The Republican Dance with Genocide
Maybe old Caucasian politicians should just stay off of Twitter. Maybe people should think or reflect before they Tweet. When you’re running for President, believe it or not, every retweet is, actually, an endorsement. When you’re a Caucasian member of the Board of Education in a school district whose population is overwhelmingly African-American, even a casual sensitivity to that fact would be expected – demanded.
People like Donald Trump and his mini-me, Carl Paladino, make mistakes like everyone else, and mistakes can be forgiven. But that forgiveness is not an entitlement, but something earned. You have to apologize. You have to be contrite. You have to own it, and take some adult responsibility. Maybe – if you’re up for it – recognize how insensitive it seemed, and show some remorse or regret. Don’t offer an “sorry you were offended” non-apology – say something like, “I am horrified by this error I made, and I apologize for making it.” But Trump and Paladino are cowards. They’re so wrapped up in their reputations for being un-PC, that they can’t just man up and admit they were wrong. After all, if they admit fallibility, they succumb to the “PC crowd” itself, and lose their followers’ perverse respect. Instead, blame the media. Blame the millennial running your Twitter for you. Blame liberals. Blame Hillary. Blame Obama, Kenya, and long-form birth certificates. Blame progressives. Being Donald or Carl means never having to say you’re sorry.
Donald Trump had already favorably retweeted several “alt-right” (which is the right wing’s politically correct term for neo-Nazi) Twitter accounts before his latest dalliance with anti-Semitism. It’s why so many accounts had (((echoes))) around them over the past few months. This isn’t just an accident – this is a deliberate appeal to a constituency that hates everything and everyone not white and male. It has its genesis in Trump’s ignorant, racist, and quixotic effort to prove that President Obama was born in Kenya. Trump went where few other mainstream Republicans would go; not satisfied simply accusing Obama of hating America and everything it stands for, Trump took the extra step of insisting that Obama wasn’t even one of us. He’s other. You can see it, can’t you?
The support Trump now enjoys from the neo-Nazi and neo-Confederate fringes – the people with totenkopf and “88” tattoos, and the guys running rusted coal rollers with massive Confederate treason flags – don’t much care about Hillary’s emails or Trump’s policies. However, they love Trump’s anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim animus, and his ignorant pronouncements and promises of walls and exclusion. Trump’s desire for this support is proven by his cultivation of it.
Late last week, Trump retweeted a neo-Nazi Twitter account that had a picture of Hillary Clinton superimposed on hundred dollar bills with a Star of David bearing words accusing her of being corrupt. Trump and his surrogates lurch between excuses: “It’s a sheriff’s badge!” “It’s in Microsoft Shapes!” to outright defense of the Tweet as recently as Wednesday night. Klansman David Duke loved the Tweet – especially the Star of David.
But context is everything and Trump never saw where the original image came from – a neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic account. That is all the explanation anyone needs. But through his long-winded defiance, Trump solidifies his overt dalliance with the White Nationalists. They are his, and he is theirs, and this week underscored that simple equation.
It’s true that Hillary Clinton has a big problem with trustworthiness, and this week’s mess of news about her private email server – the substance of which is for another time – has reconfirmed a lot of those suspicions for people on the right and left alike. But the Republican standard-bearer screwed it up. On the day the Republicans needed only to be sane, he was insane. On the day the Republicans needed to be concise and credible, he was neither. He blew it. Instead, the big headline was about Donald Trump praising a genocidal dictator for his skill at “killing terrorists”, perhaps ignoring if not forgetting the whole “gassing Kurds” and “invading Kuwait” thing.
(One thing strikes me when listening to Trump’s interminably long, self-indulgent, petulant speeches: he is doing a low-rent, unfunny, racist impression of Howard Stern. You hear it in his tone of voice, when he exaggerates his Queens accent, in his syntax and diction. He thinks he’s being comedy-angry, like when Howard yells at Scott the Engineer over a mic that’s not working, or an intern who brought the wrong lunch. But Trump has no sense of humor and never got the joke; whereas Stern would have on KKK guys ironically to laugh at their ignorance, Trump seems to think it was a compelling set of interviews. Stern is an entertainer with a biting wit, whereas Trump is just a listener who doesn’t get it.)
Locally, we have home-grown Trump surrogate and depraved notable Carl Paladino. Wednesday morning, he Tweeted the image shown above, “Lynch @LorettaLynch let a grand jury decide”. The tweet was taken down after 30 minutes, and replaced without the first Lynch, (and in such a way that only people who follow both Paladino and Lynch would be able to see it). Michael Wooten at WGRZ caught it and got Paladino’s account to tweet this:
I inadvertently called for the genocidal vigilante hanging of the sitting African-American Attorney General. “My bad.”
Paladino quickly blamed his employee, former Assembly staffer Jackie O’Bannon, for sending the first Tweet with the first “Lynch” inadvertently added. Funny for the almost-septuagenarian Tweeter to let the millennial take the fall, rather than just be a man and take the hit. While the ghoulish Paladino hasn’t Tweeted much, he’s had an account since 2009 – seven years.
If Carl Paladino was a normal human being, he’d perhaps be entitled to the benefit of the doubt. We might take at face value that this was just an innocent screw-up by a staffer who runs his Twitter, rather than an aborted call to hang Loretta Lynch from a tree with a rope around her neck. But Carl Paladino long ago forfeited that doubt, and doesn’t have the courage or character to show contrition for something he says was an inadvertent mistake. (You don’t just get to say, “I didn’t mean it.” You have to say, “I’m sorry”. At least, that’s what I teach my kids.)
This is a guy who, when he’s not sending his buddies blatantly racist garbage (in one case even being called out for it by one of them), is busy dancing around the fringes of racial animus, going as far as the public and media will permit. To date, that well of tolerance has proven to be deep and wide. This is a guy who sent around pictures of President Obama and his wife as a blaxploitation pimp and whore. Paladino sent a picture showing a plane seemingly landing on top of a group of running Africans with the caption, “run, niggers, run!” On what basis does this guy deserve the benefit of this doubt?
So, no, I don’t buy that this was an innocent mistake. Past being prologue, I think it was affirmatively typed out that way for a reason, and Paladino doesn’t deserve people buying his blame-shifting excuse. His cowardly flailing about, blaming the help and liberals, would be pathetic even for a middle-schooler. Paladino told CNN,
I intended to say to Lynch to send the FBI report to the grand jury to decide criminality which she is legally obligated to do,” Paladino said in an email. “I have never personally tweeted. We are novices. My assistant tried to send it directly to Loretta Lynch by adding ‘@Loretta Lynch.’ It was a well-intended mistake that the progressive press wants to take out of context.”
It wasn’t “well-intended”. It was objectively ill-intended. He’s been on Twitter for 7 years, so the time for rookie mistakes long ago came and went. Here’s what he emailed to ABC News:
To be clear, that’s a millionaire developer college graduate and elected member of a Board of Education who can’t spell “Loretta” or “underwear”.
The main reason we know the “Lynch @Loretta Lynch” tweet wasn’t a novice mistake or inadvertent is that Paladino won’t apologize for it. Like Trump, he is physically, psychologically, and intellectually incapable of admitting he did something wrong and saying, “sorry”. Trump isn’t sorry he – perhaps inadvertently – retweeted an anti-Semite’s anti-Semitic image, and Paladino isn’t sorry he – perhaps inadvertently – called for the genocidal vigilante murder of the Attorney General. (I don’t believe either one was inadvertent, nor does either man deserve that indulgence.) So, what that all means is that some people matter to Trump and Paladino, but others don’t. They’re ok with that, and their cult-like followers aren’t just ok with it, they’re proud of it. This is making “America great”. This is #AmericaFirst. Blame “liberal progressives”, and retreat to your safe space – right-wing talk radio.
Hillary Clinton is perceived as being dishonest, so the Republicans trot out men who are more full of shit than an overextended septic tank to run campaigns against her. Donald Trump and Carl Paladino are liars, too, but they’re more bombastic and unapologetic about it.
I don’t have a problem with Republicans attacking Hillary Clinton for her trustworthiness, honesty, or policies. That’s all fair game. But the appeal to Nazis and racists is shameful, and the local Republican committee has absolutely nothing to say about it, lending instead tacit approval. If you think America isn’t already great, and needs to be “great again”, behaving like a reasonable human being would be a good example to set.