By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
Why is everyone so worried about whether a politician publicly denounces racism?
After Saturday’s horrific actions in Charlottesville, Va., — and the generally awful image of thousands of privileged white people marching with tiki torches and pretending that they’re oppressed because a black guy got served before them at Starbucks – there has been a public outcry demanding that Republicans across the country denounce the actions of the Nazis, white nationalists and racists.
And to their credit, I guess, several have.
From Speaker Paul Ryan to local Alabama lawmakers, like Rep. Martha Roby, there were strong statements against the hate and violence in Charlottesville.
But really, so what?
Maybe it matters a little that the president wouldn’t publicly denounce Nazis until two days later, but it’s just words. Same for the rest of the Republicans who have spoken out against the weekend’s events.
It’s just words. And they mean nothing.
Because I’ve seen your actions.
You did this.
You gave this hateful, awful rhetoric a voice. You provided legislative means to groups and people who have an agenda of oppression and bigotry. You let a million smaller instances of repugnant behavior go unchecked in the name of political expediency and winning elections.
And you damn well know it.
For years now, you have preyed upon the poorest and most vulnerable, allowing them to be cast as leeches upon hardworking Americans. The leeches were always black, buying “spinning rims” and “menthol cigarettes,” and the hard workers always white in every tale of welfare-gone-bad.
You have made these poor people the villains in your fairytales, and stepped on their drowning heads to achieve more political victories.
You have allowed the rights of minorities to be taken away altogether or squeezed to the point that they might as well be.
From voter ID laws that target deter minority voters and do nothing to address the 99.9 percent of voter fraud that exists to draconian drug laws and minimum sentencing standards that ensure a disproportionate number of minorities get and stay locked up.
You spent the better part of a decade casting the previous president – one of the most decent human beings to ever hold the office – as a racist who wanted to steal from white people. You questioned his heritage, his religion and his love of country – and you did so while knowing full well that none were in question. But hey, he was black and it was an easy sell for votes, so why not?
You have embraced divisive and hurtful issues like Confederate memorials, pretending as though their existence somehow contributes to the teaching of history.
You have embraced – from the day the Brown v. Board of Ed. decision came down – school laws that made it easy to discriminate against black children. And with legislation, such as the Accountability Act in Alabama and “school choice” all over the country, you have continued in this deplorable tradition.
You have vilified desperate, hungry people who came to this country, just as all of our ancestors did, looking for hope. And then, as if in an awfulness competition, you vilified desperate Central American children, claiming without a shred of evidence that they were gang members.
You have pushed back each and every time that basic human rights have been extended to people and groups who were a little too different for your tastes – from blacks to Mexicans to gays and now transgender people.
You have leaned heavy on the Christianity to excuse away your awful behavior, pretending that obscure passages of the Bible were evidence that bigotry and hate were excused by Jesus. And then, still leaning on those un-Christ-like reasons, you tried to push other religions out, ignoring the founders, the Constitution and Jesus all in one act.
So, forgive me if I don’t much care whether or not Republicans denounced hate on Twitter.
Their embrace of it for decades has led to this current state of affairs – one in which white nationalists inhabit our White House and people on the streets of America proudly wear shirts carrying Hitler quotes.
You people are supposed to be leaders, are supposed to set an example, uphold American values and rights and work to ensure all people are treated with dignity, fairness and respect. You’ve intentionally failed at that job because failure to the country as a whole meant personal success for yourself.
I won’t pretend that you haven’t done that or that you bear no responsibility for the rise in hate in this country.
And it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than 140 characters to convince me that you’re ready to do something about it.