Friday, July 8, 2016

Bloody Summer of 2016 and Coming U.S. Elections: "A Great Sorting on the Trump Question Is Coming" (As Guns Fail [Again] to Save Us)

The testimony of President Barack Obama, by way of Caitlin MacNeal: 

"I believe that I speak for every single American when I say we are horrified over these events and that we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas," he said. "According to police, there are multiple suspects. We will learn more undoubtedly about their twisted motivations." 
"But let's be clear. There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement," Obama continued. "The FBI is in touch with the Dallas police and anyone involved in the senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done."

Sarah Bertness and Olivia Messer on what happened in Dallas: 

When television screens inside a corner bar lit up with a photo of the suspected shooter, the crowd swarmed, and then quickly thinned and dispersed. One protester commented that he hoped there was no resemblance. The fear was palpable. 
A lone officer, C. Thornton, stood on the other side of the line speaking with Changa and other organizers and community advocates. "To me, just because I'm black doesn't mean I can't change the world," said a young girl with braids. "You can change the world, too," one of the organizers told Officer Thornton. 
They'll need to act fast. What happened in Dallas is beginning to look like an incipient uprising in America.

Minnesota governor Mark Dayton on what preceded the Dallas shootings in Minnesota:

"Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passengers, were white?" Dayton said nearly a day after Castile was killed. "I don’t think it would have. … I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront that this kind of racism exists." 

David Gushee on what preceded the Dallas events in Louisiana and Minnesota: 

These black men are two of 136 black Americans killed by police so far in 2016, out of a total of 561 nationwide. 
The Philando Castile Facebook video is likely to be seen as one of the most remarkable and terrifying texts of our time. Every American must watch it. 
It is evening but not dark near St. Paul. Castile’s girlfriend, identified as Lavish Reynolds, is live-narrating the shooting of her bleeding, slumped companion. This is a brave act, as the white police officer who just shot Castile still has the gun pointed at her through the driver’s side window. 
Castile was pulled over for having a busted taillight.

Heather Digby Parton on the helplessness many of us feel to stem the tide of violence, when god-damned guns are god-damned everywhere:

Guns are supposed to protect us aren't they? But this week you had two African American men who believed that they could protect themselves with a gun and it was their guns that got them killed. Another African American man legally carrying an AR-15 at a protest was tagged as a murder suspect and in the febrile atmosphere of that awful scene is very lucky he wasn’t killed. After Newtown and Paris and every other mass shooting we were told that the answer to these problems is for more people to be armed so they can "take out" the bad guys when they start shooting. After Orlando, Donald Trump even mused on the stump that it would have been "beautiful": 
"If we had people, where the bullets were going in the opposite direction, right smack between the eyes of this maniac. And this son of a bitch comes out and starts shooting and one of the people in that room happened to have (a gun) and goes boom. You know what, that would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks." 
Well, in Dallas last night dozens if not hundreds of highly trained good guys with guns were unable to stop madmen from killing four of their own and injuring seven more. And it was anything but beautiful.

German Lopez on who those guns are supposed to protect: 

Castile was black, and gun ownership in America — down to the NRA’s messaging — is largely built on white identity.

Fred Clark on the entirely unhelpful response of many white American church folks to the situation in which the nation finds itself in the summer of 2016:

This survey data from whiz pollster Robert P. Jones is astonishing:

In summary: 

The incidents are not isolated, but apparently a third of religiously unaffiliated white respondents are. More than half of white mainline Protestants and more than 7 out of 10 white evangelical Christians are isolated from reality, isolated from the lives of others, isolated from justice, from faith, hope and love, and from the plain truth plainly evident before their unseeing eyes.

Grant Tobin on who stands where vis-a-vis what's happening in this blood-soaked summer of 2016 — and on the role religious affiliation (along with gender, race, andd class) is playing on the stands we Americans are taking:

The past 24 hours has put police violence to the forefront of our public debate. 
Post something about these shootings on your Facebook page or other social media and you’ll quickly see the divide over how the public views the use of force by police.
Why such differences in opinion? Sociologists and criminologists who have examined public opinion toward police have found that support for the use of force is driven by one’s stake in the system. 
Who tends to support the police? Whites. Males. College graduates. 
Who are less supportive? Racial and ethnic minorities. Women. Lower income groups. . . .  
Support for the police is highest among those who attend an historically white Protestant church. Controlling for education differences, evangelicals aren't any different than their mainline cousins. 
Catholics, black Protestants, and those of minority religions are the least supportive of police. This may be due to differences in belief, but it may also be because these groups are historically the "out groups" in American society.

Jordan Weissmann on the ugly (and entirely unhelpful) response of the Drudge Report to the situation in which we find ourselves in the summer of 2016: 

Tommy Craggs on the ugly (and entirely unhelpful) response of former Illinois Republican U.S. Representative Joe Walsh — a Catholic — to what's happening in the summer of 2016: Craggs publishes Walsh's tweeted response to the shootings in Dallas, which he has now deleted from Twitter:

And Craggs adds:

Walsh made a small name for himself back in the day by going all bitchcakes on a constituent. He gave up his seat to Tammy Duckworth in 2013, whereupon he scored himself a goldbugs-and-fascism drivetime radio show from which he once got booted supposedly for saying "nigger." A lot of subtext is going to become text in the next few days. Seems only right for Walsh to have gotten us started.

Who's likely to benefit from the racial polarization now — see Eric Hananoki:

The white nationalist website Eternal Sentry is sponsoring an upcoming pro-Trump "unity rally" with longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone and several Trump surrogates. Eternal Sentry is a self-described "altright" website that features racist and anti-Semitic material, repeatedly warns about "White Genocide," and is produced by a Trump activist who said whites need to "fight back" against African-Americans and "send them back to the mud-huts they so desperately and obviously desire."

Who's likely to benefit from racial polarization now — listen to longtime race-mongering right-wing talking head Pat Buchanan by way of Brian Tashman: 

For centuries, racist politicians in the U.S. have warned about the looming "Negro domination” of America that will one day overtake white Americans. In a column today, Pat Buchanan issues a similar warning about what he sees as the imminent Latino and Islamic domination of the U.S. and Europe, lamenting that white people are facing demographic collapse. 
Buchanan, who for years has been obsessed with the idea of a civilizational clash to prevent the demise of white American domination, wrongly claims that there are exploding fertility rates among Muslims and Latin Americans, predicting that the rise of these two groups will soon destroy what is left of white, Christian culture. 

Not to be forgotten or discounted: the historical testimony of Republican leader and president Abraham Lincoln (by way of Donald Nieman) on the better angels of the American democratic experiment — which have never been represented by the abundant racists, xenophobes, and Know Nothings of American culture:

"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid," Lincoln wrote to his friend Joshua Speed in 1855. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that all men are created equal, but "we now practically read it as 'all men are created equal, except negroes,' "Lincoln wrote. Should the Know Nothings prevail, Lincoln continued, "it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.' " He concluded with disgust: "When it comes to this, I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

The question confronting us as the bloody summer of 2016 moves towards the fall elections, as formulated by Joy-Ann Reid

It's a threshold question, one that can trigger uncomfortable conversations: Do you support Donald Trump
As his outrages add up, and up, and up, Americans are going to be confronted with the question of where they stood when the would-be strongman vied for power, fueled by an ethno-nationalist slate. A great sorting on the Trump question is coming.

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