I’ve been having a debate about racism with a friend on Facebook. We disagree on the extent to which racism is a problem for the GOP. He just doesn’t see it, so he assumes in good faith that it’s not an issue.
And then Steve King gave an interview to the NY Times.
Representative King questioned when terms like “white supremacy” had become offensive. Outrage ensued. King has been denounced by pretty much everybody. House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy has promised action will be taken.
“That language has no place in America. That is not the America that I know. And it’s most definitely not the party of Lincoln. I’ve watched on the other side that they do not take action when their members say something like this — action will be taken. I’m having a serious conversation with Congressman Steve King on his future and role in this Republican Party.”
SC Senator Tim Scott penned an editorial for the Washington Post calling out King, stating his remarks “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. ”
Furthermore, Senator Scott stated that “silence is no longer acceptable,” and that we must speak out against racism, especially from our political allies.
Not coincidentally, another story about racism in the GOP made headlines last week. The Tarrant County GOP in Texas was forced to take a recount vote after a precinct chair objected to the election of a Muslim doctor as vice-chairman. The good news is that the recall effort failed. The bad news is that it made national news and has added to the perception that many have that the Republican party is full of racists.
Sadly, stories like this really hit home with me. I have a relative that I haven’t spoken to in 3 years because the last time I saw him he used a racial slur when commenting on my Marco Rubio campaign literature. I have a black neighbor that I tried to persuade to join our county party for years. I had finally convinced him to attend, but after the events of the 2016 election, he won’t be coming back.
The GOP needs more leaders like Representative McCarthy and Senator Scott to speak out. Republicans can’t keep winning elections by alienating every minority group in America.
It’s also the right thing to do.