Swanson Foods-fortune heir and trustfund-baby Tucker Carlson, who says he spent his college years “mostly drunk,” is attacking Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley for saying that the military should understand the true history — including the racial history — of the country they’re willing to die to defend.
Milley, who holds a Masters Degree in International Relations (one of his two MAs) from Columbia University and has served his country for almost 40 years, is, Carlson said on his Fox “News” program, “not just a pig — he’s stupid.”
Milley is saying white people should understand America’s history of racism, and his boss, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, is Black. You can draw a straight line from those realities to conservative media’s newfound hatred for our military.
Rage, character assassination and racialized hatred have become the main brands of not only Fox “News” but also the GOP more generally. While white supremacy has been a primary part of the brand conservatives have held since the 1954 Brown v Board decision, now they’re coming right out and saying it’s at the top of their list.
And their outrage against Black history and government doing anything that may help working-class Americans (particularly if it may help Black Americans) is driving news cycles and causing hesitation in the Biden administration, which could produce a real crisis for America and is thus exactly what the GOP wants.
If Democrats don’t succeed in making America work for all of our citizens regardless of race by rebuilding our country with multiracial union labor, and soon, Republicans will take back control of the House and/or Senate in 2022 (particularly with the hundreds of millions rightwing billionaires have committed, thanks to Citizens United); a Republican victory like that next year could well mean the end of democracy in our republic for at least a generation and perhaps more.
So how do you fight white supremacist “conservatives” who are willing to use white supremacy, lies and threats of violence to reach their goals?
The good news is that Democrats don’t need to become liars and violence/hate-inciters like Republicans to win; all they need do is point out Republican’s racism and greed while ignoring their “offers to negotiate” while getting things done for all the American people.
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The more difficult news is that can best be done by killing the racist filibuster (it was put into place in the 1830s to block discussion of Abolition, and was used exclusively from 1865 to 1964 to block Civil Rights legislation). This is quite simply because the GOP has no interest in helping any Americans whose net worth is under a hundred million dollars, particularly if they’re people of color seeking to join the middle class.
There’s a recurring pattern to American politics that began with the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s, right after the Supreme Court legalized billionaires owning individual politicians with their Buckley and Bellotti decisions.
Prior to that, Democrats and Republicans often worked together to craft legislation that involved some compromise on both sides but moved, generally, in the direction of enhancing the general health and welfare of the American people.
This was how we got Medicare, Medicaid, long-term unemployment insurance, food stamps, housing support, job training programs, support for unionization, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Pell grants for college and dozens of other good policies out of Congress in the 1960s and 1970s.
But in 1976 the Supreme Court ruled that when an individual billionaire owned an individual politician that was no longer “political corruption” or “bribery” as it had been referred to since the founding of our republic.
Instead, the Supreme Court said in 1976 (and doubled-down-on with Citizens United in 2010), that the money billionaires were pouring down the throats of politicians wasn’t actually money: it was “free speech” and therefore protected by the First Amendment. Two years later in the 1978 Bellotti decision they extended that logic to corporate donations.
Thus, by 1980 the river of money from morbidly rich people and giant corporations into the Republican Party had turned into an all-out tsunami, floating Ronald Reagan into the White House.
About a third of American workers at that time were union members and the unions heavily supported the Democratic Party so the Democrats largely ignored this SCOTUS decision, choosing instead to be funded by working people through their union dues. But the GOP eagerly took everything the ultra-rich and big companies offered.
As a result, Democrats kept trying to legislate on behalf of all of the American people, but the Republicans went to war against anything that didn’t explicitly help the (mostly white) morbidly rich and the big businesses that made them that way.
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This began the pattern we’ve seen repeated over and over again since 1980:
- Republicans use billionaire money to achieve political power, then screw things up terribly while helping their rich friends steal huge piles of government money, both through corruption, no-bid contracts and massive tax cuts for the rich.
- The American people figure this out as the middle class collapses (bringing the entire economy down with it as in 1992, 2008 and 2020), and the voters reject the Republicans and toss them out of power.
- Democrats take over and start the slow and painful process of putting the country back together.
- In response, Republicans go to war against the Democrats, refusing to compromise and refusing to consider anything that helps the average American while deploying lies and disinformation/distraction “social issue” campaigns.
- Paralysis ensues and the American people become cynical about the Democratic Party‘s now-failed efforts and the Republicans, using dark money and billionaire help to whip up “culture war” issues (typically about gender or race), come back into power. Then the cycle begins all over again.
The most confusing part of this cycle is that the Democrats refuse to fight on the same terms as the GOP; generally speaking, they’re still trying to collaborate and compromise, working for what they think is best for the country. They want government to work for the people.
Republicans love racialized war and Wetiko
Back in the 1990s, when I was writing The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight, I interviewed the late Dr. Jack Forbes, the brilliant professor of Native American Studies at UC Davis. He explained to me the ancient Native American concept of Wetiko, a “mental illness” he said was brought to this continent by Europeans and defined by a willingness to fight all-out genocidal war.
The idea of all-out genocidal war was largely verboten to Native Americans at the time: few tribes were willing to utterly destroy their competitors and seize others’ land (except during famine) because, in part, that land had the ghosts and holy spaces of the other tribe on it.
Forbes explained to me that this left Native peoples with three terrible choices: run away; stand your ground and die; or fight back in the same way and using the same tactics as the invaders. This last choice was the most terrible because you essentially became your tormentors, losing your soul in the process.
Since the Reagan Revolution of 1981 political battles in America have taken on a similar dynamic, as the GOP has fully embraced Wetiko.
What Democrats have struggled with for 40 years now is that you can’t work for the people and fight an all-out war at the same time, especially when Republicans have structural advantages (Senate Democrats represent 41.2 million more people then do Republicans but power is 50–50) and Republicans are willing to let people die from lack of affordable access to healthcare or lack of government action against Covid.
So the Republicans fight their Wetiko wars and throughout the Clinton and Obama years won their wars easily because those Democratic administrations still thought they were negotiating and bargaining in good faith.
Which brought about that pattern: whenever Republicans got back in power, they looted the nation and screwed things up again while helping their billionaire buddies steal as much as they could, until the voters got fed up and kicked them out again. And the cycle starts all over again.
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By way of looting the country when they’re in power, Republicans massively lower their donors’ taxes, deregulate polluting industries, drill loopholes into the tax code, and further corrupt politics to the advantage of the billionaire and corporate class.
Deregulation and lowering income taxes are functionally the same thing in terms of their impact on America: they both pull out the underpinnings of democracy itself.
Democracy requires the collection of reasonable taxes, elected leaders with a social conscience, and support from a majority of all the people who know they can vote without intimidation and actually see those desires translated into legislation.
Republicans are at war against all of these things. Wetiko war is all they’ve been interested in doing since 1981.
They fight bloody political war after bloody political war, leaving behind the “social issue” of dead gay men in the 80s, dead drug addicts in the 90s, dead farmers and foreclosed homeowners who committed suicide in the early 2000s, and the young men and women who sacrificed their lives in unnecessary but very profitable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Not to mention a half-million Americans who died unnecessarily of Covid while Trump and friends were looting the nation during his administration. And throughout this period the GOP’s so-called culture wars and obstruction have hit people of color and gender minorities hardest.
Those Americans suffered and died for the Republican Party so the religious hustlers, racists and morbidly rich could keep picking Uncle Sam’s (our) pockets.
And those same companies and billionaires, through sham front groups like “No Labels” and “Problem Solvers,” are now reaching into the Democratic Party to bring onboard senators like Manchin and Sinema to collaborate with the Republican’s Wetiko madness.
At the same time, however, President Biden and Majority Leader Schumer have both carrots and sticks they can use to bring bought-off Democrats back into the mainstream of what voters want. Both LBJ and FDR have showed how it can be done.
The American people have overwhelmingly and repeatedly rejected Republican efforts to impoverish working Americans and keep down people of color while making billionaires and white trustfund babies like Carlson fabulously richer.
Polls and election experts like Rachel Bitecofer show that if Democrats point out the failures of Republicans’ 40-year disaster of Reaganomics and push through (without Republicans) legislation that expands healthcare, eliminates student debt, increases wages by making unionization easier and rebuilds America in a green 21st century way for all Americans they will win and win big in 2022.
Democrats don’t need to embrace lies and deception, Wetiko, to win. All they need do is actually get things done for all of the American people.
If they fail, the blood, sweat and toil of 240+ years to establish, preserve and improve a multiracial American democracy will be crushed by the white supremacist billionaires funding the GOP and history will record Biden and Schumer as the men whose failure to act brought it about.
Originally posted at The Hartmann Report
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