Here are the most recent two days at Prickly City, and whether or not this is going to be a week-long story arc, Scott Stantis has already outlined the dilemma facing thoughtful conservatives.
It’s that whole thing about whether it’s nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageously offensive blathering or to take arms against a sea of racism and, by opposing, end it.
However much Republicans may have initially thought they could tolerate Dear Leader because of the enthusiasm he generated among a certain sizeable crowd, that crowd is rapidly diminishing.
Meanwhile, what was once a Thankgiving uncle’s take on things like immigrant rapists and judges of Mexican heritage has gone from embarrassing to genuinely scary.
Worst of all, when people were shocked at Trump’s divisive July 4 speech, instead of backing down and trying to ameliorate the criticism, he doubled down on his message:
For those who missed it, a noose was found in the garage of NASCAR’s only black driver, Bubba Wallace. NASCAR expressed horror, and the drivers in that weekend’s race did a slow lap escorting Wallace around the track to show their solidarity with him.
Later, it turned out that the rope — a garage door pulldown that had been tied into a noose — was on that stall for several months and Wallace had been assigned the space at random.
It was likely just tied by someone in a moment of boredom; we used to tie them at summer camp with no racial intent, since we mostly saw them on Westerns in the context of horse thieves and cattle rustlers.
Anyway, it wasn’t aimed at Wallace, but here’s your first bit of homework, because Wallace never complained about it, so has nothing to “apologize” for, despite Dear Leader’s demand he do so, and this Politifact takedown of the Tweet lays it out in solid, non-partisan, factual terms.
Wallace himself answered in the form of a message to young African Americans:
The Politifact article also points out that, in his haste to condemn NASCAR for barring the flag of racist traitors from its venues, Trump “erred” about their television ratings, which have actually gone up.
Given that Trump brands as a “hoax” anything that goes in opposition to his own beliefs and prejudices, it’s hard to sort his misstatements into “Lies” and “Delusions.”
But “true” and “not true” are judgments we can handle.
Still, I’m going to differ with Rob Rogers, because I don’t think it’s a mask.
You can put a mask on and take it back off at will. I think that’s his actual face, based on three years of divisive and often blatantly racist appeals to worst in us, whether planned or spontaneous.
Which brings us to your next homework assignment, this Joanna Weiss piece from Politico about the Lincoln Project, the thoughtful Republicans who have turned against Trump and, as the article says, are using a brand of cutting, effective rhetoric in their advertising that Democrats have never quite mastered.
I said yesterday that Trump’s outrageous actions are once again, as they did in 2016, getting media coverage at the expense of his opponent’s more civilized unveiling of policy proposals.
It’s true, but recognizing the problem doesn’t solve it.
“They go low, we go high” is ethically positive but is a case of bringing a knife to a gun fight.
Or perhaps a pair of nail clippers.
Mr. Dooley was right that politics ain’t beanbag, and that famous but fictional Adlai Stevenson exchange is equally on target:
“Governor, you have the vote of every thinking person!”
“That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!”
And in getting that apocryphal quote correct, I stumbled across this, which he really did say:
Unreason and anti-intellectualism abominate thought. Thinking implies disagreement; and disagreement implies nonconformity; and nonconformity implies heresy; and heresy implies disloyalty—so, obviously, thinking must be stopped. But shouting is not a substitute for thinking and reason is not the subversion but the salvation of freedom.
Paradoxically, that’s why Stevenson was never president: He was right, but he expressed it in such professorial terms that he made himself unelectable.
Conversely, the other night, somebody tore down Rochester’s Frederick Douglass statue. There were no demonstrations going on, no crowd and the police haven’t got any leads, but Dear Leader was quick to blame “the anarchists.”
Which is kind of funny considering what most of his Deplorables think of a strong central government, but we’ll let that go for the moment.
Douglass — whom Trump only recently discovered is dead, having held him up as “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job” — is now on his list of heroes for the Trump Garden of Appallingly Bad Statues, along with Billy Graham and Antonin Scalia.
Rochester’s mayor was not impressed with the president’s message, and I don’t know that any of us should be impressed that he’s citing Breitbart as his source of information.
In any case, Politico mentions the Willie Horton ad that was denounced but helped send thoughtful, polite Michael Dukakis to history’s trash pile, and we’re back.
The issues before us seem simple if you get your news from places like Breitbart and talk radio, which I have to assume is where Dana Summers got his take on “defunding the police.”
Epictetus says you can’t say a man drinks badly, only that he drinks a great deal. Similarly, it’s unfair to ascribe motivation to an opinion based on an error.
Still, as Politico said, appeals to fear are more effective than appeals to reason.
It’s a shame the protesters who would like to demilitarize the police, give them more backup and training for dealing with mental health issues and create an atmosphere of trust in communities of color didn’t pick a better phrase.
They not only brought nail clippers to the gunfight, but also brought a gun and handed it to the other fellow.
That’s not a winning strategy.
Yet here we are, and your final bit of homework is to click upon and read the rest of these fragments in our
Juxtaposition of the Day