Friday, June 19, 2015

This Is A Problem: The GOP's Response to Charleston

The facts are straightforward--and grim: Dylann Storm Roof (who clearly missed his calling in hurricane-proof housing tiles) researched a historic black church more than a hundred miles from his home, drove there, joined their bible-study, and then drew a concealed weapon (allegedly a legal weapon he got for his 21st birthday), and shot them. He killed 9 and left 3 survivors.

Facebook pictures show the gunman wearing a jacket with flags of South African Apartheid and Rhodesia. These are both deep white-power symbols that are used to show "What happens when blacks take over a country."

Roof reinforced this message when he was told during the massacre 'he didn't have to do this' he replied:
"'No, you've raped our women, and you are taking over the country ... I have to do what I have to do.' And he shot the young man."
His car bore a license tag with the Confederate Battle flag on it. This is clearly a hate-crime (and is being charged as such). However . . .

Jeb Bush
Here is the quote from Jeb:
When asked about whether he thought the attack was racially motivated, Bush told a Huffington Post reporter, "It was a horrific act and I don't know what the background of it is, but it was an act of hatred." 
When pressed again about whether race motivated the attacks, Bush said, "I don't know. Looks like to me it was, but we'll find out all the information. It's clear it was an act of raw hatred, for sure. Nine people lost their lives, and they were African-American. You can judge what it is."
You can spin this as Jeb just waiting until all the data is in--a reasonable position--but consider this: there doesn't seem to be any possible reveal that would make this not a hate-crime. Why not just say it is--or say you certainly think it is--and if it turns out that he had, like, a child of his being held hostage, then you can say you were mistaken?

Let's ask Rick Perry
Here is the Rick Perry quote from his conversation with the conspiracy-themed and highly conservative NewsMax:
Perry, a GOP presidential candidate, said that the president is trying to “take the guns out of the hands of everyone in this country.” 
This is the MO of this administration, any time there is an accident like this — the president is clear, he doesn’t like for Americans to have guns and so he uses every opportunity, this being another one, to basically go parrot that message,” Perry said. 
Instead of talking about guns, Perry said, we should be talking about prescription drugs: “Also, I think there is a real issue to be talked about. It seems to me, again without having all the details about this, that these individuals have been medicated and there may be a real issue in this country from the standpoint of these drugs and how they’re used.” 
He added that while the shooting was “a crime of hate,” he didn’t know if it should be called a terrorist attack.
A drug-induced accident? He now claims he miss-spoke: he meant incident. For a guy who has to clean up his 2012 first-impression, this isn't good. Also: talking about, like, prescription drugs (incident, accident, or otherwise) instead of racism seems to be, well, a problem, right?

How About Lindsey Graham?
GOP Presidential candidate--albeit just barely--Lindsey Graham spoke on the confederate flag that flies over the South Carolina State House (well, technically right next to it) even as the American and South Carolina flag few at half-mast (the confederate battle-flag did not). Here is what Graham said:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican presidential candidate, on Friday said the Confederate flag is part of the heritage of his home state of South Carolina, rebuffing calls for it to be taken down after a mass shooting in the state 
"Well, at the end of the day it's time for people in South Carolina to revisit that decision. [That] would be fine with me, but this is part of who we are," Graham said on CNN when asked if the flag should stop flying at the Statehouse 
"The flag represents to some people a civil war, and that was the symbol of one side. To others it's a racist symbol, and it's been used by people, it's been used in a racist way," Graham said 
In the interview on CNN, Graham called for a "balanced" approach to the issue of the flag, noting that near the Civil War memorial honoring fallen Confederate soldiers is another one honoring African-Americans. 
"It works here, that's what the Statehouse agreed to do. You could probably visit other places in the country near some symbol that doesn't quite strike you right."
Let's Check In On Santorum
Santorum thinks it's a hate-crime--but against Christians:
Presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) on Thursday called the attack by a white gunman on a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. part of a broader assault on "religious liberty" in America.

"It’s obviously a crime of hate. Again, we don’t know the rationale, but what other rationale could there be?" Santorum said on the New York radio station AM 970.
"You’re sort of lost that somebody could walk into a Bible study in a church and indiscriminately kill people,” he added. 
Santorum called for a broader pushback against the "assaults" on religious liberty.
"You talk about the importance of prayer in this time and we’re now seeing assaults on our religious liberty we’ve never seen before. It’s a time for deeper reflection beyond this horrible situation," he said.
If you are a black voter, what are you to make of this? (Note: he has since recanted and said it was clearly racial).
What's Going On?
Before you point out that Hillary Clinton said that Donald Trump's racial rhetoric could inspire such killings--and that's, hey, just as bad--keep in mind that you've accused Obama and Holder of inflaming racial tensions with their words--if Obama can do it--having said nothing as crazy as Trump--then Trump certainly could too. If Trumps words are anodyne then why are you accusing Obama of inflaming racial tensions with his far more measured speech? Uh-huh.

But that's a digression.

What's going on here is this: Conservative America has taken the position that:

  1. Racial discrimination has largely ended in America--save for a very, very few bad apples.
  2. The politics of grievance are used by the left and by blacks to their tactical advantage. By claiming microaggressions and discrimination, they wield out-sized power with the help of stupid young people and a compliant/complicit press.
  3. The result of this power-grab will be the destruction of the state and the rise of a brutal 'social justice movement' that will undermine all core American values.
With the above as a foundational belief would-be standard bearers simply cannot state the obvious: a racist terrorist committed a hate-crime and blacks were targeted.

Why not? Because once you've established what kind of girl you are, now we're just haggling over price. If deadly gun-wielding white racists are an acknowledged threat then the next question is "What do you do about it?" There are no good answers--but conservatives don't have any answers at all. Cracking down on prescription medication is woefully inadequate--what? The War on Drugs Part II? And somehow the nation-wide mental-health initiatives . . . or even good insurance for psychiatric issues . . . never arrives.

However this should be instructive to any GOP strategists as to why the black vote is 95% Democratic. It has little to do with twisted history or the fact that "no one teaches" that the KKK was Democratic (they were also explicitly Christian--so, uh, when you trash the Democrats for the KKK, make sure you include your church in the target-zone). It has to do with a deep-seated racial divide that is so deep it's hard to see--save by the shadow it casts over multiple presidential aspirants and their bizarre evasions.

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