Same old dangerous rhetoric

If you don’t know history, you might think Rep. Louie Gohmert was just spewing harmless crap on Wednesday when he accused immigrants of coming into this country as sexual predators looking for white women to ravish.

While he was spewing crap, it was the same crap that white people spewed as an excuse to torture and kill innocent African-American men on lynching trees and lamp posts from the 1880 to the 1940s in this country.

More than 5,000 African-Americans were slaughtered during this killing spree, very often falsely accused of raping — or wanting to rape — white women.

Emmett Till before and after he was "punished" for speaking to a white woman in Jim Crow Mississippi.

Emmett Till before and after he was “punished” for speaking to a white woman in Jim Crow Mississippi.

On Aug. 24, 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was visiting relatives in Money, Miss. He was from Chicago, so he was unfamiliar withe he rules black men and boys were forced to live under in the Jim Crow South.

He and some cousins went into a store to buy some gum after a long day picking cotton, and it is believed Till had the audacity to flirt with or whistle at the store owner’s wife. No one knows for certain what the offense was, but it was punishable by death.

Three days later, a group of angry white men went to the house where young Emmett was staying, dragged him out and drove away with him.

He was beaten beyond recognition, shot in the head, tied with barbed wire and thrown in the Tallahatchie River. When his body was pulled out of the river three days later, the only way his relatives could identify him was by the signet ring his mother had given him before he left Chicago.

The Rev. James Cone, in his book The Cross and the Lynching Tree,”  writes at length about the fear instilled in African-Americans by the lynching tree. You didn’t have to be related to anyone who was lynched, you only had to know how people were dragged from their homes, tortured — beaten, castrated, raised and lowered over a fire to prolong their suffering and then, finally, killed.

White people came out by the thousands to watch the terror because it was entertainment to see another human being tortured and killed. They took body parts as souvenirs. They had their pictures taken next to the corpse as it hung from the lynching tree. They bought post cards and sent them to family and friends.

Politicians ignored the horrors — in fact, some took part in the carnage. Still, the description of the perpetrators was always “persons unknown.”

The excuse more often than not was that black men were sexual predators and the whites were “protecting” their women.

So here, Rep. Gohmert accuses the president — an African-American man — of not protecting women from Latino men, using the same rhetoric that was used as an excuse for the terrorizing of African-Americans for generations.

Gohmert deserves to be driven out of Washington. He should be forced to hear the stories of people who were lynched, be forced to see the photos of Emmett Till’s mutilated body. And there are photos because Till’s mother insisted on an open casket so the world could see what had been done to her precious son.

This is not idle chatter Gohmert is spewing; it is terrorist rhetoric. He is deliberately inciting fear and anger and promoting the same thing that kept African-Americans subjugated in fear for 400 years in America.

I don’t support the death penalty for anyone, not even for hate-filled people like Gohmert. However, we must call him out on this. I planned to send him a lengthy e-mail, but he only accepts e-mails from his Texas First District constituents.

Gohmert is a coward in the first degree, and we need to let him know that’s what we think.

You can message him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Louie-Gohmert/50375006903.

Oh, and take a look at the photo on the page of Louie with an African-American child. Apparently, he is completely unaware of the irony.

 

 

 

 

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