Biden Won, But So Did White Supremacy

Yes, President Trump is finally out of office, but with 72 million Americans showing up to vote for him after four years, who is really the winner of the 2020 election? Anna and Aftyn look past the presidential victory, highlighting the role of white women in maintaining white supremacy at the ballot box this cycle.

“White Women’s Support for Trump Remains High in 2020 Election”

The 53 percent issue

AOC Interview in NY Times

FULL PODCAST available on Apple Podcasts, and wherever else you like to listen.

Democrats Need to Deliver for Young People

“If the Democratic Party wants to win over the loyalty of young people it had better act right now and in a pretty big way.”- Jonathan Smucker drops fire talking about the Democratic Party’s future on The Intercept’s #Deconstructed podcast.

Full Podcast.

Rev. Dr. Barber: Making COVID More About People

Rev. Dr. William Barber on Pete Buttigieg’s The Deciding Decade talking about how we need to make #COVID19 less about numbers and more about people.

Listen to the full podcast here.

A Confederate General’s Descendant on Reckoning with Monuments

We hear “Erasing history” and “destroying our heritage” but what does one family member raised in the South and great-grandson of a revered Confederate General think about the removal of a monument from the public square? Louis Rice joins to discuss.

FULL PODCAST available on Apple Podcasts here, and wherever else you like to listen here.

OP-ED: GOP REP. MIKE SPARKS Distorts MLK’s Words to Justify A Racist, Oppressive Agenda

Mike Sparks is facing an extremely difficult election this cycle.  Brandon Thomas is a young, black man with a progressive platform and widespread support, particularly among young people. He’s energetic and has put in the work to make personal connections with a huge swath of the district’s electorate.

Sparks, by contrast, has spent much of his time defending the bust of KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forest in the state’s capital and claiming to the Tennessee Holler that he doesn’t know why the civil war was fought.

He even took some time out of this busy schedule to pen an Op-Ed for the Murfreesboro Voice in defense of Trump loving Ex-Democrat John DeBerry.

In it, he claims that DeBerry is some kind of victim for having been ousted from the Democratic ticket over his litany of absurd statements and positions. This is, of course, absurd, as the Democratic Party is a political organization with every right to decide not to lend its apparatus to a candidate who does not fit with their values. Unlike Sparks’ Republican Party, which seems to jump frantically from one ideology to another in pursuit of power, the Democrats seem to have at least some standards.

I don’t find myself overly disturbed by Sparks’ defense of DeBerry, however. This is run-of-the-mill culture war nonsense that Republicans always gin up a month or so before an election to drive out their base. It’s ridiculous, but it comes with the territory. I do take issue with Sparks’ appropriation of the language of resistance, which he does so brazenly that I can only assume that he is as ignorant of its context as he is of our own state’s Confederate history.

The absurdity begins as he mentions the iconic anti-fascist poem by German pastor Martin Niemoller, “First They Came…” Sparks doesn’t actually quote any lines from the poem, likely because the very first line of the poem’s most famous form is “first they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out- because I was not a socialist.”

This isn’t a poem about a wealthy, longtime state representative being removed from his party for supporting a fascist president. It’s about the ways in which authoritarian governments divide their population and attack those in the political, religious, and racial minorities while assuring all others that they’re safe as part of the majority.

It’s a critique of the “Us versus Them” mentality.

Does this sound familiar? One example might be an authoritarian president building a campaign on the claim that a large portion of Mexican immigrants are dangerous criminals, or banning a religious minority from entering the country.

Another example could be a clownish Governor and entrenched supermajority passing laws that target protestors and strip them of their voting rights for the crime of daring to speak up in defense of black life. I wonder what Mike Sparks would have to say about events like that?

It’s the excerpt from Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which is the most egregious, however. Unlike the poem, of which one could give Sparks the benefit of assuming ignorance, he adamantly claims to have read this document, and yet his understanding of it seems to be on the level of someone who skimmed Dr. King’s work for quotes that could be construed to agree with him.

He goes with the oft-quoted warning that “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” This is a remarkably convenient line for Sparks, and is so removed from its context as to be nearly meaningless. However, to find this line, he was forced to sift through a mountain of criticism for laws that look identical to the anti-protest bill that he just voted for!

For an obvious example, Dr. King says that “there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.”

This speaks to a greater tendency among the right to quote Dr. King while categorically refusing his key claim that all actions must be viewed within the context which has given rise to them. This is what Dr. King meant when he said that “riots are the language of the unheard,” and it is absolutely central to his brilliant understanding of opposition to hierarchy and oppression.

While Brandon Thomas travels the district meeting constituents and accepting endorsements from workers unions and activist groups, Mike Sparks spends his time defending the racist authoritarians of the past like Nathan Bedford Forest, and the racist authoritarians of today like Donald Trump.

He is a voice for the powerful against the powerless, an advocate for order at the expense of justice.

He is what Dr. King would call “the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action.’”

No man who votes to protect a bust honoring a KKK Grand Wizard or strip voting rights from peaceful protestors for “camping” should be using the words of Dr. King or Pastor Niemoller. We cannot allow the defenders of power and authoritarianism to co-opt the language of true, profound resistance to such horrors.

We should learn from our history, so that men like Mike Sparks aren’t able to distort it for their own agenda.

 

Brendon Donoho is a student at MTSU, president of MTSU Young Democratic Socialists of America, and a resident of Rutherford County

Bradshaw on The Injustice of Breonna Taylor’s Case

“This is not a headline. This is about one of our daughters not being here anymore and leaving too soon.”
Tennessee’s groundbreaking progressive Senate candidate Marquita Bradshaw joins The Tennessee Holler Podcast and shares her thoughts on the injustice of Breonna Taylor’s case.

FULL PODCAST available on Apple Podcasts, and wherever else you like to listen.

The Cash Bail System

Rev. Davie Tucker, Board Member of The Nashville Community Bail Fund, joins Pastor Kevin Riggs and Kevin Sage for a discussion on the current cash bail system and mass incarceration.

FULL PODCAST available on Apple Podcasts, and wherever else you like to listen.

The Racism of 9/11

Pratik Dash from Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition joins the girls this week to discuss his experience as a “brown kid” living in Tennessee following the September 11th attacks. #NeverForget the post 9/11 racism and Islamophobia and our country’s intervention in the Middle East which led to the region’s destabilization.

FULL PODCAST available on Apple Podcasts, and wherever else you like to listen.

Justin Jones joins #HollerHour

Fresh off the heels off of leading the charge to occupy the plaza outside Tennessee’s State Capitol for over 60 days, activist Justin Jones joins the show to talk about his experience and where to go from here.
“The people are so powerful that it makes Gov. Bill Lee who’s the highest authority in our state so afraid that he won’t even come out of the office.”

“We know who Gov. Bill Lee is, he dressed up in a Confederate uniform as a student. Today he doesn’t have that uniform on, but he still has that mentality.”

 

FULL PODCAST available on Apple Podcasts, and wherever else you like to listen.

Tune in to #HollerHour Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 pm CT every week on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.