Why is Rep. Liz Cheney the only Republican telling the truth about the Buffalo shooting?

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Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is pretty much the only Republican calling out other Republicans who have 'enabled white nationalism.'
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is pretty much the only Republican calling out other Republicans who have 'enabled white nationalism.'

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is calling out her own, saying that House Republican leadership “has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism.”

Anyone paying attention to politics lately can see that. But saying it publicly and especially singling out Republicans is something else entirely.

As of Monday afternoon, the congresswoman from Wyoming stood alone in calling out fellow Republicans' white nationalistic tendencies that fuel violence like the horrific shooting over the weekend that left 10 dead in Buffalo, N.Y.

Everyone else was busy merely “praying” for the Black victims of the suspected shooter, Payton Gendron, an 18-year-old white man. Authorities are investigating it as a hate crime.

Violence has happened, many times before

Gendron is accused of driving 200 miles to a Buffalo supermarket, a place he reportedly picked because of its high percentage of Black residents.

Hunting for nonwhite people isn’t new.

It happened in El Paso, Texas, in 2019, where a gunman drove hours to target Latinos, ultimately killing 23 people at a Walmart.

It happened in Pittsburgh in 2018 where 11 Jewish worshippers were killed and in Charleston, Va., where nine Black people were killed.

It has happened too many times before to excuse it as anything other than violence, fueled by a white nationalism that, unfortunately, the Republican Party has embraced.

“History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse,” Cheney said on Twitter on Monday. “@GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.”

Liz Cheney spoke up and was kicked out

Why aren’t they speaking out? Cheney herself is the clue.

She’s a conservative Republican yet is the pariah of the Republican Party because she dared speak up against the party’s leader, Donald Trump, after the U.S. Capitol riots.

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was summarily kicked out of House leadership for her audacity to speak up.

She’s the lone wolf here – again. Not even the other mostly sensible Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, had the guts to denounce the shooting for what it is.

Instead, he resorted to double talk of heroism displayed by a security guard killed in the rampage while trying to stop the shooter.

“Good and evil in stark relief,” Romney said on Twitter. “Voices of hate inspire acts of horror; honor streams from the better angels of our nature.”

That doesn’t cut it.

There are no buts or excuses for the indiscriminate killing of innocent people just because of the color of their skin.

Those who remain silent are no better

The shooter himself reportedly left a trail of evidence about his transformation from a bored kid during the pandemic into a hardcore soldier of the “Great Replacement Theory” – the idea that nonwhite people will replace white Americans.

Yet, Republicans are deflecting that responsibility and instead lashing out at Democrats whom they say are using the Buffalo massacre to score political points.

That’s cheap talk.

Not because Democrats are saints but because Republicans are sidetracking responsibility as enablers of “white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism,” as Cheney put it.

Of course, not all Republicans and Republican leaders are white nationalists. But even the sensible ones have fallen into the grips of that horrific movement by staying silent – purely for personal political ambitions.

Let’s just say it. Those staying silent are no better than the ones actually spewing white supremacist views.

And Arizona has plenty of both – those fostering these views and their silent accomplices.

No one calls out Arizona politicians, either

Just look at Republican state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who was censured because of her white supremacy ties yet remains popular (or at least tolerated) by the state’s GOP leaders.

On Monday, the Senate voted to start an ethics inquiry after she tweeted “Fed boy summer has started in Buffalo,” apparently suggesting the shooting was staged by the federal government. Hopefully, the inquiry leads to something concrete, but don’t bet on it since the Senate was also quick to vote against expulsion.

Another view: Wendy Rogers keeps Arizona in the news. It's not a good look

Then there is the “border invasion” drumbeat of Republican candidates in Arizona, Texas and several other states that's billed a political strategy to recruit Democratic voters.

Take, for instance, Blake Masters, who’s seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate to challenge Democrat Mark Kelly.

Just on Saturday, Masters shared a TV clip on social media saying that Democrats are deliberately letting people cross the border to eventually legalize them so they will vote Democrat.

“This is an electoral strategy for Democrats,” Blake said. “Their policies are so bad and so unpopular that this is the only way they think they can shore up political power in the future.”

We know why Cheney's alone

No doubt the sentiment that foreigners or nonwhite people are taking over America now runs deep in the America’s psyche.

Rep. Cheney is right “that what begins with words ends in far worse.”

But, again, why is she the only Republican linking the Buffalo shooting rampage to white supremacy? Why is she the only one calling out fellow Republicans?

We know why. And that should worry all of us.

Elvia Díaz is an editorial columnist for The Republic and azcentral. Reach her at 602-444-8606 or elvia.diaz@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter, @elviadiaz1.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Liz Cheney is the only Republican speaking truth about Buffalo