Tuesday, November 29, 2022

As a former U.S. president and now candidate for re-election dines with a white supremacist anti-Semite Holocaust denier: commentary

Right Wing Watch, 25 November 2022

As a former president and now candidate for re-election dines with a white supremacist anti-Semite Holocaust denier, enlightening commentary:

Charlie Sykes, "I really like this guy. He gets me": 

The hate is normalized and mainstreamed.

And for most Republicans this is baked in the cake.

Greg Olear, "Death Groomers":

To ascend to power, fascists need a group of people to demonize—to blame for all of society’s ills. Historically, that group of people has been the Jewish community. And there is, sadly, plenty of brazen anti-Semitism going on in rightwing circles here and now. This week, Trump broke bread with Nick Fuentes, one of the most egregious Christian nationalists in the country. Fuentes was the guest of Kanye West, the popular rapper, who a few weeks ago said he planned to 'go death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE.' These are raging anti-Semites who dined with FPOTUS.

The gay community, too, is a favorite fascist boogeyman. In Russia, for example, Vladimir Putin has played upon the cultural homophobia of the Russian people to gin up hatred toward Ukraine. And in Colorado, the father of the Club Q mass murderer expressed relief that his son—who had just killed five people—was not gay: 'And then I go on to find out it’s a gay bar. I said, "God, is he gay?" I got scared, "Shit, is he gay?" And he’s not gay, so I said, "Phew …"' Perhaps Ames was heeding the words of Dillon Awes, a preacher with the Stedfast [sic] Baptist Church, who in July said that '[e]very single homosexual in our country should be charged with a crime, the abomination of homosexuality that they have, they should be convicted in a lawful trial, they should be sentenced to death, they should be lined up against a wall and shot in the back of the head.'

So: there is a lot of anti-Semitism and a lot of homophobia in the United States right now. It’s ugly, it’s dangerous, and it must be called out.

David Neiwert, "Fuentes gloats, Trump doubles down, and Republicans wave white feather over dinner date":  

There’s a reason Fuentes and his white-nationalist cohorts are tickled pink: The whole fiasco is a huge propaganda victory for them. 

If you think who Nick Fuentes is and what he stands for are being exaggerated by "liberal" media, take a gander at Kyle Mantyla's "Extremism on the Menu: Trump’s Dinner With Ye, Milo, and Nick Fuentes," which offers one video after another — actual real-time footage — of Fuentes telling the world exactly what he believes and what he and his allies want for the U.S. Listen to Trump's charming dinner companion who "gets Trump" and whom Trump "really likes" talk about the recent U.S. elections, which, he states, demonstrate that "we" are "in the minority" and "that's why we need a dictatorship":

We need to take control of the media or take control of the government and force the people to believe what we believe.

Or read Philip Bump, "Nick Fuentes is a symptom of the GOP’s problem, not the disease," offering us (via Right Wing Watch), a video of Fuentes saying, 

I want Catholics to run this country, not Jews. I want this country to be run by Catholics, not Jews. And I don't think that's controversial. I want this country to have Catholic media, Catholic Hollywood, Catholic government. I want this to be a Catholic occupied government, not a Jewish occupied government." 

Lest we be confused about the fundamental signfiicance of the open airing of this kind of toxic, hateful rhetoric in U.S. political and cultural life right now, let's not forget why this is happening: It's being normalized by one of the two major political parties in the U.S., and lavishly funded by the wealthiest segment of the U.S. population and its corporate CEOs.

As Graham Gallagher notes in an interesting article entitled "Elite Conservatives Have Taken an Awfully Weird Turn," the extremely weird turn now being taken by right-wing Republicans, especially those in the educated and intellectual elites of the GOP, and, above all, among young Republicans in those elites. 

As Graham indicates, though they realize that they are wildly out of step with where most Americans went to take the country, they are proud to be out of step as they increasingly embrace romanticized notions of medieval Catholicism, with ideas that women should be stripped of the right to vote or to file divorce, and forced to stay at home and serve their husbands and raise as many children as can be imagined.

This is the political world of Allen West parading around in Crusader togs, joining the Knights Templar, a group that has not existed since 1312 and vowing to protect Christendom from all threats.

Though the media are not highlighting this, it's also, as indicated above, the worldview of ugly Holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, who is a Catholic, and who says he wants the U.S. to be run by Catholics, not Jews — who, in his wild imagination, now run the country. Fuentes has declared himself a "12th-century man" who supports Catholic autocracy, Catholic monarchy, just war, crusades, and inquisitions.

What are folks like Fuentes (and the Republican party as a whole) so het up about at this particular moment in U.S. history? Here's Thomas Zimmer, "Democracy Faces a Reactionary Counter-Mobilization": 

[W]e need to start by acknowledging what 'democracy' meant in America before the civil rights legislation of the 1960s: A system that was, at least by contemporaneous comparison, fairly democratic if you happened to be a white Christian man – and something else entirely if you were not. Since 1965, the conflict over whether or not America should finally realize that vision of egalitarian democracy, become a country in which all people are truly created equal, has continued to define the political conflict.

The American project has always been shaped by two competing, fundamentally incompatible visions for what the county should be. On the one hand, there is the idea that the world works best if it is dominated by wealthy white men; on the other, the goal of creating a society in which the individual’s status would not be significantly determined by wealth, race, religion, gender, gender or sexual orientation – not just a restricted democracy that leaves traditional hierarchies largely intact under the guise of political equality, but an egalitarian multiracial, pluralistic system that levels those hierarchies enough so that citizens would actually be enabled to participate in democratic self-government as equals. 

Finally, Dan Rather and Eliot Kirschner, "Combating Hate": 

Antisemitisim. Racism. Homophobia. Misogyny. Bigotry. The demonization of immigrants.
That these forces are ascendant is newsworthy. And it is vital they are considered thus. That these forces exist, however, is not news. Neither is the fact that they are being stoked, winked at, and normalized by the previous president. And neither is how most of the Republican Party leadership is silent, supportive, or insufficiently disapproving.

To say all this is not a political criticism. It is about confronting a grave threat to our nation and the world. Politics should be about a competition for ideas that fall within the realm of civilized discourse. What these people are peddling is not policy, but prejudice.

Psst: The "liberal" mainstream media are tiptoeing and will keep tiptoeing around the fact that Fuentes is Catholic, that he explicitly bases his hate-filled attack on democracy in his understanding of Catholic values, that a significant slice of Catholics (yes, a minority, but a powerful one) buy into all of this, and that the U.S. bishops are not likely to say a single word about this weaponized, perverted application of Catholicism and its toxic effects on U.S. democracy and culture.

All the more reason for the rest of us to shine the spotlight on this.

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