The Democrats’ dirty racial divide and conquer tactics are the least written about issue of the 2016 election season. If that isn’t bad enough, the game continues now, with a different target.
Donald J. Trump and his basket of deplorables took up all of the media’s bandwidth over the past year; justifiably so, for the most part. A sizable number among Trump voters are white supremacists for whom their choice of candidate has given them a voice and a shot in the arm they’d never had in a presidential election. They’re emboldened and we are now seeing physical manifestations of the rage these people have kept bottled up. While hate crimes have fluctuated over time, we are seeing a sharp uptick and innocent Americans are being attacked on the nation’s streets, singled out by their physical appearance and the unmistakable signs of their Islamic faith. The number of hate crimes is rising all around the nation now. Uncivil public discourse continues to degenerate, with racist trolling worsening with each day that passes. It has been bad these last few years and it is now getting even worse.
Over the past eight years, life in my mostly white, mostly Christian, mostly red county of Orange, California, has been a mixed bag, when it comes to being subjected to public harangues from total strangers. With each election, I’ve had unpleasant experiences when out and about, because I chose to adorn my car with Obama stickers. On more than one occasion, people shouted obscenities at me from their vehicles, even as my then obviously very young daughter was riding in the passenger seat. Once, while I was driving on a local freeway, a man driving a BMW in the lane next to me, caught up to my vehicle, lowered his window and gestured and shouted at me at the top of his lungs. What makes people behave in this manner remains a mystery to me.
Fast-forward to two weeks ago… While I was out shopping, I found myself in a situation in which I felt physically unsafe and powerless to do anything about it. I’ve not stopped thinking about it ever since. I’ve found myself in all kinds of situations in my lifetime, some far more dangerous than this one. The difference, for the most part, is that I was never a specific target.
I was about to enter the parking spot I had picked out, when another vehicle cut me off and parked in it. The driver came dangerously close to hitting my car. I honked in anger and immediately started looking around for different parking spot. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the guy who cut me off gesturing and then beginning to run, as if he was going to rush my car. He suddenly stopped, made vulgar sexually-suggestive gestures with his pelvis and arms, and then bolted into the store.
I’ve twice been in countries while mutinies were going on. I’ve been in the middle of a couple of wars. I’ve been very near terrorist attacks. Over the last eight years I’ve had all kinds of run-ins with anti-Obama crazies in parking lots, streets, while stopped at red lights, and on the freeway. But never have I felt as unsafe as I did two weeks ago.
Which brings me to the reason for this blog post. Over the past three weeks, there has been a spate of anti-Keith Ellison pieces in the news, mostly about his purported anti-Israel stance. The vast majority of pieces hinted – some more broadly than others – at some kind of anti-Semitism on Ellison’s part, for a speech he is purported to have given on Israel’s behavior towards the citizens of Gaza. All of the articles I’ve seen, whether in particular Jewish publications or in the mainstream media, made specific mention of Ellison’s purported relationship with the Nation of Islam and Minister Louis Farrakhan.
First, I would like to commend the Jewish Daily Forward’s J.J. Goldberg for writing a piece in which the entire Ellison as an anti-Jewish, anti-Semite Black Muslim hater is completely debunked. The piece in question is:
“I posted a piece on Friday morning dissecting various bits of evidence that Ellison’s critics cite to prove he’s anti-Israel, including the 36-second audio. I expressed skepticism about the case against him. Regarding the audio, I wrote that it could just as easily be understood as a description of plain fact: that Israel’s welfare ranks high among U.S. policy priorities and Muslims might have more influence if they were better organized. That Israel’s advantage is held up not for condemnation so much as emulation.
It’s worth noting that the first interpretation — the ADL’s reading — accords with the image of Ellison as an Israel-hater that’s popular in conservative Jewish circles. The second, more benign reading, on the other hand, jibes with the picture of Ellison portrayed by the Democratic leadership in Congress and virtually the entire leadership of the Jewish community in Ellison’s hometown of Minneapolis-St. Paul, where he’s consistently described as a friend and ally of the community and a supporter of Israel.”
“Finally, here’s his most conspiratorial-sounding statement: “That country” — Israel — “has mobilized its Diaspora in America to do its bidding in America.” Sounds ominous, right? He’s accusing AIPAC of doing a good job. But now he draws the lesson he wants to drive home to Muslims: “The question is, with all of us here, we ought to be able to do at least as much. You understand what I am trying to say? That we got a lot of work to do.” That is, the Jewish community does effective work on its causes. Muslims should learn from them.”
A 22-minute video was diluted into a 36-second clip which was used, in turn, to smear an honorable man, through some supposed anti-terrorism group, then the Jewish press, culminating into the Anti-Defamation League withdrawing their support of Ellison, as a result. For what? Racist smears were used against Ellison in order to keep the establishment in control of the DNC. These tactics are dirty, beneath contempt, and not the behavior one wants or expects from Democrats.
These are the same tactics that were employed by the David Brock cabal behind the Clinton campaign, against Senator Bernie Sanders, via the DNC’s top staff, with the sanction of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a fellow Jew, no less. Another line of attack against Ellison is the intimation that he can’t do his job as a Congressman and chair the DNC. It doesn’t matter that this accusation shows a double standard, when Debbie Wasserman-Schultz did both jobs over most of the last eight years. No one complained. There have been revelations about other ways Democrats at the DNC and elsewhere influenced the media into placing articles about Senator Sanders’ religiosity and ethnic background that were designed to influence Southern voters of a certain mindset against Sanders.
Whomever it is at the upper echelons of the Democratic establishment that is stoking this anti-Black, anti-Muslim media onslaught against Keith Ellison, does so in order to prevent Ellison from ascending as DNC Chair. Behavior wise, this is no less ugly as any and all of the racist things President-elect Donald J. Trump has been roundly criticized for all throughout the last few years. It is hypocritical of the Democratic leadership to decry Trump’s behavior while they engage in these racial divide and conquer tactics.
I started getting whiffs of anti-Semitic smear campaigns on the part of Democrats in August of 2015. These whiffs got stronger by February of 2016. We learned in September that, what the rat I was smelling, was operating from within Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ DNC. This is precisely the kind of corruption Keith Ellison would clean up as DNC Chair.
Ellison’s time in Congress and in public life has been exemplary. He is known for his advocacy for working Americans, minorities, women, and for all of the just causes espoused by progressive Democrats. Ellison has been an eloquent spokesman of the people throughout this Great Recession. Smearing him in this way is crass and plays into the Trumpian white supremacist playbook that is now unfolding.
On a personal level, I see this dangerous game of racial divide and conquer Democrats are playing as no less of a powder keg than the hate-filled onslaught of white supremacy Donald Trump has unleashed. These kinds of behaviors are threatening to me, as an American citizen. They threaten my safety as an American of mixed Jewish and Arabic heritage. They stoke hatreds and fears. They cynically play one group of Americans against the other, Jew against Muslim, Jew against Blacks, Blacks against Jews, middle class Democrats against the movement for Black lives, and they put us all in physical danger. These games are played by racists at the highest levels of the Democratic party.
These cynical Democrats are on the losing side of history, four elections in a row. It is high time they were exposed and run out of a party they’ve ruined.