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Zirpoli: Mostly white men (and one woman) behaving badly | COMMENTARY

With the recent murder of Asian Americans in Georgia, you would think the legislature there would be busy taking steps to stop hate crimes against Asian Americans. Instead, Republicans who control the legislative majority in Georgia were busy passing laws making it more difficult for their citizens to vote. They even made it illegal to give water to anyone waiting in line to vote. This resulted in a fun Facebook post: “I was thirsty and you gave me drink. (Matthew 25:35) Offer not valid in Georgia.”

Appropriately, the voter suppression bill was signed by Georgia’s white male governor surrounded by six other white male legislators directly under the portrait of a slave plantation. No females or people of color. Just white men behaving badly.

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A study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found that in 2020 violence against Asian Americans increased by 150 percent from the previous year in 16 of America’s largest cities.

Six months ago, Congress passed a resolution condemning violence against Asian Americans. Interestingly, 164 Republicans voted against the resolution fearing that it was an attack on Donald Trump and his anti-Asian rhetoric. You know, when a resolution condemning violence against a minority group reminds you of your favorite politician, you might want to question your support of that politician.

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Kevin McCarthy, Republican minority leader in the House, said, “At the heart of this resolution is the absurd notion that referring to the virus as a Wuhan virus or the China virus is the same as contributing to violence against Asian Americans, which I will tell you no one on this side of the aisle supports.”

Two things. First, if you are against violence towards Asian Americans, voting for a resolution condemning violence against Asian Americans should not be difficult. Second, McCarthy is either naive or dishonest by denying the relationship between Trump’s anti-Asian comments and the increase in violence against Asian Americans.

If the leader of your political party says racist things that need to be defended, you might want to question your affiliation with said party unless you, too, are a racist. Some may also want to question why they belong to a party supported by the KKK.

Making it more difficult for people to vote is the GOP’s only response to losing the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections.  But it must be sad to be a member of a political party whose hold on power is dependent on actions that limit voting, the heart of any democracy, and overturning elections. Ironic, isn’t it, that they claim constitutional protection from restrictions on gun ownership, but not on voting. Go figure.

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After Republicans in Texas pushed through a similar voter suppression bill, American Airlines, based in Texas, slammed their efforts. In response, Texas Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick stated, “Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy. Who knew that suppressing democracy was a new Republican “value.”

Speaking of men behaving badly, Robert Aaron Long, a 21-year old charged with the murders of 8 people in Georgia, mostly Asian American women, told police that he killed the women because they were “temptations” he wanted to “eliminate.” Author Jessica Valenti wondered, “How many women have to die for men’s sexual issues?” For Long, his regressive views of sexuality “stem from his religious upbringing” and “mirror traditional conservative evangelical Christian teachings about sex” writes Valenti. More examples of the perversion of Christianity by the right.

Former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell wanted to make sure women had an equal opportunity to behave badly last week. She is in court defending herself from spreading false allegations about the 2020 presidential election for which there is no evidence. She is being sued for defamation after going on Fox News and stating that Dominion Voting Systems set up their voting machines to favor Joe Biden. Dominion is suing Powell, Fox News, and others for making false allegations about their company.

Powell’s defense is interesting. She stated that since her allegations were “wild,” “outlandish,” “inherently improbable,” and “impossible,” no reasonable person — she is talking to you, Fox viewers — would have taken her seriously. So you see, it’s not her fault that she made false allegations about the election. It’s those Fox News viewers’ fault for believing her “outlandish” allegations.

It is interesting to hear the former Trump attorney validate the legitimacy of Biden’s election and label talk about election fraud as “inherently improbable.” Yet, it seems that Powell clearly overestimated the intelligence of her client’s supporters. Apparently, they will believe anything.

Tom Zirpoli is the program coordinator of the Human Services Management graduate program at McDaniel College. He writes from Westminster and his column appears on Wednesdays. Email him at tzirpoli@mcdaniel.edu.

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