|© RICHARD CODOR|
The most shocking thing about Donald Trump's explicitly racist tweets targeting four minority Democratic congresswomen and the near universal silence with which groveling Republican Party leaders greeted them is that they were not shocking.
It is beyond time to stop belaboring the obvious.
If you are a Republican, even a sweet, apple pie-baking church lady who never has a discouraging word to say about anybody, you are a racist by association and should be deeply ashamed.
If you are a Democrat, even a sweet, apple pie-baking church lady who never has a discouraging word to say about anybody, you should be deeply ashamed if you don't speak out loudly.
By telling the four women -- three of whom were U.S. born and the fourth a childhood migrant -- to "go back" to where they came from in a Sunday tweetstorm, Trump eviscerated the last shred of decency we expect in our presidents by implying that anyone who is not white and native born has no place in his -- which is to say Republican -- America.
What exactly did Trump tweet in targeting Blue Wave victors Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts?
So interesting to see "Progressive" Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from 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), now loudly . . .
. . . and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how. . . .
. . . it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!Ocasio-Cortez's parents are of Puerto Rican descent, Omar emigrated from Somalia, Tlaib’s parents are Palestinian immigrants and Pressley is black.
The four congresswomen said that they were not surprised by the attacks and vowed not to be silenced by them. "This is the agenda of white nationalists. . . . This is his plan to pit us against one another," Omar said.
Beyond the in-your-face vileness of Trump's libels and the struck deaf-and-dump non-response of Republicans who will abide anything the president says and does so long as he hews to their conservative political agenda, what is so utterly mind blowing is that identity-politics bigotry is the law of the land for the president and the onetime Party of Lincoln a half century after the civil rights movement of the 1960s. That the consciousness raising and signal accomplishments of that era were pretty much for naught.
And thanks, Nancy Pelosi, your altruistic intentions notwithstanding, for your knack of playing into Trump's hands.
Please, dear House majority leader, try to remember that the Blue Wave is not a dandruff treatment shampoo the next time Trump baits your caucus and the Democratic Party, because so far he's succeeding in directing the anger of the AOC bloc and other progressives against you and not where it belongs -- against him. Internecine squabbling is exactly what Trump wants. And isn't he clever in diverting attention from his sexploits with former fuck buddy Jeffrey Epstein?
So how, beyond recalling which "shithole" country your ancestors might have been from, do you fight back?
Although I have advocated ignoring Trump's blasts in the past, we must move beyond our weariness, and what must be done is actually very simple:
Demand that congressional Democrats begin drawing up articles of impeachment against Trump and that one of the articles charges him with violating his oath of office because of his overt racism.
Work to deny Trump the moderate votes he must have if he is to be reelected, and he will be denied a second term if his toxic brew of hatred is kept front and center in the 15-month run-up to the election.Okay, so maybe these things are easier said than done.
But let's be perfectly clear that while Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan found ways to appeal to white resentment, Trump isn't even trying to finesse his racism. Remember his attacks on Barack Obama, the Kenyan-born Islamofascist predecessor, that began long before he even ran for president?
Trump's racism is all the more vile because it's an in-your-face tactic to hold his "base," that all-too-real one-third of the electorate. No dog-whistling here.
The president's agenda rests on the idea that the boundaries of rights and citizenship are conterminous with race, notes Jamelle Bouie in a New York Times op-ed: "Those within Trump's boundaries enjoy the fruits of American freedom, while those outside them face the full force of American repression. White European immigrants like the first lady, Melania Trump, are welcomed; dark-skinned migrants from Latin America are put into cages and camps."
What is especially pathetic about the Republicans who should be pushing back against Trump and the racists in their midst is that, contrary to appearances, they haven't gone mute. Witness the indignant cries from party leaders whenever Trump goes off on John McCain, the late war hero and GOP lion.
When Republican pols crawled out of their hidey-holes and finally began finding their voices on Monday afternoon, they were so hard up for explanations that most simply said Trump really hadn't said what he really had said.
There were exceptions.
In welcome -- if predictable -- remarks, Justin Amash of Michigan called Trump's directive to the freshman Democrats "racist and disgusting." The son of Palestinian and Syrian immigrants, Amash was the only Republican to publicly support impeachment before he announced earlier this month that he was leaving the party.
Even Chip Roy of Texas, a freshman congressman from Texas, fouled his message in being one of the very few Republicans to criticize Trump. Roy said the president was "wrong to say any American citizen, whether in Congress or not, has any 'home' besides the U.S.," yet he agreed with Trump that lawmakers "who refuse to defend America should be sent home."
But leave it to Lindsey Graham, fresh off a golf outting with Trump, to hit the perfect note. Not only did the president's favorite lawn ornament refuse to condemn the racist tweets, he called the four congresswomen a "bunch of Communists. They're calling the guards along our border, the border patrol agents, 'concentration camp guards.' They accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins. They're anti-Semitic. They're anti-America."
All of which Trump, of course, immediately retweeted.
And kudos to that ever vigilant mainscream media, which just can't bring itself to call Trump a racist head-on, instead tippy-toeing around the rhetoric of a boy-man who has lied over 10,000 times since becoming president and predictably declared that it was the four congresswomen who were the real racists.
Peter Baker, The Times' chief White House correspondent, was a rare exception, writing of the president's latest strut on the dark side, "When it comes to race, Mr. Trump plays with fire like no other president in a century. No other modern president, he wrote, has "fanned the flames as overtly, relentlessly and even eagerly as Mr. Trump."
Early in the first part of PBS's magnificent new "Chasing the Moon" docuseries, an awestruck television commentator watching the historic launch of Apollo 11 in July 1969 declares in reverential tones that "This is just perhaps a new chapter in the evolution of the species." In the context of racism, along with a bunch of other stuff, how utterly wrong he was.
If we don't fight back, how else do we not trash the memories of Dr. Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Addie Mae Collins and the more than 40 other martyrs who were killed during the 1960s in the struggle for equal rights? How can we even look at ourselves in the mirror?
Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib and Pressley are not just the future of the Democratic Party. They are the future of a better America, and defending them while fighting the abhorrent Trump and Republican complicity is an act of patriotism.