Monday, July 15, 2019

America's 'congenital illness', racism, motivates Trump's attacks on congresswomen

Maureen Dowd, columnist at the NY TImes, posted Scaling Wokeback Mountain Sunday morning. If you have the same cultural trouble with the title as did I, let me interpret. “Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could become Republicans’ not-so-secret weapon in 2020.” I assume Dowd would extend that charge to encompass AOC’s three fellow freshman representatives of color, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts. Here are snippets.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ensorcelled me from the start. I loved the bartender-makes-good Cinderella story, the shake-up-the-capital idealistic dreams, the bravado about how the plutocrat president from Queens wouldn’t know how to deal with a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx.

[“Me too!” says your Scriber. BTW, thanks to Sherry Moreau for the tip about Dowd’s column. ]

And I imagined the most potent feminist partnership in American history: Nancy Pelosi as sensei, bringing her inside game, and A.O.C., the Karate Kid with a wicked Twitter game.

But instead, the 79-year-old speaker and the 29-year-old freshman are trapped in a generational and ideological tangle that poses a real threat to the Democrats’ ability to beat Donald Trump next year.

Dowd is not the only one to be alarmed about the apparent rift between Pelosi and AOC’s “squad.”

Rahm Emanuel tagged the “… the real instigator, Saikat Chakrabarti, A.O.C.’s 33-year-old chief of staff …” as having “no idea about the battle scars Pelosi bears from the liberal fights she has led.”

“What votes did you get?” Emanuel said, rhetorically challenging A.O.C.’s chief of staff. “You should only be so lucky to learn from somebody like Nancy who has shown incredible courage and who has twice returned the Democratic Party to power.

“We fought for years to create the majorities to get a Democratic president elected and re-elected, and they’re going to dither it away. They have not decided what’s more important: Do they want to beat Trump or do they want to clear the moderate and centrists out of the party? You really think weakening the speaker is the right strategy to try to get rid of Donald Trump and everything he stands for?”

In the age of Trump, there is no more stupid proposition than that Nancy Pelosi is the problem. If A.O.C. and her Pygmalions and acolytes decide that burning down the House is more important than deposing Trump, they will be left with a racist backward president and the emotional satisfaction of their own purity.

Trump brays
Trump's tweets show no bottom to Trump's racism

The worries expressed above about the internal division among House Dems are in no way overstated. Trump jumped on this one like a horsefly on a pile of manure. Put another way, the Pelosi/AOC spat provides Trump and his minions with an opportunity to spread disinformation and thus to practice the politics of division that the Ruskies used against us so well in the 2016 election.

The essence of what Trump did was reported in 538’s significant digits email:

3 of 4 congresswomen
On Sunday morning, President Trump tweeted that “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” ought to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Trump seems to have been referring to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar. All of them are American citizens, and three of the four congresswomen were born and raised in the United States. [CBS News]

Charles M. Blow, another Times columnist, elaborates, asserting that Trump’s Tweets Prove That He Is a Raging Racist. “It is undeniably true that America’s president opposes diversity.”

Donald Trump keeps trying to convince any disbelieving holdouts that he is a raging racist. At least, that’s how I imagine his motives. In truth, it is more likely that his truest nature is simply being revealed, again and again, and he is using his own racism to appeal to the racism in the people who support him.

On Sunday morning, the same day that the Trump administration earlier announced it would conduct raids to round up undocumented immigrants, Trump weighed in again on the conflict between four female freshmen congresswomen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, tweeting a series of three of the most racist tweets he could produce:

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!

I refer you to the facts presented above that the four female freshman congresswomen are citizens of the US, three by virtue of being born here. Like that horsefly, Trump is spreading sh!t.

First, the facts: The country Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley “originally came from” is this one. They were born in America. Omar was a refugee from Somalia.

But, this is the most important fact: They aren’t white, and they are women. They are “other” in the framing of the white nationalists. They are descendants of Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

The central framing of this kind of thinking is that this is a white country, founded and built by white men, and destined to be maintained as a white country. For anyone to be accepted as truly American they must assimilate and acquiesce to that narrative, to bow to that heritage and bend to those customs.

It sees a country from which black and brown people come as deficient — “a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world” — because, at its base, it sees black and brown people as deficient.

Start here: because the entire white supremacist ideology and ethos is a lie. America expanded much of its territory through the shedding of blood and breaking of treaties with Native Americans. It established much of its wealth through 250 years of exploiting black bodies for free labor.

And, for the entire history of this country, some degree of anti-blackness has existed. Now, there is an intensifying anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant xenophobia.

America was born with a congenital illness and it has been in need of active rehabilitation ever since, although it has often rejected the curative treatments and regressed.

But, Trump — and many of his supporters and defenders — spew their racism and tell themselves that it is perfectly acceptable when it is read back to them, in much the same way that a dog will eat its own vomit.

… There can be no more discussion or debate about whether or not Trump is a racist. He is. There can be no more rhetorical juggling about not knowing what’s in his heart. We see what flows out of it.

White people and whiteness are the center of the Trump presidency. His primary concern is to defend, protect and promote it. All that threatens it must be attacked and assaulted. Trump is bringing the force of the American presidency to the rescue of white supremacy. And, self-identified Republicans absolutely love him for it.

We are watching a very dark chapter in this nation’s history unfold in real time. We are watching as a president returns naked racism to the White House. And we are watching as fellow citizens — possibly a third of them — reveal to us their open animus for us through their continued support of him.

If you have the time (and the stomach) you can read this Washington Post report on how Trump rejects criticism that his weekend tweet about four minority lawmakers was racist, says they ‘hate our country’. The House Dems (and Rep. Amash) condemned Trump’s racism. The Republicans? Well … in the main they’re OK with what is gushing forth from Trump’s heart of darkness.

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