Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/12/21: Happy Birthday, Abe!

Lincoln film

Abraham Lincoln, born on this date in 1809, has had a bad year. The Republic he struggled…and died…to save has seen its core values under attack, and for the first time since he was alive, there is reason to fear its existence as a beacon of individual liberty for the world. Statues that honored his brilliant tenure as leader of the nation when it was challenged by a multiple crises have been torn down or removed by mobs and fools. Last week, The New Yorker ran an interview with San Francisco school board President Gabriela López, the former teacher behind the recent decision by the body to remove the names of Founders and Presidents, including our two greatest, George and Abe, from schools because they had not completely absorbed 2ist century understanding of racial equality in the 18th and 19th Centuries respectively. Lincoln is “not someone I see as a hero,” this head-explodingly stupid and ignorant woman said. Meanwhile, the NeverTrump political organization that bears Lincoln’s name is in the midst of a scandal that raises questions about the group’s own values and trustworthiness. When I was a child, Lincoln’s birthday was a holiday, but government bureaucrats decided that two holidays honoring the birthdays of the Presidents most responsible for the nation’s character and existence was too much, so Abe’s day was folded in to George’s, while both of their names were stripped away. Thus, rather than honoring Lincoln today, we honor Millard Fillmore on February 22. The “This Day in History” page I see most mornings has Abe’s birth listed 12th, after the death of…Sal Mineo. #1 is the founding of the NAACP, which deliberately chose Lincoln’s birthday for the landmark. The average student in the United States, including college students, can’t tell you much of anything about Lincoln’s life or character. The ignorance, ingratitude and lack of perspective is staggering.

1. “Nothing to see here! Move along!” The Georgia State Election Board voted unanimously this week to investigate U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock for his role, as board chairman of a voter registration organization founded by Stacey Abrams, in permitting the group to submit some 1,268 voter applications that did not comply with the law. Warnock’s election last month tilted control of the U.S. Senate to the Democrats.

2. Nauseating grovel of the week: Rachael Kirkconnell is a contestant on “The Bachelor,” competing for the heart of Matt James, the first black “Bachelor” in the fatuous reality show’s history, which would make them the first mixed race couple on that show. Which is weird, since according to TV, about 80% of American couples are mixed race. Anyway, the social media mob went looking for something, anything, they could find to cancel Racheal, and the best they could come up with is that she attended an Old South-themed fraternity party three years ago—you know, big Scarlet O’Hara dresses, beaus in tails. The Horror. Racheal’s “Manchurian Candidate”-style apology:

At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened doesn’t excuse anything,” she said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “There are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist. I am sorry to the communities and individuals that my actions harmed and offended…

Then the 24-year-old said she was ashamed”of her lack of education. Like saying “I am sorry to,” perhaps? She also encouraged others to use this as a “teachable moment” to prevent someone else from making the same mistake. You know, teachable: like intimidating and punishing anyone who doesn’t bow down to critical race theory and white guilt. “Racial progress and unity are impossible without (white) accountability, and I deserve to be held accountable for my actions,” she said

3. White accountability, St. Louis-style. Mark McCloskey and his wife stand accused of threatening Black Lives Matter protesters with guns when the mostly-peaceful mob turned up in front of their home during those good riots last summer. Kim Gardner, St. Louis’ first Black Circuit Court attorney, has vigorously pursued charges against the McCloskeys. She has also used the incident to raise funds for her campaign to be re-elected, which is such a bright-line ethics violation it’s hard to believe she would do it. In two emails, she referred directly to the couple while framing her prosecution of them as a part of a fight against President trump and “systemic racism.” Kim needs your help to fight back!” one campaign email announced.

Circuit Judge Thomas Clark II dismissed Gardner and her entire staff from the case yesterday, because the campaign fundraising emails “raise the appearance of impropriety and jeopardize the defendant’s right to a fair trial.” The 22-page ruling continues, “Ms. Gardner has every right to rebut criticism, but it appears unnecessary to stigmatize defendant – or even mention him – in campaign solicitations, especially when she purports to be responding to others. In fact, the case law and Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit it.”

Indeed it does!

The ruling means Gardner can no longer oversee McCloskey’s prosecution. Instead, a special prosecutor will have to be selected to take over. [Pointer: JutGory]

4. Althouse on Andrea Mitchell and Jennifer Rubin. Ann was late to the party, but she enjoyably unloaded on Mitchell and Rubin for their ignorant, offensive and telling “correction” of Senator Cruz’s quote from “MacBeth” with even more venom than I could muster. She wrote in part,

“Andrea — Andrea Mitchell, the NBC News chief Washington correspondent — tweeted something so mind-bogglingly stupid — stupid, evil, and hilarious — and Jennifer — Jennifer Rubin, the WaPo columnist — lunged horribly after Andrea’s tweet. These people — Mitchell and Rubin — are supposed to be the elite, but they are not even elite enough to keep from stumbling over a high-school level literary reference or even to think of making sure — with the quickest Google — they’re not making a gaffe….Mitchell tweeted:

@SenTedCruz says #ImpeachmentTrial is like Shakespeare full of sound and fury signifying nothing. No, that’s Faulkner

“Now, that’s a bit restrained in its arrogance, and, of course, stupid. The Faulkner title “The Sound and the Fury” is derived from one of the most famous soliloquies in Shakespeare, which includes the longer phrase deployed by Cruz — “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” 

“Jennifer immediately galumphs in. Only 6 minutes elapse before she’s got this semi-coherent tweet published:

Now that’s and it says volumes about his lack of soul. That’s Any Thinking Person.

“The coherent part is “it says volumes about his lack of soul.” And your tweet, Jennifer? What does it say volumes about you? Who the hell do you think you are to make grandiose pronouncements about somebody else’s soul? And what did you intend to say about Any Thinking Person? You, the specific person, did not think too hard before belching that out.  Andrea Mitchell struggles to get herself off the hook with: “I clearly studied too much American literature and not enough Macbeth. My apologies to Sen. Cruz.” That’s not an apology, and it’s not a good excuse. Mitchell has a degree in English literature (from the University of Pennsylvania). Stressing American literature can’t explain away the mistake:  

“1. First, that’s high-school level literature. Mitchell is 4 years older than I am, and I can tell you my junior year high school English class memorized that particular Shakespeare speech. I can still recite it by heart. It’s Macbeth! No concentration on other works of literature should have prevented her from encountering the “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” speech. 

“2. Even if you only studied Faulkner and never studied Shakespeare, you would read “The Sound and the Fury.” You can’t read that without wondering what the title means. There is no way you would avoid receiving the lesson that the title is derived from the Macbeth speech. The assertion that you are so tremendously learned in American literature is utterly unbelievable. You just sound like an abject liar, Andrea. It is a tale told by an idiot.

“3. If you really were a person who reads and understands literature, you would know that — in the world of novels — a character who corrects other people curtly in that pedantic “No, that’s Faulkner” manner is an icky prig. I’ve read a lot of novels, and characters who talk like that are up to no good. That snootiness, even when there’s no mistake, marks a character toward whom you know instinctively you are not supposed to feel sympathetic. And let me just add that when the novelist makes a character utter words like “it says volumes about his lack of soul,” the competent reader knows immediately that it is the speaker of those words who lacks soul.”

I love it. And its all completely deserved

7 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/12/21: Happy Birthday, Abe!

  1. Prologue: I finally finished Beschloss’ “Presidents of War”. It was okay, but it did point out that LBJ was sometimes a little off on history himself, commenting once that Lincoln retired to Springfield, MO after he was President.

    1. I’m sure this blog is the only place I’ll read about it either.
    2. If you want a job in Hollywood, better make sure you’ve never done anything remotely conservative or fun or creative.
    3. Thank God there’s at least one judge that out there that calls it as he sees it.
    4. My high school divided up literature by grade. 10th grade was American Literature and Composition (we read “The Scarlet Letter”), 11th was English Literature and Composition (we read “MacBeth”). 12th was World Literature and Composition (we read “Hamlet”, along with Proust and Ibsen). No excuse for someone who majored in English Literature to not recognize Cruz’s reference.

    Mitchell’s tweet was bad, but Rubin’s was arguably worse. I agree with Althouse. How dare Rubin make a pithy comment about Cruz’ soul in response to a tweet they clearly didn’t get.

  2. Abraham Lincoln, born on this date in 1809, has had a bad year. The Republic he struggled…and died…to save has seen its core values under attack, and for the first time since he was alive, there is reason to fear its existence as a beacon of individual liberty for the world

    Damning analysis, and altogether too accurate for anyone’s comfort. Sorry Abe, on behalf of (hopefully) most Americans. Take comfort knowing that we will never cancel you, whether the woke Left does or not.

    1. It would be incredibly droll if he were indicted for conspiracy to election fraud, or some similar crime. What odds do you give on him being forced to resign, or even expelled, if that happens?

    Personally, I set the odds at 60-40 against, and I think that’s generous. The race card will come out early and often.

    2. I. Can’t. Even.

    3. Gardner apparently intends an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court. In the meantime, the McClosky’s legal bills continue to pile up.

    4. Observations:

    Jennifer Rubin tweeted:

    Now that’s and it says volumes about his lack of soul. That’s Any Thinking Person.

    What would “Any Thinking Person” say about a scold that started with “Now that’s and…?” I am gratefully ignorant to this form of sentence construction. Oh, you say it was a typo? Well, Jen’s lack of Shakespearean knowledge argues against anything other than illiteracy, not to mention self-awareness.

    Althouse wrote:

    If you really were a person who reads and understands literature, you would know that — in the world of novels — a character who corrects other people curtly in that pedantic “No, that’s Faulkner” manner is an icky prig.

    You misspelled “prick” there, Althouse. You and I both know that’s what you meant — try actually saying it for once.

  3. Regarding the Noise and the Anger:
    I have to confess: when I saw the earlier posts, I thought the reference was from a different Shakespeare play; you know, the one that Huxley stole the title of his book from.
    -Jut

  4. I don’t know if your sentences are cut off or your just leaving out periods. In 2 it’s not clear. I 4 I think the period is missing.

  5. 2. The current Bachelor is mixed race with a white mother. Or, as a former mayor I chatted with said the other day, he’s an “Obama black” and not a black black. Sigh.

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