Monday, May 15, 2023

We Need to Talk About Tommy

    Let's get one thing out of the way before I continue this: Idiocracy was made to warn us about guys like Tommy Tuberville. That could apply to other lawmakers on the Hill, and does, and Lauren Boebert, MTG and other right wing lunatics come to mind. But I'm here to talk about Tuberville.
    I mean, how can one not immediately give up on an asshat who doesn't even know what the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was about or why it was signed into law? (Bonus fact: Alabama was not only one of the 14 states singled out by the Voting Rights Act but one whose horrendous actions actually helped midwife the bill into being).
     But then last week, Tuberville decided to unfurl his confederate flag and have a little talk about the white supremacist movement. Last week, Tuberville was approached by a reporter who asked him about white nationalists in the military. Typically, Tuberville wasted no time attacking Democrats for low recruiting numbers. But he couldn't stop there. Oh no. He went on to say,
“We are losing in the military so fast. Our readiness in terms of recruitment. And why? I’ll tell you why. Because the Democrats are attacking our military, saying we need to get out the white extremists, the white nationalists, people that don’t believe in our agenda.”
     In other words, white grievance. But that doesn't even come close to unpacking what Tuberville really meant. It seems that Tuberville is acknowledging these white supremacists are indeed in the military but that we should get off their backs because they are wearing uniforms. Which is ass-backwards thinking. It was the DoD's job to vet these candidates and weed them out at the recruitment phase. Here's a story from my own experience: 
      When I was about to join the Navy in the early 80s, I had to sit for a short interview with an FBI agent from the Boston field office. They were concerned about an unpaid motel bill (that was eventually paid) when I got discharged from the Air Force in 1977. I got mugged the night before and told the motel manager I couldn't pay the bill. He responded by calling the police on me and I got arrested on unspecified charges.
     A week and a half went by in the lockup before I finally saw a judge. Family bailed me out, the bill was paid, I left San Antonio that day. End of story. It was kind of a dog shit investigation in which I corroborated for the FBI agent what he already knew and I was cleared to join the Navy.
     Obviously, you don't see that kind of vetting these days, even though social media acts as an X-ray laying bare for all to see one's bona fides, especially if they're budding right wing terrorists.
     So, when Tuberville saw that his idiotic and racist remarks on white nationalists set the internet on fire, he sought, as do all Republican morons who say the quiet parts out loud, to "clarify" his remarks. When another reporter subsequently asked him the same question, Tuberville challenged the reporter to define what a white nationalist is. When she did, Tuberville arrogantly said that that was her opinion.
     21 year-old Air Force airman Jack Teixeira was recently arrested for releasing hundreds of very highly-classified documents on a gaming platform, of all places. Then, days later, it came out that Teixeira was just a younger version of Nick Fuentes and that he'd been salivating for a "race war". In fact, "Teixeira, who viewed himself as a politically conservative Orthodox Christian, appeared to be preparing for a violent struggle against perceived adversaries, including Black people, liberals, Jews, gay and transgender people."
     Apparently, he was afraid the BLM protests following the murder of George Floyd would "target White people," according to a friend. In other words, he was operating under the same springboard as Tuberville and his bitter white grievance.
     And Teixeira is far from being an outlier.
     But to get back to Tuberville. When the second journalist asked him what his definition of a white nationalist is, his response was, "a Trump Republican". This was the quiet part that Tuberville said out loud.
     He wasn't denying that white nationalists were in the military. In fact, he was saying they should be free from persecution from Democrats and that, if they are white nationalists, they're automatically Trump voters and Republicans like him.
     In other words, if they're Trump Republicans, they're terrorists and therefore should be treated like some protected species.
     Just to play Devil's Advocate for a minute, I can perfectly understand why so many budding right wing terrorists join the military. Theey get ready, easy access to weapons, free training in how to use them plus they often get put within close proximity of their intended victims. I'll never forget the time I came across a Marine on gate duty at Norfolk Air Base. He told me, in the requisite southern accent, that he joined the Marines "to kill me some Iranians".
     Plus, let's not forget where the greatest homegrown terrorist in US history, Timothy McVeigh, came from. So, it doesn't surprise me that these words were uttered by an old white man who'd made tens of millions of dollars off the dangerous, unpaid labor of young black men.


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