Political Matters – November 2021

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By Mordecai Specktor

Bears Ears restored by Biden
There was some good news on the federal level in early October. Pres. Joe Biden restored the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments in southern Utah, undoing executive orders issued by the previous occupant of the Oval Office.

“The land is considered sacred to several Native tribes – including Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Pueblo of Zuni,” National Public Radio reported on Oct. 8. “The area is rich in artifacts and full of ancient camping areas and burial grounds.”

NPR noted that the Bears Ears National Monument, which was created by Pres. Barack Obama near the end of his second term, will go back to 1.36 million acres, and Grand Staircase will be restored to 1.87 million acres.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo, called Biden’s action to restore the land “profound.”

“Bears Ears is a living landscape,” said Haaland. “This is a place that must be protected in perpetuity for every American and every child of the world.”

The president’s actions write “a new chapter that embraces Indigenous knowledge, ensures tribal leadership has a seat at the table and demonstrates that by working together we can build a brighter future for all of us,” she said.

Mark Maryboy a former Navajo tribal leader, told NPR that the Biden administration’s reversal of the Trump order is cause for celebration, especially given the cultural connection tribes have with the land.

“These are some of the things that Navajos respect and consider. It’s a part of their religion. And it’s just like a church with the Anglo population,” Maryboy said.
However, not everyone’s onboard with the president.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, has said his state would sue Biden if he restored the land unilaterally. Cox has instead advocated for handling the land’s status through a bill in Congress, according to NPR.

Critical Race Theory, COVID-19 vaccines
The right-wing wingnut faction – racists, anti-Semites, xenophobes and other crazy bigots in MAGA land – is loud and proud.

They’re disrupting school board meetings to consider COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates, and marching in heavily armed formations, calling for the return of their lord and savior, Trump, who continues to propound the Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged and stolen.”

Of course, it’s bullshit – a bogus conspiracy theory disseminated by the previous guy, who might or might not actually believe it. Who know what goes on in his decrepit, misfiring brain?

The problem is that three-quarters of Republicans believe this particular bit of nonsense.
And they are getting worked up about it. After the Jan. 6 coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol, as Congress was certifying the 2020 Electoral College votes, members of the Trump mob still are spoiling for a fight. And GOP legislators are doing what they can to ensure that the 2024 presidential election goes their way, by hook or crook.

They are changing state election laws so that legislatures can nullify duly elected Electoral College voters and replace them with an alternate slate of electors with a willingness to bring back the twice-impeached con man and sexual predator. As numerous commentators are pointing out, American democracy, such as it is, is hanging by a thread.
Getting back to the right-wing mob, in late October, Charlie Kirk, the 20-something founder and president of Turning Point USA, a right-wing campus organization, hosted a live forum that included audience questions.

A white male questioner stated that the purported 2020 election fraud amounted to “tyranny.” He asked Kirk: “When do we get to use the gun?” His question excited the crowd.

“That’s not a joke,” the man continued. “I mean, literally, where’s the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?”

Kirk “denounced” the question – not because it suggested an insane and criminal action, but because it was “playing into all their plans,” an apparent reference to the Democrats.
In addition to the phony claims of election fraud and opposition to people getting safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations, many kooks out there are riding the hobby horse issue of Critical Race Theory (CRT), which is intended to educate students about systemic racism.

In October, a school administrator in the Southlake, Texas, Independent School District was recorded saying that under a new Texas law banning the teaching of CRT, “opposing” views of the Holocaust, the Nazi murder of six million European Jews, should be offered.
The opposing view is known as “Holocaust denial,” and it’s the province of neo-Nazis and other scumbags.