Wrestling bigotry on the brink

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It is time to fight for our values

Donald Trump is a dangerous cult leader whose grip on reality grows weaker by the day. Democrats must not bargain with the devil or his rabble. We must reaffirm our values and our commitment to Americans solving problems together.

So much madness and bile are being thrown around, it's like being trapped in Trump's madhouse. We cannot accept it as the new normal.

Trump's daughter-in-law Lara said she wants to hire election denier and QAnon conspiracy monger Scott Presler to do "legal ballot harvesting" for the RNC. Presler is openly gay. This does not exactly feel like progress over the 1980s, when a closeted Terry Dolan led the virulently anti-gay National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC).

The Trumps apparently don't care about Presler's orientation (even if some of their supporters do) as long as he serves their purposes. Call him a white gay version of Sen Tim Scott, who debases himself in his apparent eagerness to be Trump's running mate. Trump has our constitutional republic teetering over an abyss, facilitated mainly by Republicans too afraid to stand against him.

The MAGAs' descent into madness is hard to fathom. How could anyone seriously believe the QAnon claim that Democrats are Satan-worshiping, cannibalistic pedophiles? In fact, recent news stories about child molesters have involved youth pastors and conversion therapists. Steeped in denial, the radical right has become its own bogeyman.

Perhaps we should form a group called Lizard Brains Anonymous to help people resist their more primitive tendencies. Anyone denying humans' evolutionary background has a lot to explain in light of current events. "Oh my God, Black people expect to be treated equally? Burn the whole place down!" Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson exercised heroic restraint at her confirmation hearing, in which a parade of Republican senators competed to outdo one another in vileness towards her.

Vice President Harris being a heartbeat away from the presidency has many Republicans hyperventilating. Someone named Brendan tweeted, "Is this really the president you want after Joe Biden steps down? Kamala Harris doesn't even have the dementia excuse." He illustrated this with a clip of Harris gesturing while she was talking. Oh my God, she gestures with her arms! Alert NORAD!

Columnist Kathleen Parker wrote in The Washington Post, "For the country's sake, Vice President Harris should step aside." This is obnoxious and politically tone deaf. The vice president has an enviable résumé and has served well. Dumping her would betray black women, the most loyal Democratic constituency. It is not happening.

The Lady Macbeth treatment of Hillary Clinton in 2016 was bad enough. Adding blackness to the equation is driving bigots over the brink. Which raises the question: how many brinks are there for bigots to be driven over?

Florida's attorney general is threatening to sue Maine for proposing a shield law to protect out-of-state patients who travel there for abortions and gender-affirming care.

Really? Florida is starting to resemble a Doctor Who villain with a diabolical plan to take over the universe. Republicans go judge shopping, but women can't go clinic shopping? This obsession with controlling women should be added to the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

After Mike Pence announced he would not endorse Trump, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem tweeted, "Seriously??? What is Mike Pence thinking?????" How would she feel if Trump tried to get her lynched by an angry mob?

Our country is awash in disinformation. We must defend our values and remember who our allies are.

Late on March 16, New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker tweeted that Trump had said of migrants crossing the border, "I don't know if you call them 'people,' in some cases. They're not people, in my opinion." Trump later referred to them as "animals."

@Steve46850304 replied to Baker, "You are Defending Laken Riley's killer!!!!!!!!"

No. Every undocumented migrant did not kill Laken Riley.

This echoes horrific history. Kristallnacht, or the November pogrom, occurred in 1938 on the pretext that a Jew had assassinated a German diplomat in Paris. The Tulsa race massacre in 1921 was set off when a black man was accused of assaulting a white woman.

Trump also said, "If I don't get elected ... it's going to be a bloodbath for the country." His supporters quickly insisted that he could not possibly have meant his plainly spoken words—despite his having already incited an insurrection after losing an election.

Do not say, "It cannot happen here." It is happening, and we need to resist it.

Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist at [email protected].
Copyright © 2024 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.