The Most Racist Thing I Saw Today Was This Campaign Ad Attacking the Squad and Kaepernick

It’s from Jeff Sessions’ primary opponent.

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Since announcing a bid for his old Senate seat, ex–Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a racist without portfolio, has been relatively quiet. Into the void has stepped Rep. Bradley Byrne, one of Sessions’ opponents in Alabama’s March primary. Last week, Byrne unveiled a campaign ad that managed to exploit the legacy of his dead Army veteran brother to attack Rep. Ilhan Omar, the “Squad,” and blackballed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, all in the name of patriotism. 

In the ad, Byrne, staring into a flickering fire outside his family’s farmhouse, reports feeling a sense of pain when he hears Omar, a Muslim congresswoman, “cheapening 9/11” (she never did) and Kaepernick and other “entitled athletes dishonoring” the American flag (they didn’t) and the Squad “attacking America” (never happened). The message? In an interview last week with Fox & Friends after the ad came out, Byrne fell back on euphemism, saying the “country is at a crossroads” and adding that he wanted to “help the president take the country in the right direction.” But of course that’s not what the spot is really saying. It’s saying that Black and Brown people are terrifying; please elect this mournful white guy who wears plaid and hangs out on a log telling scary stories to himself by a campfire. He’s already out-Sessionsing Sessions. 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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