MAGA HATE – Chicago Reader
Generally, I like to tell a joke or two in these columns, seeking to underscore the absurdity of politics with a bit of dark humor.
But no joke this time.
On Saturday, an 18-year-old white supremacist armed with a semi-automatic rifle walked into a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and began shooting at people.
Payton Gendron was there to kill black people. Or as Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told reporters, “This individual came here for the express purpose of taking as many black lives as he could.”
Before the police arrested Gendron, he had killed ten. Injured three others. And then he pleaded not guilty, even though he had live-streamed his outburst, perhaps seeking to “inspire” other white supremacists to do the same. As he himself was “inspired” by the white supremacists who came before him.
Crazy, crazy shit.
Most of the country – or relatively sane people – reacted in horror to this senseless massacre provoked by racial hatred.
And then there was Laura Loomer, whom I will now quote, although I don’t mean to. Because sooner or later we will have to face this shit. Writing on his Telegram social media page, Loomer said. . .
“Planned Parenthood has always targeted and killed more black people than the Buffalo supermarket shooter.”
Karen Hawkins, my editor, and I talk a lot about the madness that is overwhelming our country. But Loomer’s comments go beyond the crazy routine.
His comments are an attempt to downplay the massacre or rationalize it. Then, Loomer and others like her will make Gendron some kind of hero who would take some kind of position. Like they did with Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha.
I must point out that Loomer is no ordinary asshole who intervenes on social media.
No, she is a Republican candidate for Congress in Florida’s 11th Congressional District. A self-proclaimed “Islamophobe,” as if that’s something she could be proud of, she has a good chance of winning the Aug. 23 Republican primary.
She would then join Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Madison Cawthorn, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar and all the other crazies in the Congressional Republican caucus.
Oh, yes – and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik in New York, don’t forget that. Once upon a time, she passed for a moderate. Now she runs with the herd.
Like Stefanik, Loomer subscribes to a theory that is gaining traction in Republican circles. It’s called white replacement – or the great replacement – and the essential theme is that the Democrats are colluding to replace real Americans (i.e. white people) with blacks or browns. .
Blacks or Browns who will never be true Americans, the theory goes, no matter how long they or their ancestors have lived here.
Perhaps the most prominent apostle of one version of this theory is the most passive-aggressive – Tucker Carlson, FOX’s talking head.
I call him passive-aggressive because he claims he doesn’t espouse hate, even as he is.
The original supporters of the white replacement made no attempt to hide their hatred. And they didn’t just blame the Democrats.
They blamed “the Jews”. Thus, in 2017, Nazis marched through the streets of Charlottesville chanting “The Jews will not replace us”.
This is the first time I became aware of this so-called theory. Several prominent Republicans denounced the Nazis. But not Donald Trump. He said there were “very good people on both sides” of the protests. Beautiful Nazis? And with that, hatred seeped deeper into the blood of the Republican Party.
As I said, Gendron is a supporter of white replacement. It’s all there in the 180-page manifesto he wrote.
That seems to be the problem with these deranged murderers. Not only do they feel compelled to slaughter people, but they apparently want others to follow in their footsteps.
This is how Robert Bowers justified shooting 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018.
And Patrick Crusius did the same when he gunned down 23 Latinos at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas in 2019.
And Brenton Tarrant killed 51 people at two different mosques in New Zealand in 2019.
Jews, Blacks, Latinos and Muslims – senselessly slaughtered for being who they are.
Now, you would think mainstream politicians would want to be far away from the white replacement theory.
But right now he is gaining popularity within the Republican Party. Polls show nearly 50% of Republican voters think it’s real.
This leaves traditional politicians in a dilemma. If they denounce it, they risk alienating their base. So many people remain silent. They crawl under a metaphorical table, pretending they don’t see the hate that’s there in front of their faces.
Obviously, crazies with high-powered weapons are the biggest danger. But the silent group is also a threat. In their silence, they allow shooters.
As of this writing, the most senior Republican lawmaker who has spoken out against white supremacy is Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy and anti-Semitism,” Cheney tweeted Monday. “History has taught us that what begins with words ends up much worse. @GOP leaders must step aside and reject these views and those who hold them.”
Obviously, I’ve had my issues, to put it mildly, with the Cheneys over the years. But right now, I can’t be picky about my allies in the fight against fascist white supremacy.
So thank you, Congressman Cheney. And now, what about the rest of you Republicans?
Here in Illinois, we have five Republican favorites clamoring to be the party’s nominee in the November general election against Gov. JB Pritzker.
Their names are Richard Irvin, Darren Bailey, Paul Schimpf, Gary Rabine and Jesse Sullivan.
I’m still waiting for one of them to expose the white replacement theory.
In their silence, with each passing day, these Nazis marching through Charlottesville are getting closer to the center of the Republican Party.
Illinois Republicans, it’s time to get out from under the table and take a stand.