A White Caucus’ Tin Ear

Terry H. Schwadron

April 19, 2021

You had to check twice that it wasn’t a Saturday Night Live skit.

The most vocal of conservative House Republicans are proposing an “America First” caucus to promote policies and legislation that reflects “uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions” — unless they already have walked away from such a plan. The platform, heavy on anti-immigration but still being developed would promote “a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and advocate for infrastructure with esthetic value that “befits the progeny of European architecture,” via a document making the rounds, Punchbowl News reported. “The America First Caucus (AFC) exists to promote Congressional policies that are to the long-term benefit of the American nation,” explains a caucus document.

The names of its organizers may be a hint here: Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, the Jewish-space-lasers-cause-forest fires proponent, and Paul Gosar of Arizona, both supporters of the Trump election steal claims, with the ever-vocal Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Rep. Matt Gaetz, under federal investigation for a role in a sex ring with underaged girls, also joining in. All are big supporters of all-things-Trump, election steal, guns, and an agenda picky about who should be an American.

The timing couldn’t be better: We’re looking at a jury decision in Minnesota this week over police killing of George Floyd that is bound to explode in street violence, we have heightened racial tensions over police shootings and abusive policing traffic stops, we have a pandemic striking disproportionately at Black and Brown neighborhoods, unceasing problems in housing, education, income and job training. Race looms over nominations, calls for reparations, the fears underpinning the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

So, naturally, the right solution is a WASP Caucus in the House.

Objectives

Gohmert told reporters the caucus aims “to get our own country in order, so it’s sustainable,” and denied that the America First Caucus involves race. “It’s not returning to Anglo-Saxon tradition. It’s not supposed to be about race at all. We’re stronger, you know, diversified. But there’s some things that helped make us strong.”

The formal announcement is pending.

Fortunately, the proposal drew immediate denunciations from Republicans and Democrats alike, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who called it a “nativist dog whistle” and Rep. Liz Cheney, who tweeted, “Racism, nativism, and anti-Semitism are evil.” Republicans, she tweeted, “believe in equal opportunity, freedom, and justice for all.”

Generally, Democrats disparaged the group as the “White Supremacist Caucus,” with Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said that he served in the military to “defend your right to say stupid stuff.” Nevertheless, he added, “Take your nativist crap and shove it.”

So, naturally, again, Greene on Saturday tried to distance herself from the outline document, describing it as “a staff level draft proposal from an outside group” and she claimed she had not read it. She blasted the media for “taking something out of context,” but did not specify to which policies in the document she objected. However, Greene did not deny plans to start an “America First Caucus” and ended a lengthy Twitter thread by saying she supported former president Donald Trump’s “America First agenda.” Gosar similarly demurred.

As for what the caucus will support, a document promises limits on immigration and to support infrastructure that “that reflects the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture.”

What does fixing a bridge or potholes or investing in solar energy with White sensitivity even look like? Maybe they would use mayonnaise, Jello mold and Yule logs.

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www.terryschwadron.wordpress.com

Journalist, musician, community volunteer