What’s that you hear? The sounds of hammering and pounding, sanding and carving.
It’s the Republican Party, hard at work constructing myths and phantoms.
At the Build-a-Myth workshop, the GOP builds the wedges it hopes will boost it back to national power.
Like in Virginia, where governor-elect Glenn Youngkin rode a phantom to victory last week.
The ghost in question is the absolutely hair-raising specter of “critical race theory.” Youngkin said he’d ban it as his first order of business.
It’s a great appeal to fearful white people, though so ill-defined and so academically obscure as to barely even be a thing.
It reminds me of a study that found the people most alarmed about illegal immigration have never met an undocumented individual and rarely deal with any people of color.
I’ll wager that applies to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who by one count used the term “critical race theory” 130 times on his show since May.
Carlson said on his show last week, “I’ve never figured out what ‘critical race theory’ is, to be totally honest, after a year of talking about it.”
This is the latest in a long line of Republican lies and logical fallacies akin to “Joe Biden wants to take away your burgers” because methane from cattle production harms the planet.
What is it? Where is it?
Phillip Bump in The Washington Post: “The boundaries of ‘critical race theory’ have been drawn with intentional fuzziness” to serve as an “umbrella descriptor” for anything that will alarm white voters.
Right now Republican candidates far and wide turn to their consultants and say, “Hand me a wedge.”
Texas has become the nation’s laboratory of wedge politics, with contrived crises constructed around anything having to do with transgender individuals, undocumented people — caravans! invaders! — the myth of rampant illegal voting and so much more.
The voter fraud myth is that which Texas politicos have sought to prosecute for years and without a boot scratch of evidence. It underlies vote suppression efforts contrived to tamp down the voices of people of color. It is the forebear of Donald Trump’s Big Lie.
After big-bellied goons in tactical gear stormed the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose father lost most of his family in the Holocaust, mused:
“Germany was one of the most cultured countries in Europe. One of the most advanced countries. So how could a country of Beethoven, of so many great poets and writers, and Einstein, progress to barbarianism?”
How? Lies, of course. Phantoms. The Jews. The gypsies. Homosexuals. All were threats to the Third Reich and the master race.
Trump – just having unveiled his own social media platform with “Truth” as its trademark — remains the standard-bearer of all liars.
Everything about the man is a myth.
A good businessman? Ask bankruptcy courts.
A friend of the working man? Ask the contractors he stiffed.
A guardian of our borders? Ask legions of undocumented employees he exploited.
A patriot? So filled with love of country as to not lift a finger to protect the U.S. Capitol and Capitol police against rioters.
The only cause in life to which PFC Bone Spurs has been committed is his own.
While we’re talking about myths, let's address the claim that Glenn Youngkin’s win in Virginia was a repudiation of Joe Biden’s policies. Sounds like something from the merry myth-makers.
What happened in Virginia with Youngkin’s win over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe was much like what happened in the 2016 presidential race:
A person with a ton of experience — with accompanying scars and enemies — was beaten by someone with no political track record and “I alone can fix this” bromides. The winner was able to stir just enough swing voters to build on the enthusiasm that dog-whistle signals did for his base.
Yes, Virginia. It worked. The Create-a-Myth Workshop hopes it will work every political season.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.