White Christmas Supremacy: Boebert and Massie’s ‘gun photos’ are a direct threat

Thomas Massie and Lauren Boebert, two of the most blatant fascist Republicans in Congress, are dreaming of a White Christmas – with an emphasis on “White”.

In the spirit of holiday cheer, Massie and Boebert recently shared family Christmas photos on social media – in which every member of the family brandished a gun. There is nothing unique about them. Such a “tradition” is quite common in a particular subculture of American gunmen and “bulleters”. This is just another symptom of how deeply America is engrossed in gun violence.

The numerous responses to Boebert and Massie’s Christmas cards from the mainstream media and other public voices generated typical attentions of indignation and disgust in terms of performance. There have been complaints that Massie and Boebert’s behavior was not that of “good Christians”. The time sparked outrage: Both photos were posted on social media within days of a mass shooting in Michigan in which a 15-year-old boy is believed to have killed four of his classmates. himself and eight others were injured.

That shouldn’t be construed as a coincidence: The photos of Boebert and Massie are purposefully provocative, showing ruthless indifference towards victims of gun violence, as well as their families. their families and communities.

Others have used the episode to point to two far-right members of Congress as illustrations of how deranged and caricature the Republican Party has become today.

Those reactions are valid on their own terms. But they are also examples of seeing but not actually seeing – that is, failing to understand the message and meaning conveyed in Massie and Boebert’s family Christmas photos.

RELATED: Gun frenzy: For too many Americans, guns are associated with white masculinity, patriotism, and power.

Fascism, as an ideology and movement, is contradictory, often incoherent and confusing to outsiders. That is one of its greatest strengths. Fascism arouses emotions of shock and anger among its targets and enemies, creating confusion and uncertainty in the assessment of danger.

In this moment, we can see the corrosive effects of the Big Lie, which together with many smaller effects create an alternate reality for its followers. Fascism attacks ordinary society in many ways, with the aim of overwhelming people and rendering them powerless.

Too many people in democracies attacked by fascism choose to hide behind denial, mockery, defensive humor, and contempt. It is much easier to mock the fascists for their apparent absurdity than to confront them directly.

Taken that way, Massie and Boebert’s family Christmas photos are revealed to be examples of random terrorism and the specific threat of Christian fascist violence.

In an essay published at Salon, journalist and bestselling author Chris Hedges explain the rise of Christian fascism in America:

The greatest moral failure of the liberal Catholic church has been its refusal, justified in the name of tolerance and dialogue, to denounce Christians as heresy. By tolerating intolerance, it has ceded religious legitimacy to a host of con artists, charlatans and pedagogues and their cult supporters….

These believers find in Donald Trump a mirror image of themselves, a fighter for insatiable greed, masculinity, lust for violence, white supremacy, bigotry. , true Christian socialism. When I write “Fascist America: Christian Rights and the War on American soil“I’m really serious about the term ‘fascist’.…

Christian fascism is an emotional raft for tens of millions of people. It is impregnated with the education, dialogue, and discourse that the naive liberals believe can blunt or tame the movement. The Christian fascism, by choice, cut themselves off from their rational thought. We will not appease or disarm this movement, aimed at our destruction, by trying to claim that we also have Christian “values”. This appeal only strengthens the legitimacy of Christian fascists and weakens our own.

Religion professor Anthea Butler’s insights into the specific phenomenon she calls “white Christianity” are also helpful here. In one Recent interview with Salon, she describes its basic tenets: “Jesus was white. Jesus privileged white culture and white supremacy, and white people’s political aspirations. whiter and against everything else white christianity holds that all people should be culturally and socially white “.

Massie and Boebert’s Christmas cards, with their heavily armed families, signify the imagined monopoly right of white conservatives to commit lethal violence, especially when targeting black or brown people, Muslims, Jews, white immigrants, Democrats, liberals, progressives, left-wing activists or any other group that is considered a terrorist enemy of “real America.”

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The Christmas picture of the Massie and Boebert family is also a public statement aimed at a wide audience. In an interview with a right-wing talk show, Massie explains her family photo put it this way: “I got through gunfire with my family and Christmas, and those are the three things that can really trigger leftists, and I didn’t realize it was going to be an explosive cocktail when you combine them together. But it adds freedom.”

In these photographs, white identity politics manifests in the form of an “ideal” or “traditional” family, as white Christian conservatives envision it. In the fantasies of white supremacy and conspiracy theory embedded in the Trump Age, large white families of that sort are interpreted as counterbalances against “brown America” ​​or ” great alternative”.

Massie is featured in her family Christmas photo as a patriarch; His wife and children are depicted as obedient and submissive to his authority and authority.

Boebert’s Christmas photograph depicts a somewhat different archetype: a “mama bear” protecting her “cub”. In the absence of a father or other adult men, Boebert is implicitly shown to be teaching his sons to be “guardians” of their (white) home and (white) community.

The gun serves as the unifying symbol in these images. In America, historically, the gun has been a God-certified representation of white male authority and has been passed down through generations from father to son. The power of a gun can be shared among wives and daughters as needed, but it is essentially an object of white male power and is therefore associated with sex, family, property, race, gender, patriotism and nationalism.

In his family photo, Thomas Massie is holding an M60 light machine gun. That weapon carries specific symbolic weight in the popular American imagination – especially on the right. The M60 was an iconic weapon of the Vietnam War (and the Cold War era in general) and featured prominently in the “Rambo” and other action movies of the 70s and 80s. Along with other weapons such as the AR-15 and M-16 – often referred to as the “freedom rifle” or “modern musket” by right-wing servicemen and members of the “Love water” – the M60 is a particularly powerful symbol. of Christian Caucasian warriors.

In her recent book “Jesus and John Wayne“, historian Kristen Kobes Du Mez discusses the “distinctive vision of missionary masculinity” promoted by the right-wing Christian media:

Finding comfort and courage in symbols of the mythical past, evangelists aim for a strong, heroic masculinity embodied by cowboys, soldiers, and warriors to directions forward. For decades to come, military masculinity (and a sweet, submissive femininity) will remain entrenched in missionaries’ imaginations, shaping notions of what is good and right….

Although dominant, the cult of evangelical masculinity did not define the entire American mission. It was largely the creation of white Protestants. The majority of books on missionary masculinity are written by white men, primarily for white men. To a considerable extent, the market for documentation on the conduct of black and white Christians remains distinct. With few exceptions, black men, Middle Eastern men, and Hispanic men are not called wild, belligerent masculinities. On the contrary, their aggression is considered dangerous, a threat to the stability of the homeland and the nation.

Viewed in the broader social context, Massie and Boebert’s family Christmas photos serve as a manifesto of “white freedom” and white man power. Consider a simple analogy: If a Black or Muslim or Latino family had created those images, the Republicans, their propagandists, and a large portion of white Americans would. react in anger and panic to the perceived threat of crime and terrorism.

Instead, we celebrate Christmas as a celebration of fascism, and a spectacle in white culture’s war against America’s multiracial democracy.

When I was a kid, my family didn’t take pictures with guns on Christmas Day. We love the music of Motown artists and other soul and R&B singers. My mother insisted on a few gospel tunes, and my father insisted. When it was time to open the presents, I had the “honour” of playing The Alvin and the Chipmunks’ Christmas album. But mainly our songs are songs by Stevie Wonder, Lou Rawls, Eartha Kitt, Jackson 5, Otis Redding and others like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “Santa Baby”, “Merry Christmas Baby,” “Have Yourself a Little Merry Christmas” and “What Christmas Means To Me.” Presenter was “Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Slums” by James Brown.

Looking at the Christmas pictures of the Boebert and Massie family with all those guns, I keep thinking of Black Santa. He’s a fixture in many Black and brown households but a controversial figure on the white right. Black Santa simply allows all children to have a Santa that looks like them (if they want to).

But Black Santa is best avoided in the Boebert and Massie households. The result will not be happy or joyful.

Read more about America’s addiction to gun violence: White Christmas Supremacy: Boebert and Massie’s ‘gun photos’ are a direct threat

Huynh Nguyen

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