It was a news story that did, once again, underscore the issue of just how dreadfully insecure some white men are in the nation. There is just no way to read the recent story and not shake one’s head in amazement. I would snicker if the insurrection on January 6th had not been deadly, or so damaging to our democracy. However one reacts to the news this week about those arrested one thing is most clear. It is just really sad how some people think, and then act out in such dangerous ways.
Political scientist Robert Pape undertook a study which was published Tuesday in The Washington Post that shows data supports most of the people arrested in the assault on the nation’s capitol harbored more than just ‘outrage’ over the last election. The data shows they came from places that were rampant with fears that the rights of minorities and immigrants were crowding out the rights of white people. (Meanwhile, the majority of our citizenry knows full well that white males have it made in the nation.)
When Pape mined down into the data he found the idea of the Great Replacement, which is an absurd far right-wing lunacy theory that minorities and immigrants are seeking to take over the country, actually has a hold on some whites in this nation. How does a segment of the country become so obsessed with racial paranoia that they attack our capitol?
When we mix less-educated people with a continuous daily blend of disinformation we get the outcome that we saw play out on our televisions early this year.
From Fox News in the morning, right-wing AM radio talk shows throughout the day, and then a bevy of equally appalling hosts on their favorite programming at night it is not hard to understand how some are easily led astray. Add in the successful two-term presidency of ever-popular Barack Obama and how the Republican Party took full advantage of playing to and using the pliable and gullible base, and we wind up with some whites thinking their place of political prominence is on the decline.
Never mind that this base of white voters is continuously duped into working against their own interests. From taxes to health care to climate change this base rejects facts to align with their tribe they have been told will protect them. But all those issues pale in comparison, they are repeatedly told, to the idea that immigrants or people of color are going to make it in life better than they will.
Never mind that the work ethic is stronger and family binds tighter among those immigrants coming across the border than the fractured families that too many white families create. They will not consider that too many of the under-educated whites are not properly trained with skills for the 21st century. I suspect many of them know deep down they can’t even compete with energetic, determined, impassioned immigrants. Someone who will walk and find a way to the southern border has far more gumption than a guy in Ohio that chooses to just grouse about ‘goods made in China’.
While there is no doubt that the violence and death that resulted in the insurrection on January 6th was in large part the result of Donald Trump’s dog whistles, it needs to be better understood the tinder box that is much in evidence with right-wing elements in the nation. Pape’s research is a great service to that end.
And so it goes.