On Monday, Donald Trump once again gave it the ol’ college try to not be racist at a special event. He failed, because he is constitutionally unable to not be a racist asshole any time he stands in front of people without a script. This time, it was an event to honor World War II Native American code talkers, which wouldn’t be complete if he didn’t invoke the name of Pocahontas as a slur.
Anyone who ever predicted that we’d have a president who was celebrated for being an equal-opportunity asshole, stop lying, because there’s no way you predicted anything that specific. But that’s what we’ve got. Our president, who’s a fighter! and who’s going to hit back! and the people knew what they were getting into when they voted for him! might be a complete and utter dickhole, but he’s not a bigoted dickhole because he’s a dickhole to everyone.
They aren’t protesting the flag or the anthem. It isn’t about the flag or the anthem. And if you’re more upset about the way they’re protesting than you are about the reason they have to protest, that’s not about them or the flag or the troops or America — that’s about you.
Confederate statue enthusiasts have argued that removal of such statues amounts to an erasure of history, and that they have to remain to remind us of how bad slavery is. But believe it or not, there are ways to memorialize difficult, painful, and contentious parts of history without glorifying, for instance, generals who led the wrong side of a war to perpetuate slavery. Birmingham’s Kelly Ingram Park provides several examples of different ways to do this with statues and sculptures memorializing the Civil Rights movement. Individually and collectively, they send the message that bigotry is bad, and equality is good, and fighting for freedom is noble, all without putting a single Confederate general on a literal pedestal.
This isn’t how we want America to be. This doesn’t fit into the ideals we have for America. This isn’t how we see America when we squint at it like we’re looking at a Magic Eye painting whenever reality gets scary or disappointing. But it’s America.
They’re going down. Some of them are, anyway. But they’re not going down without a fight from the heritage-not-hate devotees of the tributes to the fight to preserve slavery and white supremacy. New Orleans has taken down statues honoring Confederate generals and leaders, and Charlottesville has voted to do the same. But just as quickly as the statues are falling, city and state governments are proposing protections for such monuments as a matter of “heritage.” Alabama passed theirs on Friday, and Louisiana’s is in the works.
So what’s really behind this desperate protectiveness of Civil War participation trophies, and why do they have no place on taxpayer-owned land? Let’s talk.
While much of the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day will take the form of readings and re-publishings of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, The Root chooses to celebrate his acknowledgement of the reality as well as the dream, and of the ongoing fight necessary to turn the one into the other. While many supposedly concerned commentators are quick to invoke the name of MLK as a way of scolding black people to behave themselves, he was actually a radical who wasn’t nearly as lauded by the establishment as he is today.
After four days of deliberation, the judge declared a mistrial in the case of Michael Slager, a white Charleston police officer who is accused of murder in the death of unarmed black man Walter Scott. Cell phone video shows Slager shooting eight times at Scott as he ran away after a traffic stop for a broken tail light, hitting him in the back three times, killing him. Slager’s attorney called upon the Big Black Monster defense to argue that Scott was “out of control” and fought Slager with “unusual strength.”
Lately, I’ve found myself dissociating just a little bit from time to time. Not in a scary way — just a noticeable one. The first time, I was driving, and someone on the radio said the words “President Elect Donald Trump,” and my brain stepped back a little bit and said, “No, that doesn’t sound like a real thing. It actually sounds like something out of some weird movie, so we’ll go with that,” and suddenly I was a character driving in a car, listening to the radio, in a movie wherein Donald Trump was the president elect. Pretty disconcerting, really. More recently, it happened when Mother Jones referred to Richard B. Spencer as a “dapper white nationalist.”
I know it’s been over a year since I’ve been around. But, what the hell, I wrote this, I figured, I’d post it here. Just in case anybody wants to read it. I’ve been seeing a lot of calls for…
A lot of attention has been paid to the mystery of why, God, why, and how, and why again, any marginally intelligent person could support. How has a man who is completely unsuited, in character, temperament, knowledge base, intellect, and home training, to be the president of the United States make it as far as he’s made it? The obvious answer is that there are a lot more bigoted, closed-minded, hateful, ignorant people in the electorate than we’d originally thought possible. But we, as a society, don’t generally like to think of people that way — for all the whining about “PC culture,” we give a lot of passes to be people who absolutely don’t deserve them — and so we’ve sought out other options.
That’s where we’ve gotten “>so many articles profiling the “real” Trump base — salt-of-the-earth, working-class white voters who are stumbling into a new world of multiculturalism, who are suffering from economic woes, and who just want some support for their very real problems. And yet, for all of that, I haven’t been able to escape the feeling that they need to cry themselves a river and canoe on home.
[Content note for… racism. Pretty much any kind.]
You could be Deadpool. You could go with a classic witch or cat or Spider-Man or the dude from Scream. You could be Glenn from The Walking Dead. (Skip the yellowface; the dripping blood and gore is the most part anyway.) Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are topical this year. You could go as Wednesday Addams going as a serial killer — they look just like everyone else.
But dammit, you wanted to be Kanye West, and it’s a free country, and nobody’s going to stop you from covering yourself with brown makeup and exercising your right to show the Internet that you’re a racist idiot.