Saturday, November 28, 2015

Today's GOP: America’s Largest Hate Group

Look at any hate group and you will typically find the group claiming to be engaged in a good and positive activity.  The KKK claims to be protecting white civilization and deterring violence by blacks, even though it is the KKK that engages in the violence.  "Christian" hate groups such as Family Research Council and American family Association claim to be protection "Biblical values" and tradition, yet they disseminate lies and untruths incessantly and seek to engender hatred towards gays and others.  Now, the Republican Party has morphed into a hate group that is racist, homophobic and anti-non-Christians.  A piece in Salon looks at the transformation of the GOP into the nation's largest hate group.  Here are excerpts:
It is, however, clear that leading Republicans have engaged in extraordinarily racist and xenophobic rhetoric that incites and legitimates vigilante violence. On Saturday, Trump fans allegedly attacked a Black Lives Matter protester at a Birmingham rally. “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” Trump said.

It’s not that brazen racism is new to the Republican Party. In 1964, Sen. Strom Thurmond — who ran for president on the segregationist Dixiecrat ticket in 1948 — became a Republican in protest of the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s passage. That year, he worked hard across the then-solidly-Democratic South to support the Republican candidacy of libertarian and militarist Barry Goldwater, a Civil Rights Act opponent.

In 1968, Richard Nixon ran a television ad stoking fear of black riot and student anti-war protests, unsubtly declaring that freedom from street violence at home was in reality the “first civil right.”

It was in 1990, that Republican Sen. Jesse Helms, as the New York Times recounts, “unveiled a nakedly racial campaign advertisement in which a pair of hands belonging to a white job-seeker crumpled a rejection slip as an announcer explained that the job had been given to an unqualified member of a minority.” And it was in 2002 that incoming Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott strongly suggested that America would have been better had de jure segregation been kept in place.

The Trump candidacy has combined fears over terrorism, crime and a coming white minority into a spectacular fever dream of dangerous refugees and a criminal threat posed by black people and Hispanic immigrants. That danger, in the right-wing view, is abetted by liberals who criticize police so harshly they are afraid to do their jobs, invite menacing foreigners to live amongst us, and restrain our military because of excessive concern for civilian casualties.

Trump, Carson and neo-McCarthyite Ted Cruz make some very conservative people seem centrist by comparison. These so-called moderate conservatives, after all, claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan, a one-time right-wing challenger to the Republican establishment. Today, mainstream Republican Jeb Bush has suggested that we should prioritize Christian refugees, and Chris Christie has stated that many Black Lives Matter activists “advocate for the murder of police officers.”

White supremacist activists, as Evan Osnos reported in the New Yorker, have cheered Trump because he is mainstreaming the sort of xenophobia that is particularly amenable to the current American brand of white supremacy. 

The explosion of brazen racism on the right is not only dangerous but distracting. Extremist politics, and the reaction to it, crowds out discussion of structural problems like poverty and mass incarceration. Every minute spent reading about Trump’s idiocy is time not taken reflecting upon the fact that 22-percent children lived below the poverty line in 2013, according to USA Today, a situation more than twice as likely to befall children who are black, Hispanic and Native American. 

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