REALLY Telling It Like It Is

In the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, I’ve seen a number of heartfelt and pointed columns, posts and speeches. I’ve also seen responses by “the usual suspects,” insisting that the problem isn’t the obscene number and easy availability of guns–no, it’s mental health, or immigration (!), or (stupidest of all)  video games.

The “gun nuts”–a term I reserve for people who abandon any and all sanity in defense of unlimited gun ownership–have posted angry responses to Facebook messages advocating gun control measures.

My recent favorite was the idiot who claimed that guns aren’t the problem–evil people are the problem, and laws won’t stop people from being evil. I really do know better than to respond to such people, but I couldn’t help myself: I pointed out that, by his “logic,” America must have more evil people than all those countries where mass shootings don’t take place.

But in one sense, he has a point about “evil people.”

The shooting in El Paso was just the latest in a series of white nationalist terrorist attacks, encouraged by a despicable, racist President (who, among other things, has run 2,200 FB ads since last May using the word “invasion” to describe immigration). Trump’s bigotry is enabled by Republicans who are either equally racist or moral cowards unwilling to speak up.

I should note that there are exceptions. Two recent, powerful indictments of the white nationalist in the Oval Office are from two prominent conservatives who were (and perhaps still are) Republicans.

Conservative Jennifer Rubin has written that there is no excuse for supporting this President. She points to Trump’s vicious attacks on immigrants, his channeling of “replacement” conspiracy theories, his dehumanization of immigrants and his demonization of the media–and notes how often his words have been quoted by perpetrators of horrific racist acts.

 Michael Gerson’s column in the Washington Post is a must-read.

Gerson begins by saying he’d intended to ignore Trump’s latest outrages; he planned instead to write about “the self-destructive squabbling” of Democratic presidential candidates.

But I made the mistake of pulling James Cone’s “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” off my shelf — a book designed to shatter convenient complacency. Cone recounts the case of a white mob in Valdosta, Ga., in 1918 that lynched an innocent man named Haynes Turner. Turner’s enraged wife, Mary, promised justice for the killers. The sheriff responded by arresting her and then turning her over to the mob, which included women and children. According to one source, Mary was “stripped, hung upside down by the ankles, soaked with gasoline, and roasted to death. In the midst of this torment, a white man opened her swollen belly with a hunting knife and her infant fell to the ground and was stomped to death.”

God help us. It is hard to write the words. This evil — the evil of white supremacy, resulting in dehumanization, inhumanity and murder — is the worst stain, the greatest crime, of U.S. history. It is the thing that nearly broke the nation. It is the thing that proved generations of Christians to be vicious hypocrites. It is the thing that turned normal people into moral monsters, capable of burning a grieving widow to death and killing her child.

Trump supporters characterize his racist tweets and white-nationalist-encouraging rallies as “telling it like it is.” But it is Gerson who tells it like it really is.

Racism is the fire that left our country horribly disfigured. It is the beast we try to keep locked in the basement. When the president of the United States plays with that fire or takes that beast out for a walk, it is not just another political event, not just a normal day in campaign 2020. It is a cause for shame. It is the violation of martyrs’ graves. It is obscene graffiti on the Lincoln Memorial.

It is impossible for people of good will to deny the truth of his essay, or his closing words.

Trump’s continued offenses mean that a large portion of his political base is energized by racist tropes and the language of white grievance. And it means — whatever their intent — that those who play down, or excuse, or try to walk past these offenses are enablers.

Some political choices are not just stupid or crude. They represent the return of our country’s cruelest, most dangerous passion. Such racism indicts Trump. Treating racism as a typical or minor matter indicts us.

Click through and read the entire column. Then do whatever it takes to help get out the vote in 2020.


  1. im seeing the once was, republican party roll over in its own shit. after electing a idiot,via idiot turnout, the flack has settled,its obvious what the republican agenda is now. all or nothing,at any costs. though everyone wants a blame game,trump is just part of a unknown puzzle exposed when he gathered ego fame. id be more in tuned to watch what mcconnel is doing,and crush his act. trump is what he is,and was never anything but,what he has shown the world. when our country is being made into a mess over cheap rhetoric,and then made into what reality has forgotten,after being pacified by every influence available today, we get this unfolded in front of us. those deaths were a total waste of life,and those who produced them,are way beyond trumps cheap rehetoric. its a combination of what we have trusted to never be. if the republican party,in our electrate cant see fit to dispatch this bag of shit in the WH, then its obvious, theynhave failed,we have failed. recent comments by republicans in state and loacl legislatures have also been a reality check,ill point to one in ohio,and she professes its the liberal majorities fault. well then,let that be, id rather have the liberal majority rule,over her sharia style evangical crap theyre hanging around our necks through a republican party .id be more attempted to blame the billionaires who mastermind the take over via a republican majority over just a idiot voter,after all,they are paying for the change,and goebbles is alive and well ,hes mitch mcconnel…
    when the trumpistiens leave the white house,I wonder who will even walk on the same side of the street? make a record,and remember next time who your dealing with. its all on record wishes…

  2. I woke up shortly after 4:00 a.m. Sunday; turned on my bedroom TV to MSNBC and was watching a Dateline rerun. The crime looked familiar so I was watching to see if it was the years old Seattle, Washington, crime I remembered when the “Breaking News” came on the screen from Dayton, Ohio. It took a few minutes to realize the unbelievable FACT that it was live from Dayton and there had been a second mass shooting only 13 hours after El Paso. Hell of a way to start any day; my mind was filled with El Paso horrors so I had to quickly shift to accept the newest mass murder in America.

    I watched Trump’s speech yesterday, with bobble head Pence identically dressed at his side; the lies from Trump’s mouth saying almost all the right things in this circumstance made me wonder if there is a “closet Democrat” in the White House woodpile? His staff, administration and supporters will all believe he believed every word he read from the teleprompter but will not allow any of his recommended changes to happen once they understand their meaning would revert this country to thinking rationally and taking action against their White Nationalist sitting government. Many people in El Paso want him to stay home or play golf tomorrow; it will be interesting to see how his visit is accepted.

  3. Racism and white supremacy has fully come out of the closet it was stuffed into a few decades ago. Yes, the Orange Turd and his toady Moscow/Massacre Mitch are most definitely the latest incarnations of abusers and enablers. We must do all we can to vote and win the White House and both senate and house. Itʻs the only way to kick these bums to the curb and grow us into a nation of tolerance, kindness, prosperity and peace.

  4. Remember the saying, if someone tells you who they are, believe them? Well, Trump and his lineage have been screaming from the rooftops what they are. It was extensively talked about when he decided to run. Even he himself, in previous years, said that there’s no way he could probably run for president because of his history. But as the Republicans demonized Barack Obama for 8 years, and for a a good portion of that time, Trump hopped on the birther movement bandwagon. He recognized the fear and hatred welling up amongst those who in many ways lied dormant for decades, and of course the murmuring of the white nationalists freaking out over a black president.

    Not surprising from a guy whose father was arrested at a Nazi gathering in New York, or whose grandfather was not allowed back in Germany because he not only was a grifter, he didn’t want to serve in the military which was mandatory. So he came back here to run houses of ill repute. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree so to speak, especially rotten ones. When Ivana Trump told the court that her husband kept the book of Hitler’s speeches on the nightstand, that was just another indication of his tendencies, his late-night reading served him well obviously.

    You hate to invoke Adolf Hitler, it used to be taboo when talking about politics, but in this case, history is repeating itself. I read an article quite a while back, talking about the Jews who fought on Hitler’s side, they believed the rhetoric of the mongrel hordes invading. They were talking about the Russians of course. And what happened to those misled Jews? Once the Nazis were done with them, once they serve their purpose, they were summarily executed.

    You would think the Republicans who locked their lips and even defend Trump, would pick up a book and read some history. They are running down the same rabbit hole, and when they realize that it is a rabbit hole, it will be too late.

  5. We have never before in my lifetime needed our better angels as much as we do now.

  6. The bottom line for government officials the FBI in the police to find out exactly what these people are doing these things. The real problem lies in the mental stability of our society what they are listening to and if they are able to get their hands on guns. Reportedly one shooter was wearing goggles that replicated what was on a video game that he was watching. I’m not sure what the FBI and sociologist and psychologist are supposed to do with this information. I’m not sure if we should ignore it. The rant one shooter left did talk about the invasion of immigrants. It also talked about environmental issues and water being polluted by humans and several other environmental factors. The bottom line for many people is getting Trump out of office. We need to find a logical way for people to understand what his issues are that get us all frenzied and related us to the people who are actually voting for him

  7. Jordan and Andre Anchondo were shot and killed while trying to protect their two-month-old son, when a gunman opened fire in a crowded El Paso shopping area.

    President Agent Orange, gathers up the dried up twigs and branches, pours on an Accelerant, lights the fire, and walks away. The fire spreads to the forest (his rabid followers), then he blames others for conflagration. President Agent Orange is a political arsonist Pastor Pence and other Republicans provides the cover.

    In any case the diversion is there again and President Agent Orange becomes the focal point as it is with the impeachment babble.

    Mass Murder in the USA pre-dates President Agent Orange. The issue should not be President Agent Orange but Gun Control.

    Spineless politicians – Blame violent video games or the mentally ill. It is strange that in other countries the mentally ill or playing violent video games do not have the same effect, or result > -Mass Murder.

    Machine guns, sub-machine guns, carbines and assault rifles were developed for the Military for use by trained soldiers. The problem is these weapons were made to Kill the Enemy (Human Beings) are being sold like chain saws in a hardware store. The time is now to ban the sale of assault rifles.

    Will the Democratic Party, continue to divert all the attention to President Agent Orange or will they at last realize that the only way to prevent or mitigate these Mass Murders in the future is to ban the sale of assault weapons, along with registration of all firearms???

    Once President Agent Orange is gone, Mass Murders will continue because the means (assault weapons) will still be legal unless action is taken.

  8. The “replacement theory” isn’t as much conspiratorial as it is a manifesto and it’s a worldwide proposition originating in France.

    According to a Guardian article: “The great replacement can generally be understood as two core beliefs. The first is that “western” identity is under siege by massive waves of immigration from non-European/non-white countries, resulting in a replacement of white European individuals via demographics. The second is that replacement has been orchestrated by a shadowy group as part of their grand plan to rule the world – which they will do by creating a completely racially homogenous society. This group is often overtly identified as being Jews, but sometimes the antisemitism is more implicit.”

    “Jews will not replace us!” was being chanted in Charlottesville. The alt-right has already nabbed this theory. Furthermore, in a memo believed to be written by the El Paso killer:

    “I can no longer bear the shame of inaction knowing that our founding fathers have endowed me with the rights needed to save our country from the brink of destruction. Our European comrades don’t have the gun rights needed to repel the millions of invaders that plaque [sic] their country. They have no choice but to sit by and watch their countries burn.”

  9. Trump has no choice but to inflame racism. If he were to reject it in any meaningful way he would lose his rabid racist followers. He is stuck. He knows his rhetoric turns off many people. At this point they are never going to vote for him no matter how change direction. So all he has left is an angry mob standing between him and losing the next election. He understands if he loses a prison cell is likely his future. So hang on folks he is not backing down.

  10. Maybe the white race should be replaced. Our track record for destroying other cultures and races by war, colonization, invasion, “assimilation” and assassination is nothing to be proud of much less perpetuated.

  11. I disagree that Trump has no choice but to inflame racism. Trump is nearly right that he could commit murder on 5th avenue and his supporters would stay with him. Where are they going to go politically? He has more power than anyone else – and the visibility of the almighty White House pulpit – to tell the NRA, white nationalists, and American law enforcement – that racist violence by gun or otherwise will not be tolerated and severe consequences will be imposed. He has the authority to make that happen and hold up examples to the world.

    Let’s see how ‘law-and-order’ you are Mr. President. Actions speak louder than words.

  12. “So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?” MLK

  13. Again with the ‘ban the guns’. I own an AR-10 (a .308- or .762) style rifle. I got it specifically because it is a rifle made for the Northwoods we live in. It will take care of the biggest game and it can be used among trees with no problem. And it doesn’t get banged up like the .30-06 Mossberg I used to own… no scope to worry about – iron sights. Do I care what happened? OF COURSE I DO! I have family in El Paso. My brother was born at Beaumont Army Hospital. My Dad was stationed at Biggs AFB (now defunct) from 1953 to 1957, and then transferred to Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota. I grew up in a military situation and I served, and my two Sons have served. To ‘Ban Assault Style Rifles’ brings up some questions: I am 67 years old. I carried an M16A1 (THE MILITARY VERSION OF AN AR-15!) The commercial grade rifles are not weapons of war – they are not commissionable. They do not have select fire. Ban the guns. Go ahead. Let’s see what happens then. There are always knives – or illegal guns and rifles available. You know this brings up something NO ONE is mentioning – illegal immigrants – From Ireland, England, Russia, China, Viet Nam, India – where are they in this discussion? THE IRA (Irish Republican Army) is still active – they move and sell guns and weapons and drugs in South America, North America and Europe. What about them? Not one word eh? You see whether or not I own an AP4 is irrelevant, I am not someone out to kill others, I just like my Venison! – BUT no one else owns this rifle, and that makes me feel a bit more secure. I have been thinking of buying the 6.5 Creedmore for my collection – one less gun in the hands of a wanna be sniper. Is this twisted logic. Well consider: Machineguns are legal with a proper FFL stamp and registry, I know… my neighbor owns at least three fully automatic weapons, and his daddy was a Grand Knight of the KKK in Minnesota… that is public news, you can look it up. I am an American MUTT – I am by rights 5/8’s Native American (Most Mexicans are Native American) 1/8th is attributed to New York NA. I am 1/8th English, Swiss, and Swedish. I was born on an Air Force Base in Ft. Worth Tx, now also defunct. I am not for a total ban. Not with this time in history upon us, not with all the weapons around me that are pointed AT ME BECAUSE I AM ‘NOT WHITE’. And as a student of history I can tell you – we are witnessing the end of this Country and Democracy as we know it. So ban the guns -all of them. Let’s see how many police departments follow suit – is the MILITARY going to stop having weapons? NO! So if you are going to ban guns ban them across the board or only those who WILL KILL YOU will have the guns – And as a human being in this world I have a right to protect me, my wife, my cat and our home – I believe that is covered under that statement about the Right to LIFE, LIBERTY and the Pursuit of Happiness. You know if people would read that section and really understand what it is saying – we might not be in the national dilemma we are in for much longer. But then, I am not holding my breath; I don’t see my fellow Americans getting any real awareness – only quick answers and missed opportunities to get rid of our real enemy – IGNORANCE.

  14. We have far more votes than Trump and his assorted wingnuts, so the answer is to get our people off the couch in the fall of next year. Other sub-answers include ending Republican voter suppression techniques either legislatively or judicially, or both, ending Russian and others’ interference in our elections, and (in the absence of federal legislation due to Mitch and others) state statutes dealing with White National and other bigoted violence calling for trips to Michigan City, where such Nazis who employ force and threats will see how they fare in solitary and/or among other prisoners there.

    Our democracy is teetering not due to the presence of white nationalism, racism and angry bigots who see their world in flux. That presence has been with us since before 1776, coming to a head in 1861 with the firing on Fort Sumter, and bubbling just below the surface ever since, but its “Fort Sumter lite” is showing up these days for one and only one reason, to wit: Such unresolved hatred has a spokesperson in the Oval Office. Trump is THE problem.

    Thus (following prevention of violence) our number one problem is the removal of Trump from his position via impeachment and/or election, followed by his indictment and imprisonment thereafter on any number of crimes he has committed and is committing, including incitement to riot. Afterwards, I think the nation needs to (finally) go to work in accommodating demographic realities by working on what will remain a bubbling resentment among some of our number with a view toward peace in our time.

  15. One of the few business successes that the chief MAGAt was able to pull off was a TV show called The Apprentice” in which he showed everyone who’s boss. Of course it was just an act on entertainment media even though I failed to see from the description of it how it was in any way entertaining.

    He’s always been in and never will leave that character because the line between reality and entertainment is very much blurred in his demented sociopathic mind.

    That is so far from being qualified to be President that Putin must be getting up every morning with a smile on his face for the damage he was able to do with a very small budget, unskilled labor and the notion that his kind of people had been created by the millions in the US through a process depicted in an old book, “1984”. He just needed to give the right few the right push and Republicans would do the rest.

    2020 will be the ultimate test of our ability to defend, and our commitment to, freedom of, for, and by we the people.

  16. As facile as it is, the idea of bringing up video games has its importance. David Grossman, an army officer, wrote an insightful book called “On Killing.” Most shooters in past wars were reluctant to kill, he argues; they evidently did not want to kill, it wasn’t in their character (and he backs up his arguments with statistics.). Now the military has discovered ways to create psychological processes within the minds of soldiers to make them more capable of wanting to kill. Grossman sees the same horrific processes built into the video games accessible to our youth. There may be no immediate causal relationship between video games and El Paso or Dayton, but we need to look carefully at what they are capable of doing to the minds of those who play with such stuff.

  17. Bob G and all…could be, but….think about the vast increase in violence and graphic violence in films and TV over the last decades. Surely, it adds up in too many ways…makes violence tolerable and creates fear….

  18. Imagine, if you can, a country in which the founding fathers were prescient enough to foresee the dangers guns would impose as technology improved and therefore wrote a Second Amendment taking that reality into account. Then conjure a country in which guns were not used “to win the West”, commit genocide against Indians, pursue a war to bring down the Union, or bring Mexico to heel. Now visualize an America that is not the most warlike nation on Earth. Is it possible that gun violence is so deeply ingrained in our culture that it is an essential part of many Americans’ belief systems? Some of us , it seems, have no recourse to power except for the guns we adore. For people like the El Paso shooter, consumed with self-loathing and failure as a permanent feature of life, caressing a gun is the only positive feedback they ever experience.

    Even less imagination is required to envision an America where the economic incentives for kidnapping, importing and enslaving people of color were different and thus never pursued. No civil war! No South where hatred and bigotry replaced thinking for so many years it became ingrained and spread to others nationwide. As European nations experience closer contact with darker skinned people due to immigration, they often reflect attitudes similar to Americans usually found in the South. So is there something intrinsic about racial animus? Is it inherent or so ingrained in the American psyche because, as a nation, we began rubbing shoulders with the “others” so many years ago? We can hope not, but the evidence supporting finding a “cure” isn’t encouraging.

    Now try to postulate what America might be like if it had not embraced these two original sins. Not perfect, but probably better in important ways. If only.

    But back to reality. It now appears that the passion for guns and the celebration of bigotry are so deep-rooted in so many Americans that they may be ineradicable – they are part of our essence. They represent, in part, who we are and explain why we’re closer to a death cult than other countries. They explain why some are willing to surrender their lives and take others with them to wallow in feelings of intense hatred.

    So if there’s a moral, it may be that we are more deeply flawed than we have previously considered; love of guns and racial animosity are going nowhere soon. Given who we appear to be, to protect ourselves from guns and hatred, draconian laws may be our only recourse.

  19. When this nation turned its back on the murder of 20 little children and 6 of their teachers back in 2011 , I gave up on anything EVER being done about gun control. The time to come together and really explore solutions to this complex problem was then and NOTHING happened.

    I understand where Rev. Manuel Colunga-hernandez is coming from because if you’re non-white you are much more likely to be a target of gun violence.

    I like this solution myself: “I want any young men who buy a gun to be treated like young women who seek an abortion. Think about it: a mandatory 48-hours waiting period, written permission from a parent or a judge, a note from a doctor proving that he understands what he is about to do, time spent watching a video on individual and mass murders, traveling hundreds of miles at his own expense to the nearest gun shop, and walking through protesters holding photos of loved ones killed by guns, protesters who call him a murderer. After all, it makes more sense to do this for young men seeking guns than for young women seeking an abortion. No young woman needing reproductive freedom has ever murdered a roomful of strangers.”

    I present this with tongue-in-cheek because I don’t know what the answer is. All I know is that if Muslims were gunning people down at the rate young white men are, there would be HELL to pay and this farce for a president would be leading the charge. And Moscow Mitch and Leningrad Lindsey would be presenting bills of their own to stop the carnage.

    My personal opinion is that it is all traceable back to the groups back 12000 years ago who wiped out the Neanderthals. They couldn’t tolerate “the other” even then.

  20. It’s the GUNS, stupid.

    41 rounds in 20 seconds.

    9 dead in 20 seconds.

    Same humans, same guns.

    It’s the GUNS!

  21. AgingLGirl, I agree with you it is not Video Games. Violent Video Games can be played all over the earth. Mass Murder is a rarity in Japan because of strict gun laws.

  22. Telling it like it is? It is about time. We got here because we were like the proverbial frog in the pot being slowly boiled. Barry Goldwater disavowed the John Birch Society and other groups that were considered “fringe”. The “mainstream” has been moved (with the Overton Window) – the Southern Strategy; Philadelphia, MS and welfare queens; Willie Horton — Of course by the time we got to Trump, the KKK and other white nationalist were “mainstream” – everybody, the media and politicians, have been silent during this long slide right.

    Rev. Manuel – I grew up in Michigan where hunting is something of a religion (sorry for the analogy), but people hunted without “assault rifles” for years and still got to eat their venison. Also, I don’t remember which mass shooting (there are two many), but on the same day as one of those, a person in China went berserk and started to attack people with a knife – dozens injured — NO deaths – I would rather face a knife than a gun. All in all, I see nothing wrong with people having guns for self-protection, hunting, the man I met at 3 AM in the middle of Nebraska who managed the gas station/store and had a pistol on his hip, or my friend Doug who found target practice to be relaxing. None of this includs the need for assault weapons or large magazines. None of this is stopped by background checks, waiting periods, education or licensing requirements.

    Terry – I often think back on the founding fathers as well, but with a different twist – “original intent” of the constitution – fine (although I wonder how half of the second amendment seems to be meaningless words) – let’s look at what was meant in 1789 – I am fine with people having as many flint-lock guns as they want, just nothing more modern.

    Remember, guns don’t kill people, bullets do! #banthebullet?

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