Will conservatives ever learn?
Representative Steve King (R-IA) has stepped in it again, and the Republican Party needs to finally address the problems posed by the lawmaker. Recently, he did what he does best: Make ridiculous remarks about race.”
Now, we all know that the left has a bad habit of falsely accusing their political opponents of bigotry to score political points. It is one of their most often-used political tactics, and it has been highly effective over the past few decades.
But sometimes, Republicans make it easy for them.
Enter Representative Steve King (R-IA), who recently took his foot, seasoned it with salt and pepper and feasted upon it during an interview with The New York Times. It was the latest in a series of racially-charged comments and actions that the lawmaker has perpetrated over the years. Hopefully, this will be the last straw for the Republican Party, which is in desperate need for a total brand makeover when it comes to issues of race.
Steve King Demonstrates More Racial Ignorance
Earlier this week, The New York Times published an interview with Rep. King in which they discussed illegal immigration, western civilization, and other relevant topics. At one point, he brought up the fact that American culture is based on values that European whites brought to the west. Then, he said:
“White nationalist, white supremacist, western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
Needless to say, the comments ignited a firestorm of criticism from people on both the left and the right. Of course, most of the condemnation came from the left, who immediately used the story to imply that King’s comments represent the attitudes of most conservatives. However, the response from the Republican Party — while still tepid — was far more aggressive than it has been in the past when the lawmaker has engaged in this behavior.
The most scathing criticism from the right came from Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), the lone black Republican senator. In an op-ed written for The Washington Post, Scott explained that King’s remarks, “damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole.”
Then, Scott called out the GOP, pointing out that it is their reticence to speak out against racism that lends credibility to the left’s accusations. “Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said,” he wrote.
King later posted a statement on Twitter rejecting white supremacy and claiming that he does not subscribe to their “evil ideology.”
But it might be too little too late for the representative. If this had been an isolated incident, it might be easy to chalk it up to simple ignorance, or a misstatement of a point. But King has been in this position many times before.
King’s Troubled History
Steve King is known for expressing attitudes on race that are not part of the American mainstream. He has made a series of questionable decisions and statements over the years. In 2013, when discussing the children of illegal immigrants, he made disparaging comments about Hispanics:
“For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that they weigh 130 pounds, and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Last year, the lawmaker met with the Freedom Party, which is a far-right Austrian party that was founded by a member of the Nazi SS. The group’s leader participates in the neo-Nazi movement in Europe. But even worse, King stated that if the group were American, “they would be Republicans.”
Thanks for that, Steve.
Last, but most certainly not least, he decided to endorse Faith Goldy for mayor of Toronto. Who’s Faith Goldy? She’s a well-known white nationalist with ties to other white supremacists like Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor. Definitely someone a non-racist would want to be associated with, right?
GOP’s Silence On Racism
I’ll be blunt. There is absolutely no reason why Steve King should still be in his position. The examples of racist comments that I just gave are only a few of the times he has engaged in this behavior. For years, conservatives have responded to his antics by turning a blind eye or trying to find ways to defend them. Fortunately, many on the right are speaking out against King, and it seems that they are willing to take action.
Several Republican leaders have urged conservatives to support King’s primary opponent in the next election. Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro announced that he donated the maximum amount allowed to the candidate who intends to challenge him for his seat.
But the fact remains that it should not have taken us so long to deal with King. As Tim Scott said, people like King damage the conservative brand, and should not be allowed to continue doing so.
The situation with Steve King is not the only example of conservatives sticking their heads in the sand when it comes to issues involving racism. It seems that whenever a national conversation on race arises, conservatives are quick to stick their heads in the sand and pretend there is no racism.
There are reasons for this — and some of them are valid. Many conservatives are afraid to address the issue of racism because those on the left will just call them racist. They are right. That’s precisely what progressives will do — it’s part of their political strategy.
But there is no good reason why this should prevent conservatives from engaging in the conversation about race. Some on the right seem to believe that anyone who talks about racism is participating in identity politics. Indeed, conservative media has been notorious for promoting black conservatives who are more than happy to claim that racism does not exist.
On the other hand, right-leaning blacks who believe that racism does have an impact are accused of engaging in identity politics even though these individuals are not pushing the idea that racism is the reason why so many minorities are living in poor conditions. What these critics fail to see is that one can talk about racism without pushing a victimhood narrative or claiming that everyone who disagrees with them is racist.
The result is that conservatives have surrendered their part in the discussion on race, and as a result, progressives have been the ones who set the narrative on these issues. By abdicating their seat at the table, conservatives have empowered the far left to skew the conversation in their favor, and the conservative movement — along with minorities — have suffered.