Lizzo played James Madison's crystal flute. The racists responded – USA TODAY

I have bad news, America: Our country has apparently been ruined because Lizzo played an old flute nobody knew existed.
The wildly popular singer, rapper and songwriter – who’s also a classically trained flautist – played a crystal flute gifted to President James Madison in 1813 during a concert Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The opportunity came via the Library of Congress, which houses the precious flute and agreed to let Lizzo play it at her show.
Her excitement and sense of awe was infectious, and the audience’s wild reaction to a historic moment was the kind of thing that might inspire people to learn more about history or visit the Library of Congress. Most would consider that a good thing, but some decided it was a very bad thing, quite possibly one of the worst things that has ever happened.
Jenna Ellis, a former campaign lawyer for Donald Trump, said Lizzo’s performance was a “desecration, purposefully, of America’s history.” Describing the pop star as “one of the most morbidly obese people in the world who claims that she’s oppressed,” Ellis said: “This is a perfect encapsulation of the liberal left that wants to make everything that is wonderful a mockery.” 
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Matt Walsh, a right-wing squawker you’ve hopefully never heard of, said Lizzo’s performance is “a form of racial retribution, according to the woke Left,” tweeting: “I actually have no doubt that this is part of the reason why the Library of Congress facilitated this spectacle.”
Right-wing strategist Greg Price tweeted: “The Library of Congress really took out a 200-year old flute that belonged to James Madison just so Lizzo could twerk with it. They degrade our history and then call you racist if you actually value it.”
That’s but a sampling of the big-mad emotions swirling around the fever swamps of social media. So let me summarize: Lizzo played a historic flute nobody outside of James-Madison-fan-boy circles had ever heard of before Tuesday, and that was a societal cataclysm significant enough to distract MAGA-Republican thought leaders from their important work, which at the time was probably being super angry that a Black woman plays Ariel in the upcoming live-action “Little Mermaid” movie.
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Before all the folks upset with Lizzo and the Library of Congress harm our pets’ hearing with their incessant dog whistles, let me say for them what they are actually trying to say: How dare a Black woman who doesn’t conform to our Barbie-doll-inspired standards of beauty play an instrument owned by one of the Founding Fathers.
That’s the point, clearly, and if they’re going to be loathsome about it, the least they could do is have the guts to be honest. Price’s tweet said people like me who thought Lizzo’s performance was cool “degrade our history and then call you racist if you actually value it.” That’s not true. I don’t think for a moment that Price or any of these disingenuous, aggrieved-without-cause people value our history, and I’ll still call them racist.
If former President Donald Trump got on stage at one of his rallies, took Madison’s crystal flute and shoved it up his nose while singing “Yankee Doodle,” Ellis and Walsh and Price and the usual choir of online MAGA blatherers would be downright rapturous. They’d call it a beautiful and welcome embrace of our proud Western heritage, or a return to the kind of values America was founded on.
The problem people are having with Lizzo and the crystal flute has nothing to do with the flute or its history. It has everything to do with the fact that she’s a Black woman playing a flute that belonged to a slave owner, and the additional fact that most thought the whole thing was pretty awesome.
People who see their antiquated worldview slipping away get desperate and holler.
People on the right side of history get to rock out with crystal flutes.
Which side would you rather be on?
More humor and satire from Rex Huppke:
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Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook:


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