Republicans are falling over each other trying to show who is more racist, more misogynist, more embracing of malignant political violence and authoritarianism.
Former President Trump even published his “to-do” list if he manages to retake the White House, which involves designating himself the “Unitary Executive” (the Federalist Society theory that Supreme Court Justices Alioto, Roberts, Gorsuch, Thomas, Barrett and Kavanaugh embrace when a Republican is in office).
Ron DeSantis seeks to make the leap from Florida governor to president with promises of ripping out “wokeness” from the root, making illegal Diversity, Equity, Inclusive policies that have helped turn the ideals of this nation into the values we live everyday.
And now, the radical reactionary White Christo Fascist “Republicans,” who condemned “cancel culture,” “censorship” (First Amendment), and “indoctrination” are going whole hog to whitewash the teaching or reading of American history with literal hogwash. And they are aided and abetted by a White Christo Fascist Supreme Court super majority that has an Orwellian concept of “color blind Constitution” and “equal protection.”
If ever there was proof of systemic racism, misogyny, bias and bigotry in 21st century America, it is Florida’s new mandated education curriculum that teaches slavery had its benefits. The state’s laws threaten teachers with losing their license if they dare answer a student’s question regarding gender identity or slavery, not to mention localities which are firing librarians and cutting off funding for public libraries if they dare display books that might cultivate empathy and understanding of someone else’s life experience.
It echoes in the Oklahoma court’s dismissal of reparations for the three remaining survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that torched the entire black neighborhood and left 300 dead – spurred by a young black man’s alleged “flirtation” with a white woman (debunked). That was followed by the present school superintendent outrageously declaring that “the color of their skin” was not the basis for the massacre by white supremacists. And now Florida inserting into its mandated curriculum that both sides committed violence. (Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) called white supremacists “plain ordinary Americans”, while GOP Sen. Wendy Rogers of Arizona called white nationalists “patriots.”
Why is it that young people are so accepting of diversity – of race, ethnicity, gender? It’s because for 40 years, we have seen the cultural shift in media, schools and in our daily lives.
And that’s the trouble for rightwing extremists desperate to be able to continue to discriminate, perpetuate systemic racism that keeps vast segments of the population powerless, and go back to the halcyon days (Make America Great Again). Imagine Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) asserting that universal healthcare would be akin to slavery (https://www.politico.com/story/2011/05/paul-right-to-health-care-is-slavery-054769), but forcing a woman to carry a nonviable fetus or give birth to her rapist’s child is not.
The mechanism for women moving more into positions of authority in the workplace and in government has been their freedom to make decisions in their lives — a train that this radically reactionary Supreme Court succeeded in derailing.
The mechanisms for racial and ethnic “minorities” to break cycles of poverty have been affirmative action at higher education, corporate diversity recruitment programs and government-mandated Women and Minority Owned Business incentives.
These have been successful, which is the “justification” and the reason why Justice John Roberts and his White Christo Fascist supermajority have overturned affirmative action in college admissions, and why they are positioning themselves to next overturn affirmative action by employers. This is laughable under the aegis of “equal protection” when their purpose was to create a more level playing field on a vastly unequal battlefield and color blind Constitution.
But the fact that the equal protection policy and similar ones were intended to redress society was anything but color blind – not in housing, hiring, paying, schooling, voting or prosecuting – and despite some slow progress remains so was completely dismissed. It recalls the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s remark that eviscerating the Voting Rights Act “was like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm.”
Who wants to bet that if it comes to the Supreme Court, the Scotus6 who argued that affirmative action violated “equal protection” will dismiss any suit challenging legacy and big donor admissions, saying a private entity can admit whoever they want, using whatever criteria they want (but not race).
In fact, 13 Republican attorneys general have already sent notices to Fortune 100 company leaders warning them against using race as a factor in hiring and promotion, based on the Scotus ruling ending affirmative action in college admissions. (https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/4096749-gop-attorneys-general-urge-corporations-against-using-affirmative-action-to-hire-promote/)
Scotus has bestowed their blessing to discriminate on race, gender and on religion, telling a website designer even before she started up her business that she was free to deny service to a same-sex couple. Now imagine a landlord or employer refusing to rent to a mixed race or same sex couple. Or imagine an unwed mother being refused a job or apartment or even healthcare because of a “religious conviction” she is an evil Jezebel.
And imagine a doctor, nurse or EMT refusing to give life-saving care because they have religious objection to their lifestyle. You don’t have to imagine because that is already the law in Arkansas (signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, now campaigning to be president), giving doctors permission to refuse to treat someone because of their religious or moral objections.
Not to be undone, Gov. DeSantis, who also wants the power to inflict his bigotry on the rest of the country, in May signed SB 1580, a “License to Discriminate in Healthcare” bill. It allows healthcare providers and insurers to deny a patient care on the basis of religious, moral, or ethical beliefs, healthcare employers to discriminate in hiring while barring medical boards from disciplining doctors for spreading misinformation. (https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/breaking-gov-desantis-signs-extreme-license-to-discriminate-healthcare-bill)
You would think such laws would be adjudicated as unconstitutional in America. But think again.
Indeed, that is the essence of making it illegal – threatening prison and loss of license – regardless of their own religious or moral objection, but the government in power has the force of law and the ability to abuse it. They are using legalized intimidation to make sure these vastly unpopular policies become normalized.
The radical MAGA Republicans define respect and empathy for diversity, equity and inclusion as “wokeness” and are campaigning (crusading) to send “wokeness” to the ash heap of history. What they are really saying is they want to reverse the brief episodes of humanism in our national governance when we actually moved closer to realizing the ideals of our founding fathers.