That Charlottesville Press Conference Makes Me Want to Put Out An Amber Alert For The GOP's Scruples

08/16/2017 08:23 pm ET Updated Aug 23, 2017

The Fanta-hued Fascist who currently occupies the White House has offered his strongest support so far to white supremacy. Standing behind the presidential seal, Hobgoblin Hitler put the full weight of American institutions behind violent, morally-deficient racists. Heather D. Heyer was murdered last weekend by the very people Mango Mussolini defended and more people will continue to die as a direct consequence of his remarks. For both white supremacists and the people they perceive as threats (Black, Jewish, Latino, Muslim, and LGBTQ people, to name a few) it has never been clearer where this administration stands. Given the contempt the Tangerine Tyrant has already demonstrated for marginalized groups, this is saying a lot.

It has been over a year since the Oppressive Orangutan swapped out dog whistle politics for a bullhorn, but there was still a line considered too impolite to cross. Republicans have (successfully) courted bigots for decades without an American president publicly cosigning the Klan and literal Nazis. But that is exactly what happened yesterday: by repeatedly drawing false moral equivalences between white supremacists and those who resist them, by presenting justifications for the alt-right's actions, and by suggesting those who opposed their hate and violence should feel "guilt," he formalized his role - and the government's role - as a protector of the worst elements of American society. The GOP should be experiencing a crisis of conscience.

While some GOP officials have denounced the Charlottesville riots and the thugs who instigated them, it is preposterous that it took actual self-identified white nationalists armed to the teeth, carrying torches, sieg heiling, and advocating genocide to prompt minimal Republican reflection that perhaps their supporters are racist. Even after their reluctant introspection, Republican politicians and civilians have continued to perpetrate the lie that white supremacy is not the heart of their ideologies; they maintain that the Charlottesville goons are fringe members of the right, and not the people who constitute the very base of the Grand Old Party. They choose to forget, for example, the Southern Strategy in the 1960s wherein Republican leadership explicitly sought to pander to white supremacists angered by the civil rights movement; or Reagan launching his presidential campaign in 1980 at a site famous for the abduction and murder of civil rights activists, and popularizing the racialized stereotype of the welfare queen. Charlottesville may have now brought the racist core of the Republican party to light, but it has been here, in the dark, for decades.

So-called moderates, too, are implicated in the chaos that swept Charlottesville. They value white people's freedom to be racist as much as they value people of color's freedom to exist without threat of violence. They give credence to anti-racist and racist points of view in the name of equality, but fail to recognize that they are simply allowing white supremacist vitriol to further permeate this country. They claim to be unbiased, when in fact, they are nothing more than cowards, KKK apologists, and Nazi sympathizers who are content to abdicate themselves of all responsibility while people die in the streets. Good white people - your silence speaks volumes, and makes you part of the problem.

People all across the political spectrum must recognize bigotry and the perniciousness of structural racism outside of card-carrying Klansmen. Racism does not exclusively or even usually look like swastikas, white hoods, and confederate flags. Most often racism looks like sending Black children to prison for minor disciplinary infractions in schools. It looks like the rollback of reproductive rights for low income women of color. It looks like gerrymandering and stripping away the protections of the Voting Rights Act. This invites the question: given all the forms of racism the GOP has been comfortable with, can it do the necessary work of effectively confronting the emboldened racism in their party, including their President? No person or political party still defending the Marmalade Menace can claim any sort of legitimacy or moral authority. They can no longer deny that they are on the same team as Nazis and the KKK. They have matching uniforms. They share a locker room.

There can be no equivocating: if you are still making excuses for the Carrot Calamity; still suggesting as he did that both sides are at fault or that you don't know all the facts; still refusing to challenge your friends and loved ones when they come home from their Klan rallies before going back to work as schoolteachers, mortgage lenders, and police officers, you are complicit in their acts of terror. You have chosen the side of white supremacy. Republicans, I implore you - find your integrity. Choose the right side.

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