Tuesday, June 09, 2020


I'm sure we've all heard more than enough "bothsides"  bullshit -- the rhetorical approach that seeks to obscure one's own crimes and idiocies on the grounds that someone else dropped a gum wrapper on the sidewalk so who's to judge. But it never stops coming. While it's annoying enough when it comes from weak-kneed liberals, it's a total stinkbomb coming from conservatives and is a favorite gambit of JustTheTip Trumpers -- here's a classic example by David French. But things have reached the point where even some of the usually loud-and-proud wingnuts are starting to crocodile-weep for comity. Here's Jim Geraghty at National Review:
Our Civil War of Stupidity
The loudest, most dominant voices in American political discourse often are the ones with the least thought-through, least useful perspectives.
For a brief moment, we had a broad, bipartisan national consensus that the police should not kill those in their custody. 
We did? When was that? I and a whoooole lot of black people missed it.
Then, our warring factions of idiots went and ruined it.
Why would anyone do that? What might each of these "factions" been in favor of -- oh why do I bother.
On May 25, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin did something terrible, pressing his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, during which time Floyd’s heart stopped beating and he died. Chauvin’s fellow officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, stood and watched. This angered many Americans, if not almost all Americans.
Then, some residents of Minneapolis chose to respond to Chauvin’s actions by setting fire to the Third Precinct headquarters of the city police.
Boy, as your cousin on Facebook would meme, that escalated quickly. Did something else noteworthy happen between Floyd's killing and the fire, like national protests?
Our national discussion was quickly overrun by those who wanted to use the actions of Chauvin and his fellow officers to define all police across the country, and those who wanted to use the actions of the looters and rioters to define everyone participating in the protests. Anyone with eyes can see that not all police officers are Derek Chauvin, and not everyone who attended a protest, march, or demonstration in response to Floyd’s death was looting and committing acts of violence. 
Anyone with eyes can also see hundreds of videos of police violence against the innocent during the past few weeks of protest, which seems to have caused a massive change in public sentiment -- Americans appear to support the protestors and think the cops went too far, which for the land of Nixon and Agnew and endless Law & Order editions is pretty amazing. But Geraghty doesn't mention it.

Near the end is Geraghty's most concentrated pellet of motivated bothsiderism:
The president wants to restore order in the streets with soldiers; his opposition declares that the proper alternative is to do away with policing entirely. The president wants to reopen the economy; his critics contend that steps in the direction of reopening are an “experiment in human sacrifice.”
Thus Trump's looter-shooter ravings (and other provocations, including his attack on the Minneapolis senior citizen whose skull was cracked by a cop) are portrayed as a sensible call for order, while the Democrats are portrayed as off-the-pigs lunatics because some leftists want to drastically reduce police budgets; also, Geraghty describes Trump's threats to force states to cram workers who might have coronavirus into their warehouses and offices as a simple desire to "reopen the economy," and if you think that's bad how about this, Democrats interpreted it uncharitably, hmmph!
Where are the sane grown-ups? Isn’t anyone willing to take a break from the usual partisan food fight to spend just a little time trying to solve our actual problems? Or are we just destined to be bystanders in a Civil War of Stupidity indefinitely?
It's all too much -- everybody back to the status quo, where black people got extra-judicially executed on the regular but at least we weren't arguing about it.

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