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Steve King Borrows Obama's Time Machine To Be Racist About Hurricane Katrina

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The Washington Post today describes Rep. Steve King as the "Iowa Republican who has made a series of statements embracing white nationalism." This is a polite way of saying he's a racist asshole -- though points for not saying he's "controversial" or "racially tinged" and calling it a day. Even his own party leaders grudgingly conceded he's a big old racist racist and publicly chastised him way back in the distant past of January. Well, he's at it again. What a shocker!

Thursday, King was at a town hall in Charter Oak, Iowa, where he applauded Iowans for their response to recent spring flooding. His bigoted brain thought it best to compare the resiliency of his state's predominately white residents to the mostly black victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

KING: We go to a place like New Orleans, and everybody's looking around saying, "Who's going to help me? Who's going to help me?"

That seems a reasonable reaction to the massive losses suffered in one of the deadliest hurricanes in almost a century. But black people are shiftless and refuse to just drown quietly. It's frankly un-American. Helping suffering black people personally irritates King. He was one of 11 jerks in Congress to oppose federal funding for Katrina victims. He wasn't interested unless something had happened to the statue of Old Hickory in Jackson Square.


KING: We go to a place like Iowa, and we go see, knock on the door at, say, I make up a name, John's place, and say, "John, you got water in your basement, we can write you a check, we can help you." And John will say, "Well, wait a minute, let me get my boots. It's Joe that needs help. Let's go down to his place and help him."

It's unclear why everyone has such nondescript names in King's racist Mayberry anecdotes. Meanwhile in reality, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is currently seeking federal funds to cope with the damage the floods have caused. Even "John" and "Joe" might get a taste of the $1.6 billion requested.

Obviously, people in New Orleans were just as willing to help members of their community as people in Iowa. Although it might alarm King to learn this, it's because they share similar human DNA. No one in New Orleans sat around waiting for the government to sort of, maybe, get around to helping them.

"I kept hearing the word animal, and I didn't see animals," a woman named Denise Moore told the public-radio program This American Life about her time at the Superdome. Instead, she saw self-organized activities by "gangster guys" who broke into abandoned stores. Although they might have looked like looters, they were salvaging fresh clothes for those who needed them, "juice for the babies, water, beer for the older people, food, raincoats so that they could all be seen by each other."

Katrina survivors also turned out to help people in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. They remembered the kindness and generosity the residents showed them more than a decade earlier. It almost seems like everyone is a decent human being except for Steve King.

It's hard to imagine that anyone's shocked and disappointed to see that King is still unrepentantly racist. Republicans just took away his committee assignments. They didn't handcuff him to Sidney Poitier or give him a part-time job driving around Mahershala Ali. There's no real potential for a sympathetic white racist character arc. If you want to shock him into true redemption, you'd need to send three black spirits to visit him the night before Martin Luther King Day. We'd just hope he could avoid calling them "spooks."

No Republicans so far have denounced King's latest racist relapse. Even Gov. Reynolds remains silent while waiting for the sweet, sweet government cheddar that King finds so offensive ... at least when any of it goes to help black people.

[ WaPo / CBPP / The Atlantic]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He recently fled Seattle, where he did theatre work for Book-It Rep and Cafe Nordo.

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