As much as white nationalist Congressman Steve King (R-IA) may protest that he’s simply a western civilization-supporting American nationalist, the rest of the world finds it difficult to interpret the statement Rep. King made yesterday — “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” — as anything but the rantings of a neo-Nazi sympathizer at best.
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), the sole African-American Republican in the Senate, was so concerned that Rep. King’s openly racist statements were painting the GOP as the party of white supremacists that he took to the op-ed page of The Washington Post to urge his party to break their silence on King’s public expressions of morally unacceptable policies.
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Senator Scott begins his editorial with some obligatory praise for Republican stewardship of the economy they actually inherited from the Obama administration before turning to the elephant in the GOP’s room. He cites Rep. King’s statement questioning the offensiveness of white supremacy as an example of the reason the Republican party brand has become inextricably linked with racism.
“I will admit I am unsure who is offended by the term “Western civilization” on its own, but anyone who needs “white nationalist” or “white supremacist” defined, described and defended does lack some pretty common knowledge,” Senator Scott writes.
The senator goes on to recount multiple examples of murderous white supremacist violence that have taken place in this country over the past few years, ranging from the shooting of two black people in a Kentucky parking lot to the killing of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia last year to massacre that took place in the Charleston, South Carolina church, among others.
“When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole. They want to be treated with fairness for some perceived slights but refuse to return the favor to those on the other side,” Scott perceptively observes.
“Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said. Immigration is the perfect example, in which somehow our affection for the rule of law has become conflated with a perceived racism against brown and black people,” Senator Scott claims.
The senator then goes on to state that his support for border security is based not on ethnicity or skin color but on his support for the rule of law.
“I do support border security not because I want to keep certain ethnicities out of our nation, but because I support enforcing our laws. I do not care if you come from Canada, France or Honduras, if you break our laws, there should be consequences. But it has become almost impossible to have a reasonable conversation along those lines,” Scott declares.
Senator Scott tries to reclaim the definition of conservative principles that he believes have been hijacked by the hateful rhetoric of Rep. King — and, although he doesn’t mention him by name, also by the essentially identical comments made by President Trump.
“King’s comments are not conservative views but separate views that should be ridiculed at every turn possible. Conservative principles mean equal opportunity for all to succeed, regardless of what you look like or where you are from. It is maddening to see so many folks who believe this and have only good intentions in their hearts tarnished by these radical perspectives,” the senator laments.
The indefensibility and unsustainability of this extremist control of the Republican party are paramount in the senator’s mind as he outlines the danger these racist politicians pose to both the party and the nation as a whole.
“That is why silence is no longer acceptable. It is tempting to write King — or other extremists on race issues, such as black-nationalist Louis Farrakhan — as lonely voices in the wilderness, but they are far more dangerous than that. They continue to rip at the fabric of our nation, a country built on hope, strength and diversity. It is the opposite of civility and fairness and will lead only to more pain and suffering.”
“We have made significant progress in our nation, and while there is still work to do, we cannot let these intolerant and hateful views hold us back. This is a uniquely fractured time in our nation’s history, not our worst but far from our best, and it is only together that we will rebuild the trust we seem to have lost in each other,” Senator Scott advises.
He ends his op-ed with a plea for Rep. King to change his evil ways.
“We must work to lead our nation forward. In the future, I hope Steve King takes the opportunity to join us,” the senator concludes.
The singular Black Republican senator hopefully will inspire at least a few of his more moderate colleagues to reconsider their reluctance to criticize a fellow member of the GOP, but in the end, a fish rots from the head, so any reconsideration of ending their silence on comments such as those made by the House’s most prominent white supremacist would beg the question of how long they can remain silent about the bigotry emanating from the Oval Office.
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Original reporting by The Washington Post