*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
It’s getting a little more difficult each passing day to have much respect left for what seems like a growing number of inhumane Americans, and in saying inhumane one means racists and bigots. Of course right now all the attention is directed at Donald Trump, but as this column preaches toward exhaustion, Trump may well be a true racist, but he is a sterling representation of racist America. National Republicans have worked so efficiently to make open racism a popular political position and source of pride among the party faithful, another Republican leader has openly espoused his racial animus towards people of color with particular emphasis on African Americans and Latinos. It shouldn’t be unsurprising any longer, but one was taken aback that this particular Republican is openly calling for a race war to kill African and Hispanic Americans.
While defending patently racist remarks he made last Wednesday during a town hall meeting, Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) added fuel to the fire calling for his resignation by doubling down to make it abundantly clear that he sincerely believes that people of color are “the enemy” and should be shot as a soldier would in a war zone. LePage said,
“A bad guy is a bad guy, I don’t care what color he is. When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red… You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”
Those racist remarks were his defense after facing criticism for racist remarks at Wednesday’s town hall in North Berwick where he lied through his teeth and said,
“Let me tell you this, let me tell you, explain to you: I made the comment that black people are trafficking in our state. Now, ever since I said that comment, I’ve been collecting every single drug dealer who has been arrested in our state …
I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ring binder, are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx and Brooklyn. I’m just telling you what’s happening.”
The only issue with LePage’s remarks besides the naked racism is that his statement is a bald-faced lie. As a senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Mark Potok, said, “On top of everything else, LePage is making a claim that is simply false. The fact is that most drug dealers and consumers in the United States are white.”
Hopefully Mr. Potok will watch his back if he ever travels to Maine because based on LePage’s vicious attack on a Democrat who criticized his public racism, Maine is not a friendly or safe place so long as LePage is in residence.
One of the state legislature’s Democrats did criticize the Republican governor’s racism that prompted an over-the-top response one is likely to hear in a violent state penitentiary, not from a governor. LePage had been lashing out at the public outcry to his racism and took exception that any Maine legislators dare criticize him. After learning from news reports that state Representative Drew Gattine (D-Westbrook) criticized his racist remarks, the sitting governor left an unambiguously violent tirade on Mr. Gattine’s voicemail. He said,
“This is Gov. Paul Richard LePage. I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you c**ksucker. I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son of a bitch, socialist c**ksucker. You… I need you to… just friggin’. I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you.”
To make matters worse, some are reporting that LePage is defending the violent voicemail message with what certainly can be considered “a threat” on Representative Gattine’s life. In comments to the Portland Press Herald, comments he knew would be publicized, LePage ranted that,
“When a snot-nosed little guy from Westbrook calls me a racist, now I’d like him to come up here because, tell you right now, I wish it were 1825. And we would have a duel. And I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you; I would not be [Alexander] Hamilton. I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt and he has not done a damn thing since he’s been in this legislature to help move the state forward.”
The SPLC senior fellow, Mark Potok, shared that the bigoted governor’s remarks are “par for the course” for LePage. “He has made plain his antipathy to black people. To me, his latest remarks are utterly unsurprising. Are they racist statements? Yes.”
A Maine resident and participant in Black Lives Matter protests, Teddy Burrage, who organized with the Portland Racial Justice Congress, stated the obvious that the Republican racist governor is,
“Putting people in danger. It’s not just a political gaffe or something that came about because he is unstable. The governor has potentially empowered dangerous people to hurt people of color.”
Mr. Burrage also parroted something this column states regularly – it’s not just LePage that’s a dangerous racist, it’s the Maine Republicans who faithfully elected him to lead the state. Burrage continued,
“It would be easy to say Paul LePage is crazy or unstable, but the reality is that he is a manifestation of the people who put him in office. This is an issue in the governor’s office, but it’s a larger issue as far as racism being acceptable.”
Burrage also noted that LePage’s racism is not down to the Donald Trump effect and reminded Maine residents that LePage’s bigotry “predates the 2016 presidential election cycle. It doesn’t feel new to me and I am not shocked.”
Maine’s Democrats issued a letter to their Republican counterparts pleading with them to rebuke LePage’s racist statements and “press him either to get help or resign.” The letter was not strong enough in just saying LePage “appears to be unfit to hold office at this time.” There is nothing about “appearances” in this continuing racist saga and LePage is, by any measure, unfit to hold office at any time now or in the future.
Americans should start being concerned, if they weren’t already, that a sitting Republican governor has no more qualms in calling for shooting people of color than he does intimating that he wants to shoot a Maine legislator between the eyes. The travesty is that many Americans are not concerned either because they agree with LePage’s mindset or are so habituated to naked racism as a political position, that this call for war based on race is a common occurrence, “not shocking” and “utterly unsurprising.” It is possible that LePage-style comments are really not surprising to many Americans, and that possibility in-and-of-itself is a reason for concern.
What is curious is that there are very few Americans openly expressing shame and humiliation that in a free liberal society like America, calls for killing non-Aryan Americans in a race war are becoming common talking points among Republicans; it informs that the racial animus plaguing this nation runs deeper and is far worse than previously imagined.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.