hatemongering

An American Snapshot (Heritage: Hatred)

Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during the 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, DC, December 3, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

“Yes, a majority of Americans said they were against such measures, but let’s not brush past the obvious point: a third of the country is an alarming number of people.”

Steve Benen

The problem with making a point like Steve Benen’s is not that it is somehow wrong or grotesquely exaggerated. Rather, the problem is that such straightforward, dramatic statements find themselves anywhere near the realm of American reality.

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The Not-So-Gay Divorceé

VIII. Adjustment.

The question of a divorceé has long plagued Christian supremacists who denounce marriage equality and gay rights, but, you know, really? Not only has Kim Davis already licensed transgender man and his pansexual wife, and most likely also issued plenty of marriage licenses to divorceés, but it also turns out that Ms. Davis is herself a serial adulterer.

On this point, Travis Gettys of Raw Story considers an appearance by Dan Savage on msnbc; the author, advice columnist, and editor of The Stranger, Mr. Savage spared no punches:

“I think Kim Davis is waiting to cash in,” Savage told MSNBC. “I predicted from the beginning that she would defy all the court orders, defy the Supreme Court, she would ultimately be held in contempt of court, lose her job, perhaps go to prison for a short amount of time. And then she will have written for her, ghost written books. She will go on the right-wing lecture circuit and she’ll never have to do an honest day’s work ever again in her life.”

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, in a mugshot, 3 September 2015, after being held in contempt of court by U.S. District Judge David Bunning, after she refused to comply with the law and issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples.“This is about someone hypocritically cashing in, and she is a hypocrite,” he added.

Savage referred to the defiant clerk’s statement complaining that courts were asking her to “violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage” — which the columnist dismissed as ridiculous.

“This is a woman who’s been divorced three times and married four times,” he said, reading from the US News & World Report article that pointed out Davis “gave birth to twins five months after divorcing her first husband, (and) they were fathered by her third husband but adopted by her second husband.”

“She’s now onto her fourth husband,” Savage said. “Jesus Christ himself in scripture condemned divorce, called it adultery and forbids it. Jesus Christ himself in scripture says not one word about same-sex marriage.”

Savage said the U.S. Supreme Court had already decided the issue of same-sex marriage, and he said Davis clearly should have followed the law all along.

“She’s not being asked to perform a sacrament, she is tasked with ascertaining that the people in front of her, the couple in front of her, have a legal right to get married and to provide them with that license,” he said. “She is not a minister. She actually thinks she works for God there in the county courthouse, when she actually works for Caesar — and someone needs to acquaint her with that fact.”

Or we might attend Mr. Savage himself, who recently blogged, among other notes:

I would say I can’t wait for a Muslim county clerk in, say, Dearborn, Michigan (which has a huge Muslim community), to refuse to issue a marriage license to a Christian couple on the grounds that the this kafir couple hasn’t been paying jizya… but that’s not going to happen. Religious minorities in this country intuitively understand that to empower religious bigots like Davis is to paint bullseyes on their own backs. So the Jesus-freak goons at the Liberty Counsel work to frame discrimination as a “religious freedom” because they’re confident that American Christians will be the ones doing the discriminating, not suffering from it.

This is an important point. Something about functional reality goes here.

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The Donald Trump Show (The Brim Horizon)

Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in New York City, New York, 16 June 2015. (Photo: Justin Lane/European Pressphoto Agency)

Steve Benen raises an interesting question:

… if Trump can rocket to the front of the Republican pack without the backing of a real national campaign, what happens when the GOP candidate starts trying?

We’re about to find out. Iowa’s Sam Clovis, a prominent Republican activist and media figure in Iowa, had served for months as the state chairman of Rick Perry’s presidential campaign, until this week, when Clovis gave up on the former Texas governor and joined Team Trump.

The problem with the Donald Trump Show is that it really does know how to get attention.

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The Tale of Those Who Left

In southern Brazil, there still exists remnants of the American Confederacy. Each April, the Descendants of American Southerners don hoop skirts and the grey uniform to celebrate their shared history. Thousands of Southerners migrated to Central and South America after finding themselves on the losing side of the war and their relatives are called Confederados. (Photo by Paulo Whitaker/Reuters, 2015)

This seems worth mentioning:

Every April, the Fraternidade Descendencia Americana gather in the south of Brazil to celebrate a strange and incongruous shared history. “Stonewall Jackson’s Way” is piped out of speakers, chicken is fried, and girls in hoop skirts dance to old Dixie tunes. Men in Rebel-gray uniforms with yellow trim browse dozens of stands of Confederate memorabilia. The Confederados, as they’re known, are the descendants of Americans who fled after losing the Civil War. Now, 150 years later and 5,000 miles away, they continue to gather under the banner of the Stars and Bars to pay homage to their ancestry.

The setting for this festival is Santa Barbara d’Oeste, which abuts a 200,000-person municipality called Americana. It’s there that a long-forgotten enclave of Confederate descendants rebuilt their lives in the years after the War between the States. At a time when the Confederate flag has sparked tension and protests anew across the United States, this small community in South America still celebrates its controversial history with a fervor.

(Strohlic)

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The Donald Trump Show (Plants and Potsherds)

Donald Trump.

“If the DNC had scripted the last month or so, the party probably would have come up with a scenario that looks quite a bit like the one we’ve seen.”

Steve Benen

This is one of those occasions upon which I must disagree with Mr. Benen:

A Republican carnival barker would use racially charged, xenophobic rhetoric, which would propel him into the GOP’s top tier, pushing minority communities even further from the Republican Party. All the while, the GOP would find itself on the defensive, and more serious candidates would struggle to gain traction.

That is to say, no proper screenwriter would script such an episode except as naked farce. There is a reason truth insists on being stranger than fiction.

Benen also notes that some have made what seems the obvious point, that Trump, who has formerly identified with both parties, is a secret Democratic plant trying to wreck the Republican Party.

And also that for some, such as Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL26), the conspiracy theory is the best they’ve got: (more…)

The Cowardly Clown

Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, speaks during the South Carolina Freedom Summit hosted by Citizens United and Congressman Jeff Duncan in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, May 9, 2015.  The Freedom Summit brings grassroots activists from across South Carolina and the surrounding area to hear from conservative leaders and presidential hopefuls.  Photogapher: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

It was, what, all of two days ago Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) described himself as “the most scrutinized politician in America”, and while that claim might justly find widespread derision, we would also beg leave to accommodate the cowardly Badgerα long enough to remind that he does himself no favors on that count by saying stupid things:

By any fair measure, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has changed course, quite dramatically, on immigration policy. In the not-too-distant past, the Republican governor was quite moderate on the issue. Now, he’s not – Walker not only opposes bipartisan solutions, he’s even begun taking on legal immigration.

This week, Fox News’ Bret Baier pressed Walker for an explanation: “If you’re willing to flip-flop … on such an important issue like this, how can voters be sure that you’re not going to change your position on some other big issues?”

As the Washington Post noted, the Wisconsin Republican responded with his own unique definition of flip-flop.

Walker responded: “Well, actually, there’s not a flip out there.” […]

“A flip would be someone who voted on something and did something different,” Walker said. “These are not votes… I don’t have any impact on immigration as a governor.”

If bonus points were reported based on creativity, Walker would be in much better shape. But he’s effectively arguing that if he didn’t cast a vote, it can’t count.

And that’s not an especially credible argument.

(Benen)

Yeah, that sort of thing will draw some scrutiny.

The political calculus regarding the optics is robustly defined: Given how much any candidate dodges certain questions, we might reasonably expect some professionally functional manner and method of dodging. Practically speaking, we might suggest that especially at a time when policy evolution is not only acceptable but a useful selling point, Gov. Walker should be able to muster the courage to at least attempt to explain his policy shifts.

Benen notes, “flip-flops are not the be-all, end all of a national campaign”, pointing to Mitt Romney’s astounding 2012 performance. “Walker’s reversals”, the msnbc producer and blogger writes, “won’t come close.”

This is a fair point. And, you know, really, after the bad week Jeb Bush just inflicted on the national political discourse, it does not seem so unfair to expect that Mr. Walker should be able to figure out that cowardice just doesn’t cut it.

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Image note: Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, speaks during the South Carolina Freedom Summit hosted by Citizens United and Congressman Jeff Duncan in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, May 9, 2015. The Freedom Summit brings grassroots activists from across South Carolina and the surrounding area to hear from conservative leaders and presidential hopefuls. Photogapher: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

α Evolution? Hatemongering? Basic human respect? Oh, hey, how about the auto industry bailout? Gov. Walker is afraid to sound off on any of these issues.

Haberman, Maggie. “Scott Walker Calls Himself ‘the Most Scrutinized Politician in America'”. First Draft. 19 May 2015.

Benen, Steve. “A flip-flop by any other name …”. msnbc. 21 May 2015.

Another Reason to Fight; Every Reason to Win

Transgender pioneer Blake Brockington died 23 March 2015, at age 18, by his own hand.

“Swaying hills of green, rolling sea of blue; if you say life is beautiful I guess it must be true. In a grave beneath the grass, remember how I used to be―made peace with all the things I used to hate, except for me. And so my kingdom comes, my will is done; this thing I know.”

Floater

Blake Brockington is dead. Reports from North Carolina tell us the transgender pioneer, who last year won the title of Homecoming King at East Meck High School, took his own life.

“I honestly feel like this is something I have to do,” Brockington said last year, noting few other transgender male students have had the opportunity.

Brockington said at the time that winning will mean the most for several younger transgender students he had mentored, including a nine-year-old boy.

“He really looks up to me. That’s my heart,” Brockington said of his mentee. “He has support now and he will be able to avoid just about everything I’m going through and I don’t want him to ever have to be scared. I feel like if I do this, that’s one red flag for everybody to say, ‘Nobody should be scared to be themselves and everybody should have an equal opportunity to have an enjoyable high school experience.'”

But the homecoming win came with a price, Brockington told The Charlotte Observer earlier this year.

“That was single-handedly the hardest part of my trans journey,” Brockington told the daily newspaper. “Really hateful things were said on the Internet. It was hard. I saw how narrow-minded the world really is.”

He had a strong message for the public — “we are still human.”

“I’m still a person,” Brockington said. “And trans people are still people. Our bodies just don’t match what’s up (in our heads). We need support, not people looking down at us or degrading us or overlooking us. We are still human.”

(Comer)

Good night, Brock. And thank you. I’m so sorry we couldn’t do better.

And for the living, the question looms: How is this worth it? How is the hatred and cruelty worth it, in Jesus’ name, amen? How can you do this to your neighbors? To you children?

Transgender signBecause there are those of us who know why it’s worth it; our job is to fight the hatred, stop the madness, and keep each other standing, day by day, step by step, because damn it, we’re almost there.

Stand. Speak. Love. Live. Fight. Win.

There is so much more at stake than just our own selves.

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Comer, Matt. “Young transgender activist Blake Brockington mourned”. qNotes. 24 March 2015.

A Conservative Malady

Is there any sight in the world that could possibly compare to a diva pitching a blind ego tantrum?

Mr. Bill has been dismayed by the relentless barrage of homosexicans cramming gay marriage down supple Christian throats, and the unstoppable onslaught being waged against our nation’s brave bigot bakers.

Our valiant warrior for Christ has decided to take a stand, but not a stand in the way that a normal, constructive human being would do. Rather, he is taking a stand in the same way that those college Republicans do all the time with their racist bake sales: by being a spiteful prick.

In an effort to prove that the gays are just as hateful as Christians and therefore QED ispo facto it’s totally cool to not let them have rights, Mr. Bill has filed a discrimination complaint against a Denver baker who denied him his civil rights of having “God Hates Gays” on a cake.

Or so explains Fare la Volpe explains for Wonkette, and you know, we might pause to wonder about that tendency among conservatives to go around pitching this sort of fit and simply failing to comprehend the difference.

Conservative Accommodation PlacardSo, this is my offer: Tell you what: We’ll give you what you want. You can be just as big a social disease as you want. But there’s a trade-out. To make certain people aren’t abusing the priviliges, we’ll need to create a registry. Just bring evidence that you are a registered Republican, and we will give you a placard, you know, blue with a little white wheelchair on it. And being dangerously, comedically stupid will be the special accommodation you get for admitting you have to be psychiatrically disabled in order to believe the crap you’re pushing.

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An American Priority

Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, 10 December 2014, via The Nib.Something about priorities goes here. And in our experience the underlying sentiment is not uncommon, yet many people do not like to admit it.

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Bors, Matt. “White People Problems”. The Nib. 10 December 2014.

Hope, Obscure, Refusing to Die

Detail of 'Animal Nuz #228' by Eric Lewis, 6 December 2014, via Daily Kos Comics.Sometimes amid the noise and bluster we might feel an angry impulse toward something that seems almost absurd by comparison. Yet it also seems inevitable that there is a lesson waiting to be learned. Eric Lewis reminds us of something very, very important that happened this week; the United States is moving back toward its very own manned space program.

But no. We can’t possibly pause to celebrate that, can we? Because we’re all too busy giving attention-hungry cops exactly the sort of sycophantic celebrity they’re after.

It is worth noting that controversial professor Leonard Jeffries used to denounce the space program as an effort by white people to spread their filth across the Universe. It’s only about a quarter-century later, and perhaps the most disgraceful thing about that rhetorical temper tantrum is the effort American society has devoted to proving it true.

Space exploration is something to be celebrated; getting the hell off its rock is one of the fundamental purposes of the living endeavor. This arrangement of matter and energy can last as long as the Universe itself allows, unless Life destroys itself first. Yet Lewis makes an important point: When the time comes, can we please leave the racism behind?

Everybody wins that way; the human endeavor can properly advance, and the hatemongers can finally start feeling like they’ve got a place to call home. And when they look around at the wreck of whatever is left, they can celebrate that they finally got what they wanted, the whole trash heap of human existence on planet Earth all to themselves.

Evolution is supposed to coincide with progress. Oh, you romantic American rebels, you.