Monday, November 21, 2016

What "Pro-Life" White Christian Voters Have Brought Us: Shouts of "Heil the People!" As National Registry of Muslims Is Mulled Over

This is my own running chronicle of what's rapidly unfolding, from just the past several days. You probably have your own tally going, too. It behooves us to be paying attention. God in heaven knows, the "pro-life" Christians and the "liberal" Catholic or other Christian journals who give the work of those "pro-life" Christians high profiles are not going to be keeping us informed about all of this. Despite their professed commitment to upholding the sanctity of life, they seem, in fact, oblivious to it and even jubilant that they have scored a "pro-life" victory in electing Donald Trump:

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, by way of Media Matters:

Bravo President Trump! Some great first steps. We’re on the way, folks, to taking America back.

White rage got us here. While the economic anxiety of Trump supporters is often touted as the driving force behind the mogul’s electoral college victory, that rationale is just a ruse, a clever red herring. The median income of a Trump supporter is more than $70,000 per year, which is well above the national average, and a 2016 study noted that it would take African Americans 228 years to equal the wealth of whites in the U.S. Clearly, Trump's pathway into the Oval Office is not really about white economic angst. Rather, Barack Obama's election — and its powerful symbolism of black advancement — was the major trigger for the policy backlash that led to Donald Trump, and which has now put America’s national security at risk. 

White nationalists gathered in downtown Washington, DC, on Saturday to celebrate the election of Donald Trump as a victory for their movement. As protesters outside carried signs decrying racism, the mood among the approximately 250 white nationalists inside the Ronald Reagan Building was jubilant.

In 11 hours of speeches and panel discussions in a federal building named after Ronald Reagan a few blocks from the White House, a succession of speakers had laid out a harsh vision for the future, but had denounced violence and said that Hispanic citizens and black Americans had nothing to fear. Earlier in the day, Mr. Spencer himself had urged the group to start acting less like an underground organization and more like the establishment. 
But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the "children of the sun," a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were "awakening to their own identity." 
As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or perhaps another person standing near him at the front of the room — it was not clear who — shouted, "Heil the people! Heil victory," the room shouted it back.

The thread that ties Bannon's alt-right advocacy to Flynn's clash-of-civilizations worldview to Sessions' skeptical eye toward civil rights enforcement is a belief in the political and cultural dominance of white Americans. Their America isn't a tapestry or a melting pot; it is simply white. Judging from the presence of men such as Bannon and Sessions, we should expect a Trump administration to roll back any progress this country has made toward inclusion and participation. We should also expect it to empower states to pursue discriminatory policy on voting, to empower local police departments to operate with impunity against communities of color, and to empower those who see Muslims—citizens or otherwise—as threats to contain or eliminate. 

Make no mistake, this election was not primarily about the economy. For Trump's adherents, it was about nothing less than saving the soul of the nation. Their quarrel with government was not that they were doing badly but that "the others" were making inroads, catching up, and, if unchecked, they would somehow surpass the Real Americans. The impulses of Trump’s legions were not racial, but tribal. What was "elite" about their foes was not their finances but their fluidity, their openness to change, which conservatives saw as a challenge not to their pocketbooks but a threat to their belief system. 
Which is why the passions of this election had the force of a religious war and Donald Trump was seen as a savior. 

But a more accurate historical analogy is not the Japanese internment camps, which came at the end of the roundup, imprisonment and deportation system, but Nazi Germany’s imposition of compulsory registration of Jews in the countries Germany occupied soon after invading in 1939 and 1940. 
In Holland, the European country that deported the highest percentage of its Jewish population, the registry was the first step in a process of identifying, isolating, incarcerating, and deporting Jews, wrote European World War II historian Robert Moore. The registries were the front end of a methodical system that stripped Jews of their civil liberties, access to courts, property rights, and financial assets before being rounded up for imprisonment and deportation. 

Jeff Schechtman (and Sarah Kendzior): 

Racism, white supremacy and violence are all bubbling very close to the surface, and scapegoating will add fuel to the fire. . . . 
So we're in for a very ugly situation where I think we're going to be economically bottomed out. I think everyone is going to suffer, whether you voted for Trump or you didn't. He might try to placate people in the beginning by throwing them some jobs, maybe through infrastructure projects but it seems clear from his team that the goal—as you've seen in other countries all around the world, is to try to make as much money for himself and his friends as he can by using and abusing executive powers to strip down national resources and carry out the kind of acts of corruption that he has, many of which we don't know about because he won't release his tax returns. So we should be prepared for economic volatility in a very extreme way. We should also be prepared for sanctioned violence and for policies that frankly disregard the Constitution and the rights of American citizens. 

Donald Trump's unanticipated victory could not have been possible without the election of Barack Obama as America's first African-American president. Trump entered national politics by waging a crusade against the possibility of Obama's citizenship. It proved to be the perfect way to touch the psychic wound of so many Americans who have not faced our legacy of racism. Anyone familiar with the Mississippi Plan of 1876 or the Southern Strategy of 1968 can be surprised only by the ease with which Trump adapted them for the 21st century. 
Trump's attacks on immigrants, Muslims and the LGBTQ community were political ploys based on the fundamental racial fear at the heart of the American experience. When he told white Americans that he was their last chance to make America great again, he was touching a wound passed down since the lost cause religion of the 19th century. 

Dear hard-working white people: Congratulaitons, you played yourself. Donald Trump's not bringing back those imaginary factory jobs — so I hope racism keeps you warm at night. 
You aren't going to make any extra money under Donald Trump, so I hope your racism, or your attempt to ignore it, keeps you warm at night. 
OK, we have all gotten the memo that it’s not cool or politically correct to yell "I hate the blacks, I hate the Mexicans and I hate the Jews!" But seriously, when was the last time the KKK celebrated a presidential election? They've got a glowing picture of an airbrushed, Photoshopped and digitally toned Donald on the homepage of their website. He stands heroic under a presidential seal that reads "Trump's Race United My People."

But let's go back to the lede here: We're going to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Muslim-loathing National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. And alt-right propaganda visionary turned top political strategist Steve Bannon. 
Three's a pattern, not an accident. And who thinks it’s going to stop at three? This is as ghastly a start as could have been imagined. 

Clearly, the instructions [in the U.S. Catholic bishops' voters guide] are to vote for a Republican, regardless of his or her character.

Facing increased reports of hate-fueled harassment, vandalism, property destruction, and assault in the wake of Donald Trump's election last week, more than 100 faith, labor, and civil rights groups on Friday sent a letter to the president-elect, urging him to "loudly, forcefully, unequivocally, and consistently" denounce such acts. 
The organizations, which represent more than 10 million people across the United States, call particular attention to the number of incidents taking place at schools and college campuses—like in Michigan, where middle school students chanted "build the wall" at classmates, or in Pennsylvania, where parents received a letter about swastika graffiti in student bathrooms. 

Incidents of hate-related violence and other abuses have proliferated throughout this lovely land of ours. The presidential campaign and now the election results have further allowed the pinheads of society to let their racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic freak flags fly. Despite denials from many on the right and the Trump transition team, this is  really happening — unlike that avalanche of fake news stories that have been overwhelming social media. 
(And yes, I know  have been scattered incidents in which Trump followers have been vilified on the streets, but far fewer.) 
Journalists who investigated Trump, his businesses, family and associates have been mailed anti-Semitic screeds or threatened with violence and even death. Women who have reported on Trump have been sent the vilest sexist epithets. Kshama Sawant, the socialist city council member from Seattle who recently urged protests at Trump’s inauguration in January has been targeted for email and phone attacks, some of which have suggested that she kill herself. 
Just about everyone I know has a story or two or three from the last week and a half. My friend Deana tells of a part-Asian co-worker swung at by a white male who mistook him as being from the Middle East, of a friend’s boyfriend who was told to "Go back to Africa" on his Facebook page, of another friend’s middle-school-aged daughter and other girls who were pushed around by boys in her class, some wearing Trump T-shirts and shouting hateful things about women.

Whatever you might be thinking to the contrary, it can absolutely happen here. Trump's election is self-evident proof. 
Anyone expecting business as usual from the Trump White House is begging to be shocked when it doesn't happen that way. We've fallen well outside the mainstream with this election. The timeline is skewed, and what follows won't be easy to contain or to roll back. Expect the worst, hope for the best, and pray for the timeline to correct itself soon.

(22 November: note that Cleveland Girl has pointed out that the tweet by Tila Tequila at the top of the posting no longer contains the image of her and others giving a Nazi salute at the white-supremacist meeting in D.C. this past weekend. When I click on the tweet, I see that Twitter has taken down her account. The photo from the tweet is being widely circulated online, and I have now put a screenshot of it at the head of the posting, so that there is an accurate historical record of what is happening in the U.S. right now.)

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