Month: November 2018

Republicans Mimic the Segregationists and Unleash the Wolves of Hate

“When the wolves of hate are loosed on one people, then no one is safe.”
–Atlanta Constitution editor Ralph McGill, recognizing the broader truth behind the bombing of the Jewish Temple in Atlanta in 1958.

President Donald Trump’s speeches during the final weeks of the 2018 midterm elections established an irrefutable fact: Trump and his Republican followers are overtly committed to a racist, xenophobic, misogynist, nativist, ethno-nationalist agenda, and will use lies, fearmongering, race-baiting, and demagoguery to advance that agenda.

Trump unleashed a torrent of falsehoods to demonize his political opponents and portray them as desiring crime, squalor and poverty. He used outright vicious racist rhetoric to depict the migrant caravan moving through Central America, describing it as an army of diseased, criminal thugs who would invade the United States and unleash gangs and crimes on the public. He doubled down on the distortion by propagated the baseless conspiracy theory that Democrats—especially mega-donor George Soros—were funding the caravan.

Trump and his Republicans now talk about Hispanic migrants the way Hitler talked about the Jews and the way rabid Southern segregationists talked about blacks. Trump’s incendiary rhetoric of fear-mongering and race-baiting was clearly designed to divide Americans, not unite them.

Republicans ardently embraced this toxic brew, hoping this escalation of Trump’s demagoguery would carry them to victory in the elections—as his previous version had done in 2016.  And true to form, Georgia’s Republicans like Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, Representatives Barry Loudermilk and Karen Handel, and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp were in the forefront of Trump’s ardent embracers.

These Trumpist lapdogs showed they were quite comfortable with whipping up racist animosity and stoking white grievances. They swoon over every aspect of his racist, misogynist, nativist, xenophobic agenda and have made it their own.

Alas, in a stunning upset, Ms. Handel lost her bid for re-election in the traditionally Red district to Democrat Lucy McBath. We believe Handel paid a price for being a Trump lackey, and view her defeat as a harbinger of better days in Georgia.

But in the meantime, we have at least four more years of Trump’s misrule, and the real possibility he will be re-elected. We live in an era of (presumed) political polarization and its attendant heated rhetoric. A goodly number of Americans seem unable to distinguish between allegations devoid of evidence and fact-based statements based on empirical evidence.

IndieDems has filled this blog with posts based on the empirical standard. Donald Trump has made our task easier by providing us with tons of his own verbatim words that provide the facts about what a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, nativist, uninformed, bully he is, in twitter after twitter and speech after speech. In a separate blog, we provide a compendium of recent analyses that reveal in detail the Trumpists’ warped racist, xenophobic, fearmongering agenda.

Republicans Unleash the Wolves of Hate

We devote the rest of this post to a look at the similarities between what Republicans are doing now and the racist agendas and violence of the South’s—and Georgia’s—segregationist past. The bombings, murders, and beatings that were a staple of Jim Crow Georgia did not take place in a vacuum. They were not the random acts of a few extremists. The violence was the natural outgrowth of a culture that considered it normal to preach the gospel of “segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”  Declaring a group of people to be inferior and unfit to interact as equals with other citizens paves the way for them to become the target of violent acts.

But voices much more eloquent than ours have made the case much better than we can. What better voice to start with than that of Ralph McGill, the anti-segregationist editor of the Atlanta Constitution during the darkest days of segregation. And what better person to remind us of McGill’s words than Melissa Fay Greene, the author of the book “The Temple Bombing,” about the 1958 bombing of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation in Atlanta. She wrote an article for the Washington Post after the bombing of the Temple in Pittsburg:

The wolves of hate are loose. No one is safe.
By Melissa Fay Greene

Sixty years and three weeks ago, the Temple in Atlanta was bombed by anti-Semitic white supremacists who perceived the Jews as “masterminding” the civil rights movement — not unlike accused killer Robert Bowers accepting the widely broadcast theory that Jews conceived and bankrolled the migrant caravan.

The day after the Temple bombing, Ralph McGill, editor of the Atlanta Constitution, published an editorial attacking Southern elected officials who conjured up scapegoats and stirred up the mobs for their own political gains.

 “It is not possible to preach lawlessness and restrict it,” he wrote. “You do not preach and encourage hatred for the Negro and hope to restrict it to that field. It is an old, old story. It is one repeated over and over again in history.”

“When the wolves of hate are loosed on one people, then no one is safe.”

When hate speech, firing up the airwaves and popping at the rallies, suddenly tears apart — with homemade bombs or assault rifles — the everyday lives of ordinary people, the results are not cinematic or larger-than-life. The results are exactly life-size. (Ms. Greene next noted some of the “ordinary” people murdered in the Pittsburg.)

But McGill’s words were not heeded. In fact, the hate and violence-filled days of the Civil Rights struggle led by Martin Luther King lay ahead. Five years after the Temple bombing, a bomb went off in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, a hub of civil rights activism, killing three 14 year-old black female children and one 11 year-old.

McGill’s colleague, Eugene Patterson, then the Executive Editor of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, wrote a column eloquently repeating McGill’s theme. His classic commentary exposed without mercy the complicity of all pro-segregation white Southerners in this horrific crime.

‘A Flower for the Graves’

By Eugene Patterson – September 16, 1963

A Negro mother wept in the street Sunday morning in front of a Baptist Church in Birmingham. In her hand she held a shoe, one shoe, from the foot of her dead child. We hold that shoe with her.

Every one of us in the white South holds that small shoe in his hand.

It is too late to blame the sick criminals who handled the dynamite. The FBI and the police can deal with that kind. The charge against them is simple. They killed four children.

Only we can trace the truth, Southerner – you and I. We broke those children’s bodies.

We watched the stage set without staying it. We listened to the prologue unbestirred. We saw the curtain opening with disinterest. We have heard the play.

We – who go on electing politicians who heat the kettles of hate.

We – who raise no hand to silence the mean and little men who have their nigger jokes.

We – who stand aside in imagined rectitude and let the mad dogs that run in every society slide their leashes from our hand, and spring.

We – the heirs of a proud South, who protest its worth and demand it recognition – we are the ones who have ducked the difficult, skirted the uncomfortable, caviled at the challenge, resented the necessary, rationalized the unacceptable, and created the day surely when these children would die.

This is no time to load our anguish onto the murderous scapegoat who set the cap in dynamite of our own manufacture.

He didn’t know any better.

Somewhere in the dim and fevered recess of an evil mind he feels right now that he has been a hero. He is only guilty of murder. He thinks he has pleased us.

We of the white South who know better are the ones who must take a harsher judgment.

We, who know better, created a climate for child-killing by those who don’t.

We hold that shoe in our hand, Southerner. Let us see it straight, and look at the blood on it. Let us compare it with the unworthy speeches of Southern public men who have traduced the Negro; match it with the spectacle of shrilling children whose parents and teachers turned them free to spit epithets at small huddles of Negro school children for a week before this Sunday in Birmingham; hold up the shoe and look beyond it to the state house in Montgomery where the official attitudes of Alabama have been spoken in heat and anger.

Let us not lay the blame on some brutal fool who didn’t know any better.We know better. We created the day. We bear the judgment. May God have mercy on the poor South that has so been led. May what has happened hasten the day when the good South, which does live and has great being, will rise to this challenge of racial understanding and common humanity, and in the full power of its unasserted courage, assert itself.

The Sunday school play at Birmingham is ended. With a weeping Negro mother, we stand in the bitter smoke and hold a shoe. If our South is ever to be what we wish it to be, we will plant a flower of nobler resolve for the South now upon these four small graves that we dug.

The relevance of McGill and Patterson’s words to current events is too self-evident to require elaboration. But to comprehend the depth of their meaning, re-read Paterson’s column and in place of the words “nigger” or “Negro,” substitute “migrant” or “immigrant.”

And for “politicians,” substitute “Republicans.” Better yet, substitute “Georgia Republicans.”

Then read just about any of Trump’s 2018 campaign speeches.

(Read More: See our previous post elaborating on the similarity between Southern segregationists and modern-day Republicans, “Today’s Republicans & 1960s Segregationists: Peas in a Pod)

Trump’s Litany of Lies and Racism Nakedly Revealed. GA Republicans Approve It All

Georgia Republicans Johnny Isakson and David Perdue; Reps. Barry Loudermilk and Karen Handel; and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp has given their stamp of approval to all you read on these pages.

President Donald Trump’s speeches during the final weeks of the 2018 midterm elections established an irrefutable fact: Trump and his Republican followers are overtly committed to a racist, xenophobic, misogynist, nativist, ethno-nationalist agenda, and will use lies, fearmongering, race-baiting, and demagoguery to advance that agenda.

Trump stokes resentment toward minorities. Republicans just smile.

Trump ratchets up racially divisive messages in a bid to rally support in the midterms

  • President Trump, joined by many Republican candidates, is dramatically escalating his efforts to take advantage of racial divisions and cultural fears in the final days of the midterm campaign, part of an overt attempt to rally white supporters to the polls and preserve the GOP’s congressional majorities.
  • On November 1, Trump ratcheted up the anti-immigrant rhetoric…by portraying a migrant caravan, consisting mostly of families traveling on foot, as a dangerous ‘invasion’ and suggesting that if any migrants throw rocks they could be shot by the troops that he has deployed at the border.
  • The president also vowed to take action next week to construct massive tent cities aimed at holding migrants indefinitely and making it more difficult for them to remain in the country.

Trump deploys the fascist playbook for the midterms
By Ishaan Tharoor

  • …in the final stretch before next week’s midterm election, the president and his allies have launched a blitzkrieg of misinformation.
  • This overt turn toward white nationalism is perhaps the dominant theme of Trump’s time in office.

Trump and Republicans settle on fear — and falsehoods — as a midterm strategy

The GOP has become the party of fake news and paranoid fantasies
By Fareed Zakaria

  • Republicans are now becoming the party not of Trump but of Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator who in the 1950s accused the State Department of treason, called George Marshall — head of the Army during World War II, later secretary of state and defense — a traitor, and implied that the American government was being secretly run by the Kremlin.
  • The Republican Party today has become a vast repository of conspiracy theories, fake news, false accusations and paranoid fantasies.
  • In his riveting book “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire,” Kurt Andersen describes the mountain of conspiracy theories spouted by Republicans these days — about the United Nations, vaccines, gun control and sharia law, among other topics.
  • Republicans are now squarely the party of McCarthy, and until that cancer is excised, they should not be entrusted with power.

Trump’s new immigration ad was panned as racist. Turns out it was also based on a falsehood.

Trump did not invent American bigotry. But new books argue that he released it – and he has no incentive to extinguish it.
By Carlos Lozada

  • The book  “Identity Crisis” shows how Trump won support by activating long-standing sentiments surrounding race, immigration and religion.
  • In “The Forgotten,” journalist Ben Bradlee Jr. details how contempt for Washington, a perceived loss of dignity and fear of immigrants helped Trump win over white voters in a key Pennsylvania county.
  • And in “Cyberwar,” communications scholar Kathleen Hall Jamieson argues that Russian trolls’ efforts to “activate the Trump vote” were designed to increase animosity toward Latin American immigrants and Muslims as well as deepen worries about civil unrest.

Like his lies, Trump’s racist comments don’t surprise, but they should be counted

Trump is responsible for the descent into thuggery
By Jennifer Rubin

Trump’s Leninist midterm pitch

  • The president of the United States is making his closing argument for next Tuesday’s midterm elections: Vote for the GOP because the Democratic Party places the good of illegal immigrants, many of whom are cop-killing sociopaths, ahead of the good of the country and the American people.
  • This is an almost comically tendentious and radioactively nativist message. But that’s where President Trump has taken the GOP: away from acting like a small-d democratic party and instead embracing the tactics of a Leninist vanguard party.

Trump Closes Out a Campaign Built on Fear, Anger and Division

…an us-against-them midterm election campaign that was built on dark themes of fear, nationalism and racial animosity

All the ugliness of the Trump campaign is on display in Georgia

The wolves of hate are loose. No one is safe. By Melissa Fay Greene

Melissa Fay Greene is the author of “The Temple Bombing,” about the 1958 bombing of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation in Atlanta, and other books.

We have no excuses now. Our eyes are wide open.
By Dana Milbank

(Excerpt: 6 of the 21 specific charges made by Milbank)

Now, all Americans have seen the results with their own eyes:

  • Trump defended neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville.
  • He oversaw a policy separating young children from their parents and warehoused the kids at the border, including some who have yet to be reunited.
  • He took Vladi­mir Putin’s word over that of the U.S. intelligence community, accepting Russia’s denial that it interfered in our election.
  • He lied about hush money paid to an adult-film actress, as recounted in a guilty plea by the lawyer who arranged the payment
  • He has released an unending stream of invective on Twitter and in speeches, often in vulgar and misogynistic terms.
  • He insulted John McCain after the Arizona senator’s death, initially not ordering flags to be flown at half-staff.
More Trump Lies Given a Stamp of Aproval by Isakson, Perdue, Loudermilk, Handel, & Kemp

Unmoored from reality, Trump has:

  • Made the patently false promise of a quick 10 percent tax cut for the middle class
  • Promised to issue a flatly unconstitutional executive order to end the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship.
  • Propagated the baseless conspiracy theory that the caravan making its way up Central
  • Repeatedly cast the migrants as “bad thugs” and criminals while asserting without evidence that the caravan contains “unknown Middle Easterners” — apparently meant to suggest there are terrorists mixed in with the families fleeing violence.

Trump’s flood of misinformation has swelled to epic proportions in recent weeks. In the seven weeks leading up to the election, the president made 1,419 false or misleading claims, an average of 30 a day. That compares with 1,318 false or misleading claims during the first nine months of his presidency, an average of five a day.

Each of Trump’s rallies usually yields 35 to 45 suspect claims, which he has repeated in media appearances, according to The Fact Checker analysis.

(Click here for eight other racist statements by Trump directed at blacks—not including Hispanics and Muslims)

Read more:

Alexandra Petri: These racist appeals do not work on me, because I am not racist

Susan Estrich: Don’t let Trump get away with his racist ad

David Ignatius: Mattis is walking the Trump tightrope. It’s agonizing to watch.

All the Ugliness of the Trump Campaign Is on Display in Georgia

An editorial in the Washington Post on the eve of the election has nailed the fact that Georgia Republicans are leading the Republican Party’s abject descent into an extremist right-wing party under Donald Trump.

All the ugliness of the Trump campaign is on display in Georgia

(Excerpts)

  • The Republican campaign for governor in Georgia has been marked by dehumanizing immigrant phobia, invidious vote suppression, conspiratorial accusations about Democratic vote tampering, and racism.
  • In other words, it shows in microcosm the direction President Trump would take the GOP.
  • We hope voters, whether Republican, Democrat or independent, in Georgia or beyond, repudiate this ugliness on Tuesday.
  • Republicans could have chosen to campaign on issues: tax cuts, deregulation, the whittling away of Obamacare. Instead, they opted for fearmongering and deck-stacking. That suggests that Mr. Kemp and the other Trump lap dogs around the country have little faith in the value or popularity of the policies they would impose.

IndieDems Comment:

As a Georgian, let me reaffirm: you have hit every nail smack on the head. And your last paragraph gets to the core of Republicanism in Georgia. Kemp does not exist in a vacuum. Georgia Republicans, and their leaders, have become the most boot-licking lap dogs of Donald Trump in the nation. They swoon over every aspect of his racist, misogynist, nativist, xenophobic agenda and have made it their own.

In recent weeks, Georgia Republicans have embraced Trump’s flagrant appeal to hate and fearmongering, based on lies, demagoguery, and race-baiting demonizing of his opponents that rivals the speeches of Adolph Hitler.

Never forget: Georgia’s primary agents of hate are its two Senators, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, and Representatives Barry Loudermilk and Karen Handel. They have shown they will revel in remaining Trump’s lackeys, no matter how deep into the political sewer he takes them.

Perdue said that Trump is America’s Winston Churchill. I kid you not.