As if someone supports it today: Are people able to change, to grow, in the course of living their lives?
We were struck by Jonathan Martin's report in today's New York Times about the Fritz Hollings funeral. First Joe Biden, then James Clyburn, said the former governor and senator had changed during the course of his life.
More specifically, the two men said that Hollings had changed in his attitudes about "race." Since Clyburn is black and Hollings, like Biden, was white, Clyburn's statement might have been more significant:
MARTIN (4/17/19): On Tuesday, it fell to Mr. Clyburn to speak in more detail about how Mr. Hollings went from defending ''separate but equal'' as a young state legislator to, as governor, telling state lawmakers that ''we have run out of courts'' and supporting the integration of Clemson University.We don't know the story behind that statement, in which Clyburn—a civil rights activist in his youth—said, in a breaking voice, that he had grown along with Hollings.
''Thank God a man can grow,'' said Mr. Clyburn, his voice breaking. ''Fritz grew and I grew along with him.''
We do believe the obvious fact that people can change and grow. We also tend to believe that tribes cannot, especially at junctures like this one.
In this context, it's our own pseudo-liberal tribe which has us concerned. We seem to be fully capable of screwing almost everything up, and thus getting Trump re-elected:
MARTIN: Younger Democrats have little personal connection to Mr. Hollings and those who are aware of him recall that he began his career, like many other white politicians of his generation in the South, as a segregationist.We keep seeing it said that Biden is "facing intense questions about his 1970s opposition to school busing," At such moments, we typically turn to the analysts and author some comment like this:
Mr. Biden, who is himself facing intense questions about his 1970s opposition to school busing, handled Mr. Hollings's evolution on race delicately in his speech, referring only obliquely to the senator's earlier support for segregation.
''He was constantly evolving,'' said Mr. Biden, standing before a Citadel choir that was made up equally of black and white members.
As if anyone supports it today!
No, seriously! Which of the other Democratic hopefuls supports mandatory busing to achieve greater racial balance in today's public schools? No one advocates any such thing, but our purity police will be chasing Biden around, flogging him for having opposed what no one supports today.
At present, our underwhelming liberal tribe is rich with purity trolls. We're silly and foolish and nobody likes us, but we seem to be completely unable to come to terms with such facts.
We're not especially high on Candidate Biden ourselves. Though we think he has some obvious strengths, we also think he's too old.
That said, we'd enthusiastically support him if he won the nomination. But like everyone else in the Democratic field, he'll have purity police chasing him around, beating his shins with their hard wooden sticks, as was the case with Candidate Clinton, who had spoken the word "super-predators" on one occasion, two decades before, at a time when the deeply troubling, triggering word was in fairly widespread use.
(Just for the record, that complaint about Candidate Clinton may have come to our fevered brains live and direct from Vladimir Putin. Also from the assistant, associate and adjunct professors, of course.)
Our self-impressed tribe is deeply flawed. Sadly though, due to the impressive fervor with which we focus on loathing The Others, we seem unable to some to terms with this basic fact.
And not only that: And not only that! Candidate Clinton had also seemed to support the racist 1994 crime bill!
Do you know the racist crime bill we mean? The one former Black Panther Bobby Rush voted for in the House?
That complaint about Candidate Clinton may have come from Vladimir too! Friends don't let comrades read Facebook, especially in these sorry times.