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McKinley Hot Takes



Above: Conservative hero of the New Gilded Age

Proving there is literally nothing President Obama can do that won’t threaten their whiteness and send them into spasms of uncontrolled fury, conservatives are going ballistic over the official name of change of Mt. McKinley to Denali. There’s no reason to spend any real time explaining this because it’s nothing more than pure, unadulterated wingnuttery. David Graham actually does usefully explain it however, noting that this is another battle in the culture wars for people who see everything they love about this nation destroyed by the Kenyan usurper.

For non-Rovians, what makes Obama’s “Denali” decision sting is the symbolism. One of the key stories of the Obama presidency is the sense among white, conservative Americans that their country is disappearing. Though seldom couched in directly racial terms, the issue of racial identity always lurks beneath the surface. The sense that white America is fading is not irrational, and it’s not just about the black president in the White House. Census projections have Caucasians becoming not a majority, but merely a plurality, of the population within a couple decades.

The reaction to Dylann Roof’s massacre in Charleston is an example of how this plays out. Even some people who were horrified by the shooting and supported South Carolina’s decision to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state-capitol grounds felt uncomfortable with the sudden rise of demands to erase other symbols of the Confederacy or of white-supremacist leaders of yore—statues of Jefferson Davis, college buildings named for racists, and the like. These changes are just and overdue, but they’re also understandably disorienting, and for people who already feel their heritage and way of life are under siege, they seem a step (or several) too far. Conservatives complain, using a phrase Obama himself employed in October 2008, that the president is in the process of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

As for the Rovians reference at the beginning, again, Karl Rove loves William McKinley because that’s the America he wants in this nation, so he has a new hagiography coming out about the Gilded Age imperialist.

We could play a game and find the most ridiculous take. But why bother when you have Ben Shapiro in the house?

Assassinated in 1901, McKinley, who presided over an economic boom and massive growth in American power, once stated, “We need Hawaii just as much and a good deal more than we did California. It is manifest destiny.” Regarding the Spanish-American War, McKinley explained that Cuba “ought to be free and independent.” Obama would have opposed both moves.

As Obama stated in Dreams From My Father, he spent his college years discussing “neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism.” And President Obama has obviously attempted to undo many of McKinley’s accomplishments. In kowtowing to the Castros in Cuba, Obama has ensured that America’s Spanish-American War victory ends with perpetual communism in a country America once granted its freedom; in 2014, the Obama Department of the Interior sought to give Hawaiians the same status as Native Americans, forcing separate governance for them based on ethnicity.

The only question now: when will President Obama change the name of the American Southwest to Aztlan?

So much to love here. Fanon fears! Rewriting the history of Cuba to make it look like the U.S. is its long-time friend! Good old fashioned redbaiting! “Forcing separate governance” on native Hawaiians! Why that’s far more oppressive than overthrowing the native Hawaiian government in the name of sugar companies and American naval interests!!! But really it’s the Atzlan reference that wins. Because this is right at the heart of the conservative fears. It’s the reconquista caused by hordes of Mexicans crossing the border and facilitated by those fifth columnist liberals and their illegitimate president from the colonies.

I dare you to find a better Denali hot take! Although anyone with the bravery to dive into the waters of the conservative blogosphere just might be able to do it…

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