Wednesday, August 16, 2017

On Bonzo and Nazis

Again, I say we're having an Eighties flashback.

Remember when President Ronald Reagan sought racist votes, got enthusiastically endorsed by the Klan, and weaselly defended Apartheid in South Africa? 

Indeed, speaking of weaselly defenses, cuddly Ronnie defended his infamous Bitburg Cemetery visit by saying that the Nazi SS officers buried there “were victims, just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps."  Trump’s recent false equivalency falls in the exact same category. 

I'm not saying Trump isn't worse, just that there is a Reagan administration precedent. It's the same Southern Strategy with less finesse. Apparently, Lee Atwater was more adroit than Stephen Bannon. He was definitely more subtle.* In hindsight, I'm kind of surprised that "The Donald" did not launch his presidential bid in Philadelphia, Mississippi, as "The Gipper" did.

I am not trying to muffle outrage or disgust, but this shit goes back to the 1964 Goldwater campaign. It's GOP SOP. Let's not pretend those Willie Horton ads that elected George Bush Sr. never aired.

Trump's just a symptom - not the cause - of a longstanding problem. Dumping him won't end it. It will help some, of course; but it will not be a silver bullet.

A lot of history has to be acknowledged and confronted.


* EDIT: And speaking of Steve Bannon (now out), how different is Donald Trump hiring him from Ronald Reagan having fascist enthusiast Pat Buchanan as his White House Communications Director?

I'm certainly not the first to compare Donald and Ronald. The similarities are legion - so much so that you can find several on the topic of racism alone. But that's largely because conservatism is prone to it and thus there is a history of the right capitalizing on it.

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