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Chipping Away At Racism Feels To The GOP That We're Chipping Away At Their Base

Still hoping to stoke the flames of the divisive racism that helped install him in the White House in 2016, Trump issued this statement yesterday. No doubt it rings beautifully to people like this in Mississippi and to the whole "South Is Gonna Rise Again"/Lost Cause movement... and, in Trump's own words, to his hard core base, "the poorly educated."

The vile and putrid Señor Trumpanzee, America's curse:

"Just watched as a massive crane took down the magnificent and very famous statue of 'Robert E. Lee On His Horse' in Richmond, Virginia. It has long been recognized as a beautiful piece of bronze sculpture. To add insult to injury, those who support this 'taking' now plan to cut it into three pieces, and throw this work of art into storage prior to its complete desecration. Robert E. Lee is considered by many Generals to be the greatest strategist of them all. President Lincoln wanted him to command the North, in which case the war would have been over in one day. Robert E. Lee instead chose the other side because of his great love of Virginia, and except for Gettysburg, would have won the war. He should be remembered as perhaps the greatest unifying force after the war was over, ardent in his resolve to bring the North and South together through many means of reconciliation and imploring his soldiers to do their duty in becoming good citizens of this Country. Our culture is being destroyed and our history and heritage, both good and bad, are being extinguished by the Radical Left, and we can’t let that happen! If only we had Robert E. Lee to command our troops in Afghanistan, that disaster would have ended in a complete and total victory many years ago. What an embarrassment we are suffering because we don’t have the genius of a Robert E. Lee!"

No wonder Trump flunked out of Fordam and had to depend on his father's wealth to buy him into the Wharton Business college. Ty Seidule, author of Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause, wrote for NBCNews this morning that despite Señor T's "ridiculous protests to the contrary, Lee’s reputation today seems to mirror his statue: cut to pieces. In 1861, when Lee chose to resign from the U.S. Army, abrogating his officer’s oath and accepting a commission in the Virginia militia, many condemned his action. In fact, when Lee gathered his Unionist family to tell them of his decision, he reportedly acknowledged they would disagree with him. Other Virginians also questioned his decision. There were eight colonels in the U.S. Army from Virginia at the time the state seceded. All West Pointers, seven remained loyal. Lee and only Lee chose treason, chose to try to destroy the United States. And in doing so, he chose to fight for a new country dedicated to human enslavement. He certainly understood slavery, having spent more than two years from late 1857 to early 1860 running the plantation at Arlington, with its around 200 enslaved workers. Lee fought for slavery because he believed in slavery... [T]he reverence for Lee served a terrible purpose: to further a white supremacist society. It’s time for Virginia-- and the rest of America-- to move on."

And Virginia's conservative Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, has moved on. In his own statement today, he said that "After 133 years, the statue of Robert E. Lee has finally come down-- the last Confederate statue on Monument Avenue... The public monuments reflect the story we choose to tell about who we are as a people. It is time to display history as history."

Alan Grayson has always stood loud and clear against racism-- after all, he grew up in the Bronx and represented Orlando in Congress. Now he's running for the Florida Senate seat occupied by Marco Rubio. "One of the most powerful and surprisingly effective ways to fight racism is social disapproval," he told me this afternoon. "Most normal people do not want other people to think that they’re bad, so a well-timed and measured expression of disapproval actually works. We lost that under President Bigot, who moved to tell racists that they were good people, too. The Robert E. Lee statute in Richmond was, in effect, social approval of racism. I don’t think that removing it will change people overnight, but it’s a start. Change usually happens when people change their minds."

Marianne Williamson, writing at her new substack page, Transform With Marianne Williamson, explains why Reparations is an idea whose time has come. I suggest you read the whole thing. After congratulating the Commonwealth of Virginia for removing the statue she noted that her experience on the campaign trail taught her that "the average American is not racist, but that Americans are woefully uninformed and uneducated about race in America. In try to remedy that she told people how "As a Jew, I’m aware that Germany has paid $89 billion to Jewish organizations as reparations since WW2. While financial remuneration doesn’t mean the Holocaust never happened, and reparations can hardly heal all the wounds that the Holocaust created, such restitution has gone far toward furthering emotional and psychological healing between Germany and the Jews of Europe. By the mid Twentieth Century the idea of reparations was hardly considered a fringe idea; it’s a common way that one people, having wronged another, seeks to make amends for having done so. While WW2 was over in 1945 and Germany has at least tried through reparations to heal its relationship to Jews, our Civil War was over in 1865. Yet we’re still passing on the most toxic baton from generation to generation, not having made a fundamental effort at financial restitution that could help interrupt a pattern of terrible pain that has gone on far too long... Until some generation of Americans stands up and says, ‘We’re going to be the one to do this,’ the issue will continue like a splinter that grows more infected and increasingly painful until it is removed. I suggest we be the generation to do that."

In town after town, in churches and bookstores and auditoriums, I saw white people who might not have known what to think about the issue of reparations before-- who might even have been slightly hostile to it-- slowly and then quickly rise in standing ovation to the idea.
If we start to speak to the nobility and conscience in people, who knows what might be possible. If we give people the option to actually do the right thing, who knows what they might be willing to do. When we respect people’s capacity for an enlightened response, they’re more likely to respond in an enlightened way. No one can tell me reparations is a bad idea, or a politically impossible one. I think reparations is an idea whose time has come.
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