The lib­eral ver­sion of ‘white geno­cide’ para­noia

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Ev­ery­one is re­spon­si­ble for Don­ald Trump be­ing pres­i­dent ex­cept the racists who voted for him, and ex­actly who de­serves the most blame depends on which lib­eral you ask. The lat­est rea­son we are stuck with the most in­com­pe­tent and de­ranged chief ex­ec­u­tive in US his­tory, ac­cord­ing to one of the most prom­i­nent voices in pro­gres­sivism, is you.

Even be­fore the elec­toral apoc­a­lypse of Nov. 8, 2016, and cer­tainly since, Hil­lary Clin­ton sup­port­ers ac­cused any­one who voted for a third-party can­di­date of abet­ting a Trump vic­tory. Aside from bad­ger­ing a voter into sup­port­ing a can­di­date they strongly dis­agree with on key is­sues, such a blan­ket con­dem­na­tion re­veals ig­no­rance about ba­sic el­e­ments of our vot­ing sys­tem, namely the Elec­toral Col­lege: a lib­eral Alabamian vot­ing for Jill Stein did zero dam­age to the Demo­cratic can­di­date in the Heart of Dixie or na­tion­ally.

To her credit, Clin­ton ac­cepts that ul­ti­mately she is re­spon­si­ble for lead­ing a failed cam­paign, but fret­ting over the mi­nus­cule wedge of vot­ers swayed by the FBI and Wik­iLeaks mit­i­gates how white supremacy re­vivals passed for cam­paign ral­lies, and Trump’s win­ning mes­sage was rid­ding the coun­try of Mex­i­cans, Mus­lims and any other mi­nor­ity who had for­got­ten their proper place in Amer­ica.

Given her po­lit­i­cal ge­net­ics, it’s un­der­stand­able that Clin­ton would avoid call­ing more than 62 mil­lion Amer­i­cans big­ots (or at least ac­tive in big­otry pre­vail­ing). But a ris­ing num­ber of folks who call them­selves pro­gres­sive, most re­cently Bill Ma­her, have laid blame for Trump’s vic­tory not at the feet of those who voted for him, but other pro­gres­sives.

“Ease up on the iden­tity pol­i­tics,” Ma­her ad­vised the Demo­cratic Party via an in­ter­view on CNN. “They pulled off quite a neat trick in 2016: they made white peo­ple, who are still the ma­jor­ity in this coun­try, feel like a mi­nor­ity – or at least enough of them to swing the elec­tion.”

Ma­her’s anal­y­sis turns into po­lit­i­cal strat­egy the adage that in to­day’s Amer­ica, it is worse to call some­one a racist than it is to be a racist. It also ig­nores what a con­ser­va­tive pan­elist on “As with his reck­less Is­lam­o­pho­bia, Ma­her of­fers in­tel­lec­tual sanc­tu­ary to big­ots try­ing to pu­rify their prej­u­dice, and helps ex­plain why so many white su­prem­a­cists awarded one of their own with the pres­i­dency.” Ma­her’s HBO show rec­og­nized as early as Au­gust 2015: Trump was trans­form­ing the GOP into “the party of white iden­tity pol­i­tics.”

Of course, white iden­tity pol­i­tics are noth­ing new, as ev­i­denced by the con­sis­tent cor­re­la­tion be­tween maps show­ing vot­ing pat­terns and ones de­mar­cat­ing Civil War bor­ders. Nor is this the first time Ma­her has peered down from his priv­i­lege to scold or mock black ac­tivists, trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als and oth­ers who care about their ex­is­tence as pas­sion­ately as Ma­her cares about cli­mate change.

Was the civil rights move­ment en­tirely a niche group ig­nor­ing the needs of the coun­try by fo­cus­ing on its own in­equal­ity? Which LGBT ad­vance­ment would stretch be­yond “iden­tity pol­i­tics” to qual­ify as an ap­pro­pri­ate, main­stream pro­gres­sive is­sue? Does it mat­ter that while the Democrats’ leader, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, was grant­ing LGBT sol­diers ac­cess to the mil­i­tary and pro­tect­ing trans­gen­der stu­dents, he was also res­cu­ing the US econ­omy, fight­ing ISIS, try­ing to save the en­vi­ron­ment and all sorts of other things that prove he didn’t have tun­nel vi­sion?

Ma­her’s state­ment is the lib­eral ver­sion of the “white geno­cide” para­noia on the right, where any sug­ges­tion that mi­nori­ties are dis­crim­i­nated against is con­sid­ered anti-white pro­pa­ganda. As with his reck­less Is­lam­o­pho­bia, Ma­her of­fers in­tel­lec­tual sanc­tu­ary to big­ots try­ing to pu­rify their prej­u­dice, and helps ex­plain why so many white su­prem­a­cists awarded one of their own with the pres­i­dency. Ryan Lee is an At­lanta writer.

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