The Crisis of Love in America

There’s a song that came out back in the 1980s. Maybe some of you remember it, but most of you have probably never heard of it—or of the man who sang it. (He is still alive, so perhaps I should say “sings” it.) The title of the song is “Love Is Not a Feeling.” I grew up listening to this song, and it continues to influence me. 

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In the categories of “sad day for America” and “@CNN gets the tone of this article right” . . .

The sun is setting on one of the great Southern cities.

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In the category of “this is why @realDonaldTrump is winning” . . .

This is the kind of logical goop that actually hands the win to Donald Trump. Camila Mendoza says good manners don’t apply anymore. Isn’t that exactly what the Trump followers were saying throughout the campaign? Didn’t they say that the other politicians and media personalities no longer deserved to be treated with so-called good manners because they had lost that high ground long ago? Isn’t that exactly what many in the mainstream media—and many other Trump opponents—argued against? And now you’re handing that over to him?

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In the category of “if you read this article and still trust @Salon to be truthful, the joke’s on you” . . .

I think that this article makes an important point, that the substance of Donald Trump’s message is the same, despite the change of tone, but the article is so full of “exaggerations, lies, and policy [critiques] that contain no specifics,” that it fails the immediate test of consistency vs. hypocrisy and it will be meaningful only to those who already agree with it. Speaking to your constituency, pumping them up, can be useful, so there’s nothing wrong with taking a tone and making arguments that will convince only those who already agree with you. But consistency, logic, and substance are universal requirements.

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In the categories of “seriously, people?!” and “seriously, people” . . .

I actually know people who argue that black people are incapable of racism because they don’t have the ‘institutional power’ to oppress those of another skin color.

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In the category of “balanced reporting from ‪@TIME ‬about @realDonaldTrump and #lastnightinSweden” . . .

President Trump Made a Confusing Reference to Sweden. Here’s What the White House Says He Meant

Speaking to reporters Sunday, principal deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that Trump was referring to general incidents of rising crime in Sweden committed by refugees, and not an act of terror.

The headline is skewed slightly, showing Time’s bias, but otherwise the article is simple and straightforward, stating the facts without unnecessary commentary or cynicism.

In the category of “@theHill is all serious and supports assertions by citing Twitter users” . . .

Social media users troll Trump over Sweden incident

Trump did not elaborate, but some social media users pointed to a Fox News report on Friday that showed alleged violence by refugees in Sweden.

Social media users quickly responded to Trump’s comments, using the hashtags #LastNightInSweden and #SwedenIncident to mock the president.

Ooh, boy, those are some serious sources you got there, The Hill. That’s some pretty profound insight from some well-researched experts. I’m impressed—and completely convinced. The recitation of pertinent facts is overwhelming.

In the category of “Chris Long (@joel9one) gives a clinic in dealing with online critics” . . .

Chris Long ripped into people criticizing him for not going to the White House

I already linked to Chris Long’s brilliant takedown of someone telling him he must stand in solidarity with his dark-skinned teammates who are boycotting the visit to the U.S. White House, because of its current resident.

He is back at it, dealing this time with some folks now upset with him for his decision to not visit the White House with his teammates who are making the visit. And his responses to critics on Twitter are just as brilliant as his previous response. It’s best if you read it for yourself.

In the category of “if this doesn’t get you just a little, there’s something wrong with you” . . .

Little Caesars founder quietly paid Rosa Parks’ rent for years

But in 1994, Parks was robbed and assaulted in her home at the age of 81. . . .

Ilitch read the story in the newspaper and called . . . offering to pay for Parks’ housing indefinitely. With no fanfare, Ilitch continued paying for the apartment until Parks died in 2005, Keith said.

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In the category of “@TheRock’s response is better than @StephenCurry30’s, but it still misses the point” . . .

Now, Dwayne Johnson, unlike Stephen Curry, doesn’t call Trump an ass. So his response is better than Curry’s in that respect. But isn’t the CEO inherently a spokesperson for the company itself at a deeper level than one of the celebrities that company sponsors? (You notice that’s a rhetorical question again, right?) Yet Dwayne Johnson speaks as if he has authority to speak on behalf of the entire company. He says he doesn’t, but then he does it anyway.

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In the category of “best article I’ve seen so far addressing this threat to free speech” . . .

Pats’ Chris Long responds to call for him to stand up against Donald Trump

Chuck Modiano, a writer for the New York Daily News, wrote an open letter to Chris Long, a player for the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. It’s an offensive letter in all the worst ways. It’s whiny. It’s insulting. It’s coercive. It’s manipulative. It’s logically fallacious. It’s inconsistent. It’s hypocritical. It’s smug. It’s anti–free-speech. It’s classic guilt-trip bullying. Chris Long’s response, on the other hand, is simply classic.

 
Oh Chuck. Planned on skipping, hadn’t been asked. Don’t need an open letter explaining my own words to me. Not *joining* anyone. My call. https://t.co/XWo9x2XT40
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) February 9, 2017

And Vincent Frank, writing for Sportsnaut.com, has a refreshing take on the entire question of sports stars standing up for what they believe, including—at times—avoiding a celebratory trip to the White House because of the current occupant of said house.

 
Yes, Long ‘announced’ that he will likely be the fourth member of the Patriots to avoid meeting President Trump. That’s not the big story here. . . .

“Instead, it’s that a columnist would go as far to pretty much tell someone else what to do. Is that a signal those in opposition of this administration want to send? We’re surely okay with freedom of speech and the right to self-determination as long as it fits into what we believe to be right.

“Long did a tremendous job pushing back against that while maintaining his own individuality here. Let’s hope other players follow suit at a time when those in the professional sports world are being asked to talk about stuff outside of their own profession.
— Vincent Frank

Whether someone chooses to go to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl victory—or chooses to not go—is a matter of personal conviction (or at least it should be). Let’s not make out to be more than it is, whether we agree or disagree with someone’s choice.

Also in the category of “if your friend is a racist, so are you” . . .

In the category of “the witch hunt continues” . . .

 
In a recent column, *The Root’s* senior editor Stephen A. Crockett Jr. called the Patriots ‘racist-adjacent’ because Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft are friends with Donald Trump. He defended his words in an appearance with Kirk & Callahan Wednesday.

Though Crockett said the article was satirical, he still believes Brady should be criticized for his ties to the President.

‘I don’t know if you need to back off, but I feel like there needs to be something said here,’ he explained. ‘If Brady and Trump are friends and then had a private friendship prior to this—as he continues to escalate, as he runs for president and the White House, as he has proven himself in the first three weeks to be absolutely ridiculous. At some point, you as a public figure have to make a stand or you are agreeing with all of the policies that go along with it. I don’t see how that doesn’t work.’

No comment needed, right? Follow this link to see the Crockett article. Crockett claimed that his article was satire. That defies the definition of satire. It may have had some humor; but humor and satire are not mutually inclusive. Sorry, dude.

In the category of “absurdity abounds” . . .

In the category of “objectivity has left the building” . . .

 
‘What we’ve seen is a president who belittles judges when they don’t agree with him,’ said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). ‘What we’ve seen is a president who is willing to shake the roots of the Constitution and a fundamental premise—no religious test—that’s embodied in our Constitution within his first few weeks in office,’ Schumer said. ‘We certainly need an attorney general who will stand up to that president. . . . But [Sessions] is not, if you can say one thing about him, he’s not independent of Donald Trump.’

Here are some of my objections to this quote from Chuck Schumer. Obama belittled all sorts of people who agreed with him, even from other branches of government. And then, Obama tended to make an end-run around them through executive order. (Look it up for yourself; don’t take my word for it.) No U.S. President has shaken the “roots of the Constitution”  more than Schumer’s beloved Obama did (George W. Bush ran a close second). I’m not convinced that the job of the Attorney General is to “stand up to that president.” His job certainly is upholding the law. If that requires going against the President, I suppose that’s what he needs to do. But Schumer is actually asking for the U.S. Attorney General to go against his own job description—which is exactly the problem we suffer from with nearly all of our Federal Government: Presidents who overstep their bounds, Senators who overstep their bounds, Congressmen who overstep their bounds, Judges and Justices who overstep their bounds—not to mention all the bureaus and bureaucrats who overstep their bounds beyond all imagining. On top of this, Schumer makes a statement that is said as an insult (his clear meaning) but has no real discernible value in this conversation. Schumer says Sessions is “not independent of Donald Trump.” Well, duh. Donald Trump is the President and Sessions is the Attorney General—by definition they are not independent of one another. 

But this quote from Schumer is expectedly lacking in objectivity and is not the real problem with this article. The problem with this article is that the Washington Post is lacking in objectivity. There is a complete expectation in American society today that politicians will lack objectivity. Politicians are so, well, political, you know. But the Press—the hallowed, all-knowing, inerrant Press—we still expect it to be objective. This article is far from it. It is clear from the outset of the article which way it leans, and the what-ifs the article poses—the pure conjecture of some of the scenarios—are blatant well-poisoning. And the article ends with this about Dianne Feinstein:

 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, said on the floor that her office had received 114,000 calls and emails regarding Sessions, with more than 98 percent opposed. She quoted from constitutents who ‘deeply oppose this president and this nominee’ and have hit the streets in protest. One doctor, she said, ‘marched because of the thousands of patients I’ve seen in the community, people of color, immigrants from all over the globe, who are terrified about the loss of their rights and the dramatic explosion of racially and culturally-focused hate crimes we’re reading about.’

She questioned how Sessions would handle the government’s investigation of Russian interference in the election, which could lead to the prosecution of individuals who helped hack the Democratic party in an effort to help Trump win.

‘It obviously has the potential to create embarrassment for the president and his people, and to implicate people involved in the campaign,’ she said. ‘Can [Sessions] be independent of the White House? I do not believe he can.’

After throwing in some (very brief) quotes from supporters of Sessions in what is a clear effort to pretend impartiality and objectivity, the article ends with three full paragraphs about Sen. Dianne Feinstein, quoting without objection, without counterpoint, without even analysis—and this esteemed publication wants us to believe that they deserve to be heeded regarding the news of the day? Why should we care how many calls and emails Feinstein received regarding Sessions? Oh, and tug at my heartstrings with the story of this doctor marching for this or marching for that. Oh, well, clearly this perspective on Sessions must be accurate, because, well, this good-hearted doctor said so. A news organization cannot claim objectivity when their articles are so full with such obvious bias, such blatant abuse of the principles of rhetoric with the clear purpose to deceive by shading truth with one-sided analysis. Here is how the article should end, if there’s any honesty in it:

 
‘Can [Sessions] be independent of the White House? I do not believe he can,’ Sen. Feinstein said. And we at the *Washington Post* really want you to feel the same way, so we are not going to include enough information or objective details from all perspectives for you to make up your own mind based on the facts, because, frankly, we don’t want you to make up your own mind. We want you to simply go along with what we say, and we are going to tell you just enough to (hopefully) sound credible but not nearly enough for you to having any real knowledge of the issues or the range of viewpoints of the American people at large or of the other Senators charged with confirming (or denying) Sessions’ appointment as attorney general.

Please note that I have not said I support the nomination of Sessions or stated any position beyond a critical analysis of the article itself.

In the category of “oh, that’s what it feels like to admire and dislike someone at the same time” . . .

In the category of “nobody shames as well as those who oppose ‘shame-based cultures’” . . .

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