WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2022
Our team can't count to fifty: We'd call the headline troubling—and the article's contents are worse!
When we arose this morning, the headline was being featured at the top of the Washington Post's web site. In this morning's print editions, it's bannered across the top of the Post's page A5.
In our view, the headline raises a major point of concern. Online, here's what the headline says:
Black activists say the time for pretty speeches is over. They need an action plan from Biden on voting rights.
Does Biden need "an action plan on voting rights?" We think of Hemingway as we respond:
Isn't it pretty to think so!
Should Biden form an action plan? Given his lack of votes in the Senate, it's hard to know what such a plan would be.
In fairness, it isn't just a group of frustrated activists who may be struggling to count to fifty. (Or perhaps to the larger number of votes a president actually needs to make things happen in the Senate.)
It isn't just a bunch of "black activists" who may be living in La-La Land, begging Biden for action. The Washington Post's editorial board seems sunk in the same magical thinking today, based on the editorial which appears beneath this headline:
This is why Democrats should push hard on voting rights
The editors want Biden to "push hard" too. But what exactly should he be pushing? The editors never quite say!
Our floundering nation is currently faced with a dueling set of fantasies. On the one hand, millions of Republican voters still believe, in the face of a total absence of evidence, that Donald J. Trump actually won the last White House election.
It might be said that these misinformed souls can't count as high as 81 million. That's the number of votes Candidate Biden won as he outpaced Candidate Trump by some seven million votes.
(Nationwide popular vote: Biden 81.3 million, Trump 74.2 million.)
It's true that our presidential elections aren't decided by the nationwide popular vote. But these millions of misinformed voters can't seem to conceive of the idea that the candidate they favored could possibly have been beaten in any conceivable way.
In this well-documented manner, millions of Republican voters are trapped in a web of mistaken belief. They can't seem to count as high as 81 million—but at the same time, our own endlessly self-impressed team can't seem to count to fifty!
We liberals! We've persistently failed to grasp the math defining our current political status. We've persisted in the silly idea that 50 out of 100 votes constitutes any sort of "majority" at all, let alone a working majority. And we now seem to think that 48 votes, or possibly fewer, may serve our needs just as well!
With only 48 votes in a realm where 50 or 60 are needed, what "action plan" is President Biden actually supposed to "push hard?" We don't have the slightest idea, but fantasy thinking dies hard on all sides. And here's the part of the Post's news report which we found most disturbing:
FELTON AND WOOTSON (1/12/22): More than a half-dozen groups that registered and mobilized millions of voters in advance of the 2020 election opted to boycott Biden’s speech, saying the president had not done enough to advance matters of racial equity, particularly voting rights. Some demonstrated near the campus of Clark Atlanta University. Others opted to live-tweet criticism or air their opinions on social media. Still others just did whatever they would normally do on a Tuesday afternoon. The absence of these groups is an ominous sign for the president, raising the question of whether he can again mobilize Black voters ahead of the crucial midterm elections.
As it turns out, Biden never had the votes he'd need to pass various types of legislation. This may explain why he's now drawing attention to fiery claims about Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis.
Why is he making such fiery statements? It may just be a way of distracting attention from the (apparent) fact that Build Back Better has failed.
Increasingly, it looks like Build Back Better has failed. On our tribe's favorite "cable news" shows, the stars have agreed to ignore that fact as they move to the calls for an "action plan" in this new arena—to the calls which don't seem to make sense.
Meanwhile, as frustrated activists lose faith in a political dream which never really made sense, it's increasingly possible that Biden won't be able to get out the base come next fall. The other tribe will show up and vote, but many of ours may stay home!
One team can't count to 81 million. The other can't count to fifty. Quite conceivably, this is one of the ways democracies can die.
The pro-Trump tribe is deeply sunk in wide arrays of false belief. People they trust tell them crazy things. They don't know that they're being fooled.
Over Here in our self-impressed tribe, we've established a long list of false beliefs and implausible notions too. We think it's well past time when we should lay them out.
Tomorrow, for starters, we'll return to Kenosha—to a set of tragic tales.
Tomorrow: Our discourse runs on the rocket fuel known as the novelized tale