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Friday, 30 Oct 2020

I note there is some chatter about whether someone is a true American based on whether he is a Democrat or a Republican. I watch from the other side of the Pond. From the UK, it's seemed for a long time that there was little serious difference between Democrats and Republicans. How times have changed...! I am sure there was a time, not so long ago, when left-leaning/Democrat people and right-leaning/Republican people could both be called true Americans.

For example, wasn't John F Kennedy, who launched the triumphant American mission to the Moon, a true American and a Democrat? And wasn't Ronald Reagan, who despite being a controversial president nevertheless stood up to the Soviet Union and probably hastened its crumbling, a true American and a Republican?
Partisan politics in the USA appear to have become openly dirty. I suspect there are many "conservative" (small 'c') Democrats who are now struggling to identify with their party, seeing it getting infected with Marxist-inspired doctrines that are not traditionally popular in America. I would not be surprised if Glenn Greenwald ends up walking across the aisle to join the Republicans in the near future.

Monday, 12 Oct 2020

"You can't be a social constructionist and a biological essentialist at the same time."
-- Andrew Doyle

Thursday, 1 Oct 2020

In the first Presidential Election debate of 2020, on 29-Sep-2020, Donald Trump missed an opportunity to emphatically denounce white supremacist groups, and he offered a suggestion to the "Proud Boys" which was easy to interpret as something sinister.

Trump was asked to condemn "white supremacists and right-wing militia groups". He said, "Sure, I’m willing to do that."

I'd call that a "yes", albeit not a resounding one.

On 14-Aug-2017 he said:-

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America... No matter the colour of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans. Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."

I'd call that another "yes".

This was shortly after the clashes between neo-Nazi, "white supremacist", and pro-Confederate monument demonstrators, and anti-racist counter-protesters (including some Antifa activists) in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The next day, regarding his "very fine people on both sides" utterance, he offered a clarification. He said he'd been referring to demonstrators who are in favour of preserving Confederate monuments rather than removing them. What he actually said was:-

"I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally."

I'd call that another "yes".

On the subject of the "Proud Boys" in the debate, the mention of whom he seemed confounded by, he said:-

"The Proud Boys? Stand back and stand by."

I'd call that a "WTF". The Proud Boys seem to me to be an unpleasant grouping of men. Their own description of the organisation whiffs: They describe themselves as "western chauvinists" - whatever that means. But to use this as an example of why Trump is a white supremacist is a bit of a stretch. The Proud Boys do not consider themselves to be a "white supremacist" group. If they are, then they have confusing enrolment policies.

In an "official" blog of theirs in 2016, it states: "You can have any political affiliation and be any religion, race, and/or sexual preference." They are clearly not exactly left-leaning now, so maybe some things have changed in four years. But note that the Anti-Defamation League defines their ideology as "misogynistic, Islamaphobic, transphobic and anti-immigration - and sometimes anti-Semitic", but they do not say white supremacist. Of all the justifiable criticisms on offer, Biden and the mainstream media went for the one that isn't on the list. Ask yourself why.

The international chairman of the group is a man called Enrique Tarrio. He does not look white, and he claims to have Afro-Cuban heritage. He said to Sky News:-

"We've been called many names, but probably the most inaccurate name you can call us is white supremacists... I'm a 'person of colour', I'm a brown person, I'm chairman of the organisation... I got voted in."

I've also read, though I can no longer find the source, that 15%-20% of the membership are non-white, which is quite a favourable representation of the USA as a whole.

Joe Biden's comment was:-
"My message for the Proud Boys and every other white supremacist group is cease and desist." (my emphasis)

Subsequently Trump has gone on to claim he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are (which may account for his look of confusion when challenged with their name) and to re-assert, "Let law enforcement do their work."

So it looks like neither of them really knew what they were talking about specifically. What was on offer the other night were two slightly bumbling old guys verbally duking it out - a slagging match, in which both were feeling the pressure. It's no wonder that either of them said something carelessly that's easy to interpret uncharitably. Having said that, Trump is the president and should be able to do better.

Further reading:- Beacon