No, I’m not going to wear a MAGA cap today, though I am sorely tempted. The Second Niggardly Principle inveighs against it: just because some people are offended by something based on ignorance or bias doesn’t mean its right to intentionally trigger them, much as they may deserve it.
“Make America Great Again” had, and has, many legitimate and defensible interpretations, and it could have been adopted by either party at many times in our history. Democrats put a racist spin on Trump’s slogan in 2016 because that was how they had responded to all criticism of the Barack Obama Presidency for 8 years, and the tactic was effective, if divisive and despicable. The current tactic is to attcahe racism to any supporter of the President who wears the hat, thorough narrative-supporting fake news like the “racist smile” of a Catholic teen at the Lincoln Memorial and the recent Jussie Smullett hoax, which led the news media to accept the fantasy that MAGA hat wearing thugs were roaming Chicago looking for minorities to assault.
The idea that electing someone with the personality, qualifications and character of Donald Trump could possibly make America greater seemed ridiculous to me during the campaign, and still does. That still does not mean that Barack Obama and his administration did not make the nation significantly worse: weaker, less financially stable, more divided, and less committed to democracy, individual initiative, free enterprise, the rule of law, and civil rights. Under President Trump, despite himself, many of those trends have begun to reverse themselves. Good. I would not say that this has made America greater, not with an ongoing effort on the Left to overthrow Trump’s Presidency without the inconvenience of an election, and not with racial, ethnic and gender divisions being deliberately widened by Democrats for perceived political gain.
I also wouldn’t wear a MAGA cap because the “again” rankles me, and always has. The United States is great, which does not mean it is perfect, or that it should not constantly strive to meet the dauntingly high ideals of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Gettysburg Address. Ironically, it is those who seek to demonize the slogan who really don’t think America is great, and who want to deconstruct it. They have to be fought, and rebutted, and exposed. Wearing a cap, however, is not the way to do it.
1. Unfortunately, these MAGA cap hate stories aren’t fake. An employee at Van’s, a clothing store in Kansas demanded that a teenage boy take off his MAGA hat, and when the boy refused—good for him— didn’t, the employee said “Fuck you!” according to the boy’s mother, who witnessed the exchange.
“He did nothing to you,” the mother says she told the employee. “What did you say to my son, to my 14-year-old?”
“I’m sure he’s heard it before,” the employee responded. You know: “everybody does it.” And besides, Democrats say its the right thing to do.
She complained, and Van’s fired the jerk.
The episode in Tennessee was scarier: A man was arrested over the weekend after pulling a gun on a Sam’s Club customer who was wearing a MAGA cap, WBKO 13 News reported. Eventually the media and Democratic narrative about what the hat means—it’s like KKK hood, you know— is going to get someone killed.
2. From the rapidly expanding “God, this woman is awful” files: Elizabeth Warren, Democratic presidential candidate and shameless demagogue, actually tweeted this a few days ago:
Back when I was a kid, a minimum-wage job could support a family of three. Today, a full-time minimum-wage job in America won’t keep a mama and a baby out of poverty. Our movement is about making real, fundamental change to fix this.
Warren was born in 1949. Let’s say 1969 was in her “day.” The minimum wage that year was $1.30 an hour, making a 40 hour work week $52 before taxes. That’s $2,700 a year. Nobody supported a family of any kind, much less a family of five, on that, unless they were living in an abandoned car.
Warren is a former Harvard law professor. She knows this is a lie, she knows her audience is young and ignorant, and thinks that dinosaurs roamed the Earth in “her day.” She is exploiting their stupidity, making them dumber still, and using false facts to gain power, as socialists and Communists always have.
God, this woman is awful.
[Pointer: Advice Goddess Blog]
3. An Ethics Hero passes. Don Newcombe, former Dodger baseball great, civil rights trailblazer, war veteran,mentor to young players and rescuer of many athletes in the throes of alcohol and drug addiction, died yesterday.
His obituary is here.
4. Meet Candace Payne, another Ethics Hero. I apologize to Ms. Payne, whose exemplary conduct occurred in the worst throes of my recent, not-quite-over-but-almost illness, and should have received a full post. From the New York Times:
As temperatures plunged to life-threatening lows this week, more than 100 homeless people in Chicago unexpectedly found themselves with food, fresh clothes and a place to stay after a local real estate broker intervened. The broker, Candice Payne, 34, said it was a “spur-of-the-moment” decision to help. “It was 50 below, and I knew they were going to be sleeping on ice and I had to do something,” she said on Saturday.
Ms. Payne contacted hotels and found 30 rooms available at the Amber Inn for Wednesday night at $70 per room. Temperatures in Chicago reached lows of minus 25 and minus 26 on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. After Ms. Payne paid for the rooms on a credit card, she asked on her Instagram account for anyone who could help transport the homeless people. Soon she had a caravan of cars, S.U.V.s and vans with volunteer drivers.
People like Candace Payne make America great.
5. Baseball vs Technology. The time-honored tradition of sign-stealing in baseball—no, it’s not cheating—has become an ethics problem over the past few years because of technology. Players trying to decipher the opposing team’s signals on the field is part of the game, but using secret video feeds, Apple watches and computers to do it is supposedly taboo, but teams are so paranoid about it—in part because of what they know they are doing—that every game is lengthened by periodic meetings in which the catcher’s signs are changed. Now, Sports Illustrated reports, Major League Baseball will install a new rule banning in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole, limiting live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and that official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team. Other TV monitors the teams use will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing, and there will be be limits on where TV monitors can show the game feed. Penalties for violation of these rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and international spending money. General managers now must sign a document stating that they know of no prohibited sign-stealing methods being used by their teams.
6. In more MAGA news: Lawyers for Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann have filed a lawsuit against the Washington Post seeking $250 million in both compensatory and punitive damages. The compliant is here. No, the lawsuit doesn’t have a prayer of succeeding, though it is not frivolous, and from a public education standpoint, I think it’s a good idea. The Post breached basic journalistic ethics standards in its flagrantly incompetent and biased reporting of the story, and if the lawsuit helps explain that to the public, then the harm the news media constantly inflicts on the nation might begin to become clearer.
In the complaint, Sandmann’s lawyers argue that the Post led the mainstream media stampede to “assassinate Nicholas’ character and bully him.”
This story was not “hot” or “breaking news.” To the extent the Post performed any investigation at all into what occurred, its unreasonable investigation did not take long, and contrary information did not stop it from publishing its first story in its Sunday newspaper the next day. One of the reporters on the story first retweeted the video approximately four hours before receiving credit for the Post’s first article. In the intervening time, the Post apparently managed to track down and interview Phillips, write a story, and fan the flames of the social media mob into a mainstream media frenzy of false attacks and threats against Nicholas.
In the Post’s own words – albeit a far cry from the true scope of the false and defamatory accusations it made against Nicholas – the readers of the Post’s coverage were “licensed to conclude that the students saw [Phillips] from afar, targeted him and advanced.”…the Post’s readers were also licensed to falsely conclude that Nicholas physically and verbally assaulted Phillips while blocking his egress from a mob of students who were similarly engaged in racist conduct. The Post, whose coverage emphasized that Nicholas was wearing a “MAGA” hat, contributed to the rampant cyber-assault and cyber-bullying suffered by Nicholas in the aftermath of its initial reporting which was also undertaken in mass by the mob of other bullies made up of other members of the mainstream media, individuals tweeting on Twitter, church officials, celebrities, and politicians.
The complaint says that the Post published “no less than six false and defamatory articles of and concerning Nicholas, including two in its print newspaper and four online. This number does not include those articles that the Post updated and changed after initial publication.”
Of course, this was one more chapter in the Washington Post’s crusade to advance the Big Lie, central to its two-year assault on the Trump Presidency, that the President is a racist and his supporters are motivated by racism. Bias makes you stupid, and it makes newspapers vicious, unethical and dishonest. The First Amendment guarantees that the Post, like the Times, CNN, MSNBC and the rest, cannot be punished for their misconduct in the courts. Their just desserts lie in their diminishing power and influence over public opinion. Unfortunately, this leaves the nation with no reliable and objective sources of news at all, and as the Post so ironically puts it, given their own role in turning out the lights, “Democracy dies in darkness.”