Tag Archives: Virginia

Thank Goddess for the ‘alt-left’

What Is Antifa? Anti-Fascist Protesters Draw Attention After Charlottesville

Getty Images news photo

Anti-fascists showed up on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, to counter the neo-Nazis who ostensibly wanted to protest the removal of a statue of traitor Robert E. Lee but who in reality are just domestic terrorists. I love these guys, whose hearts are in the right place if I don’t always agree with their tactics.

Today “President” Pussygrabber, doubling down on his false equivalence between the neo-Nazis who are part of his base and the anti-fascists/anti-neo-Nazis, coined the term “alt-left.”

“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’ [in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday]? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Pussygrabber said at an impromptu news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, Politico reports.

Part of me might recommend that we on the left embrace the term “alt-left,” except that the neo-Nazis already have come to give “alt-” the connotation if not the denotation of white supremacism and white nationalism, and thus have pretty much ruined the prefix “alt-.”

And, of course, usually it’s best not to allow your enemy to name you, but to name yourself. (On that note, Pussygrabber said, “as you say, the ‘alt-right,’” but “alt-right” is the name that the fucking neo-Nazis have given themselves.)

And the “alt-left” already has named itself: Antifa, for anti-fascist, and it doesn’t need a new name.

And I say thank Goddess for the Antifa.

No, I don’t condone every action and every word that everyone who might call him- or herself a member of Antifa might commit, but on the whole, I’m quite happy that there is an active opposition to the neo-Nazis. (As I have written, I reject the term “alt-right” as unnecessary because we already have the term neo-Nazi.)

Fact is, as so many have observed and reported, the police often do little to nothing when there are clashes between the neo-Nazis and the Antifa (and/or other anti-neo-Nazis). That’s because many if not most cops are right-wingers (if not also actually white nationalists/white supremacists) themselves, I surmise, and therefore they aren’t all that enthusiastic about protecting us, the people, from the neo-Nazis. To a large degree, we have to do it ourselves.

I’m sure that there are some who fairly fairly could be called thugs among those who call themselves Antifa — that is, some individuals who are looking for a fight at least as much as they care about a sociopolitical cause. Of course, there probably are far more such individuals among the neo-Nazis.

While both groups routinely show up with weaponry (homegrown and professional) when they expect a confrontation, when there are casualties, they usually are on the left, not on the right, such as the case of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday when a neo-Nazi cowardly ran her down in his car.

And to my knowledge, Heyer was not a member of the Antifa (or, to Pussygrabber, the “alt-left”), but was just a citizen who had shown up to demonstrate her opposition to neo-Nazism, which she had the right to do (even though I question, for safety reasons, the wisdom of showing up anywhere where there are neo-Nazis).

While I have no personal interest in having a physical confrontation with a neo-Nazi, not seeing what ultimate good it would do, and while I hate to think of any good-hearted (if misguided) member of Antifa (or anyone else) being harmed or even killed by a neo-Nazi, I just can’t bring myself to condemn the Antifa, because I don’t know how far the neo-Nazis would take it if they knew that they faced no opposition in our streets.

The neo-Nazis need to know that should they get too big for their khakis (and thanks for ruining khakis for the rest of us, assholes!) and start harming people on the streets, they’re going to face pushback.

As a gay man, an atheist and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, one day I just might need protection from neo-Nazis myself, and so I’m not going to condemn the Antifa and the overall important sociopolitical role that they play in these, um, interesting times.

I would only ask the members of Antifa and all of those who oppose the neo-Nazis, as I do, to pick their battles and to put their personal safety first.

The pathetic neo-Nazi losers aren’t worth it.

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Let’s not become just like the fascist terrorists whom we oppose

Updated below (on Wednesday, August 16, 2017)

“No one should get fired for his [or her] political beliefs,” writes fellow leftist Ted Rall in his latest column, adding, “Not even a Nazi.”

“I am disturbed by the news that some of the white nationalists who attended the violent ‘Unite the Right’ hatefest in Charlottesville [this past] weekend are being outed on social media,” Rall continues. “Attendees have been on the receiving end of threats and doxxing. [The definition of doxxing, if you’re not familiar with the term, is here.] It was reported that a restaurant worker in Berkeley was canned after he was exposed on Twitter.”

Indeed, I also found it at least a little disturbing to read in the news that a guy who works (well, worked) at a hot-dog restaurant named Top Dog should lose his job (even if it’s a shit job, as it sounds like it is) not for any violence or other crime that he perpetrated, but for having been present and photographed at a political event.

“Firing a worker for [his or her] politics — especially when those politics are expressed outside the workplace — is McCarthyism. McCarthyism is wrong, McCarthyism is immoral and McCarthyism ought to be illegal,” Rall opines, and I tend to agree.

“Top Dog gets plaudits for firing a fascist; next time, the victim could be a garden-variety Democrat,” Rall reminds us and further reminds us that “Nothing in our outdated Constitution prevents an employer from firing you on account of your politics. In 2004 an Alabama company even fired a woman for having a John Kerry for president bumper sticker on her car.”

The difference, of course, is that someone with a John Kerry bumper sticker is much, much less likely to ever commit violence or otherwise violate another’s rights than is an avowed neo-Nazi, but, as Rall reminds us:

We live in a capitalist society. Except for those born rich, we must work or else starve. The U.S. is the only nation with at-will employment. And jobs are hard to find.

Under these conditions, without workplace free-speech protections, employees must think twice before they attend a rally, post a controversial memo, join a party or slap a bumper sticker on their vehicle.

Are you willing to risk unemployment, poverty and perhaps homelessness — not just you, but also your spouse and children? If the answer is “yes,” God bless you. History is made by people like you.

For many others, though, the answer is “no, I can’t afford free speech.” The upsides of free expression are intangible while the downside risks are terrifyingly brutal. …

The American workplace is a fascist state. It’s time to overthrow the millions of little Hitlers who think the fact that issuing a paycheck turns their employees into slaves subject to thought control.

Just don’t talk about this around anyone who knows where you work.

Rall acknowledges that “A business has the right to control its employees’ behavior in order to protect its image. Particularly in a liberal stronghold like Berkeley, but anywhere really, no one wants a waiter wearing a swastika tattoo or spouting racist views.

“But,” Rall continues, “if Top Dog restaurant can fire a racist dude for racist views he expresses thousands of miles away, there’s nothing to prevent Google from firing a software engineer for sexism — or [your employer from firing] you for whatever you happen to believe.”

We on the left do need to reflect upon our tactics beyond how good they might make us feel in the moment. Our gleefully gathering neo-Nazi scalps might come back to haunt us, as we are persecuted for our own political views in the tit-for-tat punish-people-for-their-political-views-by-making-them-unemployed environment that we have helped to create.

We on the left need to be careful not to become just like the enemy on the right. Firing left-wingers for not toeing the right-wing line long has been an evil tactic of oppression used on the right; they can’t just execute their left-wing employees, so how about trying to destroy them financially? It’s the next best thing!

All of that said, no one who appears in public has the right to privacy. If you participate in a march or protest or gathering of any size in public, there is a good chance that someone will take a photo or photos or video of you, and perhaps post them online, and you can’t claim that your right to privacy has been violated if someone does.

And then, of course, once an image or images of you have been posted online, online warriors on the right or the left can then identify you and out you, including post personal information about you that really is no one’s business.

Unfortunately, that is the risk that we take in a highly polarized political environment in which so much is posted on the Internet.

But still we must think about the long-term consequences of our actions. Because we can do something — and because others are doing it or because we figure that if we don’t do it, someone else probably will anyway — doesn’t mean that we should do that thing.

What of the young man who lost his probably-minimum-wage job? Has his job loss at the hands of the left taught him something valuable? Is it more likely that his job loss and public shaming will only entrench him further in his neo-Nazi views or that it actually will make him rethink his political views and how they might harm others?

Since the intention very apparently was not to induce him to see the error of his ways but only was to harm him in a retaliatory spirit and then to wave his scalp online for all to see — the person who outed him via the very presidential medium of Twitter bragged, “the first person I exposed no longer has a job” — I don’t see that the tactic will result in his rehabilitation.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a real problem with the neo-Nazis. The mere sight of the Confederate flag makes me viscerally fighting mad; my feeling is that that symbol of treason, oppression and hatred should not be displayed in public.

But many if not perhaps even most of these neo-Nazis are salvageable. Most of them are young and misguided and, let’s face it, frightened and socially awkward, and most of them are in the same boat as are most Americans, like the guy who probably wasn’t exactly getting rich working at a hot-dog restaurant.

When and if the neo-Nazis physically harm others, such as the young man who ran many people down with his car on Saturday, killing one young white woman who had been a supporter of social justice and of Bernie Sanders* — and the young man very apparently** has significant mental-health problems, as you very probably have to have to be able to mow people down in your car –– then we must process them as the criminals that they are, but if we can prevent them from getting to that point in the first place, then we should.***

And my best guess is that going after their livelihoods isn’t going to rehabilitate them, but is only going to make them worse.

P.S. The Associated Press reports that around the nation Confederate statues are being removed from public spaces, voluntarily and involuntarily, and that’s a great thing.

Again, these statues glorify hatred, oppression and treason, and tax dollars should not pay for that, and nor should anyone have to see these monuments to hatred, oppression and treason (or the Confederate flag, which symbolizes the same things) in public spaces.

Hate speech (including, of course, symbolic speech like flags and statues), speech that exists largely if not primarily in order to terrorize others (usually already oppressed minorities) isn’t, in my book, free speech. Hate speech isn’t speech that is meant to express ideas or used as artistic expression; hate speech is speech that is weaponized.

Update (Wednesday, August 16, 2017): The Associated Press reports:

The president of the University of Nevada, Reno says a UNR student who gained notoriety for rallying with white nationalists in Virginia will not be expelled or lose his university job.

Peter Cytanovic, who also goes by the name Peter Cvjetanovic, was photographed with a group of demonstrators on Friday carrying a torch on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where a rally turned deadly the next day.

UNR President Marc Johnson said Tuesday the school “unequivocally rejects the positions and ideology” espoused by the white supremacists. But he says UNR also stands for the basic principles of the Constitution, including free speech and the right to peacefully assemble. [Emphasis mine.]

He says campus police and the Office of Student Conduct concluded there is no legal reason to expel Cytanovic or terminate his employment.

Indeed, had UNR expelled Cytanovic or fired him from his university job, he probably would have had a great lawsuit against the university, as it would be the state government of Nevada firing him for having exercised his rights under the First Amendment.

(To my knowledge, while private employers have wide latitude in violating our free-expression rights — and routinely do so with impunity — with government employers it’s something else. However, every employer should have to recognize the rights given to us under the Constitution.)

To my knowledge, there is no evidence that Cytanovic participated in any violence or otherwise broke any law on Saturday, and therefore, as UNR concluded, there was no legal cause to punish him.

We don’t get to try to destroy someone’s life simply because we don’t like his or her viewpoints, although I’m guessing that Cytanovic is now a pariah among his fellow students at UNR.

*Bernie Sanders, unlike neo-Nazi enabler “President” Pussygrabber, whose first, knee-jerk reaction was to stupidly and inaccurately blame “many sides,” Bernie was quick to put the blame where it was due; on Sunday morning, Sanders tweeted, “Our condolences go out to the family of Heather Heyer, who was killed by a terrorist as she protested neo-Nazism and white supremacy.”

**Yahoo! News reports of James Alex Fields Jr., who long has had a fetish for Nazi Germany:

… [Samantha] Bloom, a single mother who is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair, raised Fields on her own after a drunk driver killed his father, an uncle told the Washington Post.

Records from 911 calls reveal that Bloom had called police at least twice to accuse her then-teenage son of assaulting her and wielding a knife. Records from the Florence Police Department in Kentucky show that Bloom told police in 2011 that Fields, a young teenager at the time, had stood behind her wielding a 12-inch knife. During another 2010 incident, Bloom said that Fields had hit her head and locked her in the bathroom.

Bloom also told police Fields was taking medication to treat temper issues. …

***No, my viewpoint is not that we should coddle them. In fact, my own strong preference is to not have anything to do with anyone who I know is a white supremacist/white nationalist, and I don’t know anyone who is one.

But at the same time, I don’t have to try to identify people online and then ensure that they lose their jobs.

I don’t have to associate with these people, and I don’t, but I don’t have to try to go after their meager livelihoods, either, and I don’t.

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Let’s not give the neo-Nazis an air of legitimacy that they don’t have

Charlottesville, Virginia, Daily Progress news photo

A car driven by a 20-year-old neo-Nazi and registered Republican from Ohio plows through a crowd of anti-neo-Nazi/anti-fascist demonstrators yesterday in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one woman and injuring 19 others. Additionally, two Virginia state troopers were killed in a helicopter accident while policing the neo-Nazi rally that was dubbed the “Unite the Right” rally, ostensibly to protect a statue of Confederate “hero” Robert E. Lee from removal in the Virginia city.

I largely agree with Salon.com’s Amanda Marcotte’s research and opinion, which she had expressed before shit went down in Charlottesville, Virginia, yesterday, that, as the headline of her piece puts it, “It’s time to fight the alt-right — but not by actually fighting in the street.”

I, for one, have no desire to be anywhere in the vicinity of a showdown between the neo-Nazis — I reject the euphemistic term “alt-right”; these are garden-variety neo-Nazis, not anything new — and the anti-fascists/anti-neo-Nazis.

You could get stabbed, as multiple people were in a melee between the neo-Nazis and the anti-fascists here in Sacramento last summer, or shot, or severely beaten, perhaps even to death, or, as happened to several people yesterday in Charlottesville, intentionally hit by a car (and thus killed, as was one 32-year-old woman, or severely injured, as were several).

I surmise that few to none of these people demonstrating against the neo-Nazis who were seriously injured or killed had really thought that they might seriously be injured or killed, but it was predictable that they were at such risk.

In the end, is serious injury or death worth it where it comes to the fairly tiny minority who are neo-Nazis? What does it accomplish in terms of changing the overall social order?

Don’t get me wrong. Because a neo-Nazi and registered Repugnican (is there much difference between the two, especially among those who support “President” Pussygrabber?) murdered someone by car yesterday, demonstrating yet once again that yes, indeed, the neo-Nazis are much more likely to commit unnecessary, deadly violence than are the anti-fascists, in the court of public opinion I’d chalk this one up as a win for us anti-fascists.

But that came at the cost of three lives lost yesterday in Virginia because of a relatively small bunch of fucking losers who aren’t at all worth that cost.

Because the neo-Nazis are a relatively small group, I don’t know that it is at all necessary to go mano-a-mano with them in the streets. As Marcotte notes:

… To be clear, neo-Nazis and the like tend to be disorganized and unreliable, so there are decent odds [that the] Unite the Right [rally] will be poorly attended, and the resulting atmosphere will be one of comical pathos rather than the menace far-right forces are hoping for.

Unfortunately, as Bob Moser at the New Republic argued, there is one group that can help restore some lost dignity to the wannabe fascists: progressive counter-protesters. Yes, the very people eager to fight white supremacists in the street may, as Moser argues, be helping the cause of white supremacy. [Emphasis mine.]

“By confronting both the various breeds of white supremacists with fury and violence, we’re giving them better media attention and recruitment tools than the worst of the worst could ever hope to muster for themselves,” Moser argued.

He laid out a number of examples of how alt-right and KKK rallies are typically poorly attended by white supremacists themselves, and that the behavior of counter-protesters — who often outnumber the actual racists — are invariably used as propaganda by these groups to recruit more members online, which is where the real action is happening. …

Marcotte goes on later:

… As someone whose instinct is to run towards confrontation and not away from it, I decided to talk this out with Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, whom Bob Moser used to work for.

The SPLC also warns against counter-protesting, but, Beirich explained, this should not be confused with minimizing the seriousness of the white supremacy threat or claiming that ignoring bullies makes them go away.

“This is a legitimate [???] group of people in the United States who have growing political power and who have frightening views when it comes to minorities,” she said.

“I don’t find that you’re not standing up to bullies” if you resist the urge for angry confrontation, she continued. “I think you’re starving them of the oxygen that they live off,” meaning right-wingers’ pretense that they are constantly victimized, censored and assaulted, a narrative that tends to play better if they actually encounter violent confrontation in the streets.

Instead of counter-protesting, Beirich argued, progressives should speak out in other ways. She recommended speaking out online, lobbying politicians to fight hate crimes and holding counter-rallies at a different place or time. [I don’t know about that; such rallies could attract neo-Nazis, it seems to me, but of course, everyone has the First-Amendment right to assemble peacefully, and I don’t believe that people should cave in on their First-Amendment rights because some neo-Nazis might show up.]

“When you put on something positive that also gets coverage, it presents your community in a much better light, and it puts the focal point on the ideas that are the peaceful, caring ones,” Beirich said.

Holding rallies not centered around direct confrontation with the alt-right has, I’d argue, another benefit: It’s far more inclusive. Direct confrontation on the streets that may lead to violence is a tactic that naturally favors young, able-bodied people, especially men.

For women, disabled people, parents, older people and racial minorities that have stronger concerns about violence from white supremacists, the face-to-face showdown strategy can often be alienating. [Emphasis mine.]

Still, I totally get those who feel that holding hands and giving speeches about favoring love over hate doesn’t feel like nearly enough. People are angry and want, for very good reason, to screw with these guys a bit. Isn’t there any way to take the fight to the wannabe Nazis?

One thing that’s important to understand, Beirich noted, is that the alt-right “is an online movement, for the most part.” Some of its leaders have basically resorted to pleading with their followers to show up for actual events in the offline world.

That has had some effect, with bigger crowds at the American Renaissance Conference and other rallies, but the primary audience and organizing platform for far-right activism remains the Internet.

Even when alt-right folks gather in person, it’s mostly about getting group photos that can be used to recruit new followers online by promising a sense of community.

So for those who are attracted to the simple pleasure of screwing with Nazis, the online world is where to go to make fools of these fools. Beirich suggested reporting hate speech on social media, but there are an increasing number of ways for progressives  to use the same online tools used by white supremacists to organize against them. …

Agreed. Most of the fight indeed is within the court of public opinion, and a huge part of that fight is online, where public opinion increasingly is formed.

The majority of Americans already have fairly strong feelings one way or the other where it comes to neo-Nazis, it seems to me, but the vast majority of Americans never are going to go to a neo-Nazi rally. And who, exactly, are you converting at a neo-Nazi rally? Who there has an opinion that you can sway?

Let the 41-year-old virgins have their little neo-Nazi rallies. Let’s not give them the physical confrontation that they want and that they then use to recruit. It’s better to ignore them and thus to let them be embarrassed and to further weaken their ability to recruit. To confront them gives them the veneer of legitimacy and importance that they don’t actually inherently possess.

But don’t get me wrong; should these treasonous, far-right-wing motherfuckers ever truly become a significant threat to the well-being of those whom they hate — should they, say, begin to physically attack the objects of their hatred with anything that is like regularity and that is outside of lone-wolf actions — then yes, let’s face them in the street.

But if they’re just going to gather in public spaces from time to time and spout off, let them; and ignore them.

And yes, while we’re on the subject, the symbols of white-supremacist/white-nationalist terrorism need to be removed from public property.

The Confederate flag belongs in museums, not on any property that is supported with a penny of taxes. And Confederate statuary — such as the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, whose removal was approved by the city council but is now tied up in litigation (and which ostensibly was the reason for the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville yesterday) — has no place in public, either, especially in places that are maintained by tax revenues.

The Confederate flag and a statue of a Confederate “hero” — and let’s get this straight: no traitor who fought for the “cause” of perpetuating slavery can be a fucking “hero” — are not neutral, innocuous symbols of “history” or “heritage.”

They are terrorist symbols that are meant to strike fear into the hearts of certain members of those who see them, and no one should have to worry about being out and about in public and encountering terrorist symbols that are meant to terrorize them.

The war here for the most part is not against the white race, if there really even is any such monolithic thing as “the white race.” (“You will not replace us,” the apparently spooked neo-Nazis chanted this past weekend in Charlottesville, but whites still make up more than 60 percent of the U.S. population and so probably aren’t going to be “replaced” any year soon.*)

The war here is against terrorism — in this case, the domestic terrorism that routinely is perpetrated by the neo-Nazis.

We have to continue to fight against these domestic terrorists and traitors, and we have to do so intelligently and effectively.

Brawling with them probably isn’t the way to do that. Not right now, not yet, anyway.

P.S. Slate.com reports that the murderer by car was photographed with a neo-Nazi group earlier in the day by a news photographer yesterday, so no, the neo-Nazis can’t distance themselves from this guy. He is one of them.

Here is the news photo:

New York Daily News news photo

The perpetrator, whose name is James Alex Fields Jr., is the evil fucktard in the middle, fourth from the left and fourth from the right.

*That said, the racial composition of the United States doesn’t matter. It has changed throughout the decades and it will continue to change in the decades to come. At one time it was solely Native Americans, of course, and yes, in the modern era the U.S. is becoming less and less white, with Latinos being the fastest-growing non-white racial group in the U.S.

As a white man, I’m not troubled by this in the least. The only thing that is constant is change, and the change in racial demographics in the U.S. is a slow, gradual change, and for the most part it is a non-violent change except for the violence perpetrated by the neo-Nazis.

Finally, I am a proponent of racial mixing, socially, culturally and reproductively. Genetically and culturally, inbreeding is the worst thing that you can do; it only guarantees that your defects and weaknesses are repeated — and sometimes even amplified.

If racial “purity” were a good thing, then so many of the neo-Nazis wouldn’t be mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging fucktards. The proof is in the pudding.

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The cultural war on white people

Image result for white walker

So popular within the American culture is the war on white people that the blue-eyed devil is the biggest villain in the very popular HBO TV series “Game of Thrones.” Just sayin’.

That headline is intentionally provocative, but it’s not entirely hyperbole. Discussion of civil rights and racial equality and interracial relations has, over the past few years, increasingly become less and less about reconciliation with whites and more and more about the demonization of and revenge against whites.

And it’s ironic, because many if not most of those seeking revenge against whites are non-whites (mostly black Americans) who have not directly been touched by the worst of what white Americans perpetrated upon non-whites (mostly black Americans) throughout U.S. history. (I think that I have fairly privileged non-white college students in mind the most.) And many if not most of the demonized whites of today have not perpetrated the worst of what white Americans perpetrated upon non-whites throughout U.S. history; they were just born white.

A dream was deferred — and racial revenge has been deferred, too.

The popular message to whites today is that you’re evil because you were born white. You cannot escape your whiteness, and therefore you cannot escape your evil, you blue-eyed devil.

This message is contained in even just the title “Dear White People” — the title itself is so offensive (“Dear Black People” or “Dear Hispanic People” or “Dear Asian People” wouldn’t be OK, but “Dear White People” is perfectly OK, you see, because all white people are evil) that I haven’t been able to get into either the movie or the TV show of that name.

I did get all the way through “Get Out,” the black-paranoia suspense movie in which the central message very apparently is that every white person is an anti-black racist and that no white person can be trusted by any black person.*

I guess that the white actors who appeared in “Get Out” thought that they were being good guilty white liberals by participating in this movie whose central purpose apparently is to tell its primarily black audience that Yes, you’re right, every white person is evil and is out to get you, and, given enough time, will betray you eventually.

That’s such a healthy message.

And this message was “confirmed” in the fairly recent incident in which Bill Maher bizarrely and unfunnily referred to himself as “a house nigger” on his HBO politicocomedic talk show.

Maher was “outed” as just yet another secret white supremacist, you see — his having had many black guests on his show over the years, his $1 million donation to Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, and his black ex-girlfriends obviously all were just elaborate cover for his greatest love, which is, of course, to practice white supremacism — and so on his next show he had to undergo the obligatory flagellation (Bad white man! Baaad!). It was a fucking debacle.

As I have noted before, while white Americans were evenly split between Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton in the Democratic Party primary elections and caucuses, what helped Billary win the nomination is that black Americans supported her over blue-eyed devil Bernie by a margin of three to one.

Ironically, the true blue-eyed devil was and remains Billary, but no matter.

And I expect Bernie to face anti-white (and anti-Semitic) sentiment from black voters again should he run for 2020. But we’re not even to talk about these facts, since they don’t fit the anti-white, only-whites-can-be-racist narrative that is so en vogue.

But could it be that treating a whole race of people like demons might actually induce some of them to act like demons, in a self-fulfilling prophecy? I mean, that has happened to some blacks due to the white demonization of them, has it not? Why wouldn’t it work in the opposite direction?

Lest you think that I’m going overboard here, there are these concluding paragraphs in Slate.com writer Jamelle Bouie’s piece on the recent KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (to protest the removal of Confederate “hero” statues):

… But while the Klan is a faded image of itself, white supremacy is still a potent ideology. In August, another group of white supremacists — led by white nationalist Richard Spencer and his local allies — will descend on Charlottesville to hold another protest.

Unlike the Loyal White Knights, they won’t have hoods and costumes; they’ll wear suits and khakis. They’ll smile for the cameras and explain their positions in media-friendly language. They will look normal — they might even be confident. After all, in the last year, their movement has been on the upswing, fueled by a larger politics of white grievance that swept a demagogue into office.

The Klan, as represented by the men and women who came to Charlottesville, is easy to oppose. They are the archetype of racism, the specter that almost every American can condemn.

The real challenge is the less visible bigotry, the genteel racism that cloaks itself in respectability and speaks in code, offering itself as just another “perspective.”

Charlottesville will likely mobilize against Spencer and his group, but the racism he represents will remain, a part of this community and most others across the United States. How does one respond to that? What does one do about that?

I’ve been reading Bouie for years now, I believe it has been, and for the most part his discussions on racism and race relations have been fair, balanced and insightful, which you often don’t find in the discussion.

But the spirit of the paragraphs above is disturbing. Its message is that no white person can be trusted; we can’t go by the type of clothing anymore, so we can only go on the color of the person’s skin. Indeed, Bouie’s sentiment above mirrors the central thesis of “Get Out”: “The real challenge is the less visible bigotry, the genteel racism that cloaks itself in respectability and speaks in code, offering itself as just another ‘perspective.’ … What does one do about that?”

Indeed, if every white person probably is the enemy, what do you do?

Apparently the only hope that a white person has these days to get acceptance from non-whites, especially blacks, is to denounce his or her entire evil race in the strongest terms possible and to state strong agreement with every word stated by non-whites. But even that isn’t enough, you see, because the denunciations of one’s own evil, white race and the claims of sympathy and empathy with the non-white probably aren’t sincere. They’re probably just a cover-up for the blue-eyed devil’s true, inborn evil.

We cannot continue to “function” this way, not if we ever want interracial reconciliation. But therein lies the rub: Many (if not most) non-whites (blacks especially, very apparently) don’t want interracial reconciliation, because their entire identity is wrapped up in being a perpetual victim of the blue-eyed devil. (Often, even their income depends on it.) This victimization (real or fabricated) must continue for their identity (and, sometimes, their income) to remain intact, so they continually will find “proof” of this victimization whether it even exists or not.

I surmise that Bouie asked his concluding question (“What does one do about that?”) rhetorically, but I’ll answer it anyway:

You don’t worry about what other people think of you, as you have no control over that, for the very most part. You do, however, become concerned if anyone’s bigotry or hatred translates into words or actions that are meant to harm you.

As a gay man, I know that there are plenty of heterosexuals out there who claim to support equal human and civil rights for us non-heterosexuals but who actually are quite homophobic. Since we’re on the subject, I’ll add that more white Americans (64 percent) than black Americans (51 percent) support same-sex marriage (which to me is a pretty good litmus test for homophobia), so, it seems to me, a black stranger that I come into contact with is more likely to be homophobic than is a white stranger.

And as a white man I never know, when I approach, for the first time, a non-white person (perhaps especially a black person, given the ugly history between the two races in the U.S.) whether or not he or she hates whitey or whether he or she is willing to give me a chance (I do, after all, have blue eyes…).

But I don’t lose sleep over whether or not someone is an anti-white racist and/or a homophobe. Ignorance, bigotry and hatred would be and would remain that person’s problem — until and unless he or she committed a word (such as “faggot,” which black boxer Floyd Mayweather shouted at white boxer Conor McGregor on Friday**) or words and/or a deed or deeds that made it my problem.

I’d give that same advice to Jamelle Bouie and to every other black person with whom I can be an ally as long as he or she doesn’t have an intractable “Get Out”-style perception of me, just waiting until I finally, inevitably demonstrate my “true colors” (because I have, you know, just traded my pointy white hood for khakis).

P.S. I have been following “Game of Thrones” for years now and await tonight’s season-seven premiere, but the fact that the show’s biggest baddies are blue-eyed “white walkers” — the symbolism of that — hasn’t been lost on me…

*The movie has its fatal flaws, of course, such as the central plot contradiction that anti-black white supremacists want their brains transferred into the bodies of black people.

Of course, contained within that contradiction actually is black supremacism — the idea/belief that it’s actually better to possess a black body than a white body, because if it weren’t, then why would these racist whiteys steal black bodies to inhabit?

Of course, plot contradictions in “Get Out” are to be pushed aside, because, again, its central, apparently-very-appealing-to-some message (aside from black supremacism, ironically) is that every white person is out to get every black person.

**To be fair and balanced, Conor McGregor, very apparently no towering genius himself, has made anti-black racist comments, but, to my knowledge, McGregor isn’t gay, and so when Mayweather hurled the epithet “faggot” at him, those of us who actually are “faggots” were just collateral damage, you see, and I don’t believe that Mayweather’s homophobia is at all uncommon among black Americans, who routinely hypocritically claim that ignorance, bigotry and hatred always belong to someone else.

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Billary blew it with ‘safe’ Tim Kaine

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia greet the crowd during a campaign event on July 14 in Annandale, Va.

Getty Images photo

Billary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine campaign in Virginia last week. Today Billary announced a Clinton-Kaine ticket.  Wake me up when this snoozefest is finally over. Zzzzzzzzz…

Queen Billary Clinton’s No. 1 requirement in a running mate, I am confident, was that he or she must not overshadow Her Highness. 

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, her pick, certainly fits that bill.

An adjective often used to describe him is “boring.” (He even calls himself “boring.”Yahoo! News notes that Billary’s selection of Kaine is “a safe, centrist choice that will likely disappoint some in the progressive wing of her party.”

“Some”?

The No. 2 requirement in Billary’s running mate had to be that he or she is a centrist, that is, a fellow Democrat in name only — certainly no Bernie Sanders, and not even an Elizabeth Warren.

Billary’s pick of a moderate Democrat/Repugican Lite from the South is wholly in line with her and her husband’s political start in Arkansas — and their long history of giving the party’s left-of-center base the middle finger.

In having picked Tim Kaine, Billary in effect picked herself — as a man who is a decade younger.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t hate Tim Kaine. Indeed, I (and millions of others) know little of him, pretty much only that he personally opposes abortion, given his Roman Catholic background, and that he has been supportive of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which even Der Fuhrer Donald Trump opposes.

But Tim Kaine (whom I might come to hate in the future, as I learn more about him) is wholly uninspiring. His political philosophy, like Billary’s, appears to be stuck in the 1990s.

I’m glad that Billary didn’t pick as her running mate New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; he’s an empty suit, a Barack Obama wannabe.

And while we’re long past due for our first Latino or Latina president or vice president, neither U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez nor U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro has the experience to be only a heartbeat away from the presidency. Perez’s only elected office was a seat on a Maryland county council, and Castro’s only elected offices were a member of San Antonio’s city council and then the city’s mayor.

In my book, if you want to be president you had better have been a governor or a U.S. senator, and if you want to be vice president you had better have been a governor or a U.S. senator, since as vice president you might end up as president.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, like Kaine, was a governor, so he has vice-presidential chops, but, like Kaine, Vilsack isn’t an exciting or an inspiring person, so I’m glad that Billary didn’t pick him.

Billary should have picked as her running mate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Why?

Billary, I believe, with her choice of running mate sorely needed to excite her party’s base more than she needed to try to assuage any fears of the voters of the flyover states — states that are going to go for The Donald anyway — that white men are losing their grip on positions of power to women and to non-whites.

(This was, methinks, Billary’s No. 3 requirement in a running mate: that she pick a white man in order not to spook too many centrist, center-right and even right-wing voters, to whom she always has shown more allegiance than she has shown to the Democratic Party base.

I mean, these are fragile voters, and after we’ve had our first non-white president, we can’t have a two-woman ticket or a ticket of a white woman and a non-white person!)

Even Donald Trump picked yet another milquetoast white man to be his running mate. Billary couldn’t do better?

Had Billary picked Liz Warren, she would have excited the hell out of her base. She would have excited progressives and women.

Instead, Billary picked Tim Kaine. Yawn.

To be fair, maybe Billary asked Liz and Liz said no. (If Liz were smart, and she is smart, she would have said Oh, hell no! to playing third fiddle in the Clinton White House 2.0.) I don’t know.

I do know that the addition of “safe” and centrist Tim Kaine to the ticket gives me and millions of other progressives (most of us Berners — and Bernie won 45.6 percent of the pledged Democratic delegates, let me remind you) zero reason to vote for Billary.

I mean, I’d had no intention to vote for her anyway — I still most likely will vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein — but the addition of an actual progressive to the ticket was the only thing that, coupled with the looming fascism of Der Fuhrer Donald, perhaps could have induced me to vote for Billary.*

And a two-woman ticket wouldn’t have been a bad idea; it would have been a brilliant idea, after having had nothing but two-man tickets throughout our nation’s history.

But instead of making a bold, visionary — even revolutionary — move, the utterly uninspiring, charisma-free Billary played it “safe.”

We’ll see what and where “safe” gets her on November 8.

*Queen Billary is going to win my state of California and all 55 of its electoral votes anyway, so it doesn’t really matter for whom I vote for president or whether I even vote for president at all, but I will vote for president.

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Yes, Virginia, loving is a civil right

I am happy to have read, on Valentine’s Day, that a federal judge, in declaring the state of Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional (because all states’ bans on same-sex marriage violate the U.S. Constitution), evoked the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, in which the nation’s highest court ruled that it is unconstitutional for any state to prohibit mixed-race (heterosexual, of course!) marriage.

Many if not most are hesitant to compare same-sex marriage to mixed-race marriage, since this makes the non-white homophobes go apeshit. (You don’t choose your race, but you choose to be non-heterosexual, they [for the most part incorrectly*] assert, and they believe, of course, that being non-hetrosexual is bad. [You aren’t born with your religious beliefs, but people’s religious beliefs are protected against discrimination, so that whole “choice” “argument” is actually pretty fucking moot where equal human and civil rights are concerned.])

Mildred Loving, the black woman whose marriage to a white man was the subject of Loving v. Virginia, wrote this in 2007 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the court case bearing her name:

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, D.C., in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married. 

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed.

The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

 We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving [v. Virginia], and loving, are all about.

Kinda knocks the wind out of the sails of the black homophobes, doesn’t it, that the black woman who was involved in Loving v. Virginia herself proclaimed — seven years ago! — such things as that “Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights” and that “black or white, young or old, gay or straight,” she “support[s] the freedom to marry for all”?

I am struck by how “God” routinely was used as a defense of the prohibition of mixed-raced marriages, with the judge in Virginia having proclaimed that “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Similar “arguments” by the “Christo”fascist homophobes abound today.

I also am struck by how Mildred and Richard Loving faced what same-sex couples in the United States face today: having your marriage performed and recognized in one state but flatly and wholly rejected in another state.

This kind of bullshit cannot stand. A house divided will fall.

But I have no doubt that one day soon, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule, as it did in Loving v. Virginia the year before I was born (it was not nearly long ago enough!), that “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men [and women],” a “basic civil right.”**

*My observation is that some non-heterosexuals clearly are born non-heterosexual, that they had no choice in it whatsoever, but that it might more or less be a choice for some other non-heterosexuals.

However, the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, guarantee all of us Americans such things as the right and the freedom to associate with whomever we wish, the right to privacy, and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Therefore, it doesn’t fucking matter whether an individual’s non-majority sexual orientation is his or her (or “their”?) choice or not; he or she (or “they”?) still is entitled to the same civil rights as is everyone else.

(I can’t say that I’m on board with “they,” “them” and “their” — plural pronouns — being used as gender-neutral pronouns. The plural pronouns exist to indicate number, not gender status. I’m fine with gender-neutral pronouns being used, but I don’t think that we’ve found the best ones yet, and therefore we might have to invent them…)

**Slate.com has a pretty good piece today titled: “It’s Over: Gay Marriage Can’t Win in the Courts.” The piece notes:

… Insofar as there was confusion about what [United States v.] Windsor [2013] meant at the time it was decided, the lower courts across the country have now effectively settled it. A survey of publicly available opinions shows that in the eight months since Windsor, 18 court decisions have addressed an issue of equality based on sexual orientation. And in those 18 cases, equality has won every single time. In other words, not a single court has agreed with Chief Justice [John] Roberts that Windsor is merely about state versus federal power. Instead, each has used Windsor exactly as Justice [Antonin] Scalia “warned”—as a powerful precedent for equality. …

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Repugnican losers are trying to rig the game

Widespread talk of how the Repugnican Tea Party was going to “reform” itself after two national rejections in a row has been a fucking joke. We have our answer already: Of course the traitors have no interest whatsofuckingever in changing their ways.

Now, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are trying to have the electoral votes in some purple states with Repugnican-Tea-Party-majority state governments changed from winner takes all (which is the case in 48 of the 50 states) to divvying them up (like only Maine and Nebraska do) — but only in those purple states in which this change of the rules would benefit the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, of course.

They’re not talking about divvying up the electoral votes of such deep-red, winner-takes-all states as Texas or Arizona or Georgia. They’re only talking about divvying up the electoral votes of such purple states as Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsinstates that Barack Obama just won (and that he won in 2008).

It seems to me that this violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment — at least in spirit, if not in the letter — because it gives the voters in some states a right that voters in other states do not: Namely, to have their votes make a difference in the Electoral College.

I’ll even play devil’s advocate here: The Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ new scheme, if it had been in place in our last presidential election, would have meant that, for instance, someone who voted for Mittens Romney on November 6 in, say, Virginia or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania still would have had his or her vote count in the Electoral College as long as he or she lived in a congressional district that Mittens won, even though Barack Obama won the majority of all of the votes in those states — but someone who voted for Mittens in, say, deep-blue New York or California, would not have had his or her vote count in the Electoral College, because in those winner-takes-all states, Obama would have received all of the states’ electoral votes.

Is that fair — to give voters in some states more say in the Electoral College than the voters in other states? Shouldn’t every voter’s presidential vote count equally?

Of course, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, being traitors, aren’t about fairness and equality and democracy. They’re about “winning” at all costs — fairness and equality and democracy be damned.

Of course, the best course of action would be to eliminate the Electoral College altogether, to amend the United States Constitution to abolish it and to replace it with a straight-up popular vote for the presidency.

In a so-called democracy, there is no good reason not to choose the president of the United States based on a popular vote. (“But that’s the way we’ve always done it!” is not a valid argument, since it replaces reasoned analysis with mental laziness [a.k.a. “tradition”].)

The winner-takes-all Electoral College method effectively means that those blue voters in red states and those red voters in blue states have no voice at all, but to have one of the two duopolistic political parties pick and choose which states are to be winner-takes-all and which states are to divvy up their electoral votes — only in order to benefit that party’s presidential candidates — is even worse.

It is unfair as it is that even Nebraska and Maine divvy up their electoral votes when the other 48 states do not, but this hasn’t been a huge unfairness problem thus far, since both states together have only nine electoral votes (at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes are necessary to win the White House).

If the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are successful in rigging the entire Electoral College to benefit themselves, however, millions of voters will be disenfranchised.

The good news in all of this is that if the Repugnican Tea Party were strong, it wouldn’t need to cheat in order to “win” presidential elections, as it did in 2000 (and probably in 2004 as well), and as it is trying to do now.

The bad news is that sluggish, complacent, lazy Americans have a way of just allowing the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to get away with their blatantly anti-democratic bullshit, such as stealing presidential elections and launching bogus wars.

I considered the blatantly stolen presidential election of 2000 to be the biggest blow to American democracy during my lifetime, but what the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are cooking up now, if realized, would make even that seem like child’s play by comparison.

P.S. (Friday, January 25, 2013): My bad: Add Ohio and Michigan to the list of purple states that Obama won in 2008 and in 2012 but that now are controlled by Repugnican Tea Party traitors who have at least talked about divvying up their states’ electoral votes in order to rig future presidential elections for the Repugnican Tea Party.

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