Merriam Webster defines “identity politics” as:
politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group.
Although the Democratic Party’s constituency is far more diverse than the GOP, the party is controlled and run by white people. Mathematically, no American political party cold survive without the white vote. So, even though the term “identity politics” is used whenever anyone dares mentions non-black people, we know that the Republican Party actually practices this particular brand of political chicanery. They stoke racial resentment with xenophobic border walls, Islamophobic travel bans and “shithole country” policies.
Which brings us to Florida congressman and Florida Man Matt Gaetz, who, according to every definition of the word, is a white man.
On Thursday, Gaetz appeared on MSNBC to explain Wednesday’s MAGA Lives Matter protest, which occurred when GOP politicians stormed a secure facility to disrupt impeachment proceedings. MSNBC host Hallie Jackson introduced Gaetz by playing a sound bite from Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who called the political stunt a “high school prank by a bunch of 50-year-old white men.”
Speier was wrong to say that.
Technically, the average age of Republicans in Congress is 57. And three of the 41 SCIF-stormers were women. But Gaetz didn’t seem to object to the age part or the erasure of his female cohorts. He took exception to the “white” part.
“Did she say we were a bunch of white men?” Gaetz asked whitely. “What does the fact that we are white men have to do with our desire to represent the millions of constituents we serve?
“I was deeply offended by that,” Gaetz continued. “When Jackie Speier walks in a room, I don’t sit there and say a white woman came in…This is the type of identity politics from the left that seems to permeate any substantive or procedural arguments they make, and it’s sickening to me that that’s how we would be thought of…It’s just really kind of sickening.”
If I walked into a room with 40 of my closest negro friends, I would not object to being called “a bunch of black men,” mostly because I am a black man. I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with being referred to as a black man.
So why was Matt Gaetz so “offended” by Speier’s semi-accurate description?
Because he knows.
He knows what white men do. He knows that his party is the party of white men. He knows that his co-conspirators and his president are only protected by a microscopic sliver of Caucasian skin that gives them the right to do whatever they want. They can disregard security rules and bumrush a secure facility. They can ignore the will of the electorate by gerrymandering the political map. They can get away with breaking the law, obstructing justice and subverting democracy and protecting white supremacy.
And the only reason they are not held accountable is that American politics is nothing but an invisible white guilt deflector shield protecting the social, political and economic advantages afforded to white men.
Matt Getz wasn’t upset about being called a white man. He was upset that Speier exposed the fact that the emperor has no clothes except for whiteness.
This is the GOP’s true identity.
That is Republican politics.