After The Buffalo Attack, It Takes A *Former* House GOP Leader To Demand Leaders Clean Their Own Foul House
[guest post by Dana]
After the horrific attack in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo where a lone gunman opened fire in a grocery store and eleven of the 13 shot were Black, a manifesto alleged to be from the shooter revealed the mindset of hate behind the attack:
A 180-page manifesto allegedly made by Gendron and circulated widely online seemingly outlines the gunman’s racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic beliefs. Among them was a desire to drive all people not of European descent from the U.S., as well as a theory that minorities are replacing the U.S.’s white population. The document seemed to draw inspiration from the gunman who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.
Another document circulating online that appeared to have been written by Gendron sketched out a to-do list for the attack, including cleaning the gun and testing the livestream.
CNN also notes that in their review of the document, the author “attributes the internet for most of his beliefs and describes himself as a fascist, a White supremacist and an anti-Semite”.
Attorney General Merrick Garland later announced that the attack was being investigated by the Justice Dept. “as a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism”.
The New York Times links “replacement theory” to recent mass shootings involving victim minority groups:
Inside a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, a white man with a history of antisemitic internet posts gunned down 11 worshipers, blaming Jews for allowing immigrant “invaders” into the United States.
The next year, another white man, angry over what he called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” opened fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 23 people dead, and later telling the police he had sought to kill Mexicans.
[I]n Buffalo on Saturday, a heavily armed white man is accused of killing 10 people after targeting a supermarket on the city’s predominantly Black east side, writing in a lengthy screed posted online that the shoppers there came from a culture that sought to “ethnically replace my own people.”
Three shootings, three different targets — but all linked by one sprawling, ever-mutating belief now commonly known as replacement theory. At the extremes of American life, replacement theory — the notion that Western elites, sometimes manipulated by Jews, want to “replace” and disempower white Americans — has become an engine of racist terror, helping inspire a wave of mass shootings in recent years and fueling the 2017 right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence.
The report further points out how the replacement theory has gone mainstream:
But replacement theory, once confined to the digital fever swamps of Reddit message boards and semi-obscure white nationalist sites, has gone mainstream. In sometimes more muted forms, the fear it crystallizes — of a future America in which white people are no longer the numerical majority — has become a potent force in conservative media and politics, where the theory has been borrowed and remixed to attract audiences, retweets and small-dollar donations.
I don’t know the exact number of Republicans who embrace the replacement theory or some form of it, but there is a record of those who have espoused the same or very similar views. Anyway, in what has become standard practice, it takes a former GOP House leader to take her party to task and demand the House clean house:
The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) May 16, 2022
Rep. Adam Kinzinger also pointed out the ongoing problem within the Republican Party:
Stefanik Blasted for 'Despicable' Facebook Ads Pushing 'Replacement Theory' https://t.co/RcuzJ37BiE
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) May 14, 2022
The replacement theory in the MAGA faction of the Republican Party is not just confined to elected officials, but it is also being pushed by popular pundits with enormous audiences, such as Tucker Carlson. The New York Times documented 400 times that Carlson “has amplified the notion that Democratic politicians and other assorted elites want to force demographic change through immigration”. Here is a short compilation of his comments:
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) May 16, 2022
Now, I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term replacement – if you suggest the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the third world. But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually. Let’s just say it. That’s true.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with Mitt Romney’s spot-on observation following the attack in Buffalo:
Good and evil in stark relief: the demonic Buffalo shooter and the heroic officer Aaron Salter, Jr. who returned fire, making himself a vulnerable target. Voices of hate inspire acts of horror; honor streams from the better angels of our nature.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 16, 2022
The GOP needs to clean out the rot and needs to do better. However, given that it remains (at least for the time being) Trump’s party, I’m not holding my breath.