Racisms

The "C" Word

Samuel James.

I’ve come up with the new slogan for Susan Collins’ 2020 campaign! But before I get to that, let me explain a little.

“The truth lies somewhere in the middle.” Almost every argument I’ve ever seen come to a “reasonable” conclusion has ended with some form of this idea. I guess it’s supposed to mean that neither side can fully see the problem from their point of view, and since each perspective brings its own set of biases, the true solution is a compromise that melds both views. The problem with that is the assumption that both points of view are valid in the first place.

A point of view is not valid just because it exists. If you say water is wet and I say water is dry, declaring that water is wet-dry is not a reasonable compromise. The most reasonable course of action would be for you to walk away from me, because my point of view in that case is not worth entertaining. You could try to convince me, but I’m 40 years old, and if I’ve lived this long thinking water is dry, there probably isn’t a whole lot of hope for me.

As much as many of us like to find the middle ground, there often isn’t any to be found. The impulse to split the difference gets used against us time and time again by so-called “centrists.” They would have us believe that the act of compromising is so important that it doesn’t even matter who or what we are compromising with. More than once, cynicism disguised as centrism has had us taking the side of the wrong mother in The Judgement of Solomon, in which the biblical king determined which of two women claiming to be the mother of a baby was its real mother by ordering that the child be cut in half, prompting its mother to cede her claim in order to spare her child’s life.

I look at the two major political parties and I see one that represents all the hate groups. I see one party that has all the Nazis and Klansmen and Proud Boys. I see that same party defend hate with their own restrictive version of “freedom of speech.” During last year’s midterm elections I watched that same party destroy freedom of speech by suppressing the black vote all over the country. And I see not only hate crimes on the rise, but white supremacist domestic terrorism on the rise, too.

There is no equivalent on the other side. There is no Democrat version of Nazis or the KKK. The Democrats are not trying to suppress the white vote or kill white people. In fact, it was about a year ago, during an interview about the president’s comments on “shithole countries,” that Sen. Cory Booker said, “In American history since 9/11, we’ve had 85 major attacks in our country, 73 percent of them have been by white nationalist hate groups against minorities, against Muslims, against others.”

So, where is the middle? As a black person, where can I find the middle ground between me and the political party representing the people who want me dead for the color of my skin?

Then there’s the president. It’s clear which side he’s on. He’s a man who thinks non-white-majority countries are shitholes, and that Nazis are fine people. He claimed not to know what the KKK is, despite the fact his own father was once arrested at a Klan rally-turned-near-riot. He frequently boasts of the superiority of his own genetics, and his racist campaign slogan, which longs for a time when minorities and women had little-to-no rights, is on the red hats of Nazis and Klansmen and Proud Boys alike.

Here he is insisting the black president ain’t a natural-born American. Here he is coming down the escalator calling Mexicans rapists. Here he is talking about a border wall to keep out the brown foreigners. Here he is calling asylum-seekers an invasion. And here he is with the longest government shutdown in history because he wants a wall.

What use is the wall? Well, all the experts since the end of the Ming Dynasty could tell you it’s of no practical use whatsoever. The actual purpose of the wall would be for the president and his ilk to point at it and say, “See, that’show much we don’t like Mexicans.”

Fortunately, the weak constitution of the racist gave out and the president showed his belly to Nancy Pelosi. Unfortunately, that happened after Sen. Collins came out on “both sides” of the issue, saying she’d support the Democrats’ solution to the shutdown if the president’s didn’t pass. Of course, had the president gotten his way, he would’ve essentially gained permission to shut down the government anytime he wanted anything. At that point symbols of racism would be the least of our worries.

Which brings me to Susan Collins’ campaign slogan for 2020. Collins: Compromising Maine!

Lemmie know what you think!

Samuel James is an internationally renowned bluesman and storyteller, as well as a locally known filmmaker. He can be reached at racismsportland@gmail.com.