Smart people saying smart things (5.19.22)

Smart people saying smart things (5.19.22) May 19, 2022

Michael Harriot, “Buffalo was ordinary”

In a sense, the “great replacement theory” is just a new name for the white majority’s longstanding fear that their power and authority will eventually be usurped by a non-white majority. The “great replacement theory” alluded to by Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson and the mass-murdering terrorist in Buffalo has sparked domestic extremist violence from church bombers in Birmingham, Ala., to insurrectionists in the Capitol rotunda. In his 1963 inauguration speech, Alabama Governor George Wallace defended his segregationist beliefs by citing the plot to “persecute the international white minority to the whim of the international colored majority.” Dylann Roof lamented about “people pretending like they have something to be proud of while white people are being murdered daily in the streets.” The day after the Mechanics’ Institute Massacre, the front page of the New Orleans Times-Picayune said: “If there was any question as to who constitutes the dominant population of Louisiana, we think it is now settled.”

David Neiwert, “Buffalo shooter’s manifesto reveals how he was a product of Republicans’ ‘replacement theory’”

Carlson, of course, is only the most prominent of the many Republican ideologues who have been promoting Replacement Theory and radicalizing their audiences and constituents. Rep. Elise Stefanik … has also been beating the same drum. Nearly half of all Republicans, a recent poll found, believe in the theory.

As we’ve seen, Republicans will not retreat from their past advocacy or seek to repair the damage they’ve caused: they will double down, doing a variation on their classic “waving the bloody shirt” trope, claiming that anyone seeking to hold them accountable for their reckless rhetoric is just exploiting a tragedy for partisan political gain, and that such attempts are simply foul demagoguery that reveal their critics’ low character.

Jemar Tisby, “The Shooting in Buffalo Happened within a Context of Complicity with White Supremacy”

We can look in horror at the actions of a white supremacist terrorist in Buffalo. But he is simply the extreme version and the logical end of what many other people believe and support in other ways.

You don’t have to pull the trigger on an assault rifle to support white supremacy. All you have to do is nothing at all.

Rebecca Traister, “The new abortion regime is going to affect everyone”

While scrutiny will be sharpest on poor and Black and brown people, women and people with uteruses of every race are going to be questioned not only about their unintended pregnancies but about the miscarriages of their wanted pregnancies. In states where post-Roe trigger bans begin at conception, various forms of birth control — including IUDs — could be considered abortifacients, and there will be strenuous attempts to make them inaccessible or illegal. For similar reasons, people undergoing IVF treatments may find that their embryos have been granted rights they did not previously have.

Those who live in states with fewer restrictions, even in states that have wisely strengthened protections in recent years, will certainly have an easier time. But their circumstances will be changed too, by the influx of patients from other parts of the country. Wait times and, with them, pressures on viability limits will increase. Moreover, resting easy on the idea of a patchwork of safer states assumes Republicans will not find a way to enact a federal legislative ban. For years, I’ve been told that will never happen. For years, I’d also been told that Roe would never fall.

In time, abortion’s illegality is going to affect everyone: you, your friends, your loved ones, your community, your kids, and your parents. It’s going to affect you if you or someone you know wants an abortion, and it’s frankly going to affect you even if you don’t.

Kerry Howley, “The Woman Who Killed Roe”

If we are by now accustomed to discussing ulterior motives and the well-documented history of legislators using abortion rhetoric to consolidate the right, we speak less of how the rhetoric works: by triggering in its subjects a stomach-churning horror. Millions of Americans believe that their fellow citizens tolerate and participate in the ongoing mass extermination of human children. They go to sleep — as I did as a child — assuming that the next day will involve thousands of babies murdered in a medical setting, whereupon cynical adults will call these murders “choices.” It is a horror not only in its violence but in the way it frames social reality; a world of self-justificatory liars slaughtering the innocent, architects of a darkness on par with the Holocaust or slavery. The family given to this worldview is focused on the grisly death of a child against the harrowing idea of “a woman’s right,” the repetition of which becomes itself part of the nightmare. Every other call to humanity then becomes a kind of hypocrisy: How can you claim to care about some narrow issue of social justice when you condone this unspeakable violence? It is a darkness the democratic process is not particularly equipped to handle, in that it breaks the terms of negotiation. If you come to believe you live in a state that sanctions the routine murder of children, nearly anything can be justified in their defense. “Abortion is murder,” reads the old tagline for the radical activist group Operation Rescue. “Act like it.”

Kaya Oakes, “Christianity Today’s Sexual Misconduct Problem and the Complications with Forgiving Institutions”

But a reason reporters might not be focusing on stories of reconciliation between abuse victims and church-led institutions is simply because there are not many stories about reconciliation and forgiveness to tell. Over and over, institutions like the Catholic Church, Christianity Today, and universities big and small have apologized for covering up, hiding, and abetting abuse in many forms. Very rarely do abuse victims announce that they have forgiven the institution and are ready to move on. Perhaps that is because the institution has not earned and is not owed any forgiveness.


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