St Louis News

The Big Mad: Dumpling Dummies, Broken Records and Missouri’s January Six

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Sen. Josh Hawley is one of six Missouri lawmakers who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. - FRANCIS CHUNG/COURTESY OF E&E NEWS AND POLITICO

  • Francis Chung/Courtesy of E&E News and Politico
  • Sen. Josh Hawley is one of six Missouri lawmakers who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Welcome back to the Big Mad, the RFT‘s weekly roundup of righteous rage! Because we know your time is short and your anger is hot:

Of Dumplings and Diversity: For KSDK journalist Michelle Li, it was a fluffy story about traditional New Year’s Day meals that ran for just under 30 seconds on January 1. But for one brain-poisoned viewer, only the last few seconds of the story were worth complaining about: the moment when, just after Li mentioned the New Year’s staples of black-eyed peas, greens, cornbread and pork, the reporter added, “I ate dumpling soup. That’s what a lot of Korean people do.” As a racist does, the viewer left a voicemail complaining that the “very Asian” reporter should “keep her Korean to herself,” and argued, of course, that a hypothetical “white anchor” would be fired for doing the same thing. Li turned the harassment into a positive movement, and her tweet about the call helped transform the attempted insult into a hashtag, #VeryAsian, that continues to trend as a statement of pride. But beyond the rank bigotry, it’s easy to miss the familiar pivot of racists claiming victimhood because other cultures and ethnicities have the gall to coexist in “their” America; it’s a view that goes much deeper than food, of course, from the Proud Boys defending their view of “Western Civilization” to the deluded public school parents insisting that teaching students about America’s history of race and slavery is itself racist. Li, faced with that hate, responded with grace and restraint. But it’s sure a crummy way to start a new year.

Like a Broken Record: There’s no way to soften this blow so we’ll just come out and say it: This state fucking sucks when it comes to handling a pandemic. First, Governor Hee-Haw decides to let a COVID-19 state of emergency order expire because you know, got to leave the bad vibes in the past year (or you just want to pretend that you have accomplished a mission as a new variant threatens to spike COVID-19 cases to a higher level). Then, three days later, that exact threat comes to bear and breaks records. Fifty-four kids are in the hospital according to a January 3 report, because Missouri just absolutely refuses to get their shit together. School districts are dropping mask mandates — partially because of our dimwitted Attorney General and his wasteful lawsuits, partially because they risk being bullied by parent after parent at the local school board meetings, and yeah, maybe because some school board members simply don’t believe in masks — and that just leads to more kids getting sick as they come back from winter break. And it doesn’t even stop there; the record for hospitalizations broke for adults, too. There were 964 adult hospitalizations, and as the holiday season comes to an end, we don’t know how many more will join those numbers. It’s unfathomable that we’re almost two years into this pandemic and still breaking records, especially heartbreaking ones like these. Missouri: Get your shit together and wake up. The only way out of this is to pull your head out of your ass, wear a mask and get vaccinated. If not for anyone else, do it for yourself.

Missouri’s January Six: A year ago, we watched the first videos of Trump superfans smashing windows, crawling up walls and abandoning all their “back the blue” rhetoric to bludgeon, mace and stomp police officers guarding the U.S. Capitol. At least eighteen Missourians were part of the mob, according to the tally of those later charged by federal prosecutors. But there were other Missouri accomplices there that day. For one, there was Sen. Josh Hawley saluting crowds of soon-to-be wall crashers, who rightly saw him as an ally after he’d spent weeks propping up the Big Lie. He and five Republican members of Congress — representatives Jason Smith, Vicky Hartzler, Sam Graves, Billy Long and Blaine Luetkemeyer — emerged from safe rooms after the rioters had cleared out and did just what the mob wanted: They voted against certifying the presidential election results. It seemed crazy and mind-bogglingly self-serving at the time, but it was a crazy day. Heat of the moment and everything, right? Watch this January 6 and see if any of the six offer regrets for their roles. See if they take any responsibility for the two-thirds of the recently polled Republicans who believe to this day that Trump lost through fraud. It’s been a year. Maybe they’ll say something, or maybe they’ll add it to the list of things they pretend never happened — even though they damn well know it did.

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