I really want to get deep into Gov. Paul LePage’s most recent meltdown, but honestly, he’s said far too much for the allotted time/word count/emotional strength I have, so let’s just go through some quotes:
“Black people come up the highway and they kill Mainers.”
Ouch. This is a tough one because he’s right. Now everyone knows that we black people travel as wandering hordes of assassins. He figured us out and I’m very embarrassed. I don’t know how he did it. Maybe he bugged one of our weekly meetings.
“It made me enormously angry when a TV reporter asked me for my reaction about [Rep. Drew] Gattine calling me a racist. It is the absolute worst, most vile thing you can call a person.”
Faggot, nigger, kike, spic — wait. You know what? He’s right again! I’m fooling myself. There’s nothing worse than being called a racist. I guess I forgot that the real victim is always the guy in charge.
From a voicemail LePage left for Gattine: “You — I need you to — just friggin’.”
Again, the governor is correct. He needs us to, and so we all should, just friggin’.
More from that voicemail to Gattine: “I want you to record this and make this public because I’m after you.” And later, to the press, regarding that voicemail: “While I should’ve thought better of it, that he’s not very brave so he would make sure everyone hears it … uh … it was intended for his ears and his ears only.”
Ha-ha, Gattine! You fell for it, dummy! And he told you he was after you! You really should’ve just friggin’.
“When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red, don’t you. Ken? You’ve been in uniform. You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in, are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”
First of all, I don’t know who Ken is, but I’m sure he was really glad he was there. Only a man who’s been in uniform can truly speak to the color codes of war.
Secondly, as Shay Stewart-Bouley pointed out on her blog Black Girl in Maine, it looks like we, and people who look like us, are now enemies of the state! Cool, huh? This during a time in which it’s publicly known that black people are being killed all over this country simply for being black.
Remember back in January, when LePage implied that black people were drug dealers? Then he said, “Everybody in Maine, we have constitutional carry. Load up and get rid of the drug dealers.” He later claimed to be joking because, you know, he’s so funny. What a character! I’ll tell you what, nothing makes me laugh harder than the governor of my home state pushing for a race war! Hahahaha…
“I wish it were 1825, and we would have a duel, that’s how angry I am, and I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you. I would not be [Alexander] Hamilton. I would point it right between his eyes.”
… hahahaha. I’m still laughing at the race-war thing! Anyway, LePage is talking about Gattine again here, and this is when things changed. Once LePage spoke openly about murdering Gattine, Maine Democratic lawmakers sent out a press release saying, “Paul LePage is not mentally or emotionally fit to hold office. His words and actions have crossed a line. Threats of violence are never acceptable and cannot be tolerated in civilized society.”
Now LePage has crossed a line? I don’t know. Threats of violence seemed perfectly acceptable earlier.
To be fair, Democratic Maine Senate leaders Justin Alfond and Dawn Hill later released a statement condemning LePage’s comments about people of color. While I am truly grateful for that addendum, it is nowhere near enough.
Because while some white Mainers can freely laugh at the Buffoon in the Blaine House, there are other, desperate, white, impoverished Mainers who don’t think it’s funny. They’re looking for a solution, just like the rest of us. LePage has presented his solution: blame a race of people for a societal plague and repeatedly encourage violence against them. But encouraging violence against a race of people does not solve a societal plague. In fact, encouraging violence eventually creates violence. And if it goes that far, no one will be laughing.
Samuel James is an internationally renowned bluesman and storyteller, as well as a locally known filmmaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.