From: Jim Allen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: 06/18/13 10:59 PM
To: [Doug Ibendahl]
Subject: 13th Congressional District reply
Rodney Davis will win and the love child of the D.N.C. will be back in Shitcago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires.
Yup, that’s the actual first line of an email about Erika Harold, a Republican mounting a primary challenge — from the Montgomery County’s Republican party chairman, Jim Allen. You can find the complete text here. PSA: it doesn’t get any better from its opening. One more choice little number — it seems that Ms. Harold is not just someone born out of wedlock and all that, she is, to Mr. Allen, something else:
Now, miss queen is being used like a street walker and her pimps are the DEMOCRAT PARTY and RINO REPUBLICANS…These pimps want something they can’t get,,, the seat held by a conservative REPUBLICAN
Ladies and Gentlemen: your modern GOP. Treasure it.
I got just two thoughts to add to a message that I think speaks just fine for itself.
First, there is one detail you should know: Allen actually sent his email to a journalist, Doug Ibendahl, the editor of Republican News Watch, the site linked above.
Now, in general (and even before the NSA revelations) it’s a good idea to assume any message on which you press “send” is essentially a public utterance. But to write to a ink-stained wretch?
Even if, to steal Molly Ivins’ immortal phrase, you are in fact so dumb they have to water you twice a day, c’mon! You have to know you’ve just shouted whatever it is from the rooftops. If Allen represents the best Montgomery County Republicans have to offer, then…
…hell, fill in your own disaster du jour.
The only other thing I have to say follows from the above. I’m guessing that in fact Mr. Allen can tie his own shoes, navigate a knife and fork and all that. He’s stupid — mind numbingly, catastrophically moronic — but only in a narrow way. Whatever internal circuit that might have suggested to him that the message above might not be a wise thing to say has been deactivated. And that’s really the issue, at least in a political sense.
Here’s the thing: obviously what Allen wrote is hateful, racist, scummy, craptastic…I’m wishing now I knew one of those languages whose vocabulary of invective was much richer than my own. (Yiddish! I wish I really had Yiddish in my bones. See, e.g. this one — relevant to the need to vet those who may speak for your team: Dos hitl iz gut nor der kop iz tsu kleyn — The hat is fine but the head is too small.) But the truly amazing thing to me is not that he thought such vile thoughts, but that he was willing to say so in a very public way.
This is what makes this little glimpse of nastiness something more than just an insight into one crappy excuse for a human being. That Allen didn’t have enough sense to realize that what he was saying should have been un-sayable tells you that the environment in which he lives and breathes does not view such sentiments as out of bounds. Calling a young African American woman taking part in the political process a bastard and a whore is OK where Allen lives…
…and, of course, his home is inside the Republican party.
Now, disclaimer: I’m not suggesting, for example, that John McCain or Mitt Romney or Mitch McConnell or John Boehner or whoever are sitting behind their desks saying to themselves daily that Barack Obama as a N*clang!, or Nancy Pelosi as a pimp or whatever.
But they and others are leaders of a party that — with seemingly growing intensity since 2008 — has tolerated within its ranks the use of grotesque racial and sexist crap that garners, most often, only the weakest of pro-forma rebuke coming from the actual voices that could shape the culture of the party. If party NCOs (and Allen’s hardly the first) feel comfortable enough to spout as above, it’s in large measure because the Republican party — their own tribe — hasn’t made it clear that there is no place for such words and such beliefs in the party of Lincoln.
Shorter: if you want people who don’t look exactly like you to think that you don’t hate them, you have to make sure your folks don’t say out loud how much they, in fact, do despise the other.
Hence how much this one, brief email tells you why the current incarnation of the Republican Party must, and likely will, immolate itself. For the rest of the country? We just have to hope is that the GOP does not manage its exit by murder-suicide.
Factio Grandaeva Delenda Est.
*It’s important to note one more thing: for all of Allen’s racial code-talking, Erika Harold is, as reported here, about as 21st century American as it’s possible to imagine: “Harold’s heritage is complex—her mother is African American and Native American while her father is Greek, German, and English.”
That comprehensively rich heritage — to me, at least — makes Allen’s zeroing in on Harold value as quota-bait for “minority hires” even more grotesque, if that were possible. I’m betting I’m not the only one hearing the “one drop” dog whistle.
Image: Lavinia Fontana, Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene, 1581.