Father’s Day naturally got me thinking about Jack Marshall, Sr., and it was he who explained The Julie Principle to me. The context was one of his best friends from childhood, an obvious sociopath. It puzzled me that my father, who was literally dedicated to all of the virtues in the Boy Scout Creed and whom I witnessed placing his values over his self-interest repeatedly throughout his life, would remain friends 60 years with someone who so clearly was the opposite of my father, a deceptive, self-centered, even cruel individual who never showed any hint of remorse or contrition.
As I have related here more than once, Dad, tone-deaf as always, responded to my puzzlement by singing the opening lines from the famous “Show Boat” ballad, “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man of Mine,”sung by the tragic mulatto, Julie : “Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly.” He then explained, “I decided long ago that it was a waste of time and emotion to keep complaining or criticizing someone for conduct they will never change. You have too choices: either accept that a person will do what he does, like a bird or a fish, or decide that you can’t stand the way he or she is and cut them out of your life. But to keep getting angry or upset when someone simply acts as you know they will is pointless.”
I wrote the first post here designating my father’s philosophy as the Jule Principle in 2013. Looking back, I officially applied the JP to the late Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, and Donald Trump (both before and after his election), writing shortly after his surprise victory,
Donald Trump, more than any national figure in my lifetime, requires a careful, measured application of The Julie Principle to serve everyone’s best interest. Screaming “TRUMP IS TRUMP! ARRGHHHHH!” for four years will do no good at all. Find a way to co-exist with him so his negative proclivities do as little damage as possible and his positive ones have a chance to thrive, and save the explosions of indignation for substantive matters where opposition is essential.
Note that nobody heeded my advice, but I was right. But I digress: Joe Biden got Julied here both before and after his election, also “The View,” Hillary Clinton, and most recently, poor, addled Larry Tribe. Looking back, there are many other individuals who have earned Julie’s pass, and I’ll take nominations. I also see that following the lesson of Julie is hard. I have frequently forgotten the fishiness of several Julie designees.
The subject of this Ethics Quiz, however, is Kamala Harris. I gave her a sort of half-Julie Principle nod regarding her general sliminess and lack of integrity, writing,
If, as many seem to assume, Harris is making stuff up to pander to the crowd, why fixate on this episode? We all know, or should, that the woman is shallow, has no core, and that saying whatever she thinks will endear herself to the most people at the moment is her defining characteristic. As Julie sang, “Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly”: Kamala’s gotta make stuff up to pretend she’s something she’s not for the gullible, the naive, the hopeful and the blind.
That, however, evoked Julie in the context of Harris’s deplorable ethics, and before she took office as the woman a “heartbeat from the Presidency.” Over the 18 months since then, we have also learned that Harris is a babbling, incoherent fool, and I have frequently expressed horror at such gibberish coming from someone who was chosen by Biden to fill her critical role in the Administration.
She did it again today: speaking to a group of about two dozen elementary school-aged children at the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, Harris said,
“I think that we all know today is a day to celebrate the principle of freedom. And think about it in terms of the context of history, knowing that black people in America were not free for 400 years of slavery. Let this be a day that is a day to celebrate the principle of freedom, but to speak about it honestly and accurately, both in the context of history and current application. With the Emancipation Proclamation and Civil War, it required America to really ask itself, who is free? How do we define freedom? Freedom in terms of the autonomy one should have? Is freedom given to us or are we born with freedom? Right? I would argue it is our God-given right to have freedom. It is your birthright to have freedom. And then during slavery, freedom was taken. And so we’re not going to celebrate being given back what God gave us anyway, right? We should think about it also in terms of current application, asking is everyone we know free? Do we know anyone who is not free? Around the world do all people have freedom? Are there those who are without freedom? When we talk about freedom, are we talking about freedom from — or are we talking about the freedom to?”
What the hell?
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:
Does Harris deserve a Julie Principle pass for her evident inability to think and speak in addition to one for her appalling lack of integrity?