Governor Nimrata Randhawa “Nikki” Haley was riding high following her simply competent response to Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address. As was to be expected, she has now gone back to her usual self and is making absolutely no damn sense.
A MSNBC producer tweeted a quote from an interview with the South Carolina governor, in which—particularly given her recent history of being supposedly pleased to see the Confederate flag taken down from the SC statehouse even though she’d defended it, before nine black people got gunned down in a church—Haley seems to display a deep and unfathomable misunderstanding of American history.
Her full remarks, as he notes, don’t make any more sense.
Oh Nikki. Who taught you that? No, seriously, who taught you that?
And so we have another classic case of an unfortunately recurring question: is Nikki Haley dumb or evil? Certainly, Nikki Haley has heard of Jim Crow or the Japanese Internment during World War II. Certainly, the Black Codes must ring a bell somewhere. In response to her quote, someone on Twitter pointed out that the United States used to deny citizenship to Sikhs. Haley was born into an Indian Sikh family. Seems like a thing she might know!
So there’s a slight possibility that Nikki Haley is ignorant beyond imagination and despite holding high public office, has no clue about the basic history of her country. That’s a slight chance. What’s more likely is that she’s just being an asshole.
Let’s sit with Haley’s statement for one more moment. “We’ve never, in the history of this country, passed any laws or done anything based on race or religion.” Really, girl? Really? Anything at all? You might want to double check on that with some black Americans, Americans of Japanese descent and Americans of Chinese descent. Some 19 century Irish immigrants may want to have a word with you, as would a few Italians. And hey, I know it sounds crazy, but even Muslims in America miiiight disagree with you too.
All of this is to say: I am no fan of Nikki Haley, but I do not believe she’s that dumb about American history. What I do believe is that she’s deliberately telling flat-out lies that she thinks—perhaps correctly—that people will believe. This election cycle has shown nothing so clearly as the fact that it’s incredibly easy to pander to the large segment of Americans who truly don’t understand American history.
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