SPECIAL EDITORIAL: Racist violence in the USA

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the victims
“Whites don’t shoot whites,” the gunman who killed Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones said. Oh. That must make it OK. At least, not something that merits the president’s attention and concern.

Fascism comes front and center
as the US midterms approach

On the afternoon of Wednesday, October 24, a white man carrying a gun tried to force his way into a predominantly black church in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. Finding himself locked out, he continued his hunt at a nearby supermarket. There he shot and killed Maurice Stallard, execution-style, in front of Stallard’s 12-year-old grandson. (By the ways of hack journalism, the boy was “unharmed,” or if it was not so crudely misrepresented in any case he was not mentioned as a casualty.) The gunman continued his hunt in the store and bagged Vickie Jones. Neither of the people slain were known to the killer, who lived a half-hour or so away. On his way out of the store another white man pulled his gun and pointed it at the murderer. The killer reassured the man attempting to make the citizen’s arrest: “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.”

Local police and public officials hesitated to call it a hate crime. Nobody from the White House, nor Senator Mitch McConnell’s office — it is the majority leader’s state — nor the National Rifle Association offered “thoughts and prayers.”

In any case the story got buried in the news cycle because the alt-right’s — and Donald Trump’s — most reviled stereotpical ‘evil Jew,’ George Soros, had received a letter bomb. It was the first of more than a dozen, sent to Democratic politicians, former public officials, private citizens who are outspoken critics of Donald Trump, and to CNN in New York. Packages of potentially deadly hate to the president’s enemies list.

There ensued a Nazi-style big lie campaign — and equal opportunity one that let Jewish fascists like Pamela Geller chime in with an accusation that ISIS or one of its supporters must have done it. The Donald Trump talking points, blasted all over the social media and from presidential podiums, was that it was a “false flag” operation mounted by desperate Democrats ahead of the November 6 election.

Turned out that the MAGABomber was a petty criminal and devout Trump worshipper, a ruined former middle class bodybuilder and pizza delivery guy. (You might think that against a backdrop of decades of “War on Drugs” propaganda, the guy’s occupations and his photos, someone would have asked the steroids question. Then, in addition to the lone nut backup story, they might plead for rehab rather than prison, as in it being an unfortunate roid rage case.) The accused has his presumption of innocence, but reports are that the FBI has fingerprint and DNA evidence that nails him. Certainly his Twitter feed was a steady stream of ultra-right-wing hatred. Apparently they busted him before he could get down his list to Michael Moore and Shaun King.

Not a syllable of apology from the president or any of his followers for the bogus allegations against the victims of these crimes in particular or against Democrats and the press in general. In fact that same night Trump was on the stump spewing more hatred against CNN et al. Trolls came onto the page that is the Facebook extension of The Panama News to in effect argue that the people who were sent letter bombs deserved it.

Whew! With that over…. But it wasn’t over. A 46-year-old white man with an AK-47 assault rifle and some pistols, yelling things about killing all the Jews, opened fire on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. He killed eight members of the congregation and wounded six others, including four police officers. This time, the vice president offered his prayers but no endorsement of any limits on assault rifles as he spoke at a political rally in Las Vegas. The president blamed it on the victims for not having armed guards at their house of worship.

The perpetrator? Not really a Trump guy, but rather of a farther out breed of Nazi who objects to the president having Jews in his family. But like those in custody for the previous two crimes, a violent fascist.

There is a backdrop to all of this. In Georgia there is a concerted drive by the secretary of state, who is also the GOP candidate for governor, to use every illegal, arguably illegal and unfortunately legal means to keep black people from voting. Black senior citizens pulled off of a bus taking them to vote, but county officials who claim the right to control these citizens’ movements. Online voter registration curtailed. Applications for absentee ballots “lost.” Voter registrations “delayed in processing.” It was for things like this that putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court was so urgent for the Republicans.

In North Dakota, the Republicans defined acceptable identification and a “voting address” to prohibit the franchise for those who live on the state’s five American Indian reservations.

Stuff like that, a favorite being voter roll purges, has been pulled in state after state. It’s almost always done selectively to exclude voting by racial minorities.

Yes, when you turn elections into race wars, other sorts of racial violence tend to go with the turf. When in the courts, in the Senate, during campaign stops, on Fox News and in anonymous social media memes the truth means zero and there are about one-quarter to one-third of the American people who are knowingly willing to live in a world of lies, then the traditional means of discourse and decision get devalued. What gets left is brute force, as the alt-right is demonstrating to the whole world.

They WILL be replaced. Better for America sooner rather than later.

Fascism may not be listed as such, but it’s on the ballot in this year’s midterms.

 

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