Are Republicans the Party of White Supremacy?

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

There was a time when the memory of the hideous behavior of the 1930s “America First” committee was enough to keep any decent politician away from that moniker. Whether memory or decency has faded from the Republican political class is a question I leave to others.

I am simply gobsmacked that for even a moment (let alone about 24 hours) there was a GOP caucus taking the name as its own – and stunningly, tarring the brand more than any 1930s isolationist could ever do. Not only did Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Paul Gosar, Barry Moore, Louie Gohmert, and Matt Gaetz repeat the ignorant appeasement of their predecessors; they added to it an unalloyed racism that was beyond the pale even 90 years ago.

Don’t let the panicked reaction from GOP On High be a distraction. The “America First” caucus may have been scotched, but the idea was more evidence that the GOP defines “American” as anyone who looks and thinks like they do – and no one else. The language in their would-have-been “policy platform” (find the link yourself; it’s all over Twitter) is a toxic brew of dog-whistles, racist call-outs, and historical errors. I’ll address them one at a time.

America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions…

This may come as a surprise to the Scotch-Irish-Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War, to say nothing of their ancestors north of Hadrian’s Wall who formed their own Parliament in the 13th Century … or the Irish-Americans who bore the brunt of “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” That Paul Gosar (himself a Catholic) would somehow miss that is … well, he’s not the brightest bit of galactic dust, so there’s that.

Moving on, A1C strangely goes back to linguistic legerdemain to pretend they really mean “just white people welcome.”

An important distinction between post-1965 immigrants and previous waves of settlers is that previous cohorts were more educated, earned higher wages, and did not have an expansive welfare state to fall back on….

In their desperate and confusing attempt to hide their racism, A1C makes several errors. Education levels of immigrants have risen over the last 50-plus years, not fallen (Pew Research). The notion that wages in the 1910s were higher than today is utterly fanciful. As for the “welfare state,” numerous state and local governments had their own relief programs (as they called them) in the early 20th Century.

The racism even creeps into A1C’s infrastructure section.

The America First Caucus will work towards an infrastructure that reflects the architectural, engineering and (sic) aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture, whereby public infrastructure must be utilitarian as well as stunningly, classically beautiful, befitting a world power and source of freedom.

I’m not sure what’s worse: the complete rejection of any idea from outside White-land, or the bizarre notion that only Europeans can create “stunningly, classically beautiful” infrastructure. But hey, white people came up with Brutalism, so it has to be good, right?

The rest is the usual stuff one would expect from isolationists – trade is bad, aid is bad, etc. There is, however, a part of “National Security” that caught my attention.

Instead of endless interventions, bold diplomatic endeavors must be undertaken with countries such as Russia and North Korea to ensure a more peaceful and stable world.

This is breathtakingly naive. The idea that appeasing Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-il count as “bold diplomatic endeavors” only makes sense if you’re trying to defend Donald Trump – you know, the guy who’s campaign was feeding information to Russian intelligence. Then again, given the ties between the Kremlin and white supremac, (Just Security), this is par for the course.

I almost forgot the slap against “a hawkish neoconservative foreign policy.” As one of the last few self-described neoconservatives, it feels good to know I still upset these … people.

We don’t know what the national Republican leadership said privately – only that it was enough to put this back on the shelf. Publicly, there were slim pickings. Kevin McCarthy and Liz Cheney tweeted some platitudes about equal opportunity, but refused to criticize the A1C crew by name. Adam Kinzinger was the lone Republican who demanded consequences for these wackos (Washington Post).

It is painful and horrifying to see the party I supported for 25 years turn its back on democracy and equality for the racist vision of John Calhoun, but that has happened all the same. The party founded to thwart the Slave Power has become the Party of White Supremacy, at home and abroad. The only argument is about how loudly to broadcast what was formerly known as “the quite part.”

Delusional labels aside, that doesn’t put America anywhere near first.

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