Former UN Ambassador and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is trying hard to stop the national outrage over an interview she gave in which she suggested the Confederate flag stood for “service, and sacrifice, and heritage” until white supremacist Dylann Roof slaughtered nine Black church-goers attending a Bible study class.
Haley’s exact words were: “Here is this guy that comes out with his manifesto, holding the Confederate flag, and just hijacked everything that people thought of. We don’t have hateful people in South Carolina. There’s always the small minority that’s always going to be there, but, you know, people saw it [the Confederate flag] as service, and sacrifice, and heritage, and, but once he did that there was no way to overcome it.”
Haley took to Twitter and pushed back by posting the text of a speech she gave when she called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the Statehouse grounds.
2015 was a painful time for our state.The pain was and is still real. Below was my call for the removal of the Confederate flag & I stand by it. I continue to be proud of the people of SC and how we turned the hate of a killer into the love for each other.https://t.co/xXanJ8LPTV
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) December 6, 2019
Rather than say directly what she apparently wanted to say, Haley retweeted tweets like these that deliver the message that she didn’t call the Confederate flag an icon of service, sacrifice, and heritage – other people did.
But given that the flag represents an actual attack on the United States of America – the Civil War – and has been used by white supremacists, including the KKK, and others to subordinate, discriminate against, and attack Black people and other minorities, it’s hard to see how splitting hairs makes the former South Carolina governor any better.
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Watch: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Likens Mitch McConnell to Segregationists Like Strom Thurmond by Using His Own Words
“They’re all saying the same thing. Thurmond, James Eastland and well, Mitch McConnell, 64 years later.”
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Wednesday night likened Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to “avowed” segregationists, simply by using his own words.
Hayes showed clips of McConnell talking about voting rights legislation and clips of literal white supremacist segregationists, like Senator Strom Thurmond (photo, right) and Senator James Eastland (photo, left) – all saying the same thing, all giving the same reasons why they don’t support legislation to protect the right to vote, namely, they all claimed, falsely, that it’s “unnecessary.”
“It has been against the law to discriminate on the basis of race in voting since 1870,” Hayes reminded viewers, “when the 15th Amendment was ratified, saying, quote, ‘the right of citizens of the United States to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state, on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.’ It says it right there in black and white in the US Constitution. Says that you cannot racially discriminate in voting.”
“And so you can imagine a version of Mitch McConnell in, I don’t know, 1920 Kentucky saying literally the exact same statement: ‘Oh, well why would we need a law to enforce voting rights, it’s already illegal,’ or, say, avowed segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond, in the middle of filibustering the 1957 Civil Rights Act, saying, quote, ‘There are mainly three reasons why I feel, feel the bill should not be passed. The first is that it is unnecessary. Every state has enacted some legislative version, making it unlawful to intimidate a voter or to hinder him in the exercise of his voting rights penalties have been provided for such violation.'”
“We don’t need new laws to protect the right to vote, certainly not to protect against discrimination or race those already exists in the Constitution,” Hayes said, mocking Thurmond.
“Those were the type of arguments segregationists made, Jim Crow authoritarians decade after decade after decade after decade in this country. As they flogged multiracial democracy to death, underneath the table as they gave those speeches. ‘We are not discriminating, the law says we can’t. Anyone can vote.'”
“This is how Senator James Eastland a Mississippi notorious segregationist, the ‘voice to the white South,’ put it to Mike Wallace,” Hayes told viewers.
“Well, we have no voting qualifications, based on race,” Eastland told Wallace. “We, not at all, and anybody who’s qualified can vote,”
Mocking him, Hayes said: “Mississippi Senator. 1957. ‘We have no voting qualifications based on race, of course, why would we? It’s in the Constitution, we can’t.’ The Constitution, ratified in 1870. When Mississippi was under federal occupation. They’re all saying the same thing. Thurman, James Eastland and well, Mitch McConnell, 64 years later.”
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GOP’s Ron Johnson Slammed by Black Christian Historian for His ‘Chilling’ and ‘Racist’ Comments
On CNN Monday, Black Christian historian and author Jemar Tisby tore into Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) following his remarks that he would have only been scared of Capitol rioters if they had been Black Lives Matter activists or antifa members, as opposed to people who “loved this country” — and compared it to former President Donald Trump’s infamous order for the far-right Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”
“What did it feel like to feel that spoken out loud by a U.S. senator?” asked anchor John Berman.
“It’s absolutely chilling,” said Tisby. “Because there are multiple messages here. So we focused on the racist part. But what is Ron Johnson saying to these white supremacists, extremists willing to break into the Capitol to get their way based on a conspiracy theory about election fraud. It says, to me, the echoes of the ‘stand by and stand back’ comment. It’s a wink and a nod to these forces that says, whatever you do, you will not face strong repercussions, at least from politicians like Johnson and those who agree with him. And then it’s chilling because it opens up the pathway for more incidents like we saw on January 6th.”
“He said, out loud, that he saw them as people who love this country,” said Berman. “I mean, if that’s not a permission structure, I don’t know what is.”
“Exactly right,” said Tisby. “I’m not sure that we understand, as everyday Americans, the critical juncture we are at. We are at a crossroads between a multi-racial democracy that attempts to live up to the aspirations of the foundational documents, or an autocratic, authoritarian-style governance that works for a very, very few wealthy and mostly white people. We need to act with urgency right now.”
‘Straight Out of Jim Crow’: Voting Rights Expert Blasts AZ Republican Who Says ‘Everybody Shouldn’t Be Voting’
State Rep. John Kavanagh, who chairs the the Government and Elections Committee in the Arizona House, says not everyone should be voting, and the “quality of votes” matters. One of the nation’s top voting rights experts is blasting that rhetoric, suggesting it’s racist, “straight out of Jim Crow.”
“There’s a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans,” Kavanagh, a Republican, said, as CNN reports. “Democrats value as many people as possible voting, and they’re willing to risk fraud,” he claimed, not only without any proof, but falsely. While there are relatively few voter fraud and election fraud cases across the country, those who have committed these crimes are almost always Republicans.
“Republicans are more concerned about fraud,” Kavanagh claimed, “so we don’t mind putting security measures in that won’t let everybody vote — but everybody shouldn’t be voting.”
“Not everybody wants to vote, and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they’re totally uninformed on the issues,” Kavanagh added, again, without merit. “Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well.”
Legally and constitutionally, Kavanagh is wrong, which is even more disturbing because is a former police officer and retired police detective who served the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Dr. Kavanagh currently is a part-time professor of criminal justice at Scottsdale Community College, after serving as the Program Director of the Administration of Justice Studies and Forensic Science Programs.
Kavanagh’s remarks are being seen as racist by Ari Berman, a writer at Mother Jones and the author of the book, “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America.”
“This rhetoric is straight out of Jim Crow & very thing that was used to justify mass disenfranchisement of Black voters,” Berman said on Twitter.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill honed in on the phrase “quality of votes” as well:
The “quality of votes….” https://t.co/dhSr6ihupb
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) March 11, 2021
And Elie Mystal, Justice Correspondent at The Nation, also weighed in:
These people act like the 15th Amendment literally doesn’t exist. https://t.co/C3BmNNBbY7
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) March 11, 2021
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