Throughout my adult life, I have always been politically involved. My grandfather was a Vietnam vet. When my grandad returned from Vietnam, he worked to secure his rights and the rights of others. He worked to register people in the south to vote, under threat of violence and death. He instilled that in me. He voted for Democrats. They earned his vote because he believed Democrats were the party of voting rights, equal housing opportunities, equal employment opportunities, increasing educational opportunities. The Democrats have been the party for working Americans and the home for many minorities.
That is also why I am a Democrat. But I have usually split my ticket. I never got the point my grandad would make never saw the Republican Party as hostile to minorities as he did. I also didn’t see their voters as such. At worst I thought maybe they dog whistle but they won’t act on it. So I’ve continued to split my tickets. Because although I agree with the Democrat’s platform I’ve also agreed with some of the Republican policies. I would listen to their policy, motives, and ideas. I never saw the issue with Romney, McCain, Kasich, Huntsman, Bush Sr., and Bush Jr. These moderates were for reasonable tax reform, pushed for more education spending, weren’t denying climate change, had an understanding of the importance of our state department, free trade, military alliances, put country first, and they gave a platform for minorities in their administrations and made efforts to make meaningful conversations with minorities.
I’ve always made good faith efforts to understand the issues and get a feel of the candidates. I’ve believed others did the same, this cycle has changed that. I’ve learned we just didn’t have policy disagreements, we had cultural disagreements. I’m not going to rehash the Birther issue or indulge the conversation about if Obama was or wasn’t a Muslim, I’m jumping straight to the point, that’s bigotry. The attempt to other or smear the first Black President, President Obama as foreign, or not American. But beyond that the attempt at making Blacks, Latinos, and anyone who was non-white as hyper criminal, lazy, uneducated, culturally inferior, lesser, were also bigoted. I started to notice more, and more of the conservatives I associated with pick up that view, reshape them, and begin to ask me to respond to the comments. There was less focus on Black thinkers like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Michael Steele, and more on provocateurs like Candice Owens, Jesse Lee Peterson, Diamond, and Silk, and of course Maga Hulk, along with multiple washed-up celebs Trump knew. They mostly worked as a sword and shield. They would shuck, and jive attack minorities in the same bigoted language and give conservatives cover to say the same thing.
One of the constant comments I’d hear was friends saying that stating Blacks are criminals isn’t racist cause it’s true, and Candice Owens said it. Well, she might have said it but it’s still bigoted, and incorrect, the data doesn’t show anywhere near the majority of the population as criminals, it a misinterpretation of the data. Assuming all of 2 million arrests that were of Black Americans were not repeat offenders, 2 million out of a population of over 48 million is about 4 percent. To say we are hyper-violent isn’t supported by data. Before the pandemic, we had historically low unemployment rates in the single digits, but at the heights of the recessions under Obama, it was 16 percent so the data also doesn’t support laziness. But these comments do show something I haven’t acknowledged more Republican voters do see minorities as other, or lesser. They are highlighting minority voters that share these views and disseminating them on purpose. When those White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and Proud Boys began rallying around Confederate monuments I should have woke up.
My grandad called me, and I told him I got it, the Republicans had been breeding these dog whistles that we all thought few were hearing. a lot more were, and Trump just didn’t bother whistling he brought out the bullhorn.