Tuesday, May 17, 2022

On Target


Monday, May 16 included an excellent tweet from a prominent Republican- and an excellent retort.

 


It is the opposite side of the same issue, or an essential part of the same issue. Last August, Representative Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, and Adam Kinzinger, the Republican who serves with Cheney on the 1/6 commission, voted against the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, thus leading Mehdi Hasan to note."On voting rights, the most important issue of our time, Cheney, Kinzinger, Romney… are not your friends."

It is the most important issue of our time and no Republican in the US House of Representatives voted in favor of voting rights. (The bill failed to receive the 60 votes necessary to proceed in the Senate, with Alaska's Lisa Murkowski the only Republican willing to advance it to debate.)

Nonetheless, Cheney's said (typed?) what was necessary. She criticized the white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism saturating today's GOP. She avoided attributing it specifically to Donald Trump, albeit a worthy target but low-handing fruit, or to the Republican street. Clearly, she had in mind House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik but broadened it to House leadership generally.

The Wyoming congresswoman challenged the leaders of her party to denounce the bigots. Moreover, she managed to blast white supremacy and white nationalism without using the "r" word, arguably the least-defined, most abused term in the English language: racist.

White nationalism and white supremacy, with a valid nod toward anti-semitism, says it all. There is no need to write "racist" because it is flagrantly overused, poorly understood, and antagonizes individuals.  It is applied to individuals who are racist and more often to individuals who are not. Used in this fashion, it has become virtually meaningless, a go-to term invoked by people to mean- well, whatever they choose for it to mean.

When she accuses leadership, in the chamber in which she serves, to the party to which she (and her famous father) belong, of enabling evil, Liz Cheney is being succinct and comprehensive in under 281 characters. It's what had to be said by someone we needed to hear it from, a Republican and sitting member of the House of Representatives.

Her legacy will be determined by two things: her leadership opposing her party's allegiance to the attempted coup of 1/6/20; and the leadership she thus far has not exhibited in opposing her party's allegiance to voter suppression. As Professor Nesnow indicated, the first logically leads to the second, a connection which thus far Elizabeth Cheney regrettably seems not to have made.


 



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