By the time this column runs, Donald Trump’s State of the Union address will be over and done with. But as I’m writing this, there’s a good 24 hours before the SOTU. I can’t stomach the 24-hour breathless “news” coverage the event is already getting, as if behind the podium will be a legitimate president and not a racist and misogynist buffoon who has done nothing but lie to the American people.
Anyhoo, it’s totes possible that something Trump says during the SOTU address (which I would like to rename the STFU address so long as Trump is the president) will inspire me to write yet another Creep of the Week column about him.
But I’m tired of writing about that fool, so this week let’s focus on something lighter: an armed man showing up at a public library to protest Drag Queen Storytime and refusing to leave. You know, to protect the children.
Said man is James “Doc” Greene Sr. — a right-wing radio host who filmed himself being asked to leave a library in Houston.
Greene posted the video to YouTube titling it “Arrested for being a Christian.” In the video multiple police officers have formed a perimeter around Greene and ask him, again and again, to leave.
The video is peak white privilege. As Greene is surrounded by police officers repeatedly, and politely, asking him to leave, and he refuses over and over again demanding to “see the law” he is breaking and asserting that he is “a taxpayer.” Did I mention he has a gun? Granted it’s a concealed weapon (which is totes legal to bring to a library in Texas). If you don’t think Greene’s treatment would have been radically and violently different if he was black instead of white, I have a bridge made of MAGA hats to sell you.
Now, you might be wondering, “Well, what was Greene doing wrong? Doesn’t he have just as much right to be in the library as anyone?” Well, yes. But if you’re in the library making other people feel unsafe, they have a right to ask you to leave — which they’d already asked of him.
“He was previously banned for filming children at the library and has been known to cause disturbances,” Houston Police Department spokesperson Jodi Silva told “Out Smart” magazine.
So when Greene showed up at the library right before Drag Queen Storytime, they did not hesitate to tell him to scram. Greene clearly thought this was unjust and so the library called the police.
In the background of Greene’s video, while the police officers have gotten him outside of the building but not off of the premises, the song “I Like to Move It” is playing. So as Greene argues with and disobeys the officers about leaving, the scene is punctuated by calls to “Move it!”
Greene asks, again, why he has to leave and an officer says something like, “You were filming in the library.” Greene responds, “You don’t realize they’re lying to you. You don’t realize they’re using you. We have a bunch of homosexuals that are molesting children. They are doing it with your help.”
The police are astoundingly calm and polite as they escort him to his car, which he apparently refuses to get into and drive away. He is subsequently arrested and his gun is confiscated by the police. He complains of chest pains and they take him to the hospital.
News reports about the incident say there was no evidence that Greene planned to use the gun.
But here’s the thing: people who bring guns to libraries are the ones most likely to use guns in libraries. Now add in the fact that Greene, who sure has a lot in common with other right-wingers who became mass shooters, believes children are being harmed by people he sees as inhuman. According to “The Independent,” Greene later claimed in a Facebook video that he was “arrested for being a white Christian” and referred to a librarian as a “Satanist.” How much evidence do we need to believe that everyone at that library was in danger as long as he was there with a gun?
And, I know I said I wasn’t going to write about Trump this week, but it bears pointing out that Greene broadcasts his show in a MAGA hat in front of a cardboard cutout of Trump, a president who has more than any other in modern history emboldened right-wing radicals and encouraged violence.
The State of the Union is deplorable.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.