Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/22/2022: Let’s Hit The Ground Running!

1. It’s a joke!!! That tweet is just the tip of the moronic iceberg for Republican Senate candidate in Missouri Eric Greitens. In a new fundraising video for his U.S. Senate campaign released this week, Greitens, a former Missouri governor who resigned before he could be impeached on multiple grounds including sexual assault, holds a pump-action shotgun and introduces himself as a Navy SEAL. (He is not a Seal: he resigned shortly before announcing his Senate run this year.) The video then shows him with a group of men in tactical gear hunting “RINOs”—Republicans who are not conservative enough for his tastes. He says, “Join the MAGA crew! Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country!”

And Sarah Palin was once accused of inciting murder by having little gun-sights on a campaign map!

Predictably, the irresponsible ad is being used by the mainstream news media and Democrats to characterize all conservatives and Republicans while hyping more anti-gun hysteria. Here’s CNN:

Some of history’s leading fascist movements used the strategy of armed volunteer militias intimidating, threatening and attacking political opponents. And the implications of Greitens’ ad are stunning: Line up behind the most extreme right-wing policies — and implicitly behind former President Donald Trump — or be hunted down by armed, jackbooted thugs.

Right. The implications of Greitens’ ad are that he’s a liar and an asshole, and that he is only slightly more fit to serve in the Senate than Herschel Walker, who defines the bottom of the bottom of the barrel… but presumably Missouri voters know that already. The ad and Greitens himself are metaphorical albatrosses around the GOP’s neck, but the party hung them there. He has been endorsed by several GOP luminaries, though so far, not by Trump.

2. Poll check: President Biden’s latest Civiqs approval rating hit 32%, with 56% disapproving of Joe. Again I ask: Who are those 32% that approve of Biden? What is it they approve of? What democracy can function if fully a third of the electorate have the IQs of flatworms and are happy to see the country rot?

3. Good! Ethics Alarms has followed the nauseating saga of the South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, a Republican, who a killed a man with his car in 2020, left the scene, and tried to cover it up, saying he thought he had hit a deer. Ravnsborg was impeached and finally convicted by the S.D. Senate for committing crimes that caused someone’s death, malfeasance for misleading law enforcement, and abusing the powers of his office. Ravnsborg had refused to resign, even as Governor Kristi Noem, a fellow Republican, repeatedly demanded it. The Senate also voted to bar Ravnsborg from ever serving in public office in the state.

4. Hypocrite of the Year: Megan Rapinoe! The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team leader argued, in response to the international swimming body finally making the obvious and fair ruling about biological men competing as women, that she is “100% supportive” of “trans inclusion” in girls sports because “sports is not the most important thing in life.” This is coming from an aggressive activist for the importance of women’s sports, and who only has an audience for her woke pronouncements because she has excelled at soccer. Rapinoe further expounded,

“I would also encourage everyone out there who is afraid someone’s going to have an unfair advantage over their kid to really take a step back and think what are we actually talking about here. We’re talking about people’s lives. I’m sorry, your kid’s high school volleyball team just isn’t that important. And I think people also need to understand that sports is not the most important thing in life, right? Life is the most important thing in life.”

At the risk of insulting your intelligence, I must point out that Rapinoe is making the bizarre and self-contradictory point that sports is crucially important to trans athletes, but female athletes shouldn’t care about not succeeding because they are forced to compete against newly minted women that have a biological advantage. In 2017, Rapinoe’s pro women’s squad was beaten in a soccer scrimmage by an under-15 male team.

5. Deja vu in the gun phobia epidemic… A student known as “A.L.” claimed that his First Amendment rights were violated when the Kettle Moraine High School in Wales, Wisconsin, would not allow him to wear his T-shirt, whichcontained the logo of Wisconsin Carry Inc., a Second Amendment-supporting group. The logo incorporated an image of a handgun. On the back of the T-shirt was the text of Wisconsin’s constitutional provision on the right to bear arms. A judge rejected A.L.’s lawsuit, but the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the decision back to U.S. District Judge William C. Griesbach to evaluate the lawsuit under the 1969 U.S. Supreme Court decision Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. The June 15 panel opinion is here.

Tinker held that public schools can restrict student speech if the expression “would materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school” or invade the rights of others. I am tempted to say that if the existence of the Second Amendment “materially and substantially” disrupts “the work and discipline of the school,” that school’s staff and students need help, and the help doesn’t include restricting protected speech. The school told A.L. that he could not wear clothing depicting firearms because the dress code banned “inappropriate” attire. First, “inappropriate” is vague; second, who decides what is “appropriate”? We have seen that schools and universities increasingly define “appropriate” speech as whatever current progressive cant supports.

However, I’m not certain A.L. wins his lawsuit, or should. In the midst of a rash of shootings, including a major school shooting, wearing such a T-shirt might legitimately be regarded as threatening to a reasonable teacher or student.

I know I wouldn’t allow my kid to wear that shirt to school. There, however, we are at the divide of whether there is a right to do something, and whether it is right to do it.

12 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/22/2022: Let’s Hit The Ground Running!

    • I think the technical term for Megan Rapinoe is “a pain in the ass.” I think she verges on being one of Jack’s “Ficks.” She’s so cocky and smug.

    • On or about May 18, 2022: “The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Wednesday that it has reached a deal to pay the U.S. Men’s National Team and the U.S. Women’s National Team equally, eliminating a contentious pay gap that saw female players earning less.”

      This included 22 million in back pay.

      As for the scrimmage with the under-15 male team, they keep asserting that “this match against the academy team was very informal and should not be a major cause for alarm. The U.S. surely wasn’t going all out, with the main goal being to get some minutes on the pitch, build chemistry when it comes to moving the ball around, improve defensive shape and get ready for Russia.”

      Okay then, let’s see them play a formal game against a boy’s high school championship team.

      Of course, anything I say is biased becasue I despise Rapinoe and the US Women’s soccer team in general because of their arrogance.

  1. If sports are not important, then get rid of school sports. It costs a lot of taxpayers money to pay for those unimportant sports. Replace them with math or science. No more problems.

    • Or just have unisex sports. (Remember that term from what, the ’70s?) E.g., simply have one soccer team with open try outs. The best players make the team. That will save lots of money. How can we have “women’s” sports when women don’t even exist and are undefinable?

      • If women don’t exist, there certainly isn’t any reason to have women’s sports. If sports aren’t important, there isn’t any reason to have sports at all. Just get rid of them.

  2. Rapinoe is a joke. The LGBT community overall continues to push for some very dumb ideas. It hurts their cause by not expelling the crazies, just like Republicans not expelling the craziest hurts their cause.

  3. #5. I’ve written about a lot of school dress code issues over the years, and I know that a lot of schools (but not all of them) specifically forbid clothing referencing anything that could be considered a political statement. I think that’s not an unreasonable requirement, and that this would qualify.
    But I looked up the school’s dress code. The relevant section says only that impermissible clothing “includes but is not limited to… inappropriate messages – including cartoons, slogans, or advertisements which have more than one
    meaning, or those which depict or portray conduct or messages which may be illegal or offensive.” It’s unclear, of course, whether exactly what is meant by this sentence–what does “[having] more than one meaning” include? And does that phrase modify only “advertisements” or all three nouns? Does quoting the statute qualify as a “slogan”? Or does the listing of the organization make the shirt an “advertisement”?
    I’m tempted to say that the inclusion of “but not limited to” gives the school a little wiggle room, and that they didn’t abuse the phrase by forbidding that shirt, provided, of course, that they would do the same in the case of a student advocating the opposite point of view. On the other hand, I don’t think the case is clear cut, and I’d tend towards less regulation than more.
    Still, there’s no question that such a shirt would be disruptive (far more so than revealing a glimpse of adolescent shoulders, which is specifically out of bounds), whether it should be or not. and I’m not sure which criterion is the operative one in legal terms.
    The Constitutional issues are murky, in other words. What’s clear is that, like the white kids who got into trouble for wearing American flag clothing to school on Cinco de Mayo a decade or so ago, whether he’s legally in the right or not, A.L. is a right little asshole. But there’s no law against that, or how would we stock Congress?

  4. Re: #1, he clearly didn’t practice gun safety, he shot himself in the foot….

    Re: 5, it’s not the gun that’s the problem, it’s the nuts holding them (for example, see #1). The t-shirt should spark a good debate about same, but gun evil, 2A supporters evil. Would it be a problem for a student to wear a t-shirt with the letters “BLM” at the top, in the middle a stick figure holding a molotov cocktail, a box with the phrase “gov’t bldg” in it, a logo for fire, and the words “Mostly Peaceful Protests” at the bottom?

    If the school allows t-shirts with messaging and doesn’t have specifics…

  5. If memory serves, Greiten has only been a Republican since very shortly before he started running for public office just a few years ago. Not quite the rock-ribbed conservative background one would expect for a guy accusing others of RINOism. Be careful with that shotgun in your glass house, Eric.

  6. Jack,
    On #2, I think I’m quite a bit more concerned about the 12% who couldn’t bring themselves to decide 👍 or 👎. These people likely voted in ’20, most likely will vote in ’22, and ’24. If Biden’s on the ballot in ’24, where does that leave us with this 12%, arguably enough to swing an election? The linked chart from Civiqs is a very interesting time series, I thought.

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