The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce

Well, Il Douche went full Nazi yesterday. At a rally, he proposed banning all Muslims from entering the US. The crowd, of course, went wild.

Various GOP grandees clutched their pearls and averred that this was unconstitutional, un-American, and bad politics. Even Dick "Darth Vader" Cheney snapped back at Il Douche. (Of course, he was probably mostly concerned with his rich Saudi friends not being able to visit him at his secure, undisclosed location.)

Forgive me if I take their protestations with an ounce of salt.

The GOP, for 50 years, has covertly stoked racism among the white working class, the people who feel disenfranchised since the social justice movements of the 1960s and who form the bedrock of the Republican voting base. As a wise Republican once said, you can no longer say "nigger", but you can say "welfare queen", or "forced busing". The code is understood.

What Il Douche has done is say "Screw the code words" and come out full bore on the racist angle. If you thought it would stop with his anti-Latino diatribes, you were sorely mistaken. (They came for the Latinos, and I did nothing, for I was not from Mexico.)

No, he doesn't say "nigger" or "wetback" or "raghead". He doesn't have to. His rhetoric is suffused with the meaning those epithets convey. One doesn't have to say the offending word when one's speech is an avalanche of racist tropes. He even got digs in at Jews in his speech at the Republican Jewish conference, and they gave him a standing ovation.

Sure, Il Douche is pulling 30% of 30% of the population. But you don't have to start out with a majority to steamroll your way to success in politics. And what he has done is give the base what it's craved: Someone who will "tell it like it is". Forget that this (hopefully) makes him toxic in a general election, where many of "those" people will turn out to vote as if their lives depend on it. Il Douche is performance art for the disaffected, for white people who were promised eternal dominance and now see that blowing away like a tattered Confederate battle flag.

And Il Douche is the direct birth of a long gestation of the politics of white racial resentment which the GOP has gloried in and used to achieve political dominance since the 1980s. The party of Willie Horton can't honestly say it's shocked at this dark turn of events. (Of course, honesty went out of the GOP with Honest Abe's martyrdom.)

Of course, there is a weapon to combat Il Douche and his ilk. That is to vote. To vote in such massive numbers that the rebuke of this kind of politics will last a generation or more. It is the greatest power a citizen has in a democracy, more than protest, certainly more than amassing an arsenal of military grade weapons. It is the power which we've exercised at several crisis points in our history, when it seemed as if the darkness would wash over us. It is the only power which saves us from chaos.

I don't want to hear the excuses that "she's not perfect" or "he can't win". And I'm not even speaking solely of presidential politics. I'm speaking of state elections, of local elections. I'm speaking of a wave of voting to cleanse away the barnacles which have accumulated on our body politic. You're aghast at Il Douche? Great. Then vote. And not just for Hillary or Bernie, but for Senate, for the House, for every local office. Realize that you have the power, not the Kochs. A million man march on the Mall won't stop Il Douche from becoming President. Millions of small marches to your polling station will.

Despite this piece's title, this really isn't a farce. It's deadly serious. The unresolved issues of the Civil War are finally ripening. We're again facing a crisis to preserve the values of our nation. If one can't be bothered to perform her civic duty, the fault will be on her head.

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Stop making us be racists!

Open thread - Nuts with guns