Last night, Rachel Maddow taught me something I didn’t know concerning the 1964 murders of civil rights activists James Cheney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. The infamous “Freedom Summer Murders” in Neshoba County, Mississippi where three men were brutally murdered in an act that included an extensive coverup by local law enforcement officials to conceal the identities of those involved.
When Ronald Reagan began his general election in campaign in 1980, the first place he gave a speech was in the very same location where these murders took place. Needless to say, it was a very strange choice for a candidate to begin their general election push for the presidency. That is until you realize this was Reagan’s attempt to let southern whites know that he was “one of them.” You know, that whole “Southern Strategy” thing Republicans deny is actually real.
Clearly this location was specifically chosen as an epicenter of white supremacy and racism; this was 1980, so candidates could get away with disgusting things such as this. With a very limited choice of media – well before the Internet became an everyday fixture in our lives – these sorts of things weren’t widely known. So, surely something similar to Reagan’s extremely distasteful act couldn’t be replicated, right?
In a seemingly similar move, Donald Trump held a campaign event in a place called Patchogue, New York. An area of the state made famous for a string of racist attacks against Latinos that ultimately resulted in the death of 37-year-old immigrant Marcelo Lucero at the hands of Jeffrey Conroy.
So, maybe it’s just a really bad coincidence, right? It’s just the town in Suffolk County where the local branch of the Republican party decided to hold a fundraiser. Clearly, jumping to conclusions about racism is reading way too much into the situation.
Not only did Trump hold a campaign event in an extremely random place, but he did so on the very same street where Lucero was murdered.
So, the candidate who’s based a huge part of his campaign on being anti-Latino (specifically Mexican), to the point where his supporters have assaulted a Latino man in the past, seems to have specifically held a campaign event in the very town on the very same street made “famous” for a brutal hate crime against a Latino immigrant.
Needless to say, Maddow, a resident of New York, was none to pleased.
“In presidential politicking, symbolism is a deliberate choice. And racial provocation is something with a deep and resonant history,” Maddow said. “It is one thing to do that as a small-fry politician – it is another thing to do it as a front-runner for a major party’s presidential nomination. Being a presidential front-runner is a powerful thing. It can also be a dangerous thing if you want it to be.”
She also went on to point out that while this murder wasn’t a big-time national story, in New York picking that specific location clearly means something. Like I said, it’s one thing to have had this event in this rather random town – it’s quite another to have held it on the very same street where this man tragically lost his life at the hands of a monster who targeted him for nothing more than the fact that he was Latino.
It’s times like this when I realize that every time I think Republicans can’t get anymore embarrassing or appalling as a party, they prove me wrong.
Every. Single. Time.
Watch the segment below via MSNBC: