Roy Moore: America Was Great Back When We Still Had Slavery

Roy Moore wishes he was back in the days of cotton when families were close and African-Americans were enslaved.

Roy Moore Gun

Roy Moore wants to return to the `60’s, and by that he means the 1860’s:

Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate under fire for alleged sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s, apparently believes America was a better place at a time when slavery was still legal.

At a campaign event earlier this year, an audience member asked Moore for his opinion on when the last time America was “great.” Moore responded: “I think it was great at the time when families were united—even though we had slavery—they cared for one another…Our families were strong, our country had a direction.” The individual who asked the question was among the few African-Americans in attendance at the rally, according to the Los Angeles Times. In stating this, Moore seemingly implied he’d be able to overlook the enslavement of other human beings as long as families are “united,” an interesting perspective from a man accused of repeatedly preying on young girls.

Moore’s remarks were featured in an article from the Times in September, but resurfaced Thursday in a viral tweet from Eric Columbus, a former Obama administration official. “Can’t make this up—Roy Moore said in September that the last time America was great was when we had slavery,” Columbus tweeted.

Moore’s comments at the rally bring to mind President Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” which many have interpreted as a rallying cry to incite white nationalists. Trump has controversially endorsed Moore, despite widespread condemnation and the damning allegations the Senate candidate faces. Trump reportedly said “Go get ’em, Roy!” during a recent phone call with the candidate.

Here’s Columbus’s Tweet:

And here’s the relevant section of the September Los Angeles Times article:

In response to a question from one of the only African Americans in the audience — who asked when Moore thought America was last “great” — Moore acknowledged the nation’s history of racial divisions, but said: “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another…. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”

At the same event, Moore referred to Native Americans and Asian Americans as “reds and yellows,” and earlier this year he suggested the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were divine punishment.

It’s also hardly the first controversial comment that Moore has made both during the course of the campaign and over the course of the past decade or so.

For example, like many on the right, Moore has shown what can only be described as extreme bigotry toward Muslim-Americans and Islams generally. He was quoted in the past making the claim that there are towns in the United States that are under the control of “Sharia Law,” a claim that is demonstrably untrue. He has compared the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and argued that Muslim-Americans should not be permitted to hold a seat in Congress, a position he said he continued to hold as recently as October. Moore has particularly directed those comments toward Keith Ellison, a Congressman from Minnesota who was the first Muslim-American to hold a seat a Congress. In a 2006 Op-Ed on the subject written for the far-right website World Net Daily, Moore said ”In 1943, we would never have allowed a member of Congress to take their oath on ‘Mein Kampf,’ or someone in the 1950s to swear allegiance to the ‘Communist Manifesto.’ Congress has the authority and should act to prohibit Ellison from taking the congressional oath today!”

Not unexpectedly, Moore has also directed his vile commentary toward LGBT Americans over the years and used his authority has a Judge to act to deny these people the rights they are entitled to under American law. In 2005, Moore suggested that homosexuality should be illegal, ironically and most likely unconsciously mimicking the law of the Muslim nations that Moore cites as examples of the kind of America the left wants to create. He has also at times blamed the September 11th attacks on America’s tolerance for homosexuality, although it’s worth noting that he has also at times blamed those attacks on atheists and as recently this year blamed the attacks on the nation “turning away from God.” Finally, and most seriously, Moore was removed from the bench due to the fact that he was actively attempting to interfere with the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s decision making same-sex marriage legal nationwide and instructing Probate Judges in the state that they were not to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses because the Supreme Court’s ruling didn’t apply to Alabama.  This occurred roughly a decade after Moore was removed from the bench due to his refusal to comply with a Federal Court’s decision ordering the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the grounds of the Alabama Supreme Court building.

Moore has also followed the example of many of his fellow “conservatives” in openly praising Russian President Vladimir Putin. The most recent example of that occurred during an August interview with The Guardian during which he suggested that he and Putin may have a lot in common:

In an interview with the Guardian’s Anywhere But Washington series, Moore also said that Ronald Reagan’s famous declaration about the Soviet Union being “the focus of evil in the modern world” might today be applied to the US.

“You could say that about America, couldn’t you?” he said. “We promote a lot of bad things.” Asked for an example, he replied: “Same-sex marriage.”

When it was pointed out to Moore that his arguments on gay rights and morality were the same as those of the Russian leader, he replied: “Well, maybe Putin is right.” He added: “Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.”

It’s worth noting that nearly all of these comments were made prior to the September runoff election between Moore and Senator Luther Strange, an election that Moore ended up winning by more nine percentage points. Additionally notwithstanding all of these comments, Moore’s history of defiance of the law and behavior that arguably should have made him eligible for disbarment or other disciplinary action by the Alabama State Bar, and the completely credible allegations of nine women that he either pursued relationships with them or sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers, Moore is in the lead in the race with Democratic nominee and stands poised to win on Tuesday. In the most recent poll of the race from an Alabama television station, Moore is leading Jones by seven points while the most recent poll from Gravis has Jones up by four points. All of this leaves Moore at 48.0% and Jones at 45.7% in the RealClearPolitics average, giving Moore an advantage of 2.3 points heading into the final weekend of the campaign. While this is far narrower than one might expect for a race in Alabama, and there remains a chance that Jones could pull out a win depending on turnout, the odds are that Moore will end up winning this race. When that happens, the voters of Alabama, and Republicans in the Senate and nationwide will have a lot to answer for.

 

 

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2017, Congress, Race and Politics, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:

    In your litany of examples of controversial things Moore has said or done in the past, you failed to mention one that would seem to be quite relevant to his recent remarks: In 2004 he led a campaign against the removal of Jim Crow policies from Alabama’s state constitution. He claimed it was to prevent the imposition of new taxes. Uh huh.

  2. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    If Doug Jones can’t rally record turnout to vote against this Moore then something is terribly wrong.
    If Moore is elected, in spite of his record, then we need to build a wall around Alabama to prevent the stupidity from escaping.

  3. Mark Ivey says:

    $5 says Moore is gonna wave a confederate flag in public this weekend..

  4. CET says:

    It looks like it’s time for another modest proposal:

    We won the civil war, we tried to re-admit the south into the Union as equals. It’s become clear over the last 150 years that the old confederacy just isn’t able to re-integrate into the Republic. Their institutions and their populace are too corrupt for representative government.

    Now, we can’t kick them out. I don’t always agree with the Federalist papers, but I think the concern about having a potential enemy on our doorstep was prescient. The south would have sided with every enemy of the free world from Nazi Germany to Putin’s Russia, and that’s not something we can afford.

    So, the best option remaining seems to be to reduce the status of the old confederate states to territories. We can shoulder the burden of keeping them economically integrated into the country, but in return, they need to relinquish the political power that they have shown time and again that they cannot use responsibly.

  5. James Pearce says:

    At a campaign event earlier this year,

    And this is just getting traction now? The election is next Wednesday.

  6. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @CET:

    We can shoulder the burden of keeping them economically integrated into the country

    We already are…most of those states are welfare queens and could no support themselves without the help of Blue states.

  7. CSK says:

    Interestingly, Trump, like Moore, compared the U.S. unfavorably to Russia during his campaign. And when it was pointed out to him that Putin had people murdered, he responded by saying we did, too.

    Of course Moore loves Putin: Putin’s a homosexual-hating Christian autocrat.

  8. CSK says:

    @Mark Ivey:

    And when he does wave the Confederate battle flag, he’ll be brandishing the little revolver in the other hand and wearing that idiotic cowboy outfit.

  9. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    This makes a great deal of sense coming from Moore…because when there was slavery old white guys were free to molest and rape all the teenage slaves.

  10. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Of course Moore loves Putin: Putin’s a homosexual-hating Christian autocrat.

    Anyone remember Doug’s post from 2013, “The Cultural Conservative Love Affair with Vladimir Putin is Quite Odd“? At the time he wrote that piece, several commenters–including me–felt Doug was reaching a bit, since the only conservatives he cited who praised Putin were Pat Buchanan and Rod Dreher. In retrospect, the post looks quite prescient now.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    A couple of years ago, when Trump was still seen as a joke candidate and I would argue on this blog that despite his boorishness he represented the heart and soul of the Republican Party, James Joyner would argue that was ridiculous. Sure, he wished the Republican leadership would do more to stand against racism, bigotry and misogyny, but that was just political convenience. The core of the party was small government, anti deficit, pro-democracy conservatives, and were no more or less misogynistic or bigoted than their counterparts. I wonder if one of the reason he has mostly dropped off this blog is because literally everything he believed about his Party has been proven false in the most brutal way imaginable.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @CET:

    We can shoulder the burden of keeping them economically integrated into the country, but in return, they need to relinquish the political power that they have shown time and again that they cannot use responsibly.

    I’d probably be content if we could somehow cut them down to one senator each.

    Hacker and Pierson have a good article up on VOX. The subject is why the GOPs think they can get away with passing a very unpopular tax bill. One of their explanations is that “our system rewards parties for holding territory”. I have no idea how, realistically, to change it, but this business of giving every state, no matter how small, an equal vote in the Senate is killing us. As it’s evolved it means the least socially and economically advanced areas have control over the whole country. If we can’t change the two senators per state deal, maybe it would be easier to reduce the power of the Senate somehow. Didn’t the Brits do that with the House of Lords when it became silly?

  13. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:

    I recall that. I think what I said 4 years ago reflects my opinion now: Gay-hating “Christian” autocrats are big box office.

  14. JohnMcC says:

    @MarkedMan: I have noticed Dr Joyner’s radio silence and concluded that I had learned something about the politics of being in the Colonel and General level of the military bureaucracy. Not sure exactly what I’ve learned but the gestalt must have shifted around him.

    Interpreting his lengthy absence as reluctance to acknowledge the rotting of the core of the R-party seems to me to misunderestimate our friend and front-pager.

  15. JohnMcC says:

    “Judge” Moore’s remarks about the antediluvian South are totally unsurprising. It is absolutely normal for the people who feel he represents them to imagine a long-ago golden age of chivalry and virtue when men were brave and women appreciated them. He might have well have called his vision a “Camelot” or “Brigadoon”.

    If he’d been given the chance he’d have expounded on the horrors of the immigrant and industrializing North from whence came the contagion that corrupted that wonderful Southern Eden.

    It’s taught in the schools and churches and from their momma’s lap.

  16. SenyorDave says:

    In a sane world Moore’s comments would disqualify him as a candidate, and he would lose in a landslide. In Alabama it will probably help his campaign.

  17. Stormy Dragon says:

    @gVOR08:

    Problem is that equal representation for each state in the Senate is the one thing that can’t be changed in the Constitution, even by amendment:

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

  18. SenyorDave says:

    @James Pearce: And this is just getting traction now? The election is next Wednesday.

    Maybe Jones’ campaign has known about for a while and decided (probably correctly) that using it would only help Moore.

  19. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    I think what I said 4 years ago reflects my opinion now: Gay-hating “Christian” autocrats are big box office.

    The objection that I and some other posters had to Doug’s post was that having two paleocons praise Putin wasn’t sufficient to merit the generalization that there was a cultural conservative love affair with Putin. At the time, to the best of my knowledge no one else on the right was making these comments–not Pat Robertson or Bryan Fischer or the Family Research Council or any of those other Christian theocrat, gay-bashing types. And certainly not Fox News or talk radio.

    But in many respects Pat Buchanan’s ideology was Trumpism before Trump. A lot of the views he espoused since the 1990s anticipated the direction of the GOP after Trump’s takeover of the party, including the alt-right. He was a harbinger of what was to come.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Interpreting his lengthy absence as reluctance to acknowledge the rotting of the core of the R-party seems to me to misunderestimate our friend and front-pager.

    I didn’t make myself clear. James has made clear his views on Trump and his disappointment with the Republican Party. In fact one of his best posts came long before, in which he discussed how hard it was to leave his “team”. He has been pretty honest in his journey, so I’m not faulting him for that. I offered my comments more in sympathy with how he must feel watching the carnage inflicted by Trump, Moore and his senior leadership enablers. Fiscally, morally, this isn’t just a revelation, its a collapse like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime.

    When Trump won, I didn’t read a blog or even listen to the news for weeks. I barely looked at a newspaper. I was sick to my stomach. But there was no huge surprise disappointment, because I had no illusions about the Republicans or the American electorate. And I have never invested in a political party or considered them to be my “team”. I can only imagine that this rolling travesty is that much harder on James. If so, I empathize with the desire to drop out.

  21. CET says:

    @gVOR08:

    If we can’t change the two senators per state deal, maybe it would be easier to reduce the power of the Senate somehow.

    Considering how wild the ideological swings in the House are, I’m leery about reducing the power of the Senate. And, in all seriousness, while I may not like or agree with most of our congresscritters, I trust them more as a body than I do our executive branch.

  22. Stormy Dragon says:

    @CET:

    The Senate does (at least for now) have two saving graces:

    1. It requires a supermajority to make big policy changes.
    2. It’s district boundaries aren’t subject to gerrymandering.

  23. CET says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Fiscally, morally, this isn’t just a revelation, its a collapse like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime.

    Yea. It’s been pretty bleak. The hilariously terrifying part of it is that you’d think that getting sucked into a vortex of white nationalism, woefully inept foreign policy, and an economic platform that can charitably be called ‘short sighted’ would be awful for the GOP. But no, their base happily votes us all closer to the abyss. Rural America and the middle class are dying, but why do anything about it when you can get high on rage and oxy and tell yourself that it’s all because of Blacks and Jews and gays?

  24. CET says:

    @CET:
    I would add that, at least emotionally, I think this has been particularly hard to watch for those of us who are conservatives. The GOP has always been a deeply imperfect vehicle for caution, realism, and restraint, but this last election was blasphemy.

    It would be like the Catholic church not only failing to address its problems, but empowering the faction that perpetuates them. And then, for good measure, finding a human who embodies all the evil that’s been done in the church’s name over the centuries, and making that person the pope.

    Anyway, I think I’ve probably hijacked this thread enough for one day. If anyone needs me, I’ll be by the fire with a book and a glass of bourbon.

  25. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:

    Ah, but there was Sarah Palin. She did not, as far as I can recall, make any overtly racist remarks, but her fan club was beginning to speak in code, if you see what I mean.

    Palin paved the way for Trump. His ardent supporters were her ardent supporters. And now they’re 10x as enraged, vengeful, and vindictive.

    Trump made it possible for them to say out loud the things they’d only thought or whispered to each other before.

  26. MarkedMan says:

    @CET: FWIW, back when I first started posting on this blog, I sometimes made the argument that the concepts of being a “conservative” are ‘liberal” are meaningless. A policy can exist somewhere on the spectrum between conservative and liberal, but a person cannot in any useful way. A conservative policy is one that seeks to maintain the existing order (or perhaps roll back to a real or imagined order within very recent memory), and a liberal policy is one that seeks to make significant changes. So no effective governance (self or societal) can be wholly conservative or liberal, and those two extremes have no moral worth on their own. I’ve yet to see anyone define what it means in a policy sense for a person to be liberal or conservative. All attempts seem to devolve into “a liberal champions policies that are called liberal policies” and similarly for a conservative. But what the people that call themselves liberal embrace as liberal policies is very different from what conservatives call out as liberal policies, and vice versa. And in both cases those policies comprise a full spread from the very conservative to the very liberal as I’ve defined it above.

    So Ryan’s attempt to implement Ayn Rand’s philosophies in the tax bill are at the extreme end of liberal (demanding great change). And Elizabeth Warren’s championship of the CPRB is extremely conservative (demanding respect for fundamental American traditions – rule of law and fairness). Is protecting free speech a liberal or conservative policy? In the US, it is a deeply conservative one – we have had a history of defending free speech even in the extremes since before we were a country. But people that identify as conservative often attempt to enact policies to change that protection (flag burning).

    On the other hand, Trump himself doesn’t espouse either liberal or conservative policies by any definition, simply because he doesn’t actually have any policies. Quite frankly, he doesn’t understand what a policy is. He is all impulse and chaos.

  27. Facebones says:

    @Mark Ivey:

    $5 says Moore is gonna wave a confederate flag in public this weekend..

    And his poll numbers will skyrocket.

    And the NY Times will say the people of Alabama voted for him because of “economic anxiety.”

  28. Lynn says:

    “He was quoted in the past making the claim that there are towns in the United States that are under the control of “Sharia Law,” a claim that is demonstrably untrue. . . . Moore has particularly directed those comments toward Keith Ellison, a Congressman from Minnesota who was the first Muslim-American to hold a seat a Congress.”

    I find this particularly idiotic as Ellison is my congressman, and I live in a part of Minneapolis quite close to a so-called “no go zone,” said to be highly dangerous for non Muslims, especially woman.

    Oddly enough, I walk through that area several times a week and haven’t yet been met with anything but friendliness. I’ve even had coffee at the (gasp) “Somali Starbuck’s” with no untoward consequences.

    https://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/somali-starbucks-minneapolis

  29. JohnMcC says:

    @MarkedMan: Check that. I was sickened too. I will say that you and I have recovered our voices. I expect Dr J also has dealt with his loss; I see that estimable Republicans have found a way to deal with (as Bobo says in todays Times) political ‘homelessness’. Joe Scarborough and Max Boot are two that jump to mind.

    If Dr J is observing a period of not commenting on current issues I conclude he is making a long-term calculation possibly including his career that he has no reason to share here. Which frankly I respect and won’t follow up on it.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    You know Roy Moore and his odious views are truly disgusting when even the resident trolls around here don’t show up on threads like this one to defend him…

  31. CET says:

    @MarkedMan:

    A policy can exist somewhere on the spectrum between conservative and liberal, but a person cannot in any useful way.

    I appreciate where you’re going with this. Two short comments:

    (1) I would make the distinction between conservative and progressive policies or ideas (rather than ‘liberal’). American conservatism should be deeply liberal, given our traditions.* Depending on what direction the Democratic party goes, the difference between ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ may become particularly pronounced in the next few decades.

    *And yet, somehow we have people calling themselves ‘conservative’ and yearning for the traditions of Russia or Germany….

    (2) I agree that a person cannot (or at least should not) be a ‘conservative’ in the same sense that they are a Christian or a Muslim. But I think you can be a conservative or a progressive in the same way that a person can be a utilitarian or an egoist. Which is to say that no one will take the maximally conservative position (if that could even be identified) on every issue, but there is a certain worldview that generally differentiates a conservative mindset from a progressive one – a respect for existing traditions and wariness of the unintended side effects of sweeping change (no matter how well-meaning) that makes say, a worldview like Chesterton’s different from someone like Rawls.

  32. al-Ameda says:

    Mea culpa from an out of touch liberal

    In an interview with the Guardian’s Anywhere But Washington series, Moore also said that Ronald Reagan’s famous declaration about the Soviet Union being “the focus of evil in the modern world” might today be applied to the US.

    “You could say that about America, couldn’t you?” he said. “We promote a lot of bad things.” Asked for an example, he replied: “Same-sex marriage.”

    When it was pointed out to Moore that his arguments on gay rights and morality were the same as those of the Russian leader, he replied: “Well, maybe Putin is right.” He added: “Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.”

    Finally, I’m ready to admit that I must try harder to understand these aggrieved and condescended-to Trump voters. I now concede that I do not understand the motivations and ‘thinking’ of many Trump voters.

  33. Barry says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: “If Doug Jones can’t rally record turnout to vote against this Moore then something is terribly wrong.”

    With the white voters of Alabama, yes.

  34. Barry says:

    @JohnMcC: “Interpreting his lengthy absence as reluctance to acknowledge the rotting of the core of the R-party seems to me to misunderestimate our friend and front-pager.”

    James is both a busy executive and a single father of two daughters. That would keep somebody off of the web, and that’s before the emotional trauma to him and his daughters.

  35. Barry says:

    @CSK: “…but her fan club was beginning to speak in code, if you see what I mean.”

    They already knew that code, generations before. It’s nothing new.

  36. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Palin paved the way for Trump.

    Absolutely. I’ve made the case before myself. But before Palin (who, if you recall, was once making threatening noises about “when Putin rears his head”), there was Buchanan, who before the rise of Trump was probably the last major figure in the conservative movement to truly straddle the boundary between mainstream conservatism and white nationalism. Whereas Sarah Palin operated in the GOP tradition of racial dogwhistles (“real America”), Buchanan was always quite explicit that his interest was in defending white Americans. He also had a peculiar Hitler fetish, as part of an Old Right neo-isolationism that led him to oppose NAFTA as well as both Iraq Wars (which he sort of blamed on the Jooz). It’s not surprising that he’s been a staunch supporter of Trump the whole way.

    Buchanan was never especially trollish like Palin or Trump or most figures associated with the alt right. He’s always seemed to be sincere about his basic views, which just happen to be extremist reactionary racism and homophobia. But the entire ideological template behind Trumpism can be traced to Buchanan.

  37. Mikey says:

    @Barry:

    James is both a busy executive and a single father of two daughters. That would keep somebody off of the web, and that’s before the emotional trauma to him and his daughters.

    I recall him posting a little while back that his contributions here would be limited, due to demands of job and family. He still Tweets from time to time, though. @DrJJoyner is his Twitter handle (if you didn’t already have it).

  38. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: Pat Buchanan was always a puzzle for me. I respected his forthright candor about who he was and what he believed in–and I would never have voted for him because of who he was and what he believed in,

  39. Kylopod says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    Pat Buchanan was always a puzzle for me. I respected his forthright candor about who he was and what he believed in–and I would never have voted for him because of who he was and what he believed in

    Of course! And that’s why honesty is overrated. It’s like when people try to bash Obama by bringing up his flip-flop on same-sex marriage, and I’m like who the f cares? What’s important to me is that he flipped in the right direction. And even back when he was supposedly “against” SSM, in practice he didn’t lift a finger to stop the movement; in fact he consistently opposed and worked against DOMA.

    I mean, I’d prefer to live in a world in which politicians were more honest, but if the choice is between an opportunist expressing views I like and a consistent person sincerely expressing terrible views, I’d go with the former any day.

  40. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    I was about to go into a grand spell of mockery for the Great Intellectuals here having a total failure of Basic Reading Comprehension 101 because it seemed that no one actually looked at Moore’s actual words, when I had a sudden insight.

    Moore’s actual words: “I think it was great at the time when families were united—even though we had slavery—they cared for one another…Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”

    So, he’s saying that even though slavery existed, there were aspects of America that were great. And no one here seemed to grasp that.

    Then I realized that it wasn’t a matter of ignorance, it was a matter of a political blind spot. A YUUUGE political blind spot.

    To many of the folks here, slavery is the Mark of Cain on our nation. It was so horrific that it outranked any other aspects of the nation. That America couldn’t be great in any way as long as slavery existed.

    So, how about after the Civil War? When over 100,000 Americans shed their blood to end slavery? Did that mark a sea change? Could America be great then?

    Nope. Because after the war, there was still institutionalized racism. Jim Crow, white supremacy, repression, for another century.

    So, after the Civil Rights movement, could America be great then?

    Nope. Because there was still a whole bunch of racism. It was more subtle, but it was still terrible.

    So, 40-odd years later, we have our first black president. Could America be great then?

    Nope, because that just re-energized all the racists and white supremacists, and led to Trump.

    So, at no point in its history could America be considered “great.” And Trump’s use of a contradictory slogan — “Make America Great Again” — is nothing less than a full-throated rejection of that belief and, consequently, a dog-whistle for a return to the days of Jim Crow and slavery.

    America was never great, and saying that it ever was is racist. That’s the message I get here.

    I’m going to steal a sentiment from the great philosopher, FrankJ: “Maybe you should choose a form of protest where you don’t constantly have to explain you don’t hate the country.”

  41. Kylopod says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    So, he’s saying that even though slavery existed, there were aspects of America that were great.

    No, what he actually said was “families were united–even though we had slavery.” He was not describing mere “aspects” of the culture but making a general statement about families in that culture, and acting like slavery didn’t have any bearing on the general unity of families. In the Deep South at the time, close to half of the population was comprised of slaves. You cannot make a general statement about families being united when close to half of the populace was in enforced servitude and their families were being torn apart–unless you think those slaves don’t actually count as people.

    Moore’s statement has about the same vibe as “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

  42. Mikey says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    I’m going to steal a sentiment from the great philosopher, FrankJ: “Maybe you should choose a form of protest where you don’t constantly have to explain you don’t hate the country.”

    Do you have kids, Bob? Or, if not, another relative you love? I assume, then, that they are imperfect, as we all are.

    And given that imperfection, I assume they have messed up. Failed to live up to their potential, missed the mark, not met expectations.

    And maybe you’ve told them so. When you did, did you hate them?

    Pointing out where a person, or a country, falls short is not hate, and if you perceive it as hate, maybe you need to take a good hard look at why.