More Racism Against Trayvon Martin (and 11 Million Immigrants): A Radical Right Republican Doubles Down
By Roger Algase

When I posted my July 17 blogging about the racial profiling connection between the events leading to Trayvon Martin's death and the debate over immigration reform, as well as my July 18 blogging discussing the July 9 joint editorial by William Kristol of the Weekly Standard and Rich Lowry of the National Review urging Congress to kill the Senate's CIR bill (S.744), I had not yet seen Rich Lowry's July 17 POLITICO article about the Zimmerman trial: Conversation about Race? Get real

But after reading Lowry's July 17 article, I am struck by how much it bears out my contention that the same kind of racial animosity which, in the opinion of millions of Americans, led George Zimmerman to get out of his car, is also very much at work in the zeal of America's right wing pundits and politicians to kill CIR.

Entirely aside from his slanted version of the facts leading to Trayvon Martin's death, which are beyond the scope of this blog, Lowry goes out of his way to be as offensive as possible toward African-Americans: Here are some excerpts:

"Let's say the trial was about race in America or about whether black men can walk home from the store or any other insipid, racially charged nonsense to fill the air or the column inches."...

"Let's not talk about the 90 per cent of black murder victims killed by other blacks."...

"Let's talk about guns, except the guns that black men use to shoot other black men."...

"In short, let's take a terrible event and make it a festival for all our ideological and racial ax-grinding..."

To say that the above comments and other similar ones in his article show a certain insensitivity toward the concerns of people of color would be a serious understatement. Their tone and content are clearly calculated to insult and provoke African-Americans, and by extension all minorities.

And one does not have to look very hard to find the same kind of sneering, supercilious, and openly hostile tone in the comments about immigrants mentioned in Lowry's and Kristol's above joint editorial Kill the Bill.

In this editorial Kristol and Lowry urge Congress, not just to kill CIR, but to drive a stake through its heart, as if S.744 were not merely a legislative proposal, but a vampire.

Even in a Washington given to extreme hyperbole, this is extraordinarily strong language. Why?

Is S.744 intended to drain America's blood? Possibly one might think so, if the $46.3 billion which the bill seeks to throw down the drain in the name of border security is regarded as blood - it is certainly treasure, to be sure.

But this is clearly not what Kristol and Lowry had in mind when they used the "vampire" image, Neither of these two writers is exactly known for hostility toward the military.

Kristol, for example, recently denounced two Tea Party backed Republican Senators, Ted Cruz (TX) and Rand Paul (KY) as "anti-military" for supporting a bill by Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) to combat sexual assault (POLITICO, July 17).

The images that come to mind when any reference is made to vampires are disturbing. Did Lowry and Kristol mean to suggest that the up to 11 million immigrants who would be legalized by the Senate CIR bill are draining blood from America?

These immigrants are constantly being attacked by the radical right for allegedly draining away money and social services. The comparison with blood would not be so far fetched, from this distorted, if not openly racist, perspective.

But, even indirectly or inadvertently, to connect any group of people with the idea of draining blood from any society is a highly unfortunate choice of words, to say the very least.

Nor does comparing an immigration reform bill to vampires indicate a friendly or open attitude toward the millions of immigrants, mainly of color, whom the bill is intended to help.

Kristol and Lowry also argue that there is no urgency in passing immigration reform. As a young Harvard Law School graduate and lawyer almost 50 years ago, I worked for a small New York civil rights law firm (which, incidentally, included Martin Luther King Jr. among its clients).

I remember quite well how, at that time, the supporters of racial segregation were arguing that there was no rush to pass civil rights laws, just as anti-immigrant zealots are contending that comprehensive immigration reform is not needed now.

Regarding not only Trayvon Martin, but also 11 million immigrants hoping to come out of the shadows of fear and despair, Rich Lowry, and other Radical Right Republicans like him, are singing an off-key tune with quite a few sour, racially tinged, notes.