Letter to the Editor: Caroline Stover
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Letter to the Editor: Caroline Stover

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Letter to the Editor,

Unbelievable but true: a bill has passed the Georgia Senate that would use tax dollars to display “America First” on Ga. license plates, a slogan with historically antisemitic overtones. Since the 1940’s, the name “America First” has been used by organizations promoting antisemitism, religious intolerance, fascism, Nazism, and white supremacy.

During the presidential election of 1944, the America First Party ran on a platform that included calls for Jews to be sterilized and deported. Around the same time, an organization called America First Inc. made a patent for a weapon called “Kike Killer” that was designed to murder Jews in America. The America First Committee, an anti-war group formed in 1940, faced controversy because of its support by fringe hate organizations and antisemitic, fascist-leaning members like Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and aviator Laura Ingalls. At an America First Committee rally, Lindbergh said that the US should “defend the white race against foreign invasion.” Ingalls used pro-Nazi rhetoric and straight-armed Nazi salutes on her America First speaking tour. And of course, Donald Trump revived the dog-whistle slogan during his presidential campaign.

The sponsor of Georgia’s “America First” bill (SB 507) is Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), who said the America First slogan on specialty license plates was “patriotic.” His cluelessness, along with the 34 other Senators who voted for the bill, would be bad enough if they didn’t also use McCarthy-era rhetoric to strong-arm the bill’s passage.

Sen. Gooch said, “If you’re not a patriot and you’re not for unity in this country and supporting what’s good for our nation, hit the red button (to vote no) … If you want to put our nation first and make America a priority, hit the green button.” Sen. Josh McLaurin (D-Sandy Springs), who opposed SB 507, ironically suggested changing “America First” to “Donald Trump First’’ instead. In response, Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) said, “Are you American? Or are you a communist infiltrator?”

This bill still requires passage in the House and a signature from Gov. Kemp to become law. Georgians can contact their lawmakers to insure a quick death to this shameful bill that is the opposite of putting our nation first.

Caroline Stover, Atlanta, Ga.

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