The past two days of Senate committee hearings about the Capitol riot have revealed that the GOP is openly excusing racists. From the unctuous Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) adopting the smug role of victim, Republicans are all but standing on their desk and yelling, but what about the black guy. Nearly every government department in charge of U.S. security from FBI Director Chris Wray to the Department of Homeland Security has warned that right-wing extremism is stomping on democracy. The absolute absurdity of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) reading from a right-wing blog, efforting to blame an amorphous group of Trump-fan-impersonators as being responsible for the riot, shows the depths of denial the GOP will sink.
I am old enough to remember when heads of government were about finding real answers and real solutions; The Warren Commission, as flawed as some conspiracists believed it to be is one example. The 9/11 Commission is lauded as the gold standard of investigations but a deeper look revealed the beginning fissures between patriotism and partisan jingoism. The schism between investigation and partisan finger-pointing came to a head with the seemingly endless Benghazi hearings. Senators are now dancing around the obvious question to ask; would this have been a blood bath had the rioters been black?
The head of the DC National Guard, General William Walker, lamented the difference in how the protesters were handled this summer, so the President could abuse a Bible, and how the insurrectionists were coddled during an act of sedition. General Walker testified to “unusual restrictions” placed on his response as opposed to “immediate approval” granted him to quell this past summer’s Black Lives Matter protest in D.C., according to a Forbes account of his testimony. The obvious follow-up question is why, and the obvious answer is race. Meanwhile, Republican senators feign ignorance about racial disparities, blame anti-fascists, as well as cancel culture. The GOP seems more concerned about optics than protecting democracy and the public. Astoundingly, General Walker conceded he was told that armed uniformed guardsmen might “incite” the insurrectionists. “The army senior leaders did not think it looked good, it would not be a good optic,” Walker testified. No matter how anxious they are to please the golden idol worshippers of Donald Trump, Republican senators have a responsibility to the truth. As incongruent as it may be to mention the truth and Mr. Trump in the same sentence, at some point sanity has to reign.
It took the visual atrocity of a black man having his life literally pressed from his body, for white America to say. Oh, look! One would think the next time video of injustice was presented before the public an immediate outcry would cross all party lines. What the GOP learned from the George Floyd incident was to deny, deny, deny—right away. Strategies were not thought up fast enough to blame the victim [George Floyd] as with Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown. The brutality cat escaped the bag too quickly. Instead of being chastened by a public lynching, Republicans have decided to strike at the heart of black empowerment in America, the right to vote. To pretend that the recent glut of anti-voter rights legislation aimed at black and Democratic voters and the objections to the voter legitimacy of predominantly black districts, who turned out in record numbers in the last election, is coincidental flies in the face of an obvious truth.
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