La Cartita (January 8, 2018; 00:35 EST) --- We interviewed Karen Fonseca, who is the new favorite target of the racist far-right in the United States. Fonseca was recently the subject of media attention because of a 'Fuck Donald Trump' decal placed on her truck rear window. Subsequently, a possibly illegitimate access of her personal records led to a brief arrest and unwarranted police contact. Now, she's embarking on a campaign to promote her message to other people marginalized by the current US president, Donald J Trump.
Fonseca is embarking on a serious and grassroots activism campaign. She is fundraising, not for personal gain, but to be seriously able to engage all her supporters. Vocalizing what so many wanted to say is important for her. The simple 'Fuck Donald Trump' message cuts accross color and class lines. Even if you disagree, the expression of the sentiment is protected speech in the US, and, technically, even Texas abides by constitutional law.
Fundraising to Compensate For Travel Costs: "Its Not For Me, But To Conduct Meetings".
In a telephone conversation with La Cartita, Fonseca related to us that she wishes to speak with people who supported her morally during the peak of the controversy. She intends to travel to Florida for a January 21st protest. She wants to preserve the memory of the free speech incident, the outcome, and has even considered a museum preservation effort for her truck. Fonseca would also like to go westward to California & Arizona too.
Tragedies often compound one another in succession. Hurrican Harvey left chemical plants in disarray. Floods and winds destroyed with brute force containers of toxic waste and these then spilled out into the general population.
As a result, Fonseca found a "ton of support from Harvey victims", leaving the Trump decals with some. Years of a corporation first framework on environmental regulations and Trump's recent ascension into office left many feeling abandoned. Remember, Trump literally tries to embody the 'Corporation' first approach at every turn. As the president engaged in online feuds, the federal agencies he gutted immediately upon taking office were slow to respond to the Harvey victims' plight.
Fodder For Right Wing Bully: "I'd Never Heard of Alex Jones."
Recently, Alex Jones, a racist right-wing 'shock jock' radio personality, shared a fake photo where Karen and her husband wear shirts with anti-Mexican commentary. Jones shared the meme to his millions of online followers. In this case, Jones chosen commentary consisted of references to English and legality, common dog-whistles meant to indirectly reference Mexicans without seeming too overtly racist. These comments were directed at the man to the left of Fonseca. As for Karen Fonseca, the insults were so immature that they usually function as grounds for the suspension of a twitter handle.
The juxtaposition of Fonseca's background, sentiment and the platform under which she displayed the sticker must have struck a chord in the country. Some may have thought only Prius drivers disliked Trump. Trump's paranoid base of supporters must feel beleaguered now at the simple idea that 'Not everyone thinks like me. Not other Chevy owners. And, not even other Chevy owners in Texas'.
The Sticker That Got Fonseca Jailed In Fort Bend County, Texas (Source: Karen Fonseca)
"Why Didnt He Just Give Me A Phone Call? He Could Have Called Me Up."
That's a good question. Why didnt Sheriff Nehls just give Karen Fonseca a phone call? If the Trump decal violated the law so egregiously (it didnt), then why not "run the plates" and call Fonseca? Why would Troy Nehls, the Fort Bend County Sheriff, address a supposed law enforcement issue via a Facebook post? While not as a direct manager, Nehls was once Fonseca's boss so a phone call would not have been out of the ordinary. It could have even been very cordial.
Ultimately, politics may have factored into Nehls motivation. Nehls was actively campaigning for a US Congressional seat, and may have figured that hitching his chances to Trump's popularity locally would increase the likelihood of a successful bid. However, nationwide outcry over this local led to Nehls himself withdrawing from his exploratory Congressional seat campaign, at least, publicly. On the defensive, Nehls dropped the issue altogether and stopped making public statements regarding Fonseca.
Sheriff Troy Nehls Lied On Sheriff Application.
More insight about Nehls character was provided by Keep USA Honest reporting linked via Telesur. According to documents sourced by Keep USA Honest, Troy Nehls lied on a notarized about being fired from "a past position for disregard for orders issued by superiors and lying on a notarized affidavit during his job application process to his current department" (Telesur, 18 November 2017; accessed January 7, 2018).
Sheriff Troy Nehls' Department Mishandling Prisoner Demographic Data.
Apparently, Nehls is habitually neglectful of proper police work and dishonest. Among his infractions were "failure to contact a victim, several counts of improper evidence handling, evidence destruction, failure to return property, misleading superiors, improper arrest, and going to restaurants several times without notifying dispatch."(ibid).
There is also anecdotal evidence that indicate Nehls department does not maintain adequate records for arrests, perhaps, to hide disproportionate policing policies based on race.
Likely Mexican individuals arrested classfied as 'white'. Fuzzes demographic analysis. (Source: Fort Bend County Sheriff)
Some individuals who are obviously non-white, and, likely Mexican, are classified as white in Fort Bend County Sheriff's records. Even individuals with clear 'ICE holds' are classified as 'White':
Individuals with clear 'ICE holds' are classified as 'White'. (Source: Fort Bend County Sheriff)
At best, there is clear evidence of mismanagement of prisoner data and limited transparency on policing practices.
Who Accessed Karen Fonseca's Personal Records?
There are many lingering questions left unanswered. Who was the source of information to Fort Bend County Sheriff's about some unrelated warrant on Fonseca? While allegedly an anonymous tip led to Fonseca's brief arrest, the source of the information had to have relied on privileged police records. Thus, an internal departmental audit on when and how those records were accessed could reveal if the data was accessed lawfully. It is not uncommon for personal records to be accessed in an unlawful manner for personal gain.
The Need For Far Right Unity Is Placing Pressure On Their Narrative.
True or not, the contents of Michael Wolf's new book 'Fire and Fury' has led to a clear rift between Steve Bannon and Donald J. Trump. To minimize the trauma and friction sown by Trump and Bannon's supposed new conflicts, most right wing media has cast aside Bannon. Conversely, Trump has been elevated ideologically, so, logically, the targets of their ire have narrowed to people like Fonseca: prominent owners of important moments in social media who oppose Donald J. Trump.
Free Speech At Risk: "You should be able to express an opinion and not have it affected your work life."
Fonseca's brush with the law over the Trump decal is an important red-line for anyone who cares about free speech in the United States. The potential for local officials to use public resources at their disposal for political ends is pronounced in red states. While authoritarian posturing is energizing the Republican party base, its also igniting more opponents. As Nehls' exploratory congressional run shows: the hard shift to the right could backfire.
Even so, the constant spin and capitulation that mainstream media engages in over Trump has left a vacuum in public discourse. Many people simply want to respond to Trump's constant manipulation with direct rebuttals, not read NY Times exposes reveling in every sordid detail about the man. In other words, some people just think 'Fuck Donald Trump' is enough due to his penchant for insult based warring. We agree.