Burgess Owens (R-UT) is one of the two House GOP token black members. And what better use for your token black person than to get him to be the front man for a racist piece of legislation? The wealthy former football player and Fox News contributor, Owens was once a liberal and has now morphed into an extreme right Trumpist crackpot. This week he was listed as the principle co-sponsor of H.R. 3235, a bill to prevent the federal government from supporting efforts to fight racism, sexism, and gender discrimination. His co-sponsors are-- basically-- a bunch of Klansmen like Mad Cawthorn (GA), Joe "You Lie" Wilson (SC), Mo Brooks (AL), Robert Good (VA), Ronny Jackson (TX), Rick Allen (GA), Austin Scott (GA), Jim Banks (IN), Lauren Boebert (CO), Brian Babin (TX), Pat Fallon (TX), Diana Harshberger (TN), Michael Cloud (TX), Mark Green (TN), Scott Franklin (FL), Ralph Norman (SC), Dan Bishop (NC), Glenn Grothman (WI), Guy Reschenthaler (PA), David Rouzer (NC), John Joyce (PA) and the other black Republican, Byron Donalds (FL).
The purpose is to reinstate a Trump executive order-- rescinded by Biden on his first day in office-- that prevented the government from funding programs that included material on combating racism and gender stereotypes in the workplace.
The American Independent reported that although there is exactly zero chance the bill can pass, it is meant to advance Republican Party electoral talking points that appeal to the racists in their base.
The bill introduced by Owens claims that advancing equity is based on "critical race theory," about which it says, "Critical Race Theory, according to Heritage Foundation visiting fellow Chris Rufo, is 'the idea that the United States is a fundamentally racist country ... ' ... Critical Race Theory is, at its core, un-American, discriminatory, and based on Marxist ideology."
It echoes Republican talking points about accurately discussing the role of systemic racism. Republicans have repeatedly attacked "critical race theory" as part of their campaign to undermine the fight against discrimination.
"I grew up attending segregated schools in the Jim Crow South during a time when people were treated differently based on the color of their skin. Critical Race Theory preserves this way of thinking and undermines civil rights, constitutionally guaranteed equal protection before the law, and U.S. institutions at large," Owens said in a statement accompanying the release of the legislation.
The congressman gave an "exclusive" look at his proposed bill to the conservative Daily Caller, co-founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has himself made many racist statements on his program. The Daily Caller has repeatedly hired white supremacists to contribute to the publication.
Invoking "critical race theory" has also become a staple of Fox News.
Burgess also introduced a resolution attacking "critical race theory" in education.
In addition to sponsoring the bill, several Republican House members released statements supporting it.
"We are the United States of America, but Critical Race Theory wants to make us the Divided States of America," Boebert wrote.
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI), who also co-sponsored the bill, claimed that critical race theory "is the vehicle du jour of people who want to destroy America."
The legislation is unlikely to get a full vote or pass while Democrats have a majority in the House.
In a separate legislative proposal, House Republicans on May 12 introduced legislation opposing anti-racist diversity training for federal civil and military employees, describing such training as "racist" and evidence of "critical race theory."
Echoing Trump, Republicans have attacked initiatives like the New York Times' "1619 Project," aimed at expanding the history of America's founding and growth to include the experiences and contributions of enslaved Americans.
Republicans who have attacked efforts to address discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, continue to support figures like Trump, who repeatedly publicly embraced and embraces bigoted ideas and rhetoric.
So while that clown show is going on in DC, we have another crackpot, Meshawn Maddock, co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party, suggesting on her Facebook page that Michigan should secede from the Union like the pro-slavery Confederacy did before the Civil War. Maddock, is a Trumpist fanatic who was elected co-chair of the party. Former chairman Jeff Zimmer noted that she is both very powerful within the state Republican Party and "nuts." Her husband a certifiably insane state Rep, Matt Maddock, tried overturning the Biden victory in Michigan, where Biden won 2,804,040 (50.5%) to 2,649,852 (47.8%), in part by flipping Kent and Saginaw counties from red to blue.
"Meshawn," another Michigan Republican-- but more a mainstream conservative who has since left the party-- told me, "is an inveterate yenta... I've known her for years; she makes things up and no one believes anything she says. She was an anti-mask lunatic before that became official GOP policy; it's a big part of why I left the party. She's addicted to that QAnon crap and spreads conspiracy theories every time she opens her mouth... Her husband is just as crazy as she is... [They] were both part of the mob that broke into the Capitol but they deny it now."
So that's what's going on in the GOP in lieu of addressing the real needs of their own constituents with solid policy programs. And in that context-- which is real and explosive-- Jonathan Chait suggested this week that prosecutors need to prepare the country for Trump's criminal trial-- or at least that part of the country.
Chait noted that "few people grasp the severity of Trump’s legal exposure. Trump fans 'know' he is a brilliant businessman based on the character he portrayed in a reality show, and Trump haters have heard about his financial difficulties. His likely criminal record has been discussed much less frequently, and often in fairly long, dense reported investigative stories... A criminal prosecution of a former president, especially one who is still functioning as his party’s leader, would be an unsettling and potentially traumatic development."
As president, Trump constantly threatened to lock up his political enemies, reflecting his belief that the legal system was merely a tool that he could use to punish them. (One reason he believes this is that he is, himself, a crook, who, like many criminals, assumes that everybody else is either a fellow criminal or a sucker.)
The worst thing prosecutors could do would be to spring charges on Trump before a public completely unprepared for the news.
The more surprised the public is to learn of charges against Trump (should they be filed), the easier it will be for Trump to depict them as political. Trump’s criminal defense will be the legal equivalent of his familiar political message: corroding confidence in public institutions and spreading his belief that corruption is the norm.
The biggest risk of charging Trump with crimes is that the news will come as a shock to Americans. They need to understand that he isn’t facing criminal accountability because he lost, but because it should have happened years ago.