President Trump and the other old Republican white guys are still in high dudgeon over Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s f-bomb.

The freshman Democrat from Michigan was feeling her oats. She told a victory party that the new Democratic majority would “go in there and impeach the motherf—–.”

“It was entirely predictable that conservatives and Trump supporters would erupt with faux outrage at hearing foul language from a Democrat,” Michelangelo Signorile mused in the Huffington Post. “And Trump―the president who famously spoke of grabbing women ‘by the pussy,’ called Haiti and some African nations ‘shithole countries,’ and who has even publicly hurled f-bombs himself, said Tlaib ‘dishonored her family‘ with the comment.”

Signorile added, “As ridiculous as that is, it also wasn’t so unpredictable that some liberals would clutch their pearls as well.”

Tlaib, who isn’t backing down, has caught flack from certain Democrats. Some say the f-bomb was unworthy of a lawmaker, even a rookie. Others say it played into Trump’s hand, giving him and the GOP ammo to shoot back at Democrats.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi chipped in some needed perspective. She dismissed Tlaib’s remark as “nothing worse than what the president has said.”

Of course, in white-folks-MAGA-land, Tlaib had three strikes against her to start with: She’s a woman of color, a Muslim, and a liberal Democrat.

Trump’s obscenities in word … and deed

Trump continues to match obscene words with obscene deeds.

He’s still pandering non-stop to racism, sexism, misogyny, nativism, militarism, anti-LGBTQ prejudice, and religious intolerance. Almost the whole GOP is still acquiescing in―and the likes of Rep. Steve King are emulating—Trump’s boatload of bigotry.

Oh, Trump and the Republicans protest that they’re not the party of racism. The racists are pretty sure that they are. The GOP started out as the party of “Lincoln and Liberty” but it’s now more like the party of Jeff Davis.

Republicans howling over Tlabi’s remark—and their deafening silence on Trump’s serial vulgarity—remind me of Matthew 23:24, which warns against those who “strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”

The hypocrites of Kentucky

I’ve lived all my 69 years in deepest western Kentucky, a long way from the White House and Capitol Hill. But I see the same Republican hypocrisy pretty regularly, notably from some of Trump’s most loyal supporters: white, conservative, evangelical Christians.

My neck of the Bluegrass State woods is overwhelmingly white, Protestant, and fundamentalist. Not coincidentally, the president pocketed more than 76 percent of my county’s vote―almost 14 percent more that his statewide margin. (A local Democrat who ran for the state House and got clobbered said some voters spurned her on their doorsteps with, “You can’t be a Christian and a Democrat.”)

Hereabouts, a lot of Christians of the Jesus-loves-me-but-He-can’t-stand-you persuasion would never cuss or even “say shit for a carload,” as my grandmother, God rest her soul, said of such sanctimonious sorts.

While these same Christians eschew f-bombs and even mild oaths, and plaster Jesus-is-love stickers on their bumpers, more than a few of them are inclined to apply the old epithets and slurs to non-white folks and snicker at the old racist jokes.

In Matthew 23: 27-28, Jesus likens hypocrites to “whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

The Christian Ever-Trumpers put me in mind of Countee Cullen’s poem, “For a Lady I Know,” and a Mahatma Gandhi musing.

Wrote Cullen:

She even thinks that up in heaven
Her class lies late and snores
While poor black cherubs rise at seven
To do celestial chores

And observed Gandhi,

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

When the Christian Ever-Trumpers get more worked up about the obscene acts of Trump than about a single obscene word, perhaps we can drop the “hypocrite” label. For now, though, it seems completely appropriate.

–30–

Berry Craig
Berry Craig of Mayfield is a professor emeritus of history at West Kentucky Community College in Paducah and an author of five books on the Civil War in Kentucky. The last one, published by the University Press of Kentucky, is Kentucky’s Rebel Press: Pro-Confederate Media in the Civil War. His critically-acclaimed Kentucky Confederates: Secession, Civil War, and the Jackson Purchase, also from the University Press, has been reprinted in paperback.