It’s getting real. Real like a steel-toed jackboot to the groin.
There is no one more cynical than I about republicans and their white nationalist agenda. Still, until just a few weeks ago, I could not have conceived of Brown v. Board of Education being in jeopardy. But I’ve read the Dobbs opinion. And I waded into a Wall Street Journal forum about Roe v. Wade a few weeks ago. Brown v. Board is in trouble. It may already be too late to save it. It’s the next Big Target.
Even at the WSJ, the ignorance and ahistoricism of these people are stunning. Since they don’t know the difference between Earl Warren and Warren Burger, a discussion about Roe v. Wade rapidly descended into an all-out MAGA assault on the Warren Court. I asked specifically which decisions they would characterize as evidencing a politically-motivated leftward drift in the Warren Court. I asked about Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia, and Baker v. Carr. I really expected the MAGA types would focus their fire on Baker v. Carr and stay away from Brown v. Board. Boy, was I wrong. There was universal, overt, and full-throated hostility to Brown v. Board. The following is a representative response:
“What was the result of Brown v. Board? Busing and white flight. At tremendous and continuing expense. Public schools are now generally garbage, graduating mostly black kids that can barely read and cannot multiply simple numbers. It costs a lot less to attend a parochial school (per child) than the monies expended PER Child on now-garbage public schools where teachers are routinely assaulted by “students”.
Now I learn this morning that Sen. Cornyn replied
to an anodyne tweet by Obama with the following: “Now do Plessy v. Ferguson / Brown v. Board of Education.”
Shock, Incredulity. Surely a prank. A U.S. Senator openly advocating for the recrudescence of Jim Crow?
But it was Cornyn’s tweet, alright. Misspoke? Out of context? I don’t give a fuck. His reply – in any sense, in any context, from any perspective – was a reply to the first black President of this nation. Had Cornyn called Obama the N-word his comment could not have been more offensive. Nor more unambiguous and candid. Had someone told me even as recently as a week ago that a U.S. Senator could say such a thing I would have thought them mad. But Cornyn’s racist remark is barely making a ripple in the national press. Unbelievable. It’s disorienting.
They’re out in the open now. They’re unafraid and unashamed. I recently had occasion to do business with one of these people. My sister told this guy nine years ago that she and I are jewish (she’d done the ancestry/DNA thing, and concluded that my mother’s maternal grandmother was likely jewish). This guy has always been a dick, but he was getting strangely worked-up about a mundane negotiation. He sent a message about how my “onerous” terms would be hard on his staff:
“I have put a lot of work into this store and don’t want my staff to loose [sic] their jobs. Some are single parents raising children. The good news is, they are raising “America First” children who will help to lead this country back on track.”
“America First”? John Cornyn would have been proud. This guy thinks I’m jewish. He’s aggrieved because he believes I was difficult in negotiations. And so suddenly, and apropos of nothing, he brings up “America First.” The phrase has a benighted pedigree. Coined by the Klan, appropriated by Coughlin and the anti-semites, it has a very specific meaning. And it’s disgusting. But this guy felt no compunction whatsoever about puking it forth to a Jew.
My immediate reaction was visceral. Of course I was overcome with revulsion, but it went beyond that. I was shaken in a way I don’t ever recall. And I quickly realized that in my entire lifetime I have never been the target of a bigoted attack. Or even a rude comment about my religion or heritage. Now, at the age of 64, I have my first personal and close encounter with bigotry, courtesy of a MAGAt who mistook me for a Jew.
It’s the gratuitous, onanistic cruelty of these people that freaks me. Orwell’s lurid vision of the future, a horror to you and me, makes them cum in their pants:
It’s 1933 on the political calendar. They’re here. They’re loud and they’re proud.
If you’re still waiting for a Reichstag Fire moment, you haven’t been paying attention.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.