A-White Christian Nationalist by Any Other Name Smells as KKK

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Democrats court trouble when they use metaphors and comparative thinking. Remember when former President Barack Obama used an old idiom. “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” in a June 2008 fundraiser during his run for his first term as President. Republicans like his opponent John McCain’s spokesperson Tucker Barns and the Republican National Committee’s Alex Conant all but accused Mr. Obama of plotting literal murder. “Why is Barack Obama so negative? In the last 24 hours, he’s completely abandoned his campaign’s call for ‘new politics,’ equating the election to a ‘brawl’ and promising to ‘bring a gun,’” said Conant. That tactic was just one of the many racial and religious prejudices used to smear Obama. Who can forget the infamous fist bump with his wife on stage, later characterized as a possible “terrorist fist jab.”

The terrorist and Manchurian candidate taunt continued until John McCain dented the furor with his now famed admonishment to a supporter saying she could not vote for who she believed to be a Muslim. Mr. McCain was willing to adopt the negativism that many Republican attached to merely being a  Muslim but curiously would not aim it at Mr. Obama. The guns, the fist jab, and later the accusation of a ‘Kenyan anti-colonial’ worldview by Newt Gingrich were all racial attacks. Republicans were willing to peek from beneath the hood but not entirely remove it. They picked at the scab carefully to ensure it did not infect the party, but with the embrace of White Christian Nationalism (WCN), the—new KKK has put on a crisply pressed suit or high heels.

Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) spun leaders like MLK Jr., John Lewis, and C.T. Vivian in their graves when he talked about the “they” responsible for criminality. Tuberville will probably stand in the doorway of the University of Alabama for a photo-op next. The people the GOP is covering with their shrinking umbrella will eventually demand harsher language. Ultimately, Tuberville will be considered too moderate in his speech, and David Duke’s speeches will be sampled. Trump feigned his lack of knowledge about Duke because he calculated he may have needed him later. The same way he first pleaded ignorance of  the Proud Boys but told them  to “stand back and stand by.” WCN, like a virus, can only survive if it has a host. White Christian Nationalism ideology has existed since the late 1600s, and when it left the Democrats behind in the nineteen sixties—over allowing blacks to vote, the GOP jumped in with both feet. Samuel L Perry and Philip Gorski explain the confusion for people who confuse their skewed patriotism with WCN. Gorski writes, “A common misunderstanding would be that it is the same thing as being a patriotic Christian,” said Philip Gorski, chair of the Department of Sociology at Yale. “Patriotism is an adherence to the ideals of the United States, and nationalism is loyalty to your tribe and not the country.”

Like a duck that appears calm above the surface, Republicans are paddling furiously to outdistance their racist instincts to achieve victory.

 

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  • October 12, 2022