In the wake of the 2016 election, I was criticized by some very nice people for claiming that Trump’s win was all about racism. Those nice people–and they are nice people, I’m not being sarcastic here–were shocked that I would tar all Trump voters with such an accusation. But as my youngest son pointed out, Trump’s own racism was so obvious that the best thing you could say about his voters was that they didn’t find his bigotry disqualifying.
Conclusions of academic researchers following that election have been unambiguous. “Racial resentment” predicted support for Trump.
After the insurrection at the Capital, Americans simply cannot pretend that the profound divisions in this country are about anything but White Christian supremacy. We are finally seeing recognition of that fact from previously circumspect sources.
Here’s what the staid numbers-crunchers at 538.com. wrote:
Much will be said about the fact that these actions threaten the core of our democracy and undermine the rule of law. Commentators and political observers will rightly note that these actions are the result of disinformationand heightened political polarization in the United States. And there will be no shortage of debate and discussion about the role Trump played in giving rise to this kind of extreme behavior. As we have these discussions, however, we must take care to appreciate that this is not just about folks being angry about the outcome of one election. Nor should we believe for one second that this is a simple manifestation of the president’s lies about the integrity of his defeat. This is, like so much of American politics, about race, racism and white Americans’ stubborn commitment to white dominance, no matter the cost or the consequence. (emphasis mine)
How about Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation?
I have long believed that inequality is the greatest threat to justice—and, the corollary, that white supremacy is the greatest threat to democracy. But what has become clear during recent weeks—and all the more apparent yesterday—is that the converse is also true: Democracy is the greatest threat to white supremacy.
This explains the white backlash that has plagued American politics from its beginnings and throughout these last four years. It also casts a light on what we witnessed yesterday: A failed coup—an insurrection at the United States Capitol.
In his statement, Walker made a point that has been made repeatedly in the aftermath of that assault: If these had been protestors for racial justice–no matter how peaceful– rather than a violent and angry mob exhibiting “white pride” and grievance, the use of force by law enforcement would have been very different.
Walker is correct: democracy–the equal voice of all citizens expressed through the ballot box–threatens White supremacy. That’s why, as demographic change accelerates, the GOP– aka the new Confederacy– has frantically worked to suppress minority votes, why it has opposed vote-by-mail and other efforts to facilitate participation in democratic decision-making.
Like almost everyone I know, I’ve been glued to reporting and commentary that has tried to make sense of what we saw. One of the most insightful was an article from Psychology Today that explained epistemic knowing.
After noting that “claims that the 2020 U.S. presidential election was illegitimate are widespread in Trump’s party,” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the author focused on why people who should know better nevertheless choose to believe those claims.
He noted that he’d recently re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. As he reminds us, the book is about a black man being tried for rape in a Southern town. It becomes obvious during the trial that the accused didn’t do it–in fact, the evidence of his innocence is overwhelming. Yet the jury convicts him.
The jury convicts Robinson of rape because at the heart of the case is whose word is believed: that of a white woman or that of a black man. In Lee’s Maycomb, it is important to the population that the word of the white woman be upheld as a more respected source of knowledge, even when this goes against the facts. What was at stake was not just this one particular case, but a larger principle: whose claims need to be respected….
When interpretations differ, people need to understand who to trust. They may choose to only nominate certain people, or certain kinds of people, to be worthy of giving interpretations worth trusting.
This is an illustration of “epistemic entitlement”–the choice of who is entitled to occupy the role of “Knower.” Who gets to say what’s true and false, what’s real and fake?
Far too many Americans choose to believe White people over facts, evidence, and their “lying eyes.”
34 thoughts on “We Should See Clearly Now…”
Darren Walker’s words say and explain it all. “Democracy is the greatest threat to white supremacy.”
Indiana’s last lynching confirms every point you made today, Dr. Kennedy.
“Walker is correct: democracy–the equal voice of all citizens expressed through the ballot box–threatens White supremacy. That’s why, as demographic change accelerates, the GOP– aka the new Confederacy– has frantically worked to suppress minority votes, why it has opposed vote-by-mail, and other efforts to facilitate participation in democratic decision-making.”
Walker is of course correct regarding the “ballot box threatens White supremacy”; where he errs is in upholding Atticus Finch in “To Kill A Mockingbird”. He needs to read Harper Lee’s sequel “Go Set A Watchman” which oddly enough was written prior to “….Mockingbird” and carries a different message. Atticus Finch agreed to defend Tom Robinson, not because he wanted to protect a black man, but because the law requires every man deserves a defense in court. He was merely upholding the law as it is written. He belonged to the White Citizens Council in Macum who were fighting to maintain segregation and stop their right to vote. He believed blacks were not intelligent enough to be allowed to vote. We have watched and listened to Trump and HIS Republicans act in their legal capacity to prevent all “others” in this country from registering and getting to the ballot box. And today he is returning to HIS WALL on our southern border to make some point which eludes me.
“This is an illustration of “epistemic entitlement”–the choice of who is entitled to occupy the role of “Knower.” Who gets to say what’s true and false, what’s real and fake? ”
Trump has not used racist or religious epithets in his claims of “voter fraud” or that his election was stolen by other than white voters; we have five years of those words and actions leading to his “stop the steal”, “Hang Mike Pence” and “Where is Pelosi” insurrection by those who support his five years of racism. I have seen nothing pointing to the takeover of our Capitol Building referring to anti-“Black Lives Matter” as the reason for their riot. His Call To Arms for the racist groups who have been “standing back and standing by” is racist without using racist terms…yet they came, some armed and people died.
“Far too many Americans choose to believe White people over facts, evidence, and their “lying eyes.”
And Theresa again nails it with her comments.
The racism is obvious and the difference between security at BLM protests compared to the recent Trumpanzee mob terrorism on the Capitol proves it. I am waiting for politicians like Mike Braun (who is responsible for participating in Trump lies) and Todd Young (who was caught on video talking to the mob and saying “I agree with you” over and over) and Todd Rokita (who tweeted after the deadly siege) “I still love my president”………. TO ALL BE HELD RESPONSIBLE. Condemning violence while endorsing the inciter of that violence is hypocritical. Decent Republicans should shame these awful politicians for making their party so connected to Trump extremism. Indiana, wake up and look around you. Right-wing ideology lurks in the hearts of our own politicians. THEY SHOULD ALL BE CALLED OUT, HELD RESPONSIBLE AND THEN VOTED OUT!
Now that there is more strong evidence that Trump voters are motivated by a desire to maintain White dominance, will those “nice people” change their thinking?
Why do those ranting, raving and clearly ignorant white people in the United States have to feel that they are supreme? Are their lives such disasters that the “pecking order” has to be the most important part of them?
Yes, Trump was the ultimate backlash for good, thinking people having the temerity to elect, then re-elect a non-white President. Many people say we have made progress in racial justice and equity, but there remains a very hard core 25% who absolutely resist anything resembling further progress.
And what political party and its surrogates in right-wing screamer media have abetted this backward lurch toward the caves? THE REPUBLICAN PARTY! Ever since Nixon played the race card after LBJ’s noble efforts with civil rights, the REPUBLICAN party has wallowed on the muddy low road to its own oblivion. We’ve called out the names of the most obvious wretches like Graham, Cruz, McCarthy and now Hawley, but Steve Bannon is a major player in promoting this cesspool of hate.
Then, maybe last week was a seminal shock to the overall psyche of Americans when they saw the savage beast of hate; hate fomented by abject lying for 5 years. Maybe the citizenry not dragging their knuckles will begin using the scientific method to analyze what’s being fed to them on TV and in those damnable hand-held windows into hyper-connected isolation.
I recall from nearly four years ago that a long-time friend made fun of me because I identified as being part of a newly-formed “resistance” on social media in response to Trump’s ascendancy to the Presidency. At the time I was not certain that I would eventually be resisting an actual white Christian fascist takeover of our federal government, but I DID know two things: 1) Trump was a badly damaged human being with a major personality disorder, 2) he self-identified with tyranny and tyrants.
So, now that the band-aid has been ripped off the festering wound to the air and light of day, we can stop talking about who these MAGA people are. As I see it Americans of voting age fall into one of five categories:
1. Actual Fascists
2. Fascist enablers (dark money, tech platform amplification, spewers of lies on those platforms).
3. Fascist sympathizers (includes most of the 74 million who voted for Trump in 2020 and much of the business community).
4. Fascist accommodators (includes the politically apathetic as well as many moderates, including many Democrats).
The tide may be turning away from the descent into fascist tyranny. We don’t know yet – we haven’t seen the backlash to the backlash to the backlash. I’m more optimistic than I was a year ago, however, I’m still concerned about the number of Republican elected officials who are doubling down, including our IN-03 US Rep Jim Banks, who referred to calls for his resignation for supporting the elector objections as “laughable”.
Until people like him (white Christian fascists) are drummed out of office, even in blood red-Northeast Indiana, the work of the resistance to restore and reinforce institutions and norms of a functioning democratic republic is not done.
And I’ll just leave this here:
I’ll say this, everyone will claim it’s too long, but, going to say it anyway!
I remember growing up hearing the stories of my uncle David who died 10 years before I was born. He was the kid with the looks and the smarts, unfortunately also was in love with a white girl. That cost him his life.
They came to the house and asked my great grandmother if he could go swimming with them, because they were his high school mates. He wanted to go swimming with them, when they got him to the swimming hole, they jumped on him, smashed his spine, wrapped him in a chain, and through him in the swimming hole to drown. Because those boys hated the idea of him polluting their gene pool.
My mother had me at 19, so then she was about 9 years old when David died, my great grandmother Leslie cried so much because it was her 4th son that was taken from her in this manner. She was inconsolable, she hemorrhaged from her mouth and her nose and bled to death in her own bed, dying from grief.
My youngest son is actually the spitting image of his great uncle David, 6 foot 3, 235 pounds, intelligent, educated and personable. And when he came home and told me that these clowns up the street from his school said they were going to blow his head off if he were to walk by their property one more time, and that he needed to move away if he wanted to live, well, I didn’t need to be told twice. And like I said before history is cyclical, but I could do something about this cycle!
In his 8th grade class, he was a little bit smaller, about 6 foot 1 and 200 pounds. In Little League baseball they used to call him the ringer because he was such a big kid! I didn’t deal with the police, and I knew what needed to be done. And I did it! I was so angry, white people were not going to take another family member of I was breathing. Especially my baby son.
I keep extensive articles on my hard drive, concerning Barack Obama, and the tea party, and how those that still felt they the Masters were afraid that the slaves were going to get the upper hand! Trump financed a lot of the garbage that went down during the Obama term, both of them. Trump is a pig, but also are those like my cousins on my father’s side, who want to make a bronze statue out of this piece of scum and hold him up as 2nd coming of Jesus Christ!
I will tell you here and now, I believe in Scripture, I believe murder is wrong, but I’m also a flawed human, and I’ve sought my own retribution and vengeance. That’s something that I will have to come to grips with when it’s time to meet my maker. Will there be forgiveness for what I’ve done?
My wife’s family has had similar history, where her family progenitor, a certain Missouri preacher who had dancing Arabian horses, had his church burned and his horses shot, his barns and outbuildings burnt to the ground, his home ransacked and burned along with the body of that preacher. All because of him being a black man and, God forbid, a black man with money and status! It changed the trajectory of her family, just as if Donald Trump’s grandfather would’ve been murdered! Who would Donald Trump have been without the money?
My wife and I have been together for 42 years, we were both very young, we went Indiana, LOL, French lick Springs, home of Larry Bird! They wouldn’t even seat us at a table in the restaurant after paying for a week at French lick Springs resort and Hotel!
Why? Why! Why in deed.
I took up the mantle to fight, because the more things that happened to me through my life and the more things I became aware of through my youth and to the stories of my great uncles and great-grandfather, the only thing I acquired was a lot of hatred. And the only way to quell that hatred was with blood! I don’t mind saying it now, I don’t worry about it.
I look at my stupid cousins, how they are so self aggrieved and so willfully ignorant, they’re so fearful that there lily white Nazi-esque self-image is in jeopardy, that they have to rally behind anything any type of scum that will get them where they need to be. It’s funny, I started working on the weekends for a black man in Racine Wisconsin who owned an illegal gambling house. And I relished being asked along with a person called the Rabbit to go collect the gambling debts of these redneck white men who seem to infest Wisconsin. It’s funny how when faced with terrible circumstances, they always felt that they could threaten their way out of it, LOL, didn’t work though. I don’t regret a thing!
White people just can’t leave it alone, they have to continue to be willfully deluded, willfully ignorant, self aggrieved, panicked at the loss of being the master over the slaves, and what will happen to them when the insurrection starts so to speak! Viva la revolution!
There are a lot of things I could say, but, there’s going to be a whole lot more blood spilled and this will not make a difference in this country until it’s all over. It might not be this day this week this month this year or this decade, but a terrible reckoning is coming closer, and it will transform not just this country but a lot of other countries around the world. Until then, I’m breathing, and I guarantee, if those folks come pounding on my door, they’ll get a chance to talk to their maker just like some of their predecessors!
Rightly or wrongly my conscience is clear, but hey, that’s just me, and I hope my maker understands that I’ve always tried my best.
The great white Eagles nest will not always be perched on the highest monolith, and, eventually, it will be torn down and scourged with fire!
The reality of it all, is even more horrific than just the snippet I put in this comment, but, this is actual reality, not a manufactured self-deluded willfully ignorant alternate reality!
This was actually the reason the oligarch’s set us up as a democratic republic:
“democracy–the equal voice of all citizens expressed through the ballot box–threatens White supremacy.”
I’ll make the subtle changes of who the oligarchs were scared of the most – slaves, women, and the working class.
What in the Hell would happen if all those immigrants and poor whites would rally together and take away the oligarchs’ wealth?
Imagine the pain!! LOL
What could the presiding oppressors use to keep us divided?
Race and religion would certainly work since it worked in Europe for eons. 😉
I’ve always said white men are afraid of becoming a minority because they know how minorities have been treated. Ironic, eh?
I really don’t see any politicians being held accountable for the parts they played in any of this most recent debacle, so let me just say that this is far from over. There were no consequences for Hitler and his mob, so they came roaring back. Consequences are imperative! The DOJ must act. The House must act. The Senate must act. Censure should be the minimum punishment and expulsions should occur.
I continue to be amazed by pretty smart folks (including “researchers”) who can boil down human behavior to a single box/label – “racism” – if only it were that simple. For starters, there are zero pure “races”, unless you are stuck in 1930….
Consider just a bit some added ingredients….fear. Fear from globalization, fear from a pandemic, fear from roaring technology that seems to have no ethical constraints. Let’s toss in loss of truth – I defy anyone to watch PBS news and/or read the New York Times and say both don’t clearly lean/preach “left”.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just dismiss all the “trailer trash” and “red necks” just as they dismiss “coastal elites” and the “professional class”? Races, anyone?
Thank you for being unafraid to state the truth. I, too, used to have good friends, also good people; that voted for and supported Trump. As an African American; I knew that it was always about race. Despite former friends protestations that their votes were about the “economy.” I thought is that the dressed up pretty word now for your hatred of people of color? Nothing since his campaign days until now, has changed my mind. In fact, I am more convinced that it was the “duck” I Initially thought it to be. I severed my ties with those individuals. I do not hate them even though, at their core, they hate me. No, it’s not a red hot hatred that would make them participate in my lynching, but a more insidious stain, that allows them to accept the daily lynchings my people take in the street at the hands of the police. Lynchings that keep me unequal in every aspect of American life. Lynchings that harm, and kill my people from cradle to grave. As my mother told me decades ago, “with friends like that; who needs enemies?”
I’m glad you’ve been able to come to the realization that you have! My personal background is multicultural, unlike my wife. sometimes I’ve been able to walk on both sides of the fence so to speak. And what I’ve seen from the white side of that picket fence, is really disgusting because they try to hide what they are! They’ve networked themselves and planted roots deep into the bowels of corporate and government societies, to where they can eviscerate those of other ethnic groups with impunity.
If you are melatonin enhanced as the Young folks say today, you are still a target! And when they’re marching you out the door of your former place of employment or organization or even residence, you could probably tie it to the amount of melatonin you have in your skin!
Actually, that white side of the picket fence would love for you to be extremely capable and a great asset as long as you remain in your place and make them look good so they can take the credit for your intellect, and that’s the way it is across the spectrum. But, you’re not going to be paid the same, you are not going to have the same benefits of the doubt, and the playing field will never be skewed in your direction. And, please don’t brag on an interracial relationship! Because, one might be good enough for someone to sleep with, the slave masters did that, but anything else is out of bounds and a target will have been placed on ones back for that.
I remember in a previous thread on this blog I mentioned that my wife had six college degrees, she developed a position where there was none. And after 32 years, 25 not missing a day, she came in to see her position that she created, posted on the jobs board. Her boss told her that they felt they needed to have a different face for their molecular training division. But they hoped she would train the new person to get them up to speed. I remember her walking in early one day saying that she told him to shove it she quit and took her pension. Her skin was too dark, the new managers that were above her at the vice president level didn’t like it! And, get this, they told her she was overly educated to be in that position. But, they never offered her a different one! and, she happened to be the last person of African descent in that department when she left.
You have to work twice as hard for half the pay, and even less respect!
From the “Psychology Today” article, “Trump is the only one we’ve been able to trust for the last four years.” This comment of the mayor of Sundown, Texas, is too crystal-clear a place marker for the utter lack of connection to a bigger reality, the one that is not allowed inside the minds of Trump supporters. I have long, now, been amazed at the wording on the flag so many of them fly “Trump 2020, No More Bullshit,” when it has been obvious just where the bullshit comes from.
Trump has done what so many demagogues have done over the years, pander to the most bigoted in his culture.
Coming from New York city, as I do, with my career in Mental Health, it may have been easier for me to recognize Trump for what he is, one very sick puppy, so I can understand why so many people gave the TV “star” a hearing, in the first place. But there are no human, redeeming characteristics within his empty being.
Based on Stacey Abrams’ marvelous achievement in Georgia, of all places, there is still room for hope…not that the bigoted will let the scales drop from their eyes, as it were, but that their voices will gradually become less, and less determinative of election outcomes.
As for Peggy’s comment, “I really don’t see any politicians being held accountable for the parts they played in any of this most recent debacle, so let me just say that this is far from over. There were no consequences for Hitler and his mob, so they came roaring back. Consequences are imperative! The DOJ must act. The House must act. The Senate must act. Censure should be the minimum punishment and expulsions should occur,” much more than expulsions “should occur.” Indictments are needed. As Bernie Sanders has said, there need to be consequences that set a precedent for the fascists wot whatever stripe, perhaps especially the religious stripe.
I do not recall the name of the pastor who has been putting out excruciatingly dumb verbiage, insisting that Biden will be filling his administration with what the pastor, and, presumably his followers, would consider sexual deviants, but that language is not, I believe, entitled to First Amendment protection, it is fear mongering hate speech.
John, that was not too long, and that was painful. I want to say that it is unbelievable, but it’s not, though, on the other hand, it should be.
Another nuanced view of cause from someone who studies extremists, 3 “N’s”:
““need,” the motivation to feel significant and respected. This universal quest for significance is elevated when one’s dignity is in question, when we feel humiliated, disenfranchised, cheated, or taken advantage of. It is also elevated when the opportunity arises for a great boost to our significance, an occasion to do something exceptional, become a hero or a martyr celebrated by all. All humans have the need to feel significant and respected…
the other two N’s: “narrative” and “network.” The narrative ties the need for significance to a course of action. It reinforces the need and instructs what must be done in order to gain significance. And the network — people’s communities — affirms the narrative and validates it. It also bestows respect and admiration on those who do what the narrative tells them.”
We know all about the “communities”…”tribes”, “bubbles” we are all in, even “Sheila’s gang”.
Racism, the pandemic, the growing inequity in the distribution of wealth, rural vs urban have all contributed to the divisiveness in this country. Then we have a president who plays on the fears of rural white people and winks at the far right groups, many of whom have potential for violence based on racism and other bigotries because they feel threatened by the growing diversity of our country. And yes, I believe much of what has happened is a backlash because we had the nerve to elect a black man to be our president for 8 years.
I hear and respect the fear, the pain, and the anger voiced on this blog. I am repeatedly grieved and saddened by the trauma so many have suffered like your story John about your Uncle David. There are also all the micro traumas that people suffer that usually go unnoticed by those of us with privilege. I sometimes feel so
overwhelmed,unsettled that I have to escape it all for a while in a mythic tale, usually one of a heroic quest.
The song I wrote called “The Small Difference” is a rebuttal to hate crimes. I wrote it in response to the murder of James Byrd, Jr and Matthew Shepard. The hook line is “we can be the small difference that makes all the difference in the world.” It asserts that one person can make a difference by speaking truth to power and/or practicing compassion. The Indianapolis Womens’ Chorus sang it while under the direction of Pam Blevins-Hinkle in 2000. I choose to believe that every person I helped move into recovery from addiction became someone who helped others recover.
Like Mr. Rogers, I would invite each and everyone of you to think about those who have touched you deeply with their love, affirmation, and advocacy for you especially in this moment. For me, it’s my maternal grandparents, my mother, and some of my high school teachers.
It is painful, my aunt has compiled a manuscript of about 2,000 pages documenting just some of these things. All the way forward from the 1700s. Some of the stuff in that manuscript that she researched for years, tells a story that is so convoluted with hatred, it’s almost breathtaking and I mean that in a suffocating way not an admirable kind of way.
And, we can’t demonize one complete race or ethnicity of people, because there are many many many good folks who are caucasian, my father was one. But, the vocal minority which is a minority only by a small margin taints the whole barrel of apples as they say.
But it was surprising to me to be around people who were supposed to be ethical and had positions of authority who spoke one way in front of those people of color and a completely different way in front of those who were like him. And it was not just one or two there were many that I can recall through my lifetime. Those are the racists that never wanted to or were afraid to and never will come out of the closet! It takes a lot of people of Goodwill to fight against those who have none. I know that sometimes the things I say might make people feel uncomfortable?!? But when you’re talking about the sanctity of life and human dignity, I think being uncomfortable might not be a bad thing. I’ve dealt with some of it the way I saw fit, and because I’m so full of anger, I’ve had to really put a restraint on my conduct in the public realm! I’ve actually gotten into some really fairly
physically intense confrontationss defending someone that I didn’t even know. And, actually felt good doing it.
One of the best guys I’ve ever known was an Austrian with the last name of Kling, not a bigoted bone in that gentle Giants body, but he would defend folks that he didn’t know against racial injustice, and even physical attack. And he lost his life because of it. So I know that there are very good people everywhere, it’s just those who are not bearers of Goodwill seem to be more vocal and energetic.
When I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tape the other day, it reminded me of my father’s father, because he was a Nazi! (My mom was from the melungeon side of the family) And, it reminded me of what my friends father used to talk about growing up in Austria! So it’s funny how some things trigger a pensive response, this whole thing though is quite exhausting.
Here is a bit of a Test:
These aren’t my words, but I stand behind it:
Huge numbers of our population, good people on both sides, believe in a complete alternate reality. Alternate facts as it were. But just as intensely as I believe they are deluded, they think I am the one who is deluded. Maybe I am.
So how can I be confident in my perception? It can be quite difficult. But I have found that in times of confusion, particularly when emotions are running high and creating tunnel vision, the presence of Nazis can be an extremely helpful indicator.
If I am attending a local demonstration or event and I see Nazis…neo-Nazis, miscellaneous-Nazis or the latest-whatever-uber-mythology-Nazis, I figure out which side they are on. And if they are on my side of the demonstration? I am on the wrong side.
It is tough to argue moral equivalence when I am standing next to a Nazi. Look to my right. Is there a guy wearing a 6MWE (6 million wasn’t enough) t-shirt? I am on the wrong side. Look to my left. If that guy is wearing a Camp Auschwitz t-shirt? Wrong side. Speakers referring to things Hitler got right? Wrong side.
Team-spirit face paint and hat with horns? This is an unclear indicator that could mean anything but safest to keep my distance from that guy even at a football game. But I can always, always, always, rely on the presence of Nazis as a guiding light through a fog of disinformation. Some things are relative, but evil and good are absolute.
My Side Bar, I think you could add Confederate Flags to the above and the fire-armed Camouflage types.
John, I do hear you. Coming from a Jewish background, having been taunted for it, having had a cousin in my paternal generation who was, along with his wife, rescued from a concentration camp, by HIS cousin, of all people, and, of course, knowing that Anti-Semitism is alive and thriving in the country’s dark underbelly, your story has resonance for me.
A cousin’s other grandfather was killed in a Russian pogrom, while her grandmother was also raped in front of her children, at that time. Other family was killed by the Nazis in the camps.
The craziness goes on and on within our species, genocide after genocide.
From “The Morning Heresy”:
Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham at the New York Times on Christianity and the insurrection: “The most extreme corners of support for Mr. Trump have become inextricable from some parts of white evangelical power in America. Rather than completely separate strands of support, these groups have become increasingly blended together.” Thank you, St. Reagan!!!!!
So, as I often insist, you start from where you are – and here we are, mired in racism and subjected to fascist efforts to maintain the status quo with a chief executive afflicted with brain rot exploiting not only race but every other available grievance among a substantial minority in order to hold on to political power, a power denied him last November which he, unsurprisingly, denies.
We are letting Trump off the hook via assigning his claim to delusion. He is not deluded; he knows perfectly well that he lost in a near landslide, but is cynically pretending to be deluded as a cover for his dictatorial quest to reverse reality with such tactics (among others) as what he cheer-led last Wednesday.
So here we are. Now what? The status quo is a victim of demographics and there is in the medium run little racists can do about it short of destruction of our democracy and becoming a colony of Russia or China, or perhaps a joint venture between the two. Whether we have time for civics and critical thinking to save the day is uncertain, given religion and money and fascist expressions of this unholy alliance in the political marketplace. All I know to do is to continue to agitate for the yet unrealized democratic idealism set forth by the Framers, and provide 24 – 7 unrelenting resistance to those who would end our most precious asset held in common – our democracy.
It seems to me that the simplest model possible for life is contained in the phrase “threats and opportunities”. We are all born into and with a set of features, we all grow up observing others who we deem to be like us, we all accomplish what we can with what we have and what we learn and most of us reach adulthood by successfully sorting out and reacting to threats and opportunities as we encounter them. That’s where a great sorting process comes into play between those whose vision of success is largely met or largely unmet.
The people who don’t feel successful react on a spectrum the extremes of which are blame (helplessness) and resolve (ambition).
Over my time the economy following WWII was defined by seemingly endless economic growth for the vast majority. Not all mind you but many. Now there are fewer economic good times to go around and the number of people in the blame mode is growing rapidly and perhaps is approaching seemingly endless. In the blame mode, the possibilities for scapegoats are also seemingly endless.
Of course, there are no definitive causes to the trajectory of everything and everyone but that’s not a very satisfying response to anger, depression, sadness, disappointment, and frustration. We need to and do put faces on it.
None of this bodes well for recovery.
Thanks for calling me “nice.” 🙂
I’m certainly agree than many Trumpers are motivated by racism. I’m saying it’s a mistake to assume that everyone in the Trump cult joined because they’re racist. There were many reasons people decided to leave rationality and reason behind to follow Donald Trump. I believe it’s just a more complex dynamic. Not every one of the 75 million people who voted for Trump is a racist.
What disturbs me is that people who I love, respect, and have been exceedingly kind to me for many many years voted for Trump (again). I don’t know what they are thinking now but I sure see how Hitler came to power. The question is how to we change them? some of them are in the adult Sunday School class I teach on Sundays.
I’m presently reading “Hiding in Plain Sight, The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America by Sarah Kendzior. She makes a very compelling case for the rest of the story. Her experience as an anthropologist and journalist based on studying Russia and Uzbekistan Is clear, the kleptocrats of the world are reacting to our social plight as an opportunity instead of the threat it is to the rest of us.
And they are achieving great success at our expense.
Her US vantage point is Missouri which she describes in terms that Hoosiers can very much relate to.
Pete – “Of course, there are no definitive causes to the trajectory of everything and everyone but that’s not a very satisfying response to anger, depression, sadness, disappointment, and frustration. We need to and do put faces on it.”
sitting out here on the fence, we regurgitate the whys, but have we recognized the whos. we put together all the reasons why people align themselves with various points of view,backgrounds,class, etc. how has that been used as a whole? the vehicle is your own,and its probably for the availability of free ink,social media. the facts left in the corners are who. theres a ongoing push from the rich and wall street to stir and research its think,from ongoing ink. in the process of gaining the above mindset,and like a orwellian page,change the think. we can imagine and read and take notice of the events,and how they were steam rolled down the blvd,to a near final need,for someone/something. all this research doesnt come to a answer why so many want us to dance when they jerk our chain,i have doubts trump is mentally capeable of setting this up,and has been pushed by local actors in his admin/and or money.hes simply a barker at a carney,and they just happen to get the right useful idiot.the theory of so called conspiracies and get analized and degraded and tosed,right?. theres far more that why this happend,and how it got here than research of the human mind. theres people who are the forefront of this game to have it all. they risk this countries demise for the gold to be given to a few. we see and know theres a end game, lets take some time to call em all out, and have them explain in public why they support and use us,as a typical whore on the street. the shame here isnt all of the trumpers, its how they were used by some one else for their own needs. the sadest part is,people who may once were standing Americans have fallen in a hole of self proclamation to support a change,but many feel they are over the hill of no return when they relize how far they have been pushed. many,were just the whores they are and many,will never be Americans again.all because of money and power being granted mainly from one party.,who are now washing their hands and deny thats what we saw. (cruz,c span after the gate crash)and the otherside needs to take stock and clean out its toilet..
Epistemic knowing. From the article in “Psychology Today”:
“They are fighting for the right to have the special privilege of being the Person (or people) Who Decide What is True.
Steve Bannon and associates says that fight is over and the Trumpites have won: they decide what is Truth and the rest of us are required to react/deal with that Truth the safest way we can.
I say that the attack on the Capitol was a doubling down on Bannon’s edict. It was launched to beat back the Liberal counterattack — the move to Certify Biden’s election. It seemed to the Trumpites that some in Congress and the media had not gotten the word and needed a reminder — we the Trumpites determine the Truth; what’s unclear about that. The Trumpites understand that Liberals will attempt such counterattacks from time to time, and the Trumpites warn that should we forget who determines the truth they have the means and the brutality to refresh our memory as often and as viciously as necessary.
The analyses and statements of principle on this page are insightful and touching and correct, but don’t, in my opinion, move us toward a solution. To get to the root of the problem we can (1) try every known approach to eliminating racism by changing people’s hearts and minds, or (2) we can adopt the Tracey Abrams tactic of outvoting the bigots. Democracy presents us with the second alternative, one that has, in some instances, been shown to work. While it doesn’t completely erase racism, it strips it of much of its power.
Ideas of racism have been with us for most of recorded history, and have proven intractable more often than not. A desire to actually fix the problem suggests the Abrams solution offers higher odds of success, and does not preclude use of the first approach. We and the DNC need to identify a highly intelligent and energetic activist in every red state who is motivated to build what Stacey built in Georgia (she is already working on that) and to own the problem for as long as it takes. We need to fund and support that person’s efforts and keep going even beyond initial victories until we level the playing field. What good does it do to have an outstanding person like Obama in the highest office if the racists remain able to block his efforts? Expanding social consciousness and demographics are on our side, as are the arguments found in the comments above.
We are at the dawn of discovering the verities of our own history, including how free labor made so many of our American achievements possible. It is still pre-dawn in the realization that the contributions of people of color have the potential to turn us into a stronger and better nation if only we encourage and accept them. We are stuck at midnight in the efforts of a few to convey how so many achievements of minorities in the past are the platforms we built on to get where we are.
If there is a third or fourth way to eradicate racism, let’s discuss it. But the one that would have the most salutary and lasting effect on our nation, and the one with the greatest chance of success, seems to me to intensify the use of democracy – mostly by Democrats – as both a weapon and a strategy. Simultaneously, we need to undermine racism by showing it for anti-democratic disease it is.
There are three small, mostly inconsequential, things I want to note.
First, my older daughter and I like to “joke” (as I get closer and closer to being an old white man):
White people are terrible.
White men are worse.
Old white men are the worst.
It’s silly, but too often true, and we say it to remind ourselves that we have an obligation to NOT be those people.
Second, whenever I am around someone I suspect of racist tendencies (or outright racism) it brings me a certain measure of happiness to bring the conversation around to my genealogical research, because it offers me a chance to note that if we go back enough generations, we were ALL black. Truly, it’s the best guilty pleasure, and remembrance makes me smile even as I type these words.
Third, and more importantly, the vast majority of racist people are beyond help. It’s a nice win when one of their number comes to their senses, but it’s a rare phenomenon. Most people are tied to racism like they are tied to their religion. They can’t comprehend a life without it, and so questioning it is to be avoided. The only thing that gives me hope these days is that racism is becoming more and more a generational problem. It seems to me that the only real solution is to let the old racists die off and to work on the young. (I am glad that here in Canada we teach about diversity and multiculturalism in the schools from a very young age.)
For the record, there are a chunk of us white Christians that think it is about “white psuedoChristian supremacy” who believe Jesus taught “love thy neighbor as thyself, no exceptions, and that everyone on the planet is your neighbor.” I admit I want to make some exceptions. Have to work on that.
Ah, Lester – we are all in our “bubbles”
My bubble argues online, like I am doing now; Qs bubble shouts down everyone (tea party) and resorts to violent physical attacks
My bubble “suspects” bad voting machines in Ohio in 2004, but accepts that evidence that they were OK after testing; Qs bubble doesn’t care about proof or rationality – they know the election was stolen
The Brookings Institute thinks inequality is a problem and asks how can we fix it; the Heritage Foundation say laissez-faire capitalism is the answer – let us show you how to apply it to your problem
The New York Times says racism is a problem; Qs news source says kill the Jews
Are we really just two bubbles?
You seem to want rationality, but racism is exactly the lack of rationality – science and rational thought are not just “ideologies” that are like all others – there is a difference between blindly accepting answers and asking questions, evaluating evidence, and reaching conclusions, while allowing for new evidence to change your mind
Yes, outsourcing, technology, the pace of change, globalization – those are the real problems, but racism is the easy answer – you lost your job – blame the “ni**ers”; globalization – blame the Spanish speakers; or when all else fails, just blame the Jews – its the catchall standby
People who accept simple, false, comfortable answers can be convinced to listen to everything their leader says, as long as he validates their easy answers
No, not every Trump supporter is a racist, but none of them are anti-racists – either they are the racists or they think that it isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things – Not every German was a Nazi either, but that didn’t help the Jews, the Romani, or the LBGT did it?
Understand this – I don’t argue with trolls, only people I respect and whom I assume have their hearts in the right place
Thanks Mitch D,
The Jews were always the canary in the coal mine, but one thing about those of the Jewish ethnicity or race whichever you like, the religion bonded everyone together, no matter where they were. And not just the Jews with Jews but the Jews with proselytes. That’s one thing that kept the Jews together all these millennia, and made the Jews a very powerful force and certain areas of society! Other groups of people don’t have that. Other ethnicities so to speak. Marv used to talk about there being a need for mentorship between Jewish hierarchy and African American business owners in the United States which would maybe change that culture. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, I am still recovering from this leg and I went to the food bank to pick up a load of food for some of the folks that don’t have transportation. So I’ll be hobbling around delivering that tomorrow.
I don’t claim to think that the good will cancel out the bad, lol, but I enjoy doing for those who can’t do for themselves.
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