Tuesday, July 16, 2019

"We Are Watching as a President Returns Naked Racism to the White House": Commentary

The graphic above is the lead headline on Huffington Post this morning.  My commentary about it:

The faux shock of so many at pretending to discover now he's a racist: why do you imagine people flocked to the polls and voted for him? Why did more than half of white Christians put him into the White House? 
Stop pretending.
We are watching as a majority of the nation's white Christians unmask themselves, unmask their deep racism. This includes right-wing white Christians who have flocked to the Republican party as it has beaten the racial drum, even while claiming their motive for becoming Republican is "pro-life." It also includes so-called "liberal" white Christians like many Catholic intellectual and media gurus who castigated those of us who wanted to talk about racism as the primary reason this vile man got elected, and who told us it was all about "economic anxiety” and the Democrats' failure to understand folks' feelings about abortion and same-sex marriage. 
Enough. It's about racism and white supremacy. Full stop. 
Which side are you on? 

White people and whiteness are the center of the Trump presidency. His primary concern is to defend, protect and promote it. All that threatens it must be attacked and assaulted. Trump is bringing the force of the American presidency to the rescue of white supremacy. And, self-identified Republicans absolutely love him for it. 
We are watching a very dark chapter in this nation's history unfold in real time. We are watching as a president returns naked racism to the White House. And we are watching as fellow citizens — possibly a third of them — reveal to us their open animus for us through their continued support of him.

Pence and Trump didn't want to sanitize their border cruelty; they wanted these images broadcast. Their base no doubt thrills to the photos of brown men in cages; the brown children, well, they're there because of their criminal parents. Pence's performative Christianity sickens me, but it’s clear he worships one God, and it's Donald Trump.

His strategy is sharply reminiscent of that waged by segregationist George Wallace in multiple presidential campaigns beginning in the 1960s.

What emerges thematically across his presidency, from Congress to the nation’s borders, is an increasing level of hatred.

David Remnick, "A Racist in the White House":

A lot of people love it. This might as well be Trump's campaign slogan. ... 
Republicans and Independents, evangelicals, and many others who might have voted for Trump in 2016 will eventually have to ask themselves whether it is possible to go on believing that he is a man of sufficient character to hold the Presidency. They will have to ask themselves what it means to overlook his racism and what this says about them. How can they believe it is possible to support a racist and escape that in themselves? Or will they pronounce themselves, as the Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, did, "not concerned"?

If you doubted that the 2020 presidential campaign will be the ugliest you've ever experienced, the past few days should have disabused you of that. 

Trump's brand of politics is often called "tribal"' but "racist" is a better word. The wedge he is trying to drive, with his attacks on the Squad, is essentially white vs. nonwhite.  

We shouldn't rise to his bait, but how can we not? If we ignore him, we normalize his reckless behavior, and that's even worse. 

Paul Krugman, "Racism Comes Out of the Closet": 

This isn't just about Trump; it's about his whole party. 
I don't just mean the almost complete absence of condemnation of Trump's racism on the part of prominent Republicans, although this cowardice was utterly predictable. I mean that Trump isn't alone in deciding that this is a good time to bring raw racism out of the closet.

Over the past three years, it has been like pulling teeth to get some members of the press to call the constant stream of falsehoods, fantasies, and figments of tortured non-facts lies. It shouldn't be hard to call a lie a lie, but some parts of the news media act as if mental telepathy is necessary to use the word "liar" or "lie" since they argue it requires a judgment on intent which offends their journalistic sensibilities. Of course, this is complete bullshit. … 
However, if the media has problems using the word lie, their inability to call something or someone "racist" is outright disgraceful

Trump's tweets, the paper [Süddeutsche Zeitung] wrote, were so "clearly racist, that a debate over their content are a waste of time."

While many commentators noted the open racism of Trump's remarks, Fox & Friends praised Trump for "making an important point," even laughing along as they read what he wrote.

Trump's recent tweets could show that he understands America better than his critics realize. ... 
To paraphrase another President -- Abraham Lincoln -- we eventually "will become all one thing or all the other." 
We can become what one scholar called a "compassionate, multireligious, multiracial democracy." 
Or we can become what another called a "hollowed out" democracy, where one ethnic group rules the rest. 
The outrage over Trump's tweets will eventually fade. But the choice his racial rhetoric presents to America will be with us for years to come.

His remarks suggest that "real Americans" are precisely two things: white and Christian. And the whole of his presidency has been an attempt to push this view by linking symbols of America with an exclusionary ethnic and religious nationalism. ... 
Trump has hijacked the American civil religion, a concept that should serve as a basis for unity for citizens and used it in an attempt to further divide us along lines of race, party, and religion in the name of political expediency. 
With every word and action the president and his party – which has been eerily silent on his latest affront – take to entrench themselves in power by playing on fear in the public, they may cling closer to the symbols of America's civil religion, but they are pulling the nation further from the principles those symbols are intended to espouse.

Trump and his supporters will continue to advocate for discriminatory policies, and they will deny that their overtly bigoted remarks are bigoted, yet by their works you will know them. … 
This is not a fight that will be won by nitpicking. Contesting Trumpism means appealing to a different strain of American nationalism—the one represented by people such as Frederick Douglass, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Martin Luther King Jr.; an inclusive American ideal that rescues the dreams of the founding from flawed Founders who were incapable of realizing them. It is a battle that can be won only by uniting enough Americans of all backgrounds behind the universal ideals that can bring America closer to what it has long struggled to become, not what it once was.

George Will in Chris Cilizza, "George Will's startling assessment of Donald Trump":

I believe that what this president has done to our culture, to our civic discourse ... you cannot unring these bells and you cannot unsay what he has said, and you cannot change that he has now in a very short time made it seem normal for schoolboy taunts and obvious lies to be spun out in a constant stream. I think this will do more lasting damage than Richard Nixon's surreptitious burglaries did.

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