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Ted Nugent needs to just go away

Keene is a senior majoring in political science, economics and public policy.

Republicans have long promoted Ted Nugent as a hero, a fundraising icon and a gun-rights crusader. They need to stop doing this, because they are making fools of themselves.

Nugent, an ex-rocker long since forgotten as the man responsible for “Cat Scratch Fever,” has rebranded himself in recent decades as a right-wing nut and paranoid racist. It was barely tolerable for a while, but in January he took it too far.

Last month, he referred to President Obama as a “subhuman mongrel” and “gangster,” and then had the gall to accuse the people who called him out on his awful remark of being the ones using Nazi tactics.

Being a racist is despicable under normal circumstances, and calling Obama a mongrel would have been bad enough. Mongrel is a derogatory term referring to individuals of mixed races, and its use shows just what Nugent, a frequent guest on Fox News and frequenter guest of Republicans at fundraisers, thinks of interracial mixing. To refer to mixed-race individuals as lesser than pure race individuals is an antiquated and horrible notion unacceptable in any era, but most certainly in 2014.

So mongrel is bad enough, and most commentators are focusing on that word from Nugent’s racially tinged rant against the leader of the free world. But it isn’t even the worst part of what Nugent said. Nugent’s use of “subhuman” doesn’t just show that Nugent thinks poorly of other races, it shows that he thinks his race should rule supreme.

The term “subhuman” has been used to justify genocide and racial eliminationism for decades. To call someone “subhuman” is to say they are less than human, and therefore they don’t have the same moral status as whites, and ultimately can be used as justification for violent harm against them and their group. This should not be acceptable behavior.

What is really sickening is not that someone can hold these views after decades of seeing the horror they have brought upon this world, it is seeing mainstream politicians invite someone who holds these views to a fundraiser filled with people who, after hearing such a racist tirade, willingly donate money to the candidate who invited someone like Nugent to the event.

No matter how much money Nugent and his supporters may have, no campaign should feel good about themselves after tapping into that racial anger to build support. And no voter should feel good about supporting a candidate who is comfortable around a man who spews such hatred.

Republicans, force Nugent into retirement and let him and the racist, supremacist opinions he holds fall into obscurity as they should have ages ago. Not to assuage the party of guilt by association, but because racism shouldn’t have a platform, and because no one should have to resort to dehumanizing their political opponents in a democracy.

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