Latest dog whistle: Actor Don Cheadle sees Nazism where none exists

Latest dog whistle: Actor Don Cheadle sees Nazism where none exists
Don Cheadle (Image: YouTube screen grab via Team Coco)

On Sunday, actor Don Cheadle touched off a firestorm on Twitter when he mistook a lapel pin worn by former Missouri Rep. Ed Martin (R) for a Nazi insignia. Martin was on CNN to discuss the impact of recent developments on the durability of the Trump presidency.

One of those developments was the riots in Charlottesville, which perhaps triggered the association in Cheale’s mind. Or it may have been the same impulse that prompted geniuses in New York last week to see the Confederate flag in a simple geometric pattern that graces the walls of one subway station.

Whatever the case, Cheadle tweeted out, “Hey, @CNN … Anybody wanna talk about my man’s lovely brooch on his lapel? Anybody minding the store.” In the tweet, which follows, he included a video clip in which the lapel pin is visible.

In case his fellow dog whistle whisperers weren’t keyed in to his objection, he provided a second tweet of the Reichsadler, or Imperial Eagle, sitting atop a swastika.

But as The Daily Caller noted, “The pin was designed by Phyllis Schlafly in 1972 for her organization, the Eagle Forum, a conservative pro-family interest group.” Martin is currently president of the group. Hence, a lapel pin with its logo.

The Daily Caller continued:

As a symbol, the eagle doesn’t belong exclusively to any one nation. Other countries to use eagles in heraldry besides America include Albania, Austria, Egypt, France, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Russia, and ancient Rome.

When others advised Cheadle to delete the embarrassing tweet, his fans doubled down to suggest that he was right to be vigilant about calling out Nazis. “Vigilance is an asset in this era even if it produces some uneasy interactions,” wrote one of his followers.

Charles C.W. Cooke, the editor of National Review Online, tweeted in reaction to the kerfuffle:

It’s hard to say whether vigilantes on the Left will begin to seek out Nazi symbols with the same fervor they have racism. But you can rest assured this is not the last idiotic leap to a wrong conclusion. A Navy seaman was slashed in Colorado by a knife-wielding “Nazi hunter” who mistook his haircut to be that of a neo-Nazi.

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Joe Newby

Joe Newby

Joe Newby is an IT professional. He has written for Conservative Firing Line, Examiner, NewsBusters, and Spokane Faith and Values.

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