Friday, January 21, 2022

The real Dr. King cannot be commodified, homogenized, and white-washed

The big voting rights bill has been blocked. Joan McCarter of Daily Kos reported a coalition of civil rights groups declared it wasn’t a defeat. It wasn’t a useless exercise. It shone a bright light on anti-American senators. McCarter wrote:
They added: “Democracy’s foes have not had the last word. As civil rights leaders and as patriotic Americans we will never stop fighting to preserve and defend the rights for which our predecessors bled and died.”
And Schumer said:
While tonight’s vote was disappointing, it will not deter Senate Democrats from continuing our fight against voter suppression, dark money, and partisan gerrymandering. With no support from Senate Republicans, many of whom deny the very existence of voter suppression, we faced an uphill battle. But because of this fight, and the fact that each Senator had to show where they stand, we are closer to achieving our goal of passing vital voter protection legislation. Now that every Senator has gone on record, the American people have seen who’s on the side of protecting voting rights and it will only strengthen our resolve as we work to ensure that our democracy does not backslide. The Democratic Caucus pledges to keep working until voting rights are protected for every American.
As for Sen. Sinema, who voted against ending the filibuster, Kerry Eleveld of Kos noted her favorability rating from the Kos/Civiqs polls. 27% of Arizonans in general have a favorable opinion of her. It’s also 27% of independents, 44% of Republicans, and only 8% of Democrats – though since she skipped out on the vote for the January 6th Commission last May her favorability by Democrats has been under 14%. Alas, the next time she’s up for reelection is 2024. Eleveld also reported several progressive organizations who have declared they will no longer support her. Cameron Joseph, senior political reporter at Vice News, tweeted:
I talked to more than a dozen volunteers and former staff who worked hard to elect @SenatorSinema in '18. Now? They feel "betrayed," "livid," "crushed." "People need to know she sucks," one former campaign staffer told me. Many were big fans of her in '18, but they feel like she's been intentionally sticking her finger in their eyes ever since, and some said the past week has been the "last straw" for them. And this isn't just progressive activists. These were her own supporters.
As for Sinema’s sidekick (or maybe she’s his sidekick) Sen. Manchin, McCarter reported he declared the big Build Back Better bill that he killed will have to start over from scratch. After Congress gets its financial house in order and pushed inflation down. And gotten COVID out of the way. Yeah, he’s the one who has been moving goalposts and reneging on agreements, so this isn’t a surprise. Maybe some of the individual pieces can get passed. Maybe he’ll block those too. Greg Dworkin, in his pundit roundup for Kos, had a couple interesting quotes. First from Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post discussing the vote on voting rights:
A funny thing about those votes: They put the best and the worst of the Senate on full display… Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday shredded the “never before changed the filibuster” argument. Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.) gave one of the most stirring speeches, making clear that while John Lewis gave blood on the Edmund Pettus bridge, this Senate couldn’t bring itself to “bridge” a procedural rule. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who bent over backward to accommodate Manchin’s concerns on voting reforms, blasted the gamesmanship: “I think by voting this down, by not allowing us even to debate this, to get to the conclusion of a vote, that is silencing the people of America, all in the name of an archaic Senate rule that isn’t even in the Constitution. That’s just wrong.” When Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) insisted it was unfair to equate voting restrictions to Jim Crow, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) let him have it. “Don’t lecture me about Jim Crow,” Booker declared angrily. “I know this is not 1965. And that’s what makes me so outraged. It is 2022, and they are blatantly removing more polling places from the counties where Blacks and Latinos are overrepresented.”
Dworkin also quoted Dan Froomkin of Presswatch:
A Quinnipiac poll out this week found that a significant majority of Americans – by a 58 to 37 margin – believe “the nation’s democracy is in danger of collapse.” Some of that is right-wingers who think the 2020 election was stolen, but it’s 56 to 37 percent among Democrats, too. Over half of Americans also consider it very likely (19 percent) or somewhat likely (34 percent) that there will be another attack in the United States like the one at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. And while people who follow me on Twitter are hardly a representative group, I was struck by how many people responded to this tweet by telling me that not only are they terrified, but that everybody they know is terrified, too. I don’t read about people who feel that way in the news, though.
Brendan Fischer of the Campaign Legal Center tweeted:
Not enough attention has been paid to how powerful dark money interests mobilized to pressure Manchin and Sinema to maintain the filibuster—and, in turn, to maintain the power of those wealthy special interests at the expense of voters. For example, last April, the dark money group Heritage Action described a $24M plan to “block federal legislation & tackle state based reform." A key part of that anti-voter effort was blocking filibuster reform: “It’s an all-hands-on-deck moment," said a top Heritage official. ... As part of that $24M campaign, Heritage Action organized a rally in WV urging Manchin to oppose filibuster reform. Heritage claimed to be “stand[ing] up for WV values,” but had to bus in activists from hundreds of miles away, across state lines. ... McConnell’s dark money group, One Nation, also spent millions on ads targeting Manchin on the filibuster The Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity mobilized against filibuster reform, too. AFP spent at least $500K on ads opposing filibuster changes in states like WV, organized astroturf rallies, and set up the website The US Chamber also fought against voting rights legislation and filibuster reform. As @andrewperezdc reported, the Chamber has sway with Manchin & Sinema, and the pair echoed Chamber talking points when describing their opposition to filibuster changes. Ultimately, the Freedom to Vote Act would have taken power from wealthy special interests and returned it to voters, and that was a huge threat to dark money interests like Heritage Action, the Kochs, and the US Chamber.
Yesterday marked the start of Biden’s second year. Rebekah Sager of Kos thought it was a fine time to list his first year accomplishments. That list would help us feel a little less glum about the defeat of the voting rights bill. Before getting to the actual list (which I’ll let you read) Sager wrote:
As former President Barack Obama before him, Biden entered office with a deep hole to climb out of. Former President Donald Trump left a trash fire of sick, conspiratorial Americans doubting their own election, as well as the science that could lead us out of the pandemic and climate change. He opened the door and invited in white supremacy, gave tax breaks to the ultra-rich, and broke an already broken country further apart. Let’s not even get started on the country trying to heal from an attempted coup on the U.S. Capitol.
Sager also wrote about the first year accomplishments of VP Harris. Again, I’ll let you read the list. Sager wrote:
Although her first year in office has been impressive, Harris has been scrutinized in a way that’s unlike so many of her predecessors in the role. Talk around D.C. has ranged from petty, with comments about her being “difficult” to work with, to Republicans and Democrats sparring about her being “too radical” and “not radical enough.” Her approval ratings equal President Joe Biden’s; a recent CBS News poll found that Americans have given her a 44%.
Eleveld reported that during Biden’s two hour press conference he said:
What are Republicans for? What are they for? Name me one thing they are for?
Moscow Mitch responded (“it” being the Senate):
That is a very good question and I'll let you know when we take it back.
Eleveld repeated the story of GOP Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire being asked to run for a seat in the Senate. When he heard the entire Republican goal was to keep Biden from accomplishing anything for two years he declined. Marcus Johnson tweeted an answer to Biden’s question, “Name me one thing they are for?” The answer: “Jim Crow.” Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote The 1619 Project about slaves arriving in America with the first settlers. She says every aspect of this country has been touched by slavery. Lauren Sue of Kos reported Hannah-Jones, a black journalist, was invited to speak at an event to honor Martin Luther King. Yet some people opposed her, calling her “unworthy of such association with King.” So she scrapped her original speech. The first half of what she did say was all excerpts from King’s speeches, though she replaced the N word with “black” so the audience wouldn’t catch on to what she was doing. Sue included many of those excerpts, then linked to Hanna-Jones’ Twitter thread that told the rest of the story:
Oh, the uncomfortable silence as I read Dr. King's words at a commemoration of Dr. King's life when people had no idea that these were his words. When I revealed that everything I said to that point was taken from his speeches between '56 and 67... Can you say SHOOK! Then I read all the names that white Americans called King: charlatan, demagogue, communist, traitor -- and brought out the polling showing more than three-quarters of Americans opposed King at his death while 94 percent approve of him now. I left them with this: People who oppose today what he stood for back then do not get to be the arbiters of his legacy. The real Dr. King cannot be commodified, homogenized, and white-washed and whatever side you stand on TODAY is the side you would have been back then. In fact, most white Americans in 1963 opposed the March on Washington where Dr. King gave the "I Have A Dream Speech" with that one line that people oppose to anti-racism like to trot out against those working for racial justice. ... This is why the 1619 Project exists. This is why the decades of scholarship that undergirds the 1619 Project exists. Because if we do nothing, they will co-opt our history and use it against us. Dr. King was a radical critic of racism, capitalism and militarism. He didn't die. He was assassinated. And many, including Reagan, fought the national holiday we're now commemorating. If you haven't read, in entirety, his speeches, you've been miseducated & I hope that you will.
News reports have said there is now a website to which one can go to order COVID tests and get them for free. That prompted Dr. Thrasher to tweet:
The Democrats seem as intent on making getting at-home Covid tests as complicated as Republicans want to make voting I can’t stress enuf that tens of millions of Americans can’t read. There is an unspoken consensus in news media and both major political parties that these ppl should be left for dead every time “Go to the website” or “Google it” are evoked to fight COVID If you can’t read enough to work, you can’t Google where to find a test and fill out a form for reimbursement. They should be freely available everywhere. Ppl who can’t read are no more deserving of contracting or dying of COVID than anyone else, but they’re ignored when pols say Let Them Google Cake. I think at-home tests should be mailed to everyone (create a culture of at home tests) AND available via schools, libraries etc. But if you must request them, why a website? Why not a phone #? It costs more to staff a call center, but... Covid affects older ppl a lot. And if you watch ads on TV that are targeting the elderly, they have phone numbers, not websites. Everything abt this pandemic ought to make getting help easier for the ppl most affected—& they might not read (English or at all) or use computers.
Ana Cabrera, of CNN, tweeted this morning:
The WH has opened a hotline for those who can't order their 4 free COVID tests online. The number to call is 800-232-0233
Doug Mack bought the fonts used by the Park Service, and with them created some signs for alternate national parks. A few of examples:
Welcome to Everything is Fine National Park. Quiet Sobbing Area Next 1,000 Miles Welcome to Twitter National Wildlife Preserve. Home of Bad Faithful Geyser. Welcome to Meh National Park. Welcome to Yes, We Have Bears National Forest. Stop Trying to Take a Selfie With Them OMG. Welcome to Stay on the Damn Path National Forest. You’re Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.

No comments:

Post a Comment