Part 2—How to loathe Candidate Clinton: How bad does it (routinely) get at the new Salon?
Before we revisit the work which led to piteous cries in the night, let's consider a second example of the nonsense this site routinely purveys for us, the flawless bright very smart liberals who feel quite sure that the very bad people are all found Over There.
Sunday morning, we were wakened by the analysts' screams. Later that day, we read the piece which affected them so. We also read this piece at the new Salon by Susan J. Demas, whose words of self-praise go on and on at the end of the essay.
Below, you see the headline from the new Salon's piece. They had us at "thought he might be president:"
The governor who poisoned Flint: The GOP’s Rick Snyder thought he might be president. Not so fast...
We've always been curious about the claim that Snyder thought about running for president this year. Demas shed little light on that question, but right at the start of her piece, she caught our eye with the highlighted statement:
DEMAS (4/2/16): When Rick Snyder took the reins from Jennifer Granholm on Jan. 1, 2011, there was a certain smugness hanging in Michigan’s raw winter air.Really? Granholm had been buzzed about as a presidential candidate?
The changing of the guard had been fairly pleasant––the Republican and Democrat had even held a (mundane) joint press conference on economic development. That stood in sharp contrast to the bitterly partisan transition from Jim Blanchard to the man who defeated him in 1990, John Engler, and then from Engler to Granholm 12 years later.
As the state’s first female governor, Granholm had started her tenure in 2002 with some fanfare—and had even been buzzed about as a presidential candidate (despite being born in Vancouver, Canada). But by the time her second term stumbled to a close, Granholm was badly bruised from leading the state for the better part of a decade-long recession and the near-collapse of the domestic auto industry.
We'd always thought that Granholm's Canadian birth to Canadian parents meant that she couldn't run for president. (According to the leading authority of her life, Granholm became a naturalized citizen when she was 21.)
Had Jennifer Granholm "been buzzed about" as a presidential candidate? Luckily, Demas provided a link in support of this claim.
Hungrily, we clicked that link. This is what we found:
DEMAS (7/4/14): When Granholm was first elected in 2002, she was considered a rising Democratic star. There were even murmurs about a presidential run, although, of course, she was born in Canada.That's right! In support of her claim about a buzz, Demas linked to an earlier column she had written. In that column, she said there had been a murmur!
Demas didn't link to some external report in which a buzz or murmur occurred. She linked to her own fuzzy claim from 2014, in support of her murky claim from 2016.
Had there been a buzz or perhaps even a murmur? Everything is possible, especially when the terms are so fuzzy.
A constitutional amendment had been discussed, for about ten minutes, aimed at letting the brilliant but foreign-born Governor Schwarzenegger stage a run for the White House. Up in Michigan, this may have led to a hint of a thought.
We just thought it was wonderfully Salonistic to see that kind of self-sourcing. Is Demas applying for a job at the New York Times? Flawlessly, we asked ourselves that question. We were thinking of the strange sourcing involved in Amy Chozick's front-page report last summer, the front-page grabber concerning the late Beau Biden's last few nouns.
Occasionally, you can find work at the new Salon which isn't hopelessly flawed. On the whole, the site has been dumbed within an inch of its life, part of the process by which profit-seeking news org owners now pander to tribal appetites on the pseudo-left as well as the pseudo-right.
Rather routinely, the work is bad at the new Salon. In principle, though, the dumbness of much of the work could help us gain an important new learning:
The capacity for enjoying The Dumb isn't all located Over There! We the liberals can be dumb and tribal too—dumb and tribal and drawn to the ancient practice of tribal loathing.
As liberals, our loathing is often directed against Those People who vote for Republicans. In many ways, this ancient instinct serves current goals of "the far right," a point we'll explain at the end of the week.
(Ron Paul's name will be mentioned.)
That said, instinctive loathing can also be unloosed within a party, voting bloc or tribe. That returns us to the first example of Candidate Clinton's "atrocious race record."
Below, you see an early part of the article at the new Salon which produced Sunday's screams in the night. From this work, we can learn something important about our own tribe.
After reading work like this, we could even decide to take a look at the tribe in the mirror:
AL-GHARBI (4/3/16): [P]erhaps the most disturbing [notion] of all is the insinuation that Hillary Clinton has some kind of proud and storied legacy in the service of black empowerment. She doesn’t. Consider the comparative records of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders:To peruse the whole essay, click here.
The Chicago Years
While attending the University of Chicago, Sanders served as a chapter chairman for the Congress for Racial Equality. In this capacity, he worked to end segregation in schools and housing—activities for which he was arrested.
What was Hillary Clinton doing while Sanders was organizing sit-ins and demonstrations? Well, she was also living in Chicago at the time, but she was working for the other team: in 1963-64, Clinton was a volunteer and supporter for the campaign of Barry Goldwater.
For those who don’t know, Goldwater’s claim to fame is that he was the first Republican to win the Deep South since Reconstruction. He achieved this feat by vowing to undermine enforcement of the Civil Rights Act, and to prevent further erosion of white privilege. His campaign was so disgusting that many Republican leaders, such as George Romney and John Rockefeller, refused to endorse his candidacy even after he won his party’s nomination. A good deal of the Republican electorate, who had traditionally championed civil rights and civil liberties, also refused to support him. As a result, those aforementioned Deep South states were literally the only contests he won other than his home state of Arizona in one of the most dramatic landslide losses in U.S. presidential history. Yet, this is the man who inspired Hillary Clinton to get into politics. And she was campaigning for him while Bernie was campaigning for desegregation.
Musa al-Gharbi prefers Candidate Sanders to Candidate Clinton. Whatever your assessment may be, that's a perfectly reasonable judgment. Millions of liberals and Democrats share it.
The problem starts when we let our preferences turn into prehistoric loathing—and when we start picking and choosing our facts to enable our love of this hatred.
We love to loathe those Trump supporters; there's little doubt about that. In this case, we're being taught how to loathe one of Our Own.
This isn't smart and it isn't decent. Are we the liberals willing to look at the tribe in the mirror?
What's wrong with al-Ghabri's act of loathing? Consider what the reader is told. Consider what is withheld.
We're told in that passage that Sanders and Clint were in Chicago at the same time. We aren't told that, due to the difference in age, Sanders was finishing his college years. Clinton was in high school.
That's right, kids! When Candidate Goldwater was nominated in 1964, Clinton was 16 years old. (In 1963, she had been even younger!) In Salon's piece, we're instructed to loathe this internal enemy, The Other, based on her views as a high school junior.
A person could imagine that's ugly. Plainly, it isn't real smart.
There are several other things we aren't told about those Chicago years. In describing Clinton as a Goldwater girl, al-Ghabri reports a high school experience Clinton describes in the early pages of her book, Living History. To help us learn to loathe The Other for her racial ugliness, he omits this accompanying passage:
CLINTON (page 22): My quest to reconcile my father's insistence on self-reliance and my mother's concerns about social justice was helped along by the arrival in 1961 of a Methodist youth minister named Donald Jones.Clinton goes on to describe Dr. King's speech and its effect on her unfolding understanding of the world. To help you loathe the other well, Salon reports one part of this high school experience, keeps you away from the other.
...I came home bursting with excitement and shared what I had learned with my mother, who quickly came to find in Don a kindred spirit. But the University of Life was not just about art and literature. We visited black and Hispanic churches in Chicago's inner city for exchanges with their youth groups.
In the discussion we had sitting around church basements, I learned that, despite the obvious differences in our environments, these kids were more like me than I ever could have imagined. They also knew more about what was happening in the civil rights movement in the South. I had only vaguely heard of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, but these talks sparked my interest.
So when Don announced one week that he would take us to hear Dr. King speak at Orchestra Hall, I was excited. My parents gave me permission to go, but some of my friends' parents refused to let them go hear such a "rabble-rouser."
You're kept from learning something else. At the end of his college years, Sanders was admirably engaged in civil rights work. That said, by the end of her college years, Clinton, no longer a Goldwater girl, was featured in Life magazine—featured for speaking out against the war in Vietnam.
None of this has a thing to do with the judgment a sensible person will make concerning this year's choice. But in this pitiful passage from the new Salon, you're told certain things, while other material is hidden, for human history's most destructive reason—so you can learn to loathe The Other well.
Within our own flawless tribe, we've spent decades assailing The Others who vote for the GOP. We're happy to say how stupid they are—also how evil, how racist.
This week, we're suggesting that you might want to look at the tribe in the mirror. We the liberals are deeply flawed too, in all the traditional ways.
The desire to loathe is the oldest flaw. (Dumbness runs a close second.) If you're willing to look at the tribe in the mirror, we think you'll see that this ancient, unhelpful instinct runs all through the current work of our own tribe, which we usually think of as flawless.
Tomorrow: Skilled at spotting "the rabble"