Point of View Columns

An Afro-Asian Misunderstanding, When Hate Speech Becomes Murder Speech and Election Nightmares

An Afro-Asian Misunderstanding

It is a sad case of irony that Asian American organizations have joined with the right-wing white conservatives in the effort to eliminate affirmative action from university admissions protocols. Clearly the irony is lost on the Asian American spokespersons who claim that initiatives meant to address centuries of oppression directed against Black Americans results in discrimination against Asian Americans.

Part of the irony is that from the days of the Chinese Exclusion Act to the current wave of random violence committed against Asian Americans, Asian Americans know what true discrimination really looks like.

The other part of the irony is that the very (very) modest efforts to increase Black admissions at colleges and universities represent only a good start towards true redress of the grievances of the national Black community. For members of the Asian American community to suggest that these modest efforts are at their expense is both myopic and wrong.

Obviously, there is plenty of opportunity for addressing any perceived discrimination by examining the admissions policies that still result in many institutions having predominantly white student bodies, faculty and administration officials. Targeting Black people is the result of misguided thinking as well as ignorance of the very real fact that the true opponents of affirmative action are seeking an even greater presence of white students, not Asian Americans.

It is very strategic for right-wing white conservatives to have Asian Americans in the forefront of the battle against affirmative action policies that benefit Black people.

Sadly, these same Asian Americans will find that their victory in the current Supreme Court cases will result in their being the next target of their current partners.

When Hate Speech Becomes Murder Speech

Just a few days ago Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was attacked in their San Francisco home by a hammer wielding intruder, fracturing his skull and arm. And, it turns out that the real target of the intruder was Nancy Pelosi – he intending to interrogate her and “break her kneecaps” with one of the two hammers that he brought to the house (along with a bag full of zip ties).

This was not a random break-in.

This was not the work of a madman.

This was what happens when hate speech turns into murder speech (it is only by the grace of God that Paul Pelosi did not die from the attack).

This is what happens when MAGA denizens, right wing republicans and the far-right militants spew hate speech on a daily basis on any and every media platform.

Nancy Pelosi has been a target of this hate speech for several years and the only surprise is that this is the first direct attack on her (that we know of). And we should remember that on January 6, 2021, armed right-wing terrorists roamed the Capitol chanting “Nancy” as they searched for her – certainly intending to harm her if not kill her.

Republicans have responded to this atrocity with perfunctory “thoughts and prayers” and jokes and silence. Condemnation of the hate speech that preceded this particular attack is not and will not be forthcoming.

And this is the way that civil discourse and democracies begin to fade away as something terrible begins to take its place.

Election Nightmares

For anyone waking up from autumnal hibernation, election day is November 8th. Of course, millions of Americans have voted through early voting and mail-in voting, two modes of voting that are being targeted by the right-wing throughout the country.

Some brief observations:

  • The unexpected volume of early voting activity throughout the country is matching the voting levels in presidential election years. This should augur well for the continuation of democratic traditions (maybe).
  • There are several senatorial races that will determine Republican or Democratic control of the Senate. Thanks to state level gerrymandering by Republican legislatures the Republicans re virtually guaranteed to take control of the House of Representatives (can you say Speaker Kevin McCarthy?).
  • Between voter intimidation, voter fraud and election denial the 2023 could be the year that the Republican conservative autocrats could be controlling the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives and the Senate – leaving President Joe Biden in the role of Horatio at the gates of Rome trying to protect what might be left of the integrity of many American institutions – a nightmare scenario to be sure.

IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO – PLEASE VOTE.

Standard
Point of View Columns

A Failure of Imagination Can Be Dangerous

And now the nation will be subjected to more Trumpfoolery. From the man who brought you bankrupt casinos and Trump Steaks, we are now supposed to care if/when Trump will announce his candidacy for president in the 2024 election.

Of course, anyone with a shred of decency or shame – two items that are totally absent from the World According to Trump – would not subject this country to the madness and turmoil that will accompany another Trump campaign, much less a Trump presidency.

The fact that, after two impeachments and a failed coup attempt, there should be no way that this sad excuse for a human being could ever be a viable candidate for dogcatcher, much less president. But the sad truth is that he would be a viable candidate and a much stronger candidate than he ever was in 2016 or 2020.

And anyone who thinks that Trump cannot be elected in 2024 is either not paying attention or is suffering from a failure of imagination.

Consider that Trump endorsed candidates have won Republican primaries for Secretary of State, Governor, United States Senator, and Congressional Representative. There is a very real chance that a number of these men and women will be elected and will begin to lay the groundwork for the Restoration of Trump.

It is not hard to imagine Republican-led state legislatures making it even more difficult for people to vote. Certainly, Republican Secretaries of State will have no qualms about simply not counting ballots from majority-Democrat districts and we can expect that many of the vote tampering plots conjured up by John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani in 2020-2021 will just be the way electoral business will be conducted in 2023 and of course, in 2024 leading to the very real possibility that Trump will be re-elected despite losing the popular vote in three consecutive elections.

And for those people who think that the federal courts will reverse any wrongdoing, keep in mind that Trump has seeded the federal judiciary with hundreds of right-wing judges who are almost to a man or woman, Federalist Society acolytes. And, at the risk of pointing to the obvious, the 6-3 right-wing Supreme Court, which features three Trump appointees will not disappoint their benefactor if given the opportunity to grant him a second term.

And if the Republican wave tips the Senate and House into the hands of the likes of Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, we can be sure that there will be Senate and House investigations of everything from the “real truth” about Hunter Biden to dredged up accusations against Kamala Harris. And, we can be sure that Joe Biden will not be able to appoint a single federal judge – not one.

Imagine a Senate Committee chaired by Rick Scott or Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley or a House Committee chaired by Marjorie Taylor Green and it is clear that we will be staring to an abyss over the next two years.

And then, with the election of Donald Trump, it will only get worse.

And anyone who would argue that these scenarios are not possible is suffering from a true failure of imagination.

And in these days and times that can be very dangerous.

Standard
Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – August 24, 2012

With his incredibly stupid comment about “legitimate rape” Congressman Ted Atkins found himself in the middle of a national firestorm of outrage. But Congressman Paul Ryan has sponsored legislation referring to “forcible rape” and an entire cadre of Teapublicans in Congress thinks that all of this idiocy makes sense. Is Atkins the Teapublican head fake to distract us from the toxic mission that they are undertaking? Meanwhile we learn that the Teapublican Majority Leader and Majority Whip of the Congress led a taxpayer funded delegation to Israel that featured drunken and nude swimming in the Sea of Galilee. This is so wrong it’s hard to know where to start. And finally, the National Urban League has decided that Nike is charging too much for its sneakers. Can that be news? And doesn’t the Urban League have a few other, more pressing issues to worry about?

Watch for the Head Fake

It would seem that the Teapublicans are intent on self-immolation even before their hurricane-cursed convention begins next week. By choosing a doctrinaire, Ayn Rand acolyte as his running mate, Mitt Romney has painted himself into the right corner of the room on the right at the end of the hallway on the right.

Now, Congressman Ted Atkins, in striving for a Lifetime Idiocy Award, has gotten the full and complete attention of the American public when it comes to the abortion policy of the right wing of the right wing that has hijacked what used to be the Republican Party. The most dangerous part of Atkins’ statement was not his reference to “legitimate rape” (whatever the hell that might mean), but rather that his fundamental philosophy is that while the rapist should be punished, the rape victim should be forced to bear the child of that rapist.

By lifting the lid on the G.O.Tea Party Crazy Box, the entire country can now see that this is a party that clearly believes that women have no right to any kind of choice when it comes to reproductive issues. Congressman Steve King of Iowa joins Congressman Atkins and dozens of other members of Congress in believing that for biological reasons it is almost impossible for a woman to become pregnant by reason of rape.

But we should not let this instance of dumbness distract us from the entire Teapublican package which disputes evolution, believes that creationism is a scientific theory worthy of academic recognition and also is positive that climate change is a myth. In Tampa we will get the full view of the rush to idiocy that will become a national mission if Romney-Ryan is victorious on November 6th.

Pilgrims’ Progress?

Now it turns out that a short time ago, two budget hawks from the Teapublican Party led a Congressional delegation to Israel. Congressmen Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy are not foot soldiers in the G.O.Tea ranks; they are Majority Leader and Majority Whip respectively.

They also claim that waste is a key element in the budget crisis that this nation is facing.
So it might be a good idea to ask why it was so important for them to lead a delegation of over a dozen members of Congress and their staff members to visit Israel and spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars so that they could “fact find”. It might also be a good idea to ask how much of the people’s business was being taken care of when many of the members engaged in a drunken midnight swim in the Sea of Galilee, at least one member of Congress being so overwhelmed by this holy site that he swam in the nude.

Let’s see – wasting money – check! Desecrating a holy site – check! Looking like idiots while representing the United States abroad – double check! It sounds like the Secret Service was serving as their travel agents.

Wake Up Urban League!

The leading cause of death for young black men in America is homicide. Unemployment in the black community is at historic levels. The Teapublican Party has declared war on black voting rights and has legalized voter suppression. These are all pretty daunting challenges for the national black community.

So why would Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League, go on national television to criticize Nike for planning to sell sneakers that will cost $300. This would be the same Nike that has been selling overpriced sneakers for over a quarter of a century.

It cannot be news to the Urban League that Nike sells overhyped sneakers and markets them to black consumers. It cannot be news that black consumers buy these sneakers. And it cannot be news that Nike’s mission is to sell as many sneakers for as much money as possible.

But what is news is that the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has passed a voter i.d. law that is clearly designed to diminish and suppress the black vote. It is news that voter suppression is being legalized and legitimized as a protection against non-existent fraud.

With the black community in danger of being disenfranchised after less than fifty years of nationally mandated enfranchisement is the real news. The National Urban League would do well to focus on priorities that really matter and that does not include Nike sneakers.

Have a great weekend!

Standard