The Seth Meyers show does a pretty good job capturing the unapologetic racism of white supremacist candidates in America
A crucial bit of analysis is missing, however.
You might, like most rational people watching this video, wonder why someone saying “a public hanging, I’d be on the front row” (death penalty) suddenly pivots to throw out anti-abortion platitudes as their best defense against criticism. I mean on the one hand they’re saying lynchings are like their favorite spectator sport, while on the other hand they’re saying not a single life can be ended.
Isn’t this an obvious contradiction?
Alas, historic context explains the white supremacist perspective here, such as why they see no contradiction in carelessly taking lives while telling others lives can’t be taken under any circumstances.
Slavery was an industry of owning humans and birth was the means of production and enrichment for the slave owners. They did not give slaves any rights, let alone choices, when they demanded that children be born as quickly as possible to the detriment and death of those involved.
And then these same owners of humans also claimed to reserve the right to kill humans indiscriminately, murdering whomever they wanted, and brag about their desire for front row seating in any lynchings.
I’ve written about this before, and in particular how Abraham Lincoln described the situation in 1838 America:
Thus went on this process of hanging, from gamblers to negroes, from negroes to white citizens, and from these to strangers; till, dead men were seen literally dangling from the boughs of trees upon every road side; and in numbers almost sufficient, to rival the native Spanish moss of the country, as a drapery of the forest.
Turn, then, to that horror-striking scene at St. Louis. A single victim was only sacrificed there. His story is very short; and is, perhaps, the most highly tragic, of any thing of its length, that has ever been witnessed in real life. A mulatto man, by the name of McIntosh, was seized in the street, dragged to the suburbs of the city, chained to a tree, and actually burned to death; and all within a single hour from the time he had been a freeman, attending to his own business, and at peace with the world.
Such are the effects of mob law; and such are the scenes, becoming more and more frequent in this land so lately famed for love of law and order; and the stories of which, have even now grown too familiar, to attract any thing more, than an idle remark.
And hopefully that gives proper context and the analysis needed for a white supremacist candidate today saying “a public hanging, I’d be on the front row”.
The story gets worse, far worse, however. Several people have pointed out to me that very large silicon valley technology companies are funding these white supremacist platforms.
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) was caught on tape “joking” about her willingness to attend a lynching at a campaign event in November. […] One corporation that apparently was unbothered by Hyde-Smith’s remarks: Google. On Tuesday, Google donated $5000 to Hyde-Smith’s campaign, according to documents filed with the FEC.
This is no joke. Google after a widely-discussed lynching statement threw campaign donations at a white supremacist candidate. One might be tempted to think this is a one-off, a strange coincidence. However, investigators already have pointed out that Google is funding an even more well known white supremacist candidate:
Google previously donated $10,000 to the Making America Prosperous PAC, the leadership PAC of Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX). Making America Prosperous gave Congressman Steve King (R-IA) a cash infusion after other corporate donors abandoned him over his ties to white nationalism.
After other corporate donors had abandoned candidates with a white nationalism (Nazi) platform, and after a candidate made comments in favor of lynchings, Google apparently sent funds to help the white supremacists win.
Recently, as I met with many Chief Security Officers (CSO) to discuss cross-cloud security architectures, I heard several times from different leaders “do not mention Google in this room, they are not an option”. It seemed so harsh. And it came without detail, as If I already should know. I had to learn more, to find out what was driving the hard line eliminating the giant brand.
Turns out it is…ethics.
I had figred it related to the history of lying about privacy controls and failing to monitor staff abusing access to private data. That was bad, for sure, and Google hasn’t done the best job clearing their name. It also isn’t the sort of thing that writes off a brand entirely, as controls evolve and trust returns through operations monitoring.
However, that wasn’t the only issue. People sent me stories about Google continuing to fund campaigns even AFTER widespread condemnation. I mean Steve King…come on. This is an awkward timing issue for a brand claiming to be the most up-to-date source of knowledge.
And it gets worse again. Google now has been caught in further controversy after an attempt to claim ignorance and make a “we do not condone” explanation for their contribution.
Google claimed it made the donation on Nov. 2—the same day Hyde-Smith made her comments. “This contribution was made on November 2nd before Senator Hyde-Smith’s remarks became public on November 11th,” Google representatives said. “While we support candidates who promote pro-growth policies for business and technology, we do not condone these remarks and would not have made such a contribution had we known about them.” If Google’s claim were true, that would mean the Hyde-Smith campaign filed a false report. It would also mean the campaign failed to report on time. Federal law requires than any donations made within 20 days of an election be reported within 48 hours.
“We do not condone” is not “we condemn”. Historians again are needed here, because context helps explain what’s really going on.
Mississippi had the highest rate of lynchings of African Americans, which of course was linked inexorably to economics.
Once black were given their freedom, many people felt that the freed blacks were getting away with too much freedom and felt they needed to be controlled. Mississippi had the highest lynchings from 1882-1968 with 581.
As you can see in the quoted writings of Lincoln above, citing mob law before the civil war, white supremacist candidates always have and always are positioning lynchings as “pro-growth policies for business and technology”. It is more plainly described here:
March 1892, a white mob lynched three black men — Thomas Moss, Will Stewart and Calvin McDowell — and left their mangled bodies in a field a mile north of downtown Memphis….their crime was their temerity. They dared to challenge white businessmen accustomed to having a monopoly on economic activity.
A Google inability to straightforwardly condemn such a statement about public hangings (see the redemption train video above), while further endorsing white nationalists as being pro-business and technology…should be more in the news. At least I know a wide group of CSOs are monitoring the situation, as a function of deciding how and when to trust a cloud service provider.