Regina Fargis didn’t know what to do.Fargis runs Summit Hills — a health and retirement community in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that offers skilled nursing, activities and communal meals for its residents, most of whom are over 60, the highest-risk category for coronavirus complications. In South Carolina, more than a hundred new cases were emerging daily. So she took precautions: no visitors, hand sanitizer everywhere and regular reminders for residents about the importance of social distancing.For a time, it worked. Many similar facilities were hit hard by the virus, but Summit Hills remai...
Australians are waking up Tuesday morning to see the hashtag #AustraliaHasFallen, which is being used by MAGA followers to denounce their country for deporting tennis player Novak Djokovic after he refused to get vaccinated.
Conservatives in the US are alleging that Australians are angry about Djokovic's treatment.
In reality, however, Australians have had to abide by strict COVID rules for over a year and many of them were angry at the idea that Djokovic would be exempt from the rules everyone else also must follow. The rest of the tennis players participating in the Australian Open have been vaccinated.
That hasn't stopped MAGA world from claiming that the end of Australia is forthcoming. Australians have their own thoughts.
See some Australians' replies to MAGA fans below.
The majority of #AustraliaHasFallen over laughing at this hashtag. To all those who vow never to visit here because we deported a tennis player for failing the requirements to qualify to play in the AO, we consider that another WIN!pic.twitter.com/eyvYV5tbhB— \u2733 \ud835\udcab\ud835\udcb6\ud835\udcc9\ud835\udcc8 \ud835\udc3f\ud835\udc9f \u2733 @\ud835\udd7b\ud835\udd77\ud835\udd6f \ud835\udd7b\ud835\udd94\ud835\udd97\ud835\udd99\ud835\udd97\ud835\udd86\ud835\udd8e\ud835\udd99\ud835\udd98 (@\u2733 \ud835\udcab\ud835\udcb6\ud835\udcc9\ud835\udcc8 \ud835\udc3f\ud835\udc9f \u2733 @\ud835\udd7b\ud835\udd77\ud835\udd6f \ud835\udd7b\ud835\udd94\ud835\udd97\ud835\udd99\ud835\udd97\ud835\udd86\ud835\udd8e\ud835\udd99\ud835\udd98) 1642455417
Yeah, I used to feel bad for them but IDGAF anymore.\nI only care about the kids now.\n#LeaveOurKidsAlone\n#AustraliaHasFallen \n#DoNotComplyEVER— Nathan (@Nathan) 1642370725
You do realise that we are open- as long as you are fully vaccinated. If you\u2019re not, we don\u2019t want you here— Crock (@Crock) 1642461007
Wait hold on let me speak out of character....This season of Australia is full of drama so we thought we'd spice it up with a guest star so in comes Djokovic, we had him deported for the show and it seems the US took it too seriously.— Ethan (@Ethan) 1642444779
Just checked out my window. No, Australian has not fallen. But for all you MAGAts, I will pop down to the beach to make sure. #AustraliaHasFallenpic.twitter.com/K5DtYz3jly— cam yuill (@cam yuill) 1642456154
Just to clarify\u2026\n\nA tennis player lied on his visa application\n\nFind me ANY country that would say this is ok!\n\nHe\u2019s an entitled asshat that thinks he\u2019s above the law\n\n84% of AUSTRALIANS agree with the decision\u2026\n\nHe\u2019s not a martyr\u2026 He\u2019s an ass. \n\n #AustraliaHasFallen— Dad's a Hipster \ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa \ud83d\udc4d (@Dad's a Hipster \ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa \ud83d\udc4d) 1642459437
Oh snap! #DjokovicGoHome @DjokerNole\n #AustraliaHasFallen moronshttps://twitter.com/reuters/status/1483029009978073088\u00a0\u2026— Boxy (@Boxy) 1642461400
Sick of the #AustraliaHasFallen Goons who use the hash to say that ANY criticism of australia's politics is bad.\nFucking americans dictating that Australia can't have their own opinions, stop fucking talking for us, we want to talk so our next PM sees this shit and makes changes.— LightKnight (@LightKnight) 1642463430
#AustraliaHasFallen yet here we are! Still lots to be grateful for! #grateful #liftthevibration #StayPositive #countyou\u0155blessings #KindnessMatterspic.twitter.com/vFeeIBUGZQ— Cataren (@Cataren) 1642421771
By my count #AustraliaHasFallen like 7 times in the last 3 months according to a bunch of people who've never stepped foot in this country, tweeting out anti-vax shit 20 times a day like they were a bot?pic.twitter.com/0qvdZIDsR3— Shane Anderson \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 (@Shane Anderson \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08) 1642434105
Really #AustraliaHasFallen?\n\nLast time I checked, compared with Afghanistan, North Korea, China, Belarus, Russia, Myanmar, Saudi, Yemen, Syria etc have ACTUAL freedom issues. #StopWhinging #AssHatspic.twitter.com/yGwz5WHCMi— Chris Wells \ud83d\udcbe\ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udf97\ufe0f\u24cb\ud83c\udf97\ufe0f\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89 (@Chris Wells \ud83d\udcbe\ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udf97\ufe0f\u24cb\ud83c\udf97\ufe0f\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89) 1642458188
Americans posting #AustraliaHasFallen because they\u2019re jealous of us, is the same type of jealous that I have when I see a learner driver in a Porsche— Elle\ud83d\udc9e\ud83e\udd42\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa (@Elle\ud83d\udc9e\ud83e\udd42\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa) 1642461189
AHA! How can anyone say #AustraliaHasFallen when FRANCE SAYS THE SAME THING!!\nWelcome to FOLLOWING RULES #novaxdjokovic \nSUCKED IN YOU ENTITLED WANKER!pic.twitter.com/chqucPblZX— Razor1640 (@Razor1640) 1642446430
#AustraliaHasFallen: Where the people who mostly use the hashtag are Americans having a sook, call everyone sheeple when they took livestock medication, think Trump was a Messiah, and just LOVE to stick their nose where it doesn't belong.— Lauchlan Scase (@Lauchlan Scase) 1642431980
And Americans who joined in mocking the anti-Australian Americans:
LOL at these #AustraliaHasFallen anti-vaxxers and gun kooks who apparently believe in wide-open borders because Australia told some arrogant foreigner he had to follow the same health regulations as Australians.— Kat 4 Obama (@Kat 4 Obama) 1642453153
That sound you hear is Australia breathing a sigh of relief\u2026 & laughing at you, thinking they\u2019d be mad you aren\u2019t coming.— Kim Zimmerman (@Kim Zimmerman) 1642449153
They won't miss you.\n\nYour loss mate, Australia is an incredible country.— Kiki Samos (@Kiki Samos) 1642439035
Today we honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are many obvious reasons to raise up his name in tribute and praise. But there’s another less obvious reason – the civil rights leader understood southern politics.
Much of our discourse treats southern politics as if it were just another regional bloc. Or the region and its history are whitewashed in ways similar to slavery being whitewashed from US history. I think King knew better. If you don’t understand southern politics, you don’t understand politics, period.
I’m not a scholar, but I lived in the south for nearly a decade. I was a reporter and editor at small newspapers. I’m here to tell you, things are different.
Speaking truthfully is not a civic virtue. Free speech is not valued. The common good is not recognized. There is no such thing as “the public.” Equality is paid lip service. The rights of property are unquestioned.
Meanwhile, conformity is enforced, gender roles policed, the racial hierarchy maintained unto death. To call southern politics the politics of a rightwing authoritarian collective is not too much. Everything is us against them. We talk about fascism as if it’s modern. The American sort goes back to 1619.
In a very real sense, the white south is like a mini-Russia – one-party control, endemic corruption, no concern for governance and constant appeals to the very worst in humanity for the sake of restricting liberty to the master race. The line connecting Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump runs through Dixie.
If this sounds unkind, consider this. Southern politics, by which I mean white southern politics, is what gave motivation and rationale to the J6 insurgents. They were not betraying the country. They were not committing acts of treason. They were instead defending “real Americans” from “tyranny.”
Let’s turn now to an authority, Angie Maxwell. She’s a professor of political science at the University of Arkansas and director of its Center of Southern Politics and Society. Her latest book, with Todd Shields, is The Long Southern Strategy. She explained that entertainment, not governing, is the thing in the south.
What about southern politics is vital to understanding American democracy that most people don't know about, including southerners?
Prior to the publication of VO Key, Jr's landmark study, Southern Politics in State and Nation (1949), most research in American politics (not historians) focused primarily on the non-South. The very short introduction to Key's enormous book still reveals some of the most shrewd insights about the region.
Specifically, Key claims that because of one-party politics, the South has no real political system capable of solving its very real problems. In a one-party political system, politics becomes a "drole facade" – a politics of entertainment as opposed to a contest of ideas.
There is little oversight or restraint. Politicians who are cult of personalities are successful. Political rallies are tent revival-like sources of entertainment.
When the South was in the process of realigning from Democratic dominance to Republican dominance, observers and scholars thought the region was purple and competitive. The party labels were but the ideologies were not.
The one-party dominance still exists in most of the southern states. It's just the GOP in control instead of the Democratic Party. So in many southern states there is no opposition party infrastructure.
There is scant participation in parties by the public. Little oversight is still the norm. Most of the substantive changes have been the result of federal laws and requirements or Supreme Court rulings.
This is important, because it shows why Georgia specifically has moved the needle and become so competitive.
Democratic workers there have invested in infrastructure and community organizing. It doesn't matter how talented a Democratic candidate may be, without the grassroots network and public buy-in to the party, they will not be successful.
Another thing that many people may not realize is how important the South is for the national Democratic Party.
Most southern states go red, of course. Although Obama won three southern states, he could have lost them and still reached the magic number for an Electoral College victory. So many folks don't see the importance of the South for the Democratic Party.
However, the South still has a significant number of delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Since many southern states moved their primaries up in the calendar – remember the moniker "SEC primary" – and since they often vote similarly in those primaries, they have an enormous impact on momentum in a crowded Democratic Party field.
Candidates who know that and invest in the South are often successful there, though it can seem like a waste of resources for winning votes in the general.
In terms of the Republican primaries, we all know the South is crucial, but I don't know if we realize the extent. Because most of the Republican primaries are winner-take-most if not winner-take-all, and because the RNC awards bonus delegates to states that went red in the general in the last election cycle, the South has a disproportionate effect on who gets the RNC nomination. I wrote a piece about it last January.
Something many people do not know is how limited our research on southern politics is – particularly over time research. The ANES (American National Election Surveys) at University of Michigan is the gold standard in our over time data on American politics. Their national surveys have been running consistently since 1952.
However, in most years, their southern samples in those surveys are very, very small. That isn't their fault. They are taking a national snapshot.
However, since the region has been so dominated by one-party politics, political behavior and attitudes operate differently. And that is rarely captured.
That is why the center I run, and upon which my research is based, oversamples the South so that we can compare the region to the rest of the country and see where it is distinct and where it is not.
Are you able to generalize the political values of one-party southern politics?
For the dominant party, symbolic politics is key, as opposed to governing. There isn't a real threat to losing power or control, so catering to the base is everything, as is party loyalty and party allegiance.
The fear is always being primaried in your own party, not losing in a general. Compromise isn't necessary, so it's about jockeying for recognition within the party.
For the party in opposition, where one party dominates, it has to be about compromise and political pragmatism.
For example, the reason Bernie Sanders did not fare well in the South in the 2020 Democratic primaries is not necessarily because southern Democrats think Medicare for all is a bad idea. It just seems like a pipe dream. It seems so far from their lived reality in a state dominated by a politics of privatization. Many southern states never expanded Medicaid, and in the ones that did, it was a huge battle.
Many people don't realize what an uphill battle it is in most southern states to reach real two-party competition. That's why it was amazing to see Georgia, North Carolina and Texas too close to call on election night 2020. Just being at that place represents decades of work.
This is also why the gutting of the Voting Rights Act (as a result of the 2013 Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder) is so devastating in the South. Folks may look at a state like Arkansas, for example, and say well they have four GOP Congressman now, and they will likely have four after 2022. What's the big impact of redistricting post-Shelby County?
What they don't see is all the years of work that made an African-American woman and state Senator Joyce Elliot, a serious contender in 2020 in the 2nd district (Little Rock). But now Little Rock has been split into three separate congressional districts, undoing all of those decades of organizing.
The South is overly influential in selecting the GOP's presidential nominee. The South is critical to any GOP victory in the general. The influence of the South in the selection of the Democratic Party's presidential nominee is underestimated.
The long history of one-party politics in the South has created real structural barriers to progress and change. For he party in opposition, it takes decades of work to become competitive again, and a great deal of that could be wiped away without a restoration of the protections of the Voting Rights Act.
For Republicans, politics is symbolic. For Democratic, it's about pragmatism. That sounds a lot like our national politics. Has American politics been "southernized"?
Yes. American politics has become southernized in that the majority of states are under one party rule, as opposed to divided government.
The longer that persists and the more extreme the gap in partisan power, the more likely non-southern states will encounter the same structural problems that have plagued the South.
In terms of parties, the Republicans nationalized southern white identity in an effort to turn the South red — The Long Southern Strategy — and that rebranded conservatism in a southern white image.
Scoring high on scales that measure racial resentment, modern sexism or Christian nationals accounted for 95 percent of Trump’s white vote.
In terms of Democrats, Democrats outside of the South tend to resemble Democrats in southern states where Republicans dominate, leaving Democrats little recourse but to be pragmatic and compromising – because they have no other choice.
Democrats in strong blue states operate in a very different environment.
If there's one thing that is consistent on the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it's people claiming to admire him even as they spend the overwhelming majority of their time actively working against causes he stood for.
Such was the case Monday when Republicans, along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), took to Twitter to celebrate the man who called for an end to the filibuster and demanded equal voting rights for all people. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) didn't even make a comment about MLK Day on his Twitter or Facebook pages as of 7 p.m. EST.
MSNBC host Ari Melber listed some of the statements from the officials but played a video of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claiming that he was inspired by MLK to help all people of Kentucky.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, called King "a man who dreamed and paved a way for many."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, "we remember the sacrifices he made," when talking about Dr. King.
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) called King "a man who transformed our nation."
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), said that today, "we... remember what he courageously stood for."
As Melber noted, most whites at the time of King's death regarded him as a criminal or agitator.
"He had the extremely high disapproval rate of about 75 percent at his death," said the host. "And the calls to create today's holiday remained controversial into the '70s. It took a campaign and national effort, among many other pushes to get today to become a holiday, which didn't happen until 1983."
Speaking Monday, King's 13-year-old granddaughter said, “My family and I have been working on getting two major bills passed that can make it easier for people to vote, because one of the fundamental rights is the right to vote. Everybody needs to have access to voting."
Footage of King's comments about the filibuster made the rounds on Monday as well. When asked about the Civil Rights Act, King said that both he and Americans support it, but because of a small minority of racist members, it was being blocked.
"Well, this would certainly be all right with me, because I think the vast majority of people in the United States would vote favorably for such a bill," he said. "I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress with a Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting. They won't let the majority senators vote. And certainly they wouldn't want the majority of people to vote, because they know they do not represent the majority of the American people. In fact, they represent, in their own states, a very small minority."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's comments to Kyrsten Sinema on the Filibuster www.youtube.com
"Manchin has touted MLK as a revolutionary leader, given that he is siding with the establishment to even minor tweaks to Senate rules or take the Democrats of the month, Senator Sinema who has touted King's ally in marching on those very issues, Rep. John Lewis, calling him a hero, 'rest in power, my friend,'" Melber quoted. "But she is using her power right now to block King's call to end the filibuster against voting rights."
Martin Luther King III took the war to Sinema on Monday.
"We believe as it relates to getting these bills passed that Sen. Sinema has been one of the challenges," he said.
Melber then turned to those in the GOP who were promoting MLK's message of peace.
See Melber's full commentary and conversation with his panelists below:
Kyrsten Sinema claims to love MLK but she's working against everything he stands for www.youtube.com