In the aftermath of Charlottesville, many Republican officials have forcefully denounced racism and Trump’s seemingly ambivalent reactions to the tragedy. But make no mistake, these are not people that truly espouse the principles of racial equality and justice. These are egoists and political zealots. Their top priorities are ones of personal gain and/or realizing their brand of utopia, even if it means circumventing democracy.
Need evidence? Let’s start with the most obvious and least deleterious example. Most of these Republicans got in line with Trump or continued to support Trump after he refused to denounce David Duke, whom he was well aware of just a few years back. And even if Trump had forgotten who David Duke was, Jake Tapper pointed out that he was with the KKK in the interview and Trump still would not denounce him. That Donny forgot who David Duke was I could perhaps buy, but that he was ignorant of the KKK is unbelievable. By comparison, the “violence on many sides” comment that launched the Charlottesville controversy was rather tame. It was a false equivalency, no doubt, but there had been violence on both sides. As soon as one side retaliates, regardless of whether they were provoked by hate-filled thugs in riot gear, there is violence on both sides. If you do your utmost to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, he could have possibly been condemning violence in general by lumping white supremacists with anti-racists. If you do the same in the case of the Tapper interview, he apparently did not know enough about the most notorious and longest standing hate group in US history to denounce its leader: highly unlikely even with someone as ignorant as Trump. And yet the very same rank and file Republicans who recently found a voice to courageously speak up against white supremacy fell in line with Trump.
But like I said, these Republicans are guilty of much more injurious acts of aggression on racial equality. Here are some of the hits:
- Backing voter ID laws even though there have been only 31 credible cases of voter fraud from 2000-2014 (Washington Post article). Despite the misinformation about voter fraud swirling around in the public, these officials are intimately aware of the evidence indicating that this is a non-issue. They support voter ID laws because they disproportionately disenfranchise poor and older minorities.
- Doing away with early voting and same day registration because these measures make it disproportionately harder for minorities to vote
- Restricting polling place times and staff because ditto
- Disenfranchisement of ex-felons. It is even more appalling once you consider that most ex-felons were convicted of nonviolent offenses, that blacks and Latinos tend to be over-policed more than their white counterparts, the negative effects of unconscious bias and unreliable eyewitness testimony on minority defendants, and that poor suspects get the book thrown at them to pad the stats of district attorneys and therefore sometimes plead guilty to an offense they are innocent of so that they don’t risk going to trial with a poorly equipped public defender as their lawyer.
- Denying DC a vote at the federal level because it is a majority black city. With a population of about 680,000, DC has a larger population than both Vermont and Wyoming. And yet, it does not have a vote in either the House or Senate. We could make it the 51st state or incorporate it into Maryland, but either solution, while the ethical thing to do, would mean that Republicans likely would cede some power. Apparently they prefer to impose upon DC residents the condition of taxation without representation rather than give them their rights (dcvote.org).
- Supporting gerrymandering that diminishes the political power of minorities
- Supporting drug war measures that financially incentivized the trampling of personal rights in minority neighborhoods and meted out disproportionate sentences for drugs commonly used by minorities as compared to the drugs most used by whites
- They actively participated or turned a blind eye to the racist subtext in the dog whistle politics at play in the attacks on Obama’s “Americanness”, often lead by no other than the current president
These hypocrites who express outrage over the violence and displays of racial bigotry in Charlottesville have restricted, suppressed, or denied our right to vote, have diminished our political power, have disproportionately incarcerated us for minor offenses, and have fanned the flames of racism for political gain. Truth be told, I suspect Democrat officials would resort to the same tactics were the shoe on the other foot. But it is not and we have this cadre of opportunistic, unscrupulous leeches to thank for having done more damage than all the jack-booted, goose-stepping morons in the US.