In the aftermath of the race-based, hate-fueled El Paso shootings, the debate has focused heavily on gun control yet again. Though that is overdue and demands powerful honesty in associating with the reality of deadly violence in America, on this occasion, the concentration of voices and promised energies are not in the foremost place.
One political aspirant had the courage to pierce the dark heart of the surging violence, and through that, offers a lesson for Guyana. That is, for Guyanese politicians and the Guyanese peoples, if only there is the willingness to listen and learn; and last commit to heartfelt application to re-cultivate the soil sowed with the poisons of similar hate, as flared in El Paso many Saturdays ago.
An online article from Yahoo News dated August 4 revealed that, “Buttigieg links El Paso terror to white nationalism ‘condoned by the highest levels of our government.’” The Democratic presidential hopeful noted that when former Klansman, David Duke, embraced racist rhetoric twenty years ago, the Republican leadership “couldn’t run away fast enough.”
On the other hand, Mr. Buttigieg then zeroed in the race mongering and the not-so-nuanced white nationalism present in the White House of today. He articulated, “Right now you see it being echoed by the White House.”He went further to state that “there is case after case of racial rhetoric coming out of the White House.”
Whereas in the David Duke era, there was hurried distancing by the Republic party from the destructive language of the day, today in the White House itself, even more hurtful and anxiety-inducing rhetoric is originated, hurled, and embraced inside and outside of its walls. It electrifies. It incites and motivates. And yet few political leaders have had the courage to condemn, as before.
Nowadays, the Republic party observes the growing rolls of newly enfranchised black voters, the increasingly meaningful presence of the Black Congressional Caucus, and the looming threat of Hispanic (and combined minority) demographics, and there has been an abandonment of what is fair and principled and progressive.
It felt threatened by David Duke’s rhetorical assaults; yet it gave a pass to George Bush’s game changing descent into the Willie Horton affair.
Then and now, who is reading whose lips? Who, but the faithful who read and hear the specter of sinister shadows and intents in every non-white silhouette? For ‘white nationalism’ is simply a euphemism for the old antebellum and post Reconstruction Deep South now finding full flower in a galvanizing White House presence.
The whip and lash of Twitter is the resurrection of ancient slavery mentalities, which come to fruition in the rage of an El Paso. It is cultivated through much-needed, but much-mishandled (knowingly) immigration debates by playing to the worst impulses of a receptive base that desires maids and cherry pickers and chauffeurs and security guards to hold open doors, but also to know place and stay in the ghetto.
Here in this homeland, politicians also bear responsibility for the raw, un-healing, now incurable passions that surge even stronger today. From the Son Chapman to Wismar to Lusignan to hundreds of dead young men of a specific racial heritage, and every explosion in between that shredded psyche and community and nation, one thing is unyieldingly, unequivocally certain: these were not criminal exploits, but politically authored, politically powered, and politically managed ones down through the decades.
Additionally, political linkages with a purely racial (if not racist) component have been maintained at still more overheated degrees today. There are no innocents. For when ‘white nationalism’ is looked at, the local comparison is now clever, careful rhetoric is about political democracy, which really is about racial supremacy and racial triumphalism, if not racial monopoly.
At the core, this is what is being peddled and fought over under constitutional cover and democratic ideals.
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