Aid and comfort

Published February 3, 2022

By Thomas Mills

Last week more clearly defined the direction in which the Republican Party is moving. Even relatively moderate conservatives blasted Joe Biden for pledging to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court. They also went out of their way to defend the book-banning taking place to ensure history is safe for White children. The establishment wing of the GOP is giving aid and comfort the White nationalists who make up a growing part of their base. 

Biden announced during his campaign that if a vacancy came up on the Supreme Court, he would appoint an African American woman, bringing a perspective to the court that has been missing for the entire history of our country. Conservatives have been battering him, calling the appointment affirmative action and insinuating that he’s discriminating against White people. Those same conservatives never raised a peep when Trump pledged to appoint people who would overturn Roe v. Wade or when Reagan promised to appoint a woman and then made Sandra Day O’Connor the nation’s first female Justice.

Those conservatives have also been defending banning books or at least staying silent about it. The book banning has been fueled by their obsession with Critical Race Theory. It’s driven by a fear that White children will identify with the villains of books about race instead of the protagonists. That’s telling about conservatives. Children should be identifying with characters based on their values, motives, and actions. If they are identifying based on their skin color, then maybe their parents have not been very good role models.

 The people who want us to believe that we are a race neutral country only want us to learn about the country from the perspective of people who have never experienced state-sponsored racism. They clearly don’t believe that the perspective of an African American woman brings value to the Supreme Court. And they don’t believe children should read books that might offer them a different perspective on history. 

While conservatives support banning CRT, they’re silent about the growing radical right-wing influence in their party. Yesterday, Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DiSantis, refused to condemn Nazis parading in Orlando. Instead, his press secretary suggested the rally was a false flag operation and the Nazis, who had banners supporting Trump, might be imposters. Still, condemning Nazis should be easy and clearly it wasn’t. 

 In their rush to condemn Biden for choosing a woman for the Supreme Court and banning books they deem offensive, Republicans are tacitly offering approval to people who oppose the freedom they claim to love. They are also empowering extremists on their right flank who know they won’t get criticized by the more establishment wing of the party. The party continues its slide to the far right.