Racism Is Wrong, Except When It Helps

CNN this morning featured some segments on Drumpf’s racist attack on the now famous “Mexican” federal district judge, Gonzalo Curiel. Judge Curiel, of course, was born in East Chicago, Indiana. But as everyone knows, Indiana has been invaded by Mexicans. And those Mexicans who aren’t out raping and killing people are out to get Drumpf in a federal courtroom. Yes. Everyone knows that.

But CNN’s attempts this morning to highlight Drumpf’s attacks on the judge were a little incomplete. Sure, it’s necessary to call attention to such racism. And, yes, it is appropriate cnn and mexican commentsto question whether the racist attacks will hurt the Republican Party, both now and in the future, with Latinos. But CNN seemed to think that such offensive behavior by Drumpf was only about politics and offended only Latinos. In one segment, CNN had a panel of four “ordinary” citizens on to discuss the remarks. All four were billed as “Hispanic voters.” Fine. But what about the rest of us? And shouldn’t this be about more than politics?

You don’t have to be Latino or Hispanic to be shocked by how casually and how frequently the Republican nominee for president makes his racist and racially-charged remarks. Neither do you have to be African-American to be upset about Drumpf’s attempt to strip the “American” out of African-American, when it comes to President Obama. And you don’t have to be a fan of Allah to find repulsive Drumpf’s ban on Muslims entering the country—or find repulsive his latest suggestion that a Muslim judge might not treat him “fairly” because of his advocacy of such a ridiculously un-American ban.

All Americans, of all colors and persuasions, should be offended and outraged over what Drumpf has done and continues to do. And it shouldn’t just be because of the politics of the racism we are seeing.

Last Thursday CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Mitch McConnell if he worries that Drumpf “may do to Latino voters what Barry Goldwater did to African-American voters?” To which McConnell replied: “I do.” He then went on to say what a mistake it was for Drumpf to attack Susana Martinez, the Republican governor of New Mexico. Well, okay. But isn’t it just plain wrong to say Mexicans who have migrated here are mostly criminals? And isn’t it just plain wrong that a sitting federal judge, an American born and raised, gets tarred as a “Mexican,” as if being a Mexican was a bad thing to be? Aren’t those things wrong in themselves, regardless of the politics involved?

Obviously they should be seen as wrong. Regardless. But too often they are not. Too often they are seen through a partisan lens. McConnell told NBC’s Chuck Todd,

America is changing. When Ronald Reagan was elected, 84% of the electorate was white. This November, 70% will be. It’s a big mistake for our party to write off Latino Americans. And they’re an important part of the country and soon to be the largest minority group in the country. And I am concerned about that.

Good for Mitch. He’s concerned about the politics of it all. “It’s a big mistake,” he said. A big political mistake. But if the politics were in his favor, would he be so concerned? Would he still call out Drumpf?

gingrich on drumpfWhen the faux billionaire was bouncing around television and loudly questioning Obama’s birthplace and loyalty to the country, I didn’t see Mitch McConnell denouncing him on CNN or anywhere else. Or Paul Ryan. Or Newt Gingrich, who was on Fox “News” yesterday calling Drumpf’s attacks on the judge “inexcusable,” but who just said in March of this year that President Obama was “the first anti-American president.” The same Gingrich who said Obama was “the food stamp president.” The same Gingrich who said of Obama,

What if he is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together in the best and most accurate, predictive model for his behavior [sic].

Did Mitch McConnell or any prominent Republican take a time out and tell Gingrich, and others on the right, to knock it off? Nah. Why? Because Republicans have pretty much written off African-Americans, as McConnell seemed to concede last week. So, thinly and not-so-thinly disguised racial attacks on our first black president are acceptable because they play so well with the anxious and angry white base of the Republican Party. Those racial attacks were seen as good politics.

Now, though, it appears that Drumpf’s racist attack on a real living American with Hispanic heritage—as opposed to his vicious but mostly abstract racist attacks on nameless “illegals”—are unacceptable and “inexcusable” because Republicans can’t afford to write off yet another minority group, one that may contribute to a shellacking of the party in November. Now the racial attacks are seen as bad politics.

Just once, just bleeping once, I’d like to see a Republican honcho go on television and look into the camera and say the following:

Forget the politics of this, my fellow Americans. What Donald Drumpf said about an American judge is abhorrent. It’s wrong. It shouldn’t be tolerated by me or by you or by any American. The same with Drumpf’s past remarks about Mexicans and Muslims and, yes, his attacks on the legitimacy of our first African-American president. It’s wrong. Drumpf’s wrong. And Drumpf’s wrong for America.

The day that, or something like that, happens will be the first day of a long journey back to moral and political sanity for the national Republican Party. That day may come on November 9th. Let’s hope it does.

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