Republicans aren’t exactly trying to hide their allegiance to violent ideologies lately. This past weekend, a Facebook user claimed that Stephenville, Texas, officials had made the Confederacy honoring group the Sons of Confederate Veterans leave a Veterans Day parade, and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller — who’s from the town — responded by seeming to suggest a lynching, meaning a public, violent execution. After backlash, Miller mocked his critics and claimed his comment was “just a joke” and “was a reference to a Pace salsa commercial,” as the Texas Tribune puts it. However, the suggestion that his flippant retort of suggesting public hanging was issued in a vacuum is ludicrous. We know what it’s meant historically and means today.
The Facebook user to whom Miller replied wrote, in part:
‘It is a sad day in Stephenville Texas. The Sons of Confederate Veterans were refused by The Veterans Day Parade officials entry in the parade this morning. The entry was sent in over a month ago but when the S.C.V. arrived this morning bright and early with two trailers, plus a cannon displaying a Vietnam Soldier with a United States Flag and also a trailer displaying Confederate flags… The S.C.V. was told to remove the Confederate flags or LEAVE.’
‘Who told them to leave? Get a rope.’
One of the parade organizers — Burton Smith — insisted to the Texas Tribune that the group hadn’t even been told to leave altogether. Instead, he says they were simply asked to remove their Confederate flags, and they apparently did not take kindly to that request. Instead of simply complying, they left.
‘My understanding is that it would be inappropriate for the military to be involved in a parade with the Confederate flag flying.’
Miller’s spokesman Todd Smith “said he did not know anything about Saturday’s comment,” in the Tribune‘s description.
It’s not the first time that Miller has posted something incendiary on social media. For example, in 2015, he advocated for using nuclear weapons against Muslim countries. Alongside a photo of a mushroom cloud and in reference to the World War II-concluding nuclear attacks on two Japanese cities, Miller wrote on social media:
‘Japan has been at peace with the U.S. since August 9, 1945. It’s time we made peace with the Muslim world.’
Also in 2015, he compared refugees to rattlesnakes. Alongside a photo collage including both refugees and the snakes, he wrote:
‘Can you tell me which of these rattlers won’t bite you? Sure some of them won’t, but tell me which ones so we can bring them into the house.’
Can you tell me which of these rattlers won't bite you? Sure some of them won't, but tell me which ones so we can bring them into the house.
More recently, the GOP has already led the way in ignoring the ugly, violent reality of lynching (and racism) in the United States. Not that long ago, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to call the duly proceeding, legally allowed impeachment inquiry a “lynching.”
‘So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!’
Top Republicans like Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham (S.C.) promptly endorsed this proclamation.