Clueless Santorum perpetrates ‘second genocide’ of Native Americans

Thus do racists defend “manifest destiny,” the delusion that God endorsed genocide, the greatest single theft of land, freedom and property in history.

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Thus “innocent” conquerors deny agency: Who can destroy what barely existed?

Is it possible to obliterate 100,000,000 “New World” inhabitants—who’ve only survived for 10,000+ years—plus mortify yourself in only two sentences? Yes and yes—and no off-the-cuff gaffes here, but during a formal speech. That’s what ex-senator and (still employed?) CNN pundit Rick Santorum did last week. Lying like a Trumper, he asserted that “we” (of the “persecuted” Pilgrim clan, great haters of his Catholicism) came ashore to an empty, Moon-like nothing-burger:

We came here and created a blank slate. We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly that—there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture. It was born of the people who came here, pursuing religious liberty to practice their faith.

The fudge is the tell: one doesn’t “create” a “blank slate” but accommodates it. The eviscerating moral outrages were quick and on point. From Newsweek:”The erasure of Native people and histories—which existed before and survived in spite of a white supremacist empire—is a foundational sin of a make-believe nation,” tweeted Native American activist and podcast host Nick Estes.

“Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), chair of the House subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States, tweeted: “Indigenous peoples are more American than Rick Santorum.”

“National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp accused Santorum of being an “unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN and any other media company that provides him a platform. Televising someone with his views on Native American genocide is fundamentally no different than putting an outright Nazi on television to justify the Holocaust.”

Thus Santorum the latest “T.V. immigration Nazi” banishes all white responsibility for annihilating first Americans, adding insult to injury when he belittled natives for contributing nothing. What an astonishing breach of unarguable evidence and legacy of historians far and wide! What other recent voice so obliterated Native Americans? Here is galling (if predictable) ignorance on a Trumpian scale. Santorum, once thought less wacko than fellow extremists, corrects that misconception, the clueless wonder modeling Trump Stupidity Syndrome.

Had genocide not wiped out 90% of the natives, imagine their even greater impacts than teaching colonists to farm, plant the best crops, and use range fires productively. Natives supplied the USA nothing less than the first, sustainable environmental vision. Thus do racists distort when defending “manifest destiny,” that scurrilous delusion that God endorsed genocide, the greatest single theft of land, freedom and property in history.

Persecution duplicated?

If God redeemed “persecuted” Europeans with continents to plunder, did that also justify massacring heathens because “no one [important, white] lived here”—and natives never mattered. Factually, Spain entered the New World a century before the English, France half a century before. The diseases they carried depopulated the U.S. East Coast, for which the surprised English praised the Lord, then passed the ammunition. God must have favored the Catholics over the Protestants with a clear head start; only British military domination later on made America Anglo.

The myth that “nothing existed” before whites delivered “civilization”—if not salvation—bespeaks the invaders’ unjustified superiority complexes. Compare Trump’s similar, sneering trash talk, implying few non-Anglos made America great—au contraire, adding only crime, disease, job-stealing and dilution of the master race.

First up: the deception Native Americans made no lasting contributions. Aside from life-saving farming and co-operation early on (until realizing predatory white motives), do not countless place names inform cultural impacts, like a majority (26) of state names, plus a myriad of towns, cities, rivers, creeks, peaks, roads, valleys, landscapes and sports teams? Names matter, however reluctant concessions non-white natives made a primordial “blank slate” habitable.

Even more, the paramount native gift: the vision and operation of the 500-year stability of the Iroquois Confederacy. That model directly instructed those johnny-come-latelies fashioning the U.S. government. In 1988, the Senate itself paid full homage when resolving “The confederation of original 13 colonies into one republic was influenced by the political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy, as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the constitution itself.” Note, beyond structure, the “many” democratic principles informed what rightwingers like Santorum think a Constitution inscribed by the Christian God. Thanks to pagan genes? More telling, the Iroquois never resorted to importing slavery, nor indulged any fussy, immoral math (really, 2/3s of of person?). Hands down, the Iroquois hold the honors as the “oldest” democracy this side of the pond.

In 1754, savvy Ben Franklin praised the Iroquois, inviting its leaders to an early Plan of Union state gathering. Twenty-two years later, Franklin insisted the Great Council of the Iroquois Confederacy mentor the “geniuses” penning “our” Declaration of Independence. Thus did Santorum’s shunned heathens define our government, valuing consensus, checks and balances, peace over war-making—especially diverse representation from remote groups. That included the voices of women, exiled by the Founders’ male-only, white property class.

The enlightened Iroquois

Iroquois mentoring aside, Founders institutionalized slavery to win passage from Southern racists, plus fabricated the undemocratic Senate (with “lords” picked by state houses) to curb the ornery populist masses. Makes one wonder who were “savages” and who humane, “Enlightenment” figures worthy of admiration. Santorum speaks for racists who betray all that undelivered flummery about self-evident truths, equality and justice. Voter suppression, anyone?

Trump once dug into Santorum as a “loser” (too dumb and too conservative!). Santorum returned the favor: first rejecting Trump, then endorsed him, finally castigating his 2019 State of the Union as the “worst-delivered speech I’ve heard Donald Trump give”—translation: the least coherent, worst-delivered speech since the formation of the solar system.

Will this crude racist remain a cable T.V. presence, after years of parallel oafish commentary? CNN must be desperate for rightwingers not in the NRA/QAnon mold—to keep centrists from bolting the station. Yet, he’s a terrible pundit, with abysmal prognostication skills. Last November, dismayed by Trump’s laughable assault on certified election results, this tin-ear pundit proclaimed: “No elected Republican will stand behind Trump’s statement.” What a call! Only about 96%,—with the rest cowering from the disgraced Insurrectionist-in-chief.

P.S. Can we end without registering the most obvious Native American impacts on the world’s most important subject for older (aggrieved) white guys: worship of the religion called professional sports. How could Santorum’s withered brainpower banish the brouhaha over the Atlanta “Braves” and tomahawk chop, or debate over the creepy Cleveland Indians’ logo? What about the Washington “Redskins” outrage that finally nixed this crude slur?

One thousand high schools still scream out Native American mascot names, with the most backward 40  bellowing “Redskins.” The only reddish-skinned scoundrel visible today is the defunct ex-president, ugly beyond looks. Who doubts the loser Trump now identifies himself with the besieged heroes overrun by illegal aliens (think the Alamo, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat). With poetic justice, the Donald seethes as the perpetual, now “certified” victim of nefarious GOP vote certifiers. Trump probably distorts “Mar-a-lago” as Anglo-Saxon for “the ripped off king lives here.”

Such nonsense frames both Santorum’s lying plus what looms—a Pence-Santorum crossover flimflam ploy for 2024 topping the Rubio-Hawley or Cotton-Ron Johnson Drama ahead: will these yahoos match or beat today’s world-champion, anti-immigrant racist. Santorum proves who still rules the right, starring the Trump Stupidity Syndrome on history.

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Robert S. Becker
For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.

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