised if it takes you up on your offer of hospitality.

 

I wish I could believe, as John Branch suggests, that America is covering its ears in horror and disgust, but, if that were true, there’d be nothing to do but wait for the next election and watch the landslide lead us back to decency.

I have more faith in the idea that Publisher’s Clearinghouse will arrive on my doorstep with balloons and a giant check.

He’s right, however, that the pushback from Republicans has been insultingly weak. Susan Collins said “(T)he president’s tweet that some Members of Congress should go back to the ‘places from which they came’ was way over the line, and he should take that down.”

Not apologize. Not change his beliefs. But, goodness gracious, Donald, you shouldn’t say such things in front of the help.

She’d like him to take it down so nobody will think she’s in lockstep with a pig, even though she is in lockstep with a pig.

It’s a double-secret lockstep.

 

And, as John Cole says, it’s a critical double-secret lockstep, because Trump is counting on the support of those people who certainly aren’t racist and definitely aren’t xenophobic and, my goo’ness gracious, aren’t black or Latino or Muslim or from shithole countries.

They’re just plain old Default-Americans, the real kind of Americans.

Anyway, I remember that sad little high school girl Janis Ian wrote about, the one who knew right from wrong but couldn’t deal with the pressure of racist parents and racist teachers and racist friends, and promised that

One of these days I’m gonna stop my listenin’
Gonna raise my head up high
One of these days I’m gonna raise my glistenin’
Wings and fly

Back then she said, “When we’re older, things may change …”

Well, we’re older now.

Hurry up, please. It’s time.

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
July/16/2019
@ 6:57 am

Not givng a pass to anyone here, but let’s be brtally honest: there has never been a time in the US’s long and quasi-glorious history where “all men are created equal” was actually, you know, true. When those words were written, they literally meant men, who also happened to be landowners. Everyone else? Not so much. And over the next couple of centuries and a bit, women, blacks, the Chinese, the Jews, the Catholics, even the freaking Irish at one point, all found themselves under the collective thump of American society.

So, as you point out, it’s really not all that novel a thing for the US’s leadership to brandish that it prefers one societal group over another and will do all it can to protect that group over everyone else. It’s almost as ironic as telling the world you’re a haven for freedom and equality, finding thousands of refugees on your door, and then wondering why all these tacky people showed up…

#2 Mike Peterson
July/16/2019
@ 9:04 am

Well, sure, the world was a different place 250 years ago, but I can’t go back and change it. That doesn’t mean I have to accept that it can’t, and hasn’t, and won’t change.

You have to read some John Locke to understand the founders’ “intent” and think about aspiration, not just what was at the moment or is right now. I don’t like everything about James Louwen’s “Lies My Teacher Told Me” — he looks too hard to find examples — but he’s right that history shouldn’t be taught as a triumphalist progression towards perfection.

On the other hand, it’s perfectly fair and legitimate to celebrate the advances we’ve made and use them as proof that we can continuously improve.

As for welcoming immigrants, we certainly did — not just for the mills but for the farms and lumbering and other needs of a fast-growing nation. We didn’t promote them all to boards of trustees, we don’t do that now, no nation ever has.

But we did welcome them and we could now if we didn’t have a new generation of racist know-nothings that seem to have crawled out from under a rock we thought would hold them.

#3 Kathleen Elizabeth Donnelly
July/16/2019
@ 10:43 am

The last time we as a nation were so pusillanimous was when we had an opportunity let German Jews into the country to escape the Third Reich’s containment and annihilation policies. One excuse was, ‘They’d only want to live in cities’. Of course, the Jews only wanted to live. Anywhere. And we denied even a fraction of them that possibility.

#4 Mike Peterson
July/16/2019
@ 11:45 am

… including a guy named Otto Frank, who was turned down for a visa. Had a couple of daughters and a wife, IIRC. I think they went to Holland, so I’m sure they came out all right.

#5 Mark Lutton
July/16/2019
@ 9:09 pm

I recently made an astonishing discovery. The word “racism” did not appear in dictionaries until some time in the 1930’s. It is not in the original Oxford English Dictionary. The word “racialism” is in the supplement with the earliest usage in 1907. Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged, published in 1934, does not contain “racism” or “racialism” or “racist” but “racism” appears in the New Words section added in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s.

I did find one citation of use of the word “racialism” in the 19th century but evidently “racialism”, “racism” and “racist” were not at all in general use before the 1930’s.

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