Our Society’s Deadly Insistence on Maintaining It Must End
Dear Fellow White Folks,Â
We need to have a serious talk about white supremacy, yâ€™all.
I donâ€™t mean that we need to sit down and have dialogues about race with people who donâ€™t look like us. I mean, thatâ€™s a good thing to do, and we should keep doing it, but thatâ€™s not the conversation we need to have right now.
And when I say right now, I mean yesterday.Â
Our desperate need to hold on to our white supremacy is killing people. Itâ€™s killing people who donâ€™t look like us Â and itâ€™s killing some who do look like us, too. Itâ€™s incredibly deadly.Â
I know youâ€™re saying to yourself in your head that youâ€™re not racist. You might not be, and thatâ€™s great! And you might be, but not know it. Really, I donâ€™t know if youâ€™re racist, but I do know that weâ€™re all part of a society that values whiteness far more than non-whiteness, and unless weâ€™re actively working to dismantle that system of supremacy, weâ€™re complicit in it.Â
It manifests itself in some very frightening ways â€” like this 2011 study that says white folks believe they face racism in higher numbers than black folks do (they donâ€™t), and it shows up in some incredibly absurd ways, as Becky with the Bad Grades showed us at the U.S. Supreme Court just a few weeks ago.Â
The idea that weâ€™re entitled to something simply because weâ€™re white â€” or that we didnâ€™t get something simply because weâ€™re white â€” is what lies at the very heart of white supremacy. White people have lived for thousands of years getting everything weâ€™ve ever wanted. The resentment we feel when we donâ€™t get something we want simply because we think we deserve it? Itâ€™s absurd, frankly.
When we wanted to see the world, we didnâ€™t just explore, we conquered it and colonized it.Â When we came to America, one of the first things we did was import slaves. When our ability to own slaves was threatened, we literally started a war to keep them. We tore the country apart becuase of our entitlement. And once we lost the war? We instituted a system of laws designed to ensure white supremacy.Â Weâ€™ve dedicated centuries of action to keeping black people oppressed.Â
Modern-day white supremacy looks different than the past, but itâ€™s just as prevalent. Itâ€™s the “war on drugs,” which affects people of color far more than white people. Itâ€™s the fact that â€œthe most dangerous thing out hereâ€ for transgender people is the police and that black people face disporportional poverty and risk of incarceration.Â
You might be asking what you have to do with any of this, and why you should care. Thatâ€™s the thing â€” you donâ€™t need to care. You can go through your daily life ignoring all of this and thereâ€™s a very good chance youâ€™ll never encounter it. But that, right there? Thatâ€™s our privilege, plain as day. If we donâ€™t want to think about any of these issues because they donâ€™t affect you, we donâ€™t have to. We can walk way if we want to.Â
And if youâ€™re saying, â€œWell, itâ€™s too hard for me to get involvedâ€ or â€œIâ€™ve got to worry about my own problems firstâ€ or â€œif I get involved, I might get in trouble,â€ that’s white supremacy. Itâ€™s not enough to simply acknowledge that thereâ€™s a problem. Weâ€™ve done that.Â
If we want to end white supremacy for real, we have to dismantle the system that prioritizes our lives over others simply because of who we are and where we were born. We have to use our privilege to give other people opportunities, even when that means taking a back seat. We have to prioritize their lives. It doesn’t make us “less than” to prioritize Black lives. It helps make us equal.
We have to believe â€” and live our lives according to the idea â€” that Black lives really do matter.
We have to say, without any doubts and with full intention, â€œI am committed to the social, political, and economic liberation of Black people,â€ and we have to mean it. And we have to act on it.
Itâ€™s hard to to stand up and challenge the status quo when youâ€™re comfortable. Itâ€™s hard to put ourselves in harmâ€™s way to make the world safer for someone else. It takes a lot of conviction to fight, but I swear, itâ€™s worth it.Â
I want to live in a world where everyone is valued and worthy and safe â€” not just the folks who look like me. As I said last week, I believe itâ€™s a moral imperative. I donâ€™t believe we really have a choice in the matter. People will die if we donâ€™t. People are already dying. Â Â
Robbie Medwed is an Atlanta-based LGBTQ activist and educator. His column appears here weekly. Follow him on Twitter: @rjmedwed
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McCarthy Now Blaming Likely Shutdown on Fentanyl, President Biden, and His Own House Republicans
Speaker Kevin McCarthy during a raucous gaggle with reporters Tuesday afternoon blamed the increasingly likely shutdown of the federal government on fentanyl, President Joe Biden, and his own House Republicans.
Political experts have said the Republican Speaker could avoid a government shutdown, which will happen at midnight on Friday if legislation is not passed, by making a deal with Democrats and a small number of House Republicans. Doing so would likely cost him his job.
Asked on Tuesday by CNN’s Manu Raju, “Are you ruling out a clean CR without any border security?” McCarthy immediately launched in to a diatribe.
“You know what’s so concerning here? What do you tell to the families that tomorrow morning are gonna wake up and their child’s dead? Because fentanyl came across?” he asked the CNN reporter (video below). “What do you tell to that border agent that you saw the other day? Now his network doesn’t believe it but he’s all in blood. Or the cartels, the billions of dollars that they’re making. Or to the young girls that get raped?”
Another reporter, seemingly frustrated, interjected and asked, “But what do you tell the workers who are concerned they’re gonna get furloughed next week because there is no agreement in your chamber, sir?”
“Well, I know. It’s easy,” McCarthy claimed. “All the President has to do is say, ‘You know what, as one of my fundamental jobs as the President of the United States is to secure our border.'”
Another reporter, ignoring the Speaker’s apparent obfuscation, loudly asked, “Speaker McCarthy if we see the rule votes fail later today, is it possible to even move on to a CR [continuing resolution] for you?”
“Oh, yeah, I never give up,” McCarthy said smiling.
“I know that,” she replied, “but do you think you have the votes?”
Again, not delivering a straight answer, McCarthy smiled and replied, “Oh, I’ve got a lot of things I can try.”
CNN’s Raju reported that McCarthy, when asked about the “math,” meaning if he has the votes to keep the government open, said: “What’s concerning to me is that there are people in the Republican Party who will take the position of President Biden against what the rest of Americans want.”
That could suggest some Republicans have indicated they would vote with Democrats on a bill to keep the government from shutting down.
Raju also reported he asked “Speaker McCarthy if he believes he could survive a vote to oust him from the speakership, as [Rep. Matt] Gaetz has threatened, and he said: ‘I don’t count that vote.'”
NPR’s Joel Rose has reported, “Close to 90% of … fentanyl is seized at ports of entry. Immigration authorities say it is smuggled mostly by U.S. citizens, as well as other travelers who are legally authorized to cross. Virtually none is seized from migrants who are seeking asylum.”
On Monday The Washington Post Editorial Board wrote: “The U.S. government will almost certainly shut down on Oct. 1, the work of ultraconservative holdouts who want to ‘burn the whole place down,’ as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) put it. Yet, for now, Mr. McCarthy does not appear willing to take away the matches. He could sideline the objectors by calling House Democrats and agreeing to pass bipartisan legislation to fund the government.”
Watch McCarthy below or at this link.
When asked if he has the votes for a continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown if the House rules vote fails, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) says, “I’ve got a lot of things I can try.” pic.twitter.com/byzQP5XUCc
— The Recount (@therecount) September 26, 2023
House GOP Shutdown Demands Include Gutting Billions From Dept. of Education, Costing Over 200,000 Teachers Their Jobs
As House Republicans move closer to shutting down the federal government at midnight on Friday the details of their spending cut demands are becoming clearer, including their largest single target: the U.S. Department of Education, and specifically, a program that funds schools for low-income children.
As Semafor’s Jordan Weissmann explains, “Republican hardliners are pushing the government toward a shutdown so that they can force frontline members of their party to take a symbolic vote in favor of cutting federal funding for low-income public schools by 80%.”
Calling Tuesday “a big test for House Republicans,” The Washington Post reports the House “will vote on a procedural motion — a rule — to advance four of the 11 remaining individual spending bills the House hasn’t passed. If the vote fails, the chamber’s Republicans will seem even more unable to govern.”
“The vote is a last-minute play to appease a small group of hard-line Republicans and demonstrate that the party is working to enact deep, year-long spending cuts — but it will do nothing to prevent a government shutdown on Sunday,” The Post warns. “The only viable way to prevent a shutdown — which now seems likely — is to pass a continuing resolution, or CR.”
House Republicans want to cut spending “by $58 billion more than the amount to which President Biden and McCarthy agreed in May when they struck a deal to raise the debt limit, according to an analysis by Bobby Kogan and Jean Ross of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.”
About one-quarter of that $58 billion, if Republicans get their way, would come from the Dept. of Education, which has long been a target of the GOP. Many Republicans in recent years have called to get rid of the agency entirely.
“Removing the agency that protects students’ civil rights and distributes federal education funds has received an increasing amount of Republican support in recent years, including from Donald Trump,” The American Independent reported in March, when 161 House Republicans voted in support of eliminating the Department of Education.
Now, House Republicans want to cut “a single program that provides funding for low-income schools, known as Title I education grants,” The Post adds, gutting it “by nearly 80 percent, saving $14.7 billion.”
“Democrats have warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts could cost up to 224,000 teachers their jobs, and teachers unions have mobilized to lobby against them,” The Post notes.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona posted a map detailing how many teachers could lose their jobs under House Republicans’ proposal.
Extreme House Republicans are threatening to shut down the government unless they can cut education programs that support 26 million students by 80%.
Here’s what this means for your state ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/zhfmYPPYqa
— Secretary Miguel Cardona (@SecCardona) September 22, 2023
See the Secretary’s post above or at this link.
Menendez Quickly Losing Support as Flood of Democratic Senators Call on Him to Resign ‘For the Good of Our Country’
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include Senator Booker, the latest Democrat to call on Sen. Melendez to resign, and to update the tally.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is losing support as more of his Senate Democratic colleagues formally call on him to resign after he was indicted again, this time on federal bribery charges that included allegations of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gold bars.
As of Tuesday morning, at least ten Democratic U.S. Senators have now called on the twice-indicted senior Democratic Senator from New Jersey to resign, as they cite the gravity of the charges against him.
U.S. Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) was the first to call on Menendez to resign, on Monday. U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Peter Welch (D-VT) followed later that day.
On Tuesday morning, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Tester (D-MT), and Bob Casey (D-PA) all called on Sen. Menendez to resign. by 11 AM, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also called for him to resign.
Minutes later, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Senator Menendez’s Democratic New Jersey colleague, also called for him to resign. The New York Times reported Sen. Booker’s decision “to condemn Senator Robert Menendez underscores the deepening crisis Mr. Menendez faces after his indictment.”
According to the Dept. of Justice, Sen. Menendez, along with his wife Nadine Menendez, not only are alleged to have received bribes, he is charged with doing so in a scheme “to use his official position to protect and enrich” those he allegedly accepted funds from, and “to benefit the Government of Egypt.”
“Among other things,” the DOJ alleged, Senator Menendez “agreed and sought to pressure a senior official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an effort to protect a business monopoly granted to” a New Jersey businessman “by Egypt, disrupt a criminal case undertaken by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office related to associates of” another New Jersey businessman, “and disrupt a federal criminal prosecution brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey against” a third New Jersey businessman.
Former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman on Sunday called Sen. Menendez “a walking national security threat.”
“Imagine US official charged with selling US secrets, embassy security, US defense policy – and showing up for work the next day,” he added.
“From a purely legal perspective, Menendez appears to be a dead man walking,” Goodman continued. “The kind of forensic and documentary evidence in the Indictment is exceptionally strong for these types of cases. It looks inevitable that he will be going to prison.”
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