Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has employed every dog whistle available to attack the rights and liberties of non-cis-white-male groups for years. From attacking immigrants and Black people to the LGBTQ community and women. Yes, including white women. Even his anti-worker rhetoric has racial undertones. However, he is not alone. Politicians like Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and everyone in between have all used racist coded language their whole lives.
Even worse are the people who claim to disagree with them but do nothing. Recently, many of us called on the Biden administration – including 87 House Democrats – to take action against Texas Governor Greg Abbott for circumventing federal law and implementing the state’s own immigration policies – which it has no authority to do. Gov. Abbott is framing asylum-seekers coming to the U.S. as an “invasion” and arguing has the authority to invoke the “invasion clause” in both the Texas and U.S. Constitutions to protect and defend the state and country.
For Republicans, the premise of President Joe Biden doing nothing about the border is based on the idea that if the president won’t declare an invasion and take action based on their lies, he is, therefore, allowing this supposed invasion to continue. That leads to the “open borders” verbiage despite the largest law enforcement agency in the country managing and controlling the U.S. border with Mexico. Needless to say, there is no invasion.
The etymology of the word “invasion” dates back to the 15th Century and in every context, it means to assault, attack, or enter with hostile intent. According to Merriam-Webster, invade means, “to enter for conquest or plunder”. None of this is happening in Texas or anywhere else in the United States in any context.
But as white supremacists go, they redefine words just like they did with “woke” without ever knowing its history or its true meaning. The Ku Klux Klan did it with “communism” in the early 20th Century and U.S. citizens largely accept that propaganda as fact – even today.
To get an idea of how pervasive the rhetoric can be, you only need to look at the Republican governors who have bought into Gov. Abbott’s propaganda machine who sent National Guard troops from states as far as the Dakotas to Texas to “help” at the border. Florida Gov. DeSantis has sent troops, state police, and even planes to traffic migrants just to score political points with the conservative base – a bloc of voters who continue to accept all the hate and bigotry because they believe somehow it will benefit them. As we’re seeing in Florida, it only hurts them too.
The coded language attacking marginalized communities is all part of the Republican Party’s strategy and platform. Gov. DeSantis’s anti-Black policies and dog whistles are having a similar impact as Gov. Abbott’s. We saw it over the weekend when a man murdered three Black people in a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida in what authorities refer to as “racially motivated”. It was a hate crime, plain and simple. And while he may have been a lynch mob of one, the terrorist was no “lone wolf” – another term authorities use to diffuse any sentiments that might expose the problems with hate groups for what they truly are.
The mass murder in Jacksonville is no different than the terrorist attacks in Buffalo, New York that targeted Black people or the attack at an El Paso, Texas Walmart that targeted “Hispanics” because of the “invasion” rhetoric used by former president Donald Trump at the time. Nor is it any different than other similar terrorist attacks in recent history.
The shooter’s manifestos in most of these cases echo each other. They’re anti-immigrant, anti-Black, anti-women’s-rights, and anti-LGBTQ. And since some of these categories often cross racial lines, they become an even bigger problem not just online, but in the real world.
Florida Governor DeSantis is directly responsible for inflaming the nasty language we’ve seen from extremists. His policy ideas were all born in the darkest corners of U.S. online society where the most hateful live. Since former president Trump was elected and created a cabinet made up of online hatemongers like Stephen Miller, he not only gave them credibility but he also made it normal to have people like that in the highest office in the land.
In other words, he ensured Klan-like thinkers would continue ruling the country and Republicans are eating it up. That’s why we are where we are today. Conservatives are just fine watching us die. As is being made evident via online commentary that tries to shift the narrative away from the terrorist attack and back into the bigoted lie about the LGBTQ community grooming children.
It’s all intentional and coordinated by extremists pushing for civil war.
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