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Monday, August 14, 2017

Are you sure?

 So after waiting until only moments ago, our communication-crazy, Tweet-happy president finally publicly denounced Neo-Nazis and White Supremacist movements. Yay, Donald! You are so tremendously....................not believable

Seriously, what took him so long to do exactly what his more politically-savvy, but equally self-serving VP did with ease right from the start? Why did he walk away when simply asked his position on the hate groups involved?

It was pretty simple, and I believe even more accurate, to maintain that the outbreak of violence in Charlottesville was caused by antagonism from both protester and counter-protester...............and yet still be able to separately condemn the bigoted hate groups for what they are. It's not far from how I feel. (But then I know when I acknowledge the former, I am doing so out of a sense of fairness and logic, and when I acknowledge my own revulsion at movements founded on bigotry, I am being honest.)

Is a man who lies more than he tells the truth, and who waited this long before saying what reasonable people wanted to hear him say for nearly two days, to be trusted? Why do I feel like he's saying what his advisers are telling him he must before this thing swallows him whole while secretly giving a wink to Steve Bannon, Steven Miller, Sebastian Gorka, and yes.....maybe even David Duke?

A pre-election cartoon that is proving to be pretty accurate.

17 comments:

  1. I'm in a similar place -- I condemn the violence on both sides because I know I should, but in my heart I don't really believe it. And, I think it is consistent to condemn the violence on on both sides while acknowledging that the violence would not have happened absent the confrontational hatred from one of those two sides. I'm also still enough of a brawler at heart to be pretty comfortable with the principle that "You reap what you sow" and not to feel real bad about it if someone who advocates violence is on the receiving end of some.

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    1. I guess we are a little different on this, maybe because I don't think of myself as a brawler by nature. I still think the best reaction to a revolting rally is to ignore it....or possibly hold an opposing viewpoint rally ......elsewhere.... so there is no chance of confrontation unless someone actively seeks it. If a person shows up to protest a rally such as this one, using insults, taunts and shoving, while thinking such behavior is somehow 'justified' because the target is a bunch of assholes...... they are simply wrong. Bullies are bullies no matter what color hat they are wearing. And if they want a fight and get one....then fine. But don't whine about it later because you expect only your opponent to be singled out as guilty of inciting violence. The thing about the reaping and sowing is it wasn't the hate groups who later complained .....it was the people against them, even though they obviously were looking for a fight as well.

      Now, if a person wants to discuss hate groups and how they should be regarded and dealt with......THAT is an important, valid, and separate thing. And even then, it is a pretty sticky wicket. There are already laws against hate crimes that carry pretty severe penalties. But what do you do about the people themselves in a country that says you are allowed to voice any opinion as long as you don't violate someone else's rights?

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    2. I go both ways on this. My intellect tells me that the best reaction to an opposing viewpoint is to ignore it or to confront it with a counter-argument. But, my experience tells me that bullies take passive responses as a license to crank up the bullying. Most bullies stop when you punch them in the nose. If this was just a group voicing a political opinion, I would agree that you counter that with a different opinion, or ignore them. But, these are hate groups that have actively perpetrated violence for years. If someone turns the tables on that, it doesn't make the hate groups victims. It makes them a bully who got what they asked they asked for.

      Now, like I said, I have very mixed feelings on this. Martin Luther King is one of my personal heroes. But, temperamentally, I gravitate toward Malcolm X.

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    3. You do make an interesting distinction, that while I understand it, differs at least slightly from my own. I certainly have no problem with bullies getting what they deserve. So, maybe not a huge disparity here.....more one of nuance. Or maybe it's merely a matter of judging each situation in the moment on it's own merits?

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    4. Agreed, every situation is different. This whole issue with Trump's messaging is creating something of a conundrum for those on the left and right. His big failing was in not denouncing the white supremacists for what they are. He also suggested some moral equivalence between the two. When it comes to violence, I suspect that even many on the left would agree with him -- that we should condemn violence regardless of who engages in it. That's where I admit I depart. I don't see a KKK member who is subject to violence as a victim, and I just don't care if they get hurt in a protest. I'll save my outrage for real victims.

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  2. There are basic principles that America is supposed to stand for and highest among them, at least when I was growing up, were freedom from oppression and a willingness to help oppressed people almost anywhere.

    And I acknoweldge that our history is at best contradictory - slavery and decimation of the indigenous population being huge factors.

    But we have not been defined by appeasement of hate groups, and in fact whole hate governments (such as Fascists and Nazis). It defines our national character to stand strong against such things... And I give utmost respect to Germany for drawing a bright line prohibiting such activities (character built on past experiences).

    Nothing exists without boundaries; including "free speech". The Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS won't be opening public recruiting offices here so neither should Nazi's be tolerated.

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    1. Tomy, I agree that I wish these people were not here......but they are. How should they be handled then? We already have Federal Hate crime legislation. What would be the next step? And then, depending on what that step is....where does the line get drawn? Saying bigots 'shouldn't be tolerated' is emotionally valid.....but what does it mean in practice?

      There are people who have similar beliefs about homosexuals. What do we do with them? (and don't forget, they love to whip out their bibles to justify their prejudice.)

      I'm not saying I like bigots. I don't. And I'm not advocating 'appeasement'. But what happens when we start legislating exceptions to free speech that go beyond incitement to violence? A Klansman could probably deliver a pretty stirring speech about white supremacy without telling his audience to 'now go out and lynch someone'. Should that speech be censored under law just because of who is giving it and what the content is?

      Isn't it better to allow citizens to have free speech and educate our children to see through hateful bigotry and deception? Just because someone can preach something does not mean anyone has to follow it. But if people DO buy into it, isn't that a different problem? Isn't that telling us something important? Silencing hate with duct tape does not make it go away.

      I'm not in any way disagreeing with the sentiment behind your words. I agree with your sentiment wholeheartedly. But I get very concerned when the proposed solution to something involves the dissolution of the rights that also guarantee MY freedom to voice an opinion.

      So in all seriousness, what would you recommend we do about Neo-Nazis and Klansmen? And do we stop with them?

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    2. This may sound a little inconsistent with my opinion above, but I agree with KD on this one. Hate speech is still speech. It is protected under the First Amendment, and it should be. The First Amendment doesn't protect people from being offended. Exactly the opposite -- it protects saying offensive things. So, I don't have a problem with the Nazis marching and carrying their little banners, and I don't think their right to do that should be restricted *by the government.* But, that is a very different thing from saying that I feel any sympathy if people who have voluntarily joined groups that participate in violence are on the receiving end of some themselves. Pick your adage, but I'm pretty comfortable with "Live by the sword, die by the sword."

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  3. Yes, I understand what Dan and KD are saying and I have wrestled with those concepts before. (Heck, I took a degree in philosophy).

    I suppose I'll just have to exhale a deep sigh and remind myself that human life innately requires that we live with contradictions and inconsistencies. Organic life has it's own "logic" and yes, things can be this and also that and usually are.

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    1. I'll add an experience I had and it's a bit embarrassing because my own intolerance of Right-Leaning ideas coast me an excellent friendship.

      We had been in contact with a really lovely couple for a few years. But it never worked out to meet in person. Over that time I had some of the absolute best heart to heart open conversations with another spanked hubby - a very insightful guy. Over time he had expressed, in passing really, some of their Right attitudes and one day I just said we need to end this friendship; without any real explanation I must add.

      We had built up an enormous amount of trust between us. And it hurt their feelings, of course. There is no going back. But reflecting on that incident I feel very small and ashamed about it.

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    2. Tomy, first off let me say that I am very glad to count you among my online friends, and hope that friendship continues for a long time.

      As for the deep sigh? I think every one of us has sighed that sigh over this issue. It is emotional, powerful, frustrating, and important. I realize we are contradictory beings, but at some point we have to settle on our ground rules as a country and society. And that's all I was getting at. (I had the EXACT same conversation with Rosa who feels exactly as you do, and it too ended in the frustration of knowing in your heart what you want to accomplish.......but finding the mechanics of it elusive and risky.)

      As for your lost friendship? I have mixed feelings. It is always sad to lose a friendship over a difference of opinion......but opinions shape who we are and also matter to what we require from someone we choose as a "friend". It is easy to tolerate an offensive opinion from some guest as a party we will never see again......but what if those opinions are integral to someone closer?

      I think it's a very personal issue but I have certainly tolerated some conflicting opinions in friends.....but have drawn the line at others. It looks like you did the same thing with this person, and while it is sad, you may not have been wrong to do it.

      If you ever felt that way about me though, all I would ask is that you discuss it with me before walking away. I think I am always at odds with everyone anyway. Liberals think I'm conservative, conservatives find me too liberal. Hell, a lot of straight people have thought I was Gay while Gays knew I wasn't. Even within D/s I have disappointed women who thought from outward appearances that I was dominant, and got criticized by Dommes for not being a 'real' submissive. I just don't identify with someone else's scripted agenda. I have found it too important to look for the truth and let the chips fall where they may. BUT, I am always willing to listen to an opposing view and will even change my mind if the evidence is convincing.

      All the best!

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    3. I really appreciate your comments on the "lost friendship". I have never really considered it as possibly having been the right thing to do. I'm gonna give that some quality thought.

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    4. I think anyone with libertarian tendencies is always going to have a hard time not offending pretty much everyone else, because we are always too socially liberal to suit conservative friends but not economically left-ish enough for our liberal friends. I just live with it and try to be as consistent as I can.

      I don't think I have ever stopped being friends with someone because of political views, but I came close to burning some bridges with older relatives right after Trump's election. I finally stopped the conversation, because it really wasn't worth ending all possibility of a relationship with some people who had known me since I was a child. And, I do have conservative friends. If I thought someone was a true racist, I would probably drop the contact. But, I'm not going to get rid of a friend because he feels different than I do about tax rates, or what our immigration policy should be or things along those lines.

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  4. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/political-pulse/os-richard-spencer-university-of-florida-20170816-story.html

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    1. The UF makes an important distinction when they say that while they oppose what people like Spencer advocate, their decision was based on safety concerns following the events in Charlottesville rather than denying him access to speak based solely on his message.

      If they didn't put it that way, they would be an easy target for a lawsuit. They may still get sued, but their point would be hard to invalidate based on recent events and the fact that this is a school campus and they are responsible for student safety. I wouldn't want to be the judge to say that a school has to consider free speech over safety.....unless he/she plans to take responsibility for whatever happens.

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  5. Not to overly belabor the point. But this article does an even better job of articulating the reasons to control so of the crap that gets spewed out there. I will not continue to load your comments up with article links :)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/us/politics/james-murdoch-email-trump-charlottesville.html

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