The Arizona GOP Is What Racism Looks Like Out Loud.

“I can’t even tell something true unless it has a punchline behind it. You guys aren’t ready. You’re not ready for this. You don’t know how to survive yourselves. Black people, we are the only ones who know how to survive this…you need us. You need our eyes to save you from yourselves…I don’t mean to put this on the whites but I’ve been Black a long time, I’ve noticed a pattern.”

Dave Chappelle, SNL Monologue, November 7th, 2020

For a while I’ve been working on and re-editing an essay entitled “White America: It’s White Supremacy or Democracy. Choose.” In it I discuss white supremacy, America’s inability to hold whites accountable and how racist lies disguised as “economic anxiety” are used to embolden white supremacist groups to turn to violence whenever they feel threatened by any semblance of success or progression from nonwhites in America. This constant editing has been the result of more examples being provided in real time: five-dozen-plus failed attempts in court to disqualify Black and Brown votes after the election, an insurrection attempt after the Georgia election, and the current onslaught of voter suppression bills being shoved through many states as you read this. Now, seven months after an election ruled on by Trump-appointed judges and certified by Republican-led states, the Arizona GOP has given $150,000 of taxpayer money to an unqualified, incompetent “auditing firm” with zero auditing history to ONLY recount votes in the Arizona county with the largest number of Black and Brown voters, all while using “volunteer” ballot checkers like former politicians who participated in the January 6th riot who are also ON THE BALLOTS being “checked.” There’s no other way to say this: The Arizona GOP has chosen white supremacy over democracy. Full stop.

            None of this is about the 2020 election. This national Republican flood of voter suppression laws after the most secure election in history is about more than a racist charlatan with a shitty spray tan. This has always been about something more critical to the current iteration of the Arizona GOP. The Arizona GOP values whiteness being in power more than it does democracy. There was no fraud and this has been proven. This is not debate, it is fact. Yet a recent poll shows 70% of Republicans refusing to admit the election was legitimate, because, like the Arizona GOP, in their minds Black and Brown voters aren’t supposed to be equal to their own. But white supremacy doesn’t operate on facts, its sole mission is to survive and maintain the imbalances of power in place throughout our society.

            History shows us that three tools of white supremacy and oppression are denial/lies, violence, and legislation; most times they are used in tandem. White people lying to hide their own racism or maintain power is a weapon that has terrorized people of color and Black people in particular for centuries in America. White lies have been the catalyst to anti-Black laws and violence that burned Black cities to the ground, left charred and deformed Black bodies swinging from trees, and, as of recently, attempt an insurrection. Jealousy (or fear) of Black progress triggered the Tulsa Race Riots a hundred years ago next month. Lies lead to the lynching of Emmitt Till and countless others. In 2021, the Arizona Republican Party is using the election lie and fear of Black and Brown voting to force taxpayers to finance a sham in a desperate attempt to invalidate Black and Brown votes in Maricopa County. This is what white supremacy looks like in action: mediocre, unqualified white people hired by other white people in positions of power to secretly count official ballots cast where people of color live while expecting everyone to believe whatever they say about votes without question, because (in their minds) their whiteness alone gives them authority to do so.

            This blatant, racist waste of time and misuse of taxpayer funds cannot go without Arizona Republicans and others across this nation being held accountable at the polls, in their pockets, and in the case of those who championed the lies and assisted in the insurrection attempt, prison time. That’s not “political payback”, it’s called justice and accountability…we’re just not used to seeing it often when it involves racism in this nation. You don’t survive chattel slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and countless other battles attached to being Black in America without recognizing when someone is trying to harm you. Arizona Republicans have made clear who they are and what they stand for and unless you find yourself in a position to benefit from racism, there is no possible way you can call what is happening in Phoenix normal or democratic. If you believe in democracy, we have a responsibility to stand up to Arizona Republicans and remind the Arizona Republican Party and the GOP as a whole that ALL the people—not just white ones—have equal and final say in our elections, and this ongoing betrayal to democracy must have severe consequences.

Because accountability matters, the same way democracy is supposed to.

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