I got a newsletter from State Rep. Stacy Newman (D-87) which noted that when recent anti-abortion measures have been debated in the House, Republicans have come up with some interesting comparisons – abortion as slavery, or, alternatively, the Holocaust.
Ironically, the politicians making these ugly comparisons consider themselves to be conservatives. And conservatives have a really bad record when it comes to racism and anti-semitism.
Conservatives, for example, have defended effort to reanimate the revisionist history of the 1920s that tried to paint slavery as benign. Just today, African-American conservative HUD secretary Ben Carson publicly described slaves as “immigrants” willing to work for “low” wages. Just consider the ongoing controversy over Texas conservatives’ efforts to foist off on the state’s school children history textbooks that have invented an entirely new lexicon of euphemisms to describe the various practices associated with slavery.
Then there are the Holocaust deniers. While it’s not necessary to deny the Holocaust to be conservative, Holocaust deniers do tend to go to roost on the right – they seem to feel comfortable there for some reason. Just consider some of the more rabid denizens of Trumplandia – whom few in the Missouri conservative world seem willing to denounce. Their chosen champion, Donald Trump, couldn’t even bring himself to name Jews as victims of the Holocaust when he offered the now obligatory presidential Holocaust remembrance statement. That may not be denialism per se, but it’s sure flirting with it.
Interesting how conservatives present slavery and the Holocaust as really bad things when they can use them as labels to try to discredit the entirely legal exercise of choice by women who have every right, legal and moral, to make decisions about how their bodies will be used. But when acknowledging the evils of slavery or the Holocaust focuses unwanted attention on the similarity between conservative policy preferences and the the mindset that led to those horrific events, many on the right try to difuse the impact by pretending that slavery was a bed of roses and the Holocaust wasn’t really about Jews – and maybe it didn’t even happen at all.
*Last sentence edited slightly for clarity.