Their various shapes and sizes: Why don't more of The Others trust Us? Why aren't they willing to think and act in the ways we liberals prescribe?
We're willing to tell them how to think and what to believe. Why won't They just fall in line?
You're asking some very good questions! In our view, today's op-ed column by Nicholas Kristof helps us supply an answer.
There's a great deal to ponder in Kristof's piece. But the gentleman starts like this:
KRISTOF (10/25/18): It’s not about immigration. It’s about bigotry.There! Just like that, in his opening paragraph, Kristof takes steps to ensure that The Others won't listen to a single word he says. He doe this by dropping our team;s favorite bomb. from which he then runs away.
Bombs come in various shapes and sizes. In the past few days, real bombs from the material world have arrived at selected addresses.
Idiotic reactions have been churned Over There. Then too, we have Our Own Tribe.
Our world also contains the metaphorical "bombs" we've often discussed at this site. Kristof opens with one of those rather destructive bombs, then never explains why he did.
"It’s not about immigration," he says. "It’s about bigotry." He says that right at the very start of his piece. But he never explains who the "bigots" are. This means that the bigots are Them.
Over Here, in our liberal tents, we thrill to cold opens like that. We're reminded that we're the decent, good people—which, fairly often, we aren't, depending on grading standards.
Kristof opened with a bomb, then made no attempt to explain it. He never explained why the bomb had appeared. But don't worry—every liberal knows.
So do all The Others.
In the rest of his column, Kristof presents some interesting facts about problems facing America. Early on, though, he also makes it a point to mock Donald Trump's spelling.
That's another type of tribal bomb. (As we've noted in the past, it's a Brian Williams favorite.) We've been dropping these bombs for decades. The Others all understand them.
Kristof offers important observations about the use of fear in demagogic, unhelpful campaigns. This use of fear is quite unhelpful.
So is the dropping of bombs.
At the end of his unhelpful column, Kristof describes an actual state of affairs. We think he's right in most of what he says in this final passage:
KRISTOF: I fear that we in the media have become Trump’s puppets, letting him manipulate us to project issues like the caravan onto the agenda.That's the end of his column.
Trump is right that, although there’s no evidence of it, “there could very well be” Middle Easterners hiding in the caravan. It’s equally true that the Easter Bunny “could very well be” in the caravan. Speaking of Easter, Jesus Christ “could very well be” in the caravan.
So let’s stop freaking out about what “could very well be” and focus on facts. Here are two: First, the Caravan won’t make a bit of difference to America. Second, we have other problems to focus on, from drugs to homelessness to health care, that genuinely constitute a “National Emergy.”
Kristof wants his fellow citizens "to stop freaking out about" nonsensical, demagogic claims. Instead, he wants us to "focus on facts."
In principle, this is a very good idea. But the state of play is this:
We liberals can focus on various facts as much as we like. If we can't get Others to listen to Us as we offer these facts, our facts will fall on deaf ears.
As he closes, Kristof identifies three states of affairs which he regards as major problems. But as he finishes his plea, he turns again to Trump's spelling problem.
(Earth to Kristof: Donald J. Trump is likely "dyslexic." Stating the obvious, this is the least of his deeply dangerous problems.)
(For the record, Williams, who loves to play the bad spelling card, got himself fired from Nightly News for making us Songs of Himself. That was after he spent two years trashing the craziness of Candidate Gore's deeply troubling wardrobe selection. This sent George W. Bush to the White House and Iraqi children to death.)
Kristof closes with Trump's bad spelling. Everybody Over There knows what such jibes suggest. According to major anthropologists, we liberals have always played this game, and we always will.
"Who Do You Trust?" Johnny Carson once asked. The unexplained bomb with which Kristof begins helps explain why They don't trust Us.
Your lizard is saying that this is all wrong. We should all throw our lizards away.
Opposite Kristof today: Opposite Kristof's column, Gail Collins is complaining, in her usual rollicking way, about the stupid things Trump says. Funny that! We still remember the stupid things she used to say, in 1999 and 2000.
Children died because of Collins, who's been phoning it in for years. That said, this is the way of the New York Times, brightest known light of our own self-assured liberal tribe.
Gore, who was impossibly boring with all his proposals, reminded her of "the underside of a swan." Those were truly the good old days, except for the children we've mentioned.
Still coming later today: This morning's astonishing "Noteworthy Facts" from the brightest light of Our Tribe.