With Rick Santorum, Republicans Offer A Little Racism For Everyone

With Rick Santorum, Republicans Offer A Little Racism For Everyone

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Janet Ybarra
Democrat
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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It’s a new day, so of course, we should only expect to be engulfed by more racism from the Republican Party.

Except, at least today, it’s not Black Americans taking it on the chin. Or even immigrants coming across the southern border.

No, this time, former senator from Pennsylvania and two-time presidential hopeful Rick Santorum chose to actually branch out a bit and attack American Indians in the most vile and ignorant way imaginable. (Quick disclosure: I’m married to an American Indian. My spouse explained since we’ve been together that the better demonym to use is “American Indian,” rather than “Native American.” So that’s what I use here.)

While offering remarks at a gathering of young Republicans earlier this week, Santortum was very clear in asserting that when they first came this continent, it was white people who essentially not only established the United States — but birthed an entire culture — without any help from anyone.

Then, part way through his white nationalist soliloquy, Santortum seemed to realize that he had just had rewritten history by essentially ignoring the American Indians who had, of course, been here first.

But does Santortum acknowledge his mistake, and apologize to American Indians for his slight? No, instead he blunders ahead and just doubles down on what’s quickly become his own unique flavor of racism.

“We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes we have Native Americans but candidly there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture,” Santorum said.

The problem is that Santorum’s statement is as blatantly inaccurate as it is wildly racist.

American Indian influence can be seen and felt throughout our lives and culture today.

Aside from a variety of proper place names, the words chipmunk, moose, raccoon, skunk, moccasin, and potato are a few examples of words which were came from American Indians.

American Indians, of course, have contributed greatly in the areas of art, pottery, beadwork and jewelry.

Without the American Indians, we wouldn’t have some of the agriculture we take for granted today, including crop rotation and irrigation techniques. And, specifically, potatoes, corn, chocolate, and peanuts are all crops the American Indians introduced to white people.

The American Indians also influenced the government of white people. The white settlers were particularly impressed with the “League of the Iroquois,” in which tribes worked peacefully for the common good.

The American colonists would eventually adapt that model as the first attempt at a US government: the Articles of Confederation.

However, you really do have to give Santorum points though.

The Republican Party’s become so relentlessly racist — I mean, it hasn’t been so much as a week since Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and her cohorts had to fold up their “America First Caucus” after it expressly called for respecting “uniquely Anglo-Saxon traditions.”

At least Santorum had the honesty to admit that Republican white nationalism and racism isn’t limited to Black Americans and immigrants coming across the southern border. Apparently, according to Santorum, there’s no limit to the brown and Black people Republicans will revile.

So, I suppose in a perverse sense, the Republicans are a “big tent” party, after all: they now happily offer a flavor of racism to all of their white supporters.

It’s time for the rest of us to consign the Republicans to the ashbin of history.

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