Is This Dumpster Fire of a Week a Sign of Things to Come?
Author: John Casey
I’m not much of a basketball fan, but I do know that the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving is the NBA’s equivalent of Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. Irving shared a link on Twitter (we’ll get to that in a minute) to an anti-Semitic film, deleted it, didn’t apologize for doing it, wouldn’t say the Holocaust happened, and dribbled around the question of whether he was anti-Semitic.
I’m rarely on Twitter, mainly because I’m not very opinionated, but I’ve been reading all the news about racist dogma that has skyrocketed once Elon Musk inherited the soon-to-be equivalent of former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social. Just to give you an idea of how quickly bigotry spread, in the 12 hours after Musk signed on the dotted line, researchers from Montclair State University found an “immediate, visible, and measurable spike.” That included significant vitriol about race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, such as the n word, the k word, and the f word.
If you’re a person of color, Jewish, or queer, you are persona non grata in the new era of Musk’s “hellscape.” He says it won’t be, but it will. And if you’re a drag queen whose sole purpose is to spread enjoyment as opposed to spreading hateful tweets, you are target number 2 (runner-up to democracy) for the Proud Boys and their ilk, who will storm your reading hours, and even firebomb your local doughnut shop. The Donut Hole in Tulsa, Okla., was attacked simply because, as part of its grand opening, it hosted an art installation featuring drag queens.
And Paul Pelosi, who has been married to his wife, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, for 49 years, was attacked in the middle of the night by a MAGA conspiracy theory addict, who repeatedly screamed that haunting phrase from January 6, “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy,” while the criminal bludgeoned her husband with a hammer. Alarmingly, no one was there to protect Pelosi, and no one was paying attention to the home when the CCTV picked up the assailant breaking in.
Americans aren’t paying attention either. This was a week of ugly for America, as hate, hell, and hammers rained down on the country like the thrashing and pounding of a ruinous softball-size hailstorm. Yet, while all this was happening, Republicans, and more dangerously, those who support the big lie and racism, were rising in the polls the week before the midterms. The simultaneous twin trajectory of animosity and autocracy. And it’s all going to get much worse.
Why wouldn’t it? Anti-Semitism is shockingly on the rise, so much so that this week the FBI warned of credible threats to synagogues in New Jersey. West, or Ye, and Irving are just the tip of the iceberg, the most prominent and vocal, but there is a burgeoning cesspool underneath them.
Twitter’s race to darkness sped up late this week when Musk announced the layoffs of over 3,000 employees. The tempest of rancid language during the last week has overwhelmed Twitter’s storm surge barrier, flooding feeds with filth. It won’t just disappear. Soon it will be a competitor to Truth Social as advertisers, partners and tweeters flee, leaving a cesspool behind. Musk and Trump battling for the feeds of bottom-feeders. With all the layoffs, who will be standing guard to keep the social media giant once known as Twitter from becoming a hellscape?
And if the midterm polls showing Republicans taking over the House and possibly the Senate are a harbinger, who will stand guard over decency and democracy? Kevin McCarthy becoming speaker, forced to fill the leadership ranks with the far-right posse of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Paul Gosar to lock down his ascension. His deal with the devil to be the one banging the gavel, pounding democracy in the head as a cruel irony to the departing speaker and her husband.
The fact that these lunatics will have a larger, more national voice will only goad the lunatic behavior of hate groups. Rampant divisiveness, racist tweets, violent attacks on Democratic spouses, and firebombs at doughnut shops will look like child’s play.
If we thought this week was bad, get ready for what’s about to come next week. Our democracy, our decency, and our decorum will be put through a paper shredder. Armed Republicans will ominously watch over voting stations and ballot boxes.
A warped federal judge in Arizona legalized these armed groups. Further, we will see vicious threats made to Black and brown voters, some waiting in eight-hour-long lines to vote without food or water — handing that out has been ruled illegal in some parts. We will be lucky if prospective Democratic voters don’t pass out from dehydration or, worse, aren’t maimed or killed.
Taking a page from the Trump playbook of 2020, lawsuits will fill up courts around the country in an attempt to invalidate elections, invalidate including early-voting ballots, and invalidate results. Republicans will try to show again — 60 judges ruled against them in 2020 — that only votes on Election Day should count, that corruption was rampant, that machines were matched with foreign countries, that poll workers cheated, and that dead people voted. Throwing the proverbial feces on the wall to see what sticks. Nothing will, but the courts won’t have the last word. Big lie advocates will take over secretary of state and legislative seats in some states and seek to invalidate races that Democrats won.
Susceptible Americans will be confused by all the noise Republicans will make between Election Day and when the time comes that all the votes are counted and races are called — which will take days and not hours. In this election result abyss, Republicans will seek to stoke tyranny. They will perpetrate the lie that elections should be decided on Election Day. Angry groups, more so than they were in the days following the 2020 election, will storm vote-counting facilities. White groups banging on the doors of Black vote counters. Voting precincts as hellscapes.
It will be ugly, get uglier, and won’t end well. America is racing into a deep hole where anti-Semitic language becomes commonplace, where anti-LGBTQ+ violence is more pronounced, and where death and destruction take place at the hammering hands of haters. What will become of democracy in America? What will become of decency in America? What will become of acceptance in America? What will prevent America from turning into a hellscape?
John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate.
Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, Equal Pride.
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: John Casey