Part 3—A move toward massive resistance: In this morning’s New York Times, a single letter chides Roxane Gay for the way she cuffed the victims’ families aside in yesterday's op-ed column.
Click here, scroll down to third letter.
Just a guess, and it may not be accurate—the Times may have received other such letters. If so, they chose to publish the gentlest one.
On the New York Times’ front page, the attitudes of those Charleston families is admiringly profiled today by Lizette Alvarez.
The profile begins as shown below. Presumably, Deray McKesson—a good, decent person—might regard what follows as the latest “sensationalized message of forgiveness” (see yesterday’s afternoon post).
This is the way the profile begins. Hard-copy headlines included:
ALZAREZ (6/25/15): Charleston Families Hope Words Endure Past Shooting/We strongly recommend that profile. Beyond that, we assume it’s true:
Taking Stock on Eve of Charleston Funerals
On the day that Dylann Roof peered into a camera and spoke his first words in court last week, Alana Simmons, whose grandfather was killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was not prepared to stand up and talk. Her presence, she thought, would be enough.
But then she heard Nadine Collier, in a startling moment of anguish and grace, address Mr. Roof, the man accused of shooting nine church members to death. “I forgive you and have mercy on your soul,” said Ms. Collier, whose mother, Ethel Lance, was one of the victims.
At that moment, Ms. Simmons said, her own path became clear, and she joined other relatives of the dead in expressing both their pain and forgiveness to the man charged with causing such despair. “We are here to combat hate-filled actions with love-filled actions,” Ms. Simmons said. “And that is what we want to get out to the world.”
As the first of the funerals begin Thursday, the nine families are still pondering the effect their words—allowing love and forgiveness to crowd out hate and vengeance—have had on the nation.
We assume the behavior of those families is, in fact, having “an effect on the nation”—a deeply wide-ranging effect.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss those families’ values in a bit more detail. As we do, we’ll discuss the way a wide range of Southern white Republican men have described their colleague and friend, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who was murdered last week.
For today, we’ll note two points:
The greatest achievers of the last century were people who expressed the values those families are expressing. Also this:
All across the “progressive” world, voices are urging liberals and progressives to adopt a different point of view. We’re being urged to adopt an angrier, less ecumenical, profoundly crabbed approach.
Some of those voices are plainly well-intentioned. Some strike us as perhaps a tiny bit less evolved. But it seems to us that those voices are urging liberals to make the less constructive play.
Those values were good enough for Dr. King and Mandela. Are we somehow tougher than them?
Oof! We were embarrassed to watch David Corn and Jonathan Capehart on last night’s Hardball. In this morning’s Washington Post, Harold Meyerson presents as such an over-inflated moral balloon that he’s about to explode.
In this morning’s New York Times, Nicholas Kristof’s lofty column made three of the analysts gnash their remaining teeth. We’ll discuss their reactions in this afternoon’s post.
Atop the front page of the New York Times, Alvarez lets members of the Charleston families discuss the values which have been affecting the nation—that were affecting the nation before last week, through Reverend Pinckney’s life.
Elsewhere, though, the children are railing. In the process, it seems to us that they have been changing some basic story-lines.
There have, of course, been many ways to view last week’s events. Early on, we were struck, in various ways, by the extent to which the nation has changed.
Consider what happened when a pitiful fellow with a big gun decided to start a “race war.” When he decided to start a race war in South Carolina.
According to the New York Times, this is part of what happened. We’ll add to the story below:
CORASANITI, PEREZ-PENA AND ALVAREZ (6/19/15): The police said it was a tip from a commuter that led to the arrest.As Roof appeared in a striped jail jumpsuit, a police dog barked and one woman muttered, “The bastard’s here?”
Deborah Dills was traveling along Highway 74 on Thursday morning from her home in Gastonia, N.C., to her part-time job at a florist in Kings Mountain, N.C., when she spotted a dark Hyundai Elantra with South Carolina plates. The car—and its driver, Ms. Dills, 51, soon thought—matched the descriptions in the police alert she had heard on the morning news.
“I thought oh no, Debbie, you're just paranoid, you've had this on your mind so strong. This is not happening here. What would he be doing here?” Ms. Dills said in an interview.
Unsure of what to do, she called Todd Frady, the owner of the florist shop.
“She got kind of nervous and pulled off,” Mr. Frady said. He insisted she follow the car, while he called the Kings Mountain police.
Ms. Dills rushed back onto the highway, lined with stores and fast-food restaurants in a chain of suburbs west of Charlotte, in pursuit of the Hyundai. Finally at a stoplight near a Walmart in Shelby, N.C., she pulled up behind the car and read its license plate number to Mr. Frady, who relayed it to the police.
“That's it,” he told her. “That's him.”
A short time later, at 10:43 a.m., the police in Shelby, 250 miles north of Charleston, pulled over the Hyundai and arrested Mr. Roof. He waived extradition and was flown to South Carolina on Thursday evening and, amid extraordinary security, walked into the jail in Charleston County at 7:25 p.m.
As Mr. Roof, who was wearing a striped jail jumpsuit, entered the jail through a secured entrance, a police dog barked, cameras clicked and one woman muttered, “The bastard’s here.”
Try not to be angry about that. That was just the New York Times trying to humanize Roof!
Just to be clear, Deborah Dills isn’t a visiting professor from Oberlin. In her broadcast interviews, it’s clear that she is a very southern woman who is also very “white.”
She’s also very “churchy.” Gloriously, she did the right things last week.
In her TV interviews, she told the story in a bit more detail. She described the fear she felt when her boss told her to get back on the road and follow the suspect’s car.
“I’m not brave,” we saw her say on videotape. But she continued to follow the car until she saw it pulled over.
Dills has largely disappeared from the press as story lines have evolved. We think that’s too bad. We haven’t seen a lot of attention paid to some of the ways things have changed.
Imagine! A pitiful fellow with a big gun wanted to start a race war. What happened when he did?
A southern white woman saw his car and called her southern white boss. Her southern white boss told her to follow the car while he called the southern white police force.
The southern white police proceeded to make the arrest. We think that’s an excellent story, a story that’s well worth considering.
We think that’s a story of moral improvement. We think there are several such stories involved in last week’s events.
Tomorrow, we’ll touch on some of those stories. But as we’ve watched the northern “progressive” world this week, we’ve seen those stories ignored, even denigrated.
Again and again, we’ve almost thought that we were seeing a different story line emerging. We've almost thought that we were seeing an act of massive resistance.
On the front page of the New York Times, we’re told today that the values of those Charleston families are having an effect on the nation. We would assume that’s true.
We would assume that that is occurring despite the progressive world’s massive resistance. On balance, we think that resistance is small, reactionary, unhelpful, unhealthy, unwise.
In our view, the Charleston families are much, much wiser than our reliably awful professors. We’re glad that their values are getting discussed.
More on this story tomorrow.
Tomorrow: At long last, what James Clyburn said