Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore is a racist. He doesn’t try to hide it though I’m sure he would deny it. He shared blatantly racist memes on a Facebook page that he and his supporters would probably claim are just legitimate opinions. They’re not. They’re meant to denigrate African-Americans by painting all black citizens with a broad brush. And Roy Moore agrees with them.
Hillary Clinton may have committed a gaffe when she said the Trump campaign included a “basket full of deplorables,” but the Republican Party, especially in the South, has long harbored out-and-out racists while denying that they are a party of bigotry. Roy Moore is taking them out of the closet. It was fine while he was the nutty Alabama Supreme Court Justice who wouldn’t obey the constitution, but now he’s the Republican nominee for US Senate and the national GOP, like they did with Trump, will grudgingly embrace him.
So forgive African-Americans if they’re skeptical of GOP gerrymandering in North Carolina that reduces their influence in government. If they feel targeted by changes in voter laws that limit access to the ballot, maybe that’s because for almost a hundred years we had laws on the books that prevented them from voting at all. Instead taking steps to restore their confidence in the GOP, Republicans in Congress refuse to reinstate the Voting Rights Act. Surprisingly, nominating racists to the US Senate does little to assuage their fears.
I don’t believe that all Republicans are racists, but I do believe any of them not speaking out against Roy Moore, and the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio for that matter, are accommodating bigotry. They’ve made a deal with the devil: They’re willing to support blatant racists in exchange for tax cuts and unfettered power. If they have to turn a blind eye to policies and legislation that discriminates against minorities, well, that’s the price of politics in 2017.
Race has always been a factor in politics, particularly in the South. For the past 50 years, though, it was covered in euphemisms and certainly denied in polite company. Trump has uncovered it and too many in the GOP are staying silent. In doing so, they’re surrendering their party to the forces that opposed integration and supported Jim Crow. It may be politics but it’s also morally bankrupt.
Fifty years ago, the Civil Rights Movement managed to muffle the racists, in part, by making them socially unacceptable. The tacit approval of racism by the leadership of the Republican Party mainstreams bigotry again. We need to shame them once more and drive the bigots back into their closets. If we can’t wipe out racism, we should at least embarrass those who accommodate it.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >