One of the advantages of getting older is that you have seen and/or heard a lot of things to go along with the history that you have learned. All are potential lessons that will help you make wiser choices. Considering that, I’d like to juxtapose a dead comedian, a dark episode in American history, President Trump and 187 House Republicans. Let’s explore.
Decades ago I remember hearing a Redd Foxx stand-up comedy routine. Foxx was an African-American comedian most of his routines were edgy and often not suitable for little ears. Foxx would sometimes get into racial stuff for a bit. He would utter “Send ‘em back to Africa.” Then pause and follow with his punchline, “If you want to send me back home send me to St. Louis, Missouri.”
For those who questioned it or, like me, gave Trump the benefit of the doubt for too long, Trump removed any uncertainty that he was a racist last week when he told four non-Caucasian, female House members to go back to the countries where they came from. (All are American citizens which the Constitution requires members of Congress be; in fact three of them were born in America.) He then doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on his remarks.
In 1939 the MS St. Louis (commonly referred to as the SS St. Louis) brought over 900 Jewish refugees to America’s shore. They sought asylum from the Nazis in Europe. They were refused entry, returned to Europe and eventually almost all of them died in Nazi concentration camps.
Trump’s reprehensible treatment of people of color has not been limited to the four Congresswomen. He has been deliberately inhumane while violating international and American law in his treatment of refugees.
Tuesday the House took up H Res. 489 to condemning Trump’s racist tweets and statements. It passed 240-187-6. All 235 Democrats were present and voted in favor of the resolution. To their credit four Republicans broke ranks and joined the Democrats in stating the obvious and calling out un-American activity. They were Susan Brooks of Indiana, Brian Fitzpatrick and Will Hurd of Texas along with Fred Upton of Michigan. The 240 was completed by former Republican and newly independent Justin Amash of Michigan. The six not voting were all Republicans. Andy Biggs of Arizona was joined by Michael Burgess, Louie Gohmert, Kay Granger, Kenny Marchant and Roger Williams all of Texas.
All the “nay” votes came from Republicans. To put it in school terms, they made the Dishonor Role. Some of them are in fact racists. If they are not racists they certainly are sycophants, racist enablers, racist sympathizers or some or all of the preceding.
I have long advanced the theory that the three pillars holding up the contemporary GOP are greed, racism/bigotry and the promotion of ignorance. The House events of Tuesday are further proof of the second pillar’s existence. It’s not just Trump, but he has firmly established himself as the leader of the Republican Party.
I’ve been fortunate to learn a few things on this journey. Trump is just a bit older than me and while we have very similar educations I will admit his alma mater is better than mine. He came from wealth with all that can buy. I come from a blue collar background and am grateful for the opportunities I did receive. I have acquired the ability to do critical thinking. That is largely an acquired skill. Too bad that is something Trump is apparently lacking. Maybe that is why despite the fact that I was raised mainly among racists and xenophobes I was able to advance beyond that and he hasn’t.
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