Fighting the beast: How can Clifford Russell be saved?

Meet Clifford Russell:

“What’s killing us is all these entitlements, we’ve got to get rid of all of them. All this welfare, food stamps, Medicare, and then big government health care on top of it, it’s all just too much! When do we say enough is enough?”

What do you mean, exactly, I ask him. You say people are suffering under Obama, don’t they need some help?

“No. No more help, enough is enough. People have to pick themselves up, take some responsibility. Why should we be paying for people’s mistakes and bad choices? All these illegitimate families just adding to the population, making all these bad decisions, then asking us to pay for it? It’s time to cut them off.”

I ask for some clarification: what do you mean, just starve them out? What if people can’t find work? Let them starve?

“Look, there’s always something you can do. You telling me people can’t make a choice for a better life? We have to help all of them? No. I’ll tell you what really need to do with these illegitimate families on welfare—give all the kids up for adoption and execute the parents.”

I stare at him and blink in a glaze of shock.

Just to be sure I heard him right, I ask him to repeat it, twice.

“Yes, I mean it. Get rid of all of them, give the kids up for adoption, execute the parents, and you get rid of the problem.” (When I call him back to revisit the issue, he elaborates: “put the children up for adoption and execute the parents, and word would get out soon” that poor people shouldn’t have kids.)

The reporter there is Christopher D. Cook of The Progressive, which printed his account along with a response from Clifford Russell, which Russell titled, “Socialistic Programs of Democratic Party Encourage People to Have Illegitimate Children.” Russell’s response was, I think, intended to rebut Cook’s portrayal of him, but winds up instead emphatically confirming it.

It cannot be our only response, and it cannot be our primary response, but at least a part of our response to people like Clifford Russell must be to offer them a chance to be saved — to find redemption, liberation and salvation.

Those are all religious terms, the language of spiritual rebirth and renewal. I can’t help but think that such rebirth may be the only hope for someone like this — a dramatic John Newton-like transformation in which this man who is lost can be found and this man who is blind learns to see.

But I’m not mainly thinking here of presenting Russell with an altar call. I’m thinking of the many different approaches that may be necessary to free him from the multi-pronged beast of lies, pride, hate, fear, willful ignorance, resentment and self-righteousness that have him so thoroughly captive. What can be done? What can be tried?

Education, surely, the presentation of better information — but how can that information be presented in a way that can penetrate the defensive shell the beast has constructed around him? Empathy, conscience, humor, prophetic truth-telling, relationship, breaking bread, ridicule, denunciation, forgiveness, protest, art, music and story all seem like weapons in our arsenal against the beast, but how can those weapons best be deployed?

I’m wholly in earnest about this. The salvation of those who are hatefully oppressive cannot be our priority — that must always be the protection of those who are hatefully oppressed. But one way to liberate the oppressed is to liberate the oppressor — to convince him to just … stop.

What do you think? Is this naive? Impossible? Hopeless?

Can Clifford Russell be saved?

 

  • depizan

    The fact that he’s a Republican is bringing out our worse natures in a way that he wouldn’t if he were unaffiliated.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but, no, I can’t imagine being less angry and appalled at a democrat or unaffiliated person who thinks that poor people should be mass murdered.  It’s that whole mass murder bit.  It’s kind of hard for anything to either top or mitigate that.

    So yeah, I definitely think the anger against Russell is directed at all Repubs.

    To an extent, yes, probably.  At least at all Republicans who think the poor should die.  But that’s not just because Russell came out and said to kill ‘em, that’s because of Romney saying that the poor aren’t entitled to food, and a whole bunch of other shit that’s been said.  There is a pattern of Fuck The Poor coming from the GoP.  This is not going to make the GoP as a group look good to those who think that Fuck The Poor is asshattery at best.

    The thing is, this is anger over things that have actually been said, anger over policies that that party wants to put in place.  It isn’t anger at them because they’re Republicans, it’s anger at them because of what they’ve chosen to stand for.  Maybe you don’t see a difference.

    if I hear about a partisan advocating mass murder, my first instinct is to assume that the story is false.

    Which says something pretty bad about our news media, really.

    I might be more inclined to be doubtful if I hadn’t heard so much shit from conservatives in my actual life.  Yes, this is over the top, but it’s of a pattern.  I’ve heard plenty of real life conservatives say that poor people should get no help and if they die, that’s their own damn fault.

  • veejayem

    The instinct to save life is bone-deep in most people, thankfully. Like you aunursa, I hope I’d pull him out ~ for my own sake if not for his. Maybe he’d actually learn something from the experience.

  • AnonaMiss

    I see an important distinction. I don’t see people making up something to be appalled by–what this man said is appalling, all on its own.
    The AKBC mobilized in response to an actual kitten burning, which was presumably done by a pro-kitten-burner. That doesn’t mean there’s a Pro-Kitten-Burning Coalition. The tribalism problem I’m seeing here is that of taking an isolated pro-poor-murder monster and taking him as evidence for a Pro-Poor-Murder Coalition, which incidentally aligns itself perfectly with a group of people we already hate…

    (And that’s assuming that he actually believes what he said. I’d speculate he said it just to get a giggle out of horrifying a librul.)I don’t think (the grand majority of) Republicans are actually pro-letting-poor-people-die. I think they have actually convinced themselves that welfare recipients are poor just because they don’t want to work hard enough to become rich. I don’t think they recognize that their policies would result in deaths – or at least, they think any deaths would effectively be suicides, because the victims were so lazy/entitled that they’d rather die than work.

    This is not a rational position. But it’s not on the “murder the poor” continuum. Which is why I consider the Pro-Poor-Murder Coalition a figment on the order of the Pro-Kitten-Burning Coalition.

  • depizan

     The problem is that many (most?) Republicans are in favor of policies that will kill people.  It doesn’t really matter that most of them, thankfully, don’t actually want that result.  This is a situation that doesn’t really map well onto the AKBC, since that does not involve a situation in which, while there is no PKBC,  there is a group of people advocating for circumstances that will cause kittens to burst into flames.

  • alsafi

     And there’s where we disagree, pretty vehemently. I agree that it’s likely that most people who espouse the ideology regarding the poor that the GOP does don’t actually, in their hearts, realize that actual people–real live human beings like them–will die. But in my lived experience, even when it’s pointed out to them, they either refuse to actually think about it, or they don’t care.

    And you’ve said several times now that you don’t really believe Russell really thinks what he says he thinks, no matter how many times he says it. And I think that’s both disrespectful of Russell and incredibly naive. I’m sure it makes your days more comfortable, and I hope that you are privileged enough in various ways that you can afford that comfort. But as someone who frequently doesn’t have that luxury, I agree with Maya Angelou: “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

    It can be dangerous not to, in my experience, but it’s also something I find disrespectful, to say to myself “Well, I know better than this person what they really believe.” I don’t. I can’t see into anyone’s soul but my own, and sometimes even that’s less clear than I’d like. With other people, I only have their words and their actions to go on. The words and the actions here both display contempt and ugly brutality towards the poor. He showed me who he is. I do him the justice of believing him.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Spoilers for Harry Harrison’s “To The Stars” trilogy –

    http://www.rot13.com to decrypt

    Va Ubzrjbeyq, vg vf erirnyrq gb gur znva punenpgre gung gur ryvgrf bs Rnegu unir qryvorengryl pbafgehpgrq gur cbfg-crgebyrhz penfu rpbabzl gb eha nybat dhnfv-srhqny yvarf; sbe fbzr bqq ernfba, gur Vfenryv tbireazrag unf fbzrubj orpbzr gur ybar ubyqbhg (cerfhznoyl orpnhfr jvgu gur ybff bs bvy, gur znwbe cbjref bs gur jbeyq ab ybatre unq nal vagrerfg va gur Zvqqyr Rnfg, naq jrer pbagrag gb yrg gur angvbaf gurer svtug vg bhg nf ybat nf gurl qvqa’g ebpx gur obng.)

    Vg vf rynobengrq va Fgnejbeyq gung Rnegu’f angvbany tbireazragf ner ryvgr-qbzvangrq, ohg gung gurl gbbx qvssrerag ebhgrf va erfgehpghevat fbpvrgl jbeyq-jvqr gb cerfreir cbjre sbe n fznyy tebhc bs crbcyr sbe uhaqerqf bs lrnef; va Terng Oevgnva, gur pynff fgehpgher unf sbffvyvmrq nybat jvgu n checbfrshy er-jevgvat bs uvfgbel gb bofpher gur gehgu. Nf fhpu, Oevgvfu fbpvrgl unf orpbzr cngreanyvfgvp gbjneqf gur cbbe; gurl ner tenagrq vyy-cnlvat wbof naq/be gur qbyr, naq ner crezvggrq gurve zvabe vyyrtnyvgvrf (qehtf rgp) nf ybat nf gurl qba’g ebpx gur obng. Gur evpu, zrnajuvyr, ner rapbhentrq gb abg fbpvnyvmr jvgu gur cbbe hayrff nofbyhgryl arprffnel, naq ner tvira serr npprff gb vagreangvbany geniry naq rkpryyrag jryy-cnlvat wbof, ntnva nf ybat nf gurl qba’g ebpx gur obng.

    Ol pbagenfg, gur ryvgrf bs gur Havgrq Fgngrf rkcyvpvgyl pbafgehpgrq gurve dhnfvsrhqny fbpvrgl nybat enpvfg yvarf, pbaqrzavat gur oynpxf naq bgure zvabevgvrf gb crecrghny cbiregl naq znxvat ab frperg bs gur jnl va juvpu gurl unir oyngnagyl, hasnveyl frvmrq cbjre naq unir ab vagrag bs tvivat vg hc.

    Vg’f gryyvat gung nygubhtu Uneel Uneevfba jebgr nyy guvf va gur yngr 1970f, n ybg bs gur geraqf ur fnj naq rkgencbyngrq sbejneqf ner fgvyy jvgu hf gbqnl.

  • AnonaMiss

    Kay.

    Honestly I’m just happy I’ve finally conveyed my position in such a way that everyone doesn’t think I’m either a troll or a monster.

  • Joshua

    I don’t think they recognize that their policies would result in deaths

    I don’t think this is correct, in general. Republican policies that are genuinely popular include (i) support for existing wars, (ii) starting new wars, (iii) cutting or eliminating welfare programs that provide food and healthcare.

    I’ve never seen evidence and find it hard to believe that those supporters are unaware that wars kill, or that starvation kills, or that lack of medical care when you are sick kills.

    They know full well that these policies result in deaths, they just feel that those deaths are justifiable or deserved, in support of other goals they feel are more important.

    Just like every bloody tyrant, every witch-burner, crusader or terrorist in history.

  • Paul Durant

    I never said the guy was harmless. I was describing what he did and what he was. Of course he’s incredibly harmful.

    But if you want to save him, you can’t “just” do that by teaching him compassion — first you’re gonna have to teach him the concept of language. And that’s probably the one thing that would be even more impossible to teach him.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Really, my guess above was sort of a poe-strawman version of this guy, but it’s REALLY hard to tell the difference. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Eh, the last time I saved someone from a burning building it was in the game SINGULARITY and that bastard ended up taking over the world. 

    Screw the next guy. Moral learned. *(j/k, of course)*

  • Origami_Isopod

    This. Really, who the hell cares whether this shitweasel is on good terms with people’s imaginary friends? He needs to be politically marginalized. The End.

  • Origami_Isopod

    If it weren’t for that pesky law thing, I’d run him over. Twice.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    I’ve never seen evidence and find it hard to believe that those
    supporters are unaware that wars kill, or that starvation kills, or that
    lack of medical care when you are sick kills.

    It’s *real* easy to think those things don’t kill if you start out by not seeing poor people, sick people, or brown-skinned people as *people*.

  • JonathanPelikan

    I’m flattered you kept a quote from me after all this time, aunursa. As I recall, I got that way when, a while back, you expressed your dumbass opinion that the problem here was Obama wasn’t compromising and capitulating to nutfucking Republicans enough. That position is not just wrong, and not just a lie, it is so diametrically opposed to the reality of the first Obama Administration (whose single most epic failure was thinking they could cut a reasonable deal with the Republican Party) that it left me sputtering. See: The general feeling in the Left the past few decades of ‘I can’t believe’ whenever another conservative tops everything yet again in the BS department.

    That said, I’m glad you hope your politics wouldn’t affect your decision whether to save someone or not. I bet a lot of us have the same hope.

  • aunursa

    I’m flattered you kept a quote from me after all this time, aunursa.

    While your view on Obama’s (lack of ) bipartisan leadership is bizarre, I’m not going to argue about it at this time.  I’ve participated on this board for about eight years.  I’m glad to hear that you’re flattered.  I’ve had confrontations with dozens of memorable personalities, including one who chased me from thread to thread.  And yours is one of the most deranged and amusing quotes about me, which is why I remember it.  I especially appreciated your double-repetition of “you” … as if you were concerned that if you used only a single “you,” I might not realize that you were referring specifically and exclusively to me.

  • Lori

     

    But the fact that he’s Republican is lighting up our tribal brain circuits.  

    Speak for yourself.

     

    That’s what a dog whistle is, yes.  

    I do not understand the way that you use the term “dog whistle”. No one here has been speaking in any sort of insider language or code designed to get around the fact that it’s considered, let’s say “problematic” to speak directly. People have, as near as I can tell, said what they has to say, straight out. Where is the dog whistle ?

     

    I started out speculating that he might not exist, because he seemed like a Strawman Republican.   

    But he does exist and since I doubt The Progressive has a large budget for paying off libel claims I think it’s safe to assume that Cliff said exactly what he’s quoted as saying and that the reporter can prove it. This doesn’t seem to have changed your view of the situation at all, which strikes me as somewhat odd.

  • AnonaMiss

    Jesus Christ. 

    1. I never said he didn’t exist, I speculated that he might not exist.
    2. When Sam came back with evidence that he does in fact exist I acknowledged that he does exist and thanked Sam for checking.
    3. Depizan went back to read my posts because ze couldn’t understand what I was saying, and claimed I had started out arguing that he didn’t exist.
    4. I clarified that I had been speculating, and explained why I had speculated it. That’s the only reason I brought it up again.
    5. If you’re referring to me saying I don’t think he actually believes it, I don’t mean that it’s being attributed to him – I mean that I think he’s trolling.

    That said, if my speculation had been correct, then the Progressive would have been in no danger of being sued for libel, as the person they were libeling would not have existed. As far as I know, statements attributed to fictional persons can not be prosecuted as libel.

    Where is the dog whistle ?

    I will bow to the point on dog whistling, as it’s possible that I’m hearing the tones where none exist. I’m bad at identifying dog-whistles, even ones you’d agree existed; I frequently back down on ‘welfare queen’ when my dad uses it. That said, on re-reading the article, I see that the author explicitly states, “This is, at least in growing part, today’s mainstream GOP.” In concert with the explicit statements made by some earlier in the thread, I think my point stands without needing to rely on reading between the lines.

  • Lori

     

    1. I never said he didn’t exist, I speculated that he might not exist.
    2. When Sam came back with evidence that he does in fact exist I acknowledged that he does exist and thanked Sam for checking.   

    Yes, I know that you are now aware that he actually exists. That was my point. You started out speculating that he did not, you found out that he does and AFAICT neither the tone nor the substance of your objections changed at all. We’re still talking about tribalism and straw men and dog whistles, which would make sense to me if Cliff was made up, but which I find somewhat confusing because he is not.

     

    5. If you’re referring to me saying I don’t think he actually believes
    it, I don’t mean that it’s being attributed to him – I mean that I think
    he’s trolling.  

    I also considered the possibility that Cliff was trolling, and mentioned it when we first started discussing whether or not he was real. The thing is, he works for the GOP. Trolling in this fashion and then doubling down on the trolling would be  odd behavior for a party official.

    “This is, at least in growing part, today’s mainstream GOP.” In
    concert with the explicit statements made by some earlier in the thread,
    I think my point stands without needing to rely on reading between the
    lines.  

    But it is a growing part of the mainstream GOP. There has been actual, well-documented movement of formerly fringe ideas to the center of the party for quite some time now, starting with the rise of modern Right Wing talk radio and accelerated by Fox News. In just one election cycle the Tea Party went from not existing to getting people elected to Congress and as a faction it now drives a significant part of the the GOP agenda. That’s an actual thing that is actually happening. Is it your position that people on the Left can’t point that out or discuss it because doing so is too tribal?

  • AnonaMiss

    I’m fine with pointing it out. I just think that it needs to be tempered with disclaimers, reminders that it’s not the position of the party or of most people in the party. And honestly, I wouldn’t normally be bothered by it; I’d normally assume, OK, this is a kook, but everyone knows he’s a kook and won’t judge the rest of Republicans by his statements. Stuff about letting people drown if they knew ze was a Republican, though, that really spooked me.

    It’s sort of like if, for example (and I’m not at all implying this is true or is likely to be true), the left saw a resurgence in people advocating environmental terrorism. Fox News would pounce on it, and even if they didn’t say anything technically untrue, we’d be right to roll our eyes at them, and would consider it the minimum common courtesy for them to disclaim that this is of course not an official or widely accepted party position. And if people started talking about killing Democrats in the comments, we’d be alarmed. 

    Yes, I’m aware that they do talk about this; and yes, I’m alarmed. But two wrongs, etc.

  • Lori

    It’s sort of like if, for example (and I’m not at all implying this is
    true or is likely to be true), the left saw a resurgence in people
    advocating environmental terrorism. Fox News would pounce on it, and
    even if they didn’t say anything technically untrue, we’d be right to
    roll our eyes at them, and would consider it the minimum common courtesy
    for them to disclaim that this is of course not an official or widely
    accepted party position.  

    If the Left was seeing a surge in people advocating environmental terrorism, and Dems voted ecoterrorists or ecoterrorism advocates into Congress and the DNC was making their policy positions part of the official Democratic platform and generally letting the ecoterrorism advocates drive party policy then I think Fox would have every right to point that out. In those circumstances saying that the Democrats were becoming the party of ecoterrorism and that Dems support ecoterrorism, or at least don’t oppose it, would be accurate.

    We’re talking past each other on the issue of not saving people in emergencies so I’m just going to drop that altogether.

  • AnonaMiss

    As far as I know, Republicans are not electing officials who support executing people who have children out of wedlock.

  • alsafi

    Russell works for the GOP. He said, then repeated, then repeated in writing his preferred final solution for the poor who have the temerity to have kids, and no one else in the office made any objection. Also, the published goals of the GOP include 1: repealing the ACA (killing poor people), 2: slashing welfare programs, including food aid to the poor (killing poor people), and 3: outlawing abortion (killing poor women).

    So far, your argument has been (please correct me if I am mischaracterizing it) that you have the power to see into the man’s soul and know that he doesn’t really mean it, and that everyone who thinks this is appalling and that the GOP is appalling for being apparently a-ok with it, going by their own words and actions, is being merely tribalist, a propagandist, or an outrage addict.

    I don’t agree, and here’s why. If the Democratic Party had as their party platform that miners and loggers should be denied health insurance and unemployment insurance, and there was a worker at a Democratic campaign office who held forth that the best solution for this country’s problems was to line up and shoot loggers and miners, and no one else at the office demurred, and then they doubled down on that when told that their words were going to be printed, I’d hope Fox News would be on that like brown on rice. I would be appalled, dismayed, and outraged. I sure as hell wouldn’t vote for them, and I would regard their position as indefensible.

  • AnonaMiss

    I got the impression that he was a volunteer for Repubs, which casts a somewhat different light on the GOP’s non-reaction. If he’s an employee, let’s send this shit to the Obama campaign and the national news networks and get him fired.

    I also got the impression that it was a small office with only a handful of people who would have to deal with him long after the reporter was gone. Maybe I was reading too much into the article, but I think letting people go on their bullshit in the interest of keeping the peace when it doesn’t seem that important is a universal human experience. I think we can further infer from the fact that he’s afraid being from California will give him away that the author did not identify himself as a reporter, as the next logical question would be “for whom?” So, I don’t see any reason why the other people in the office should feel a need to go out of their way to rein Russell in.I recognize that this fleshes out the scenario far beyond what was given in the article, and that it’ll probably earn another accusation of thinking I’m psychic. I’ll just skip the accusation and get straight to the defense, which is that I think the GOP being an enclave of psychopaths who want to murder the poor is a considerably more ‘out there’ than a couple of volunteers not caring enough to contradict a cranky old man.If the GOP’s position truly were that people should be rounded up and executed – if we really could attribute Russell’s words to the GOP in general, and honestly believe that – it would be time to take up arms to defend them. We would be monstrous not to.But it isn’t. Because we can’t. So we shouldn’t.And talking like it is, and like we can, implies that we will, or at least should. And people in the thread have stated that they would like to, or at least wish they could. So yes, I think that warrants some calling-out.

  • AnonaMiss

    Why does Disqus hate formatting?

  • alsafi

    See, that’s why I’m saying that you’re bending over backwards to read Russell and his associates charitably, while refusing to extend that same charity to your fellow commenters here. Because, while I’m willing to admit error if you have some particularly relevant quotes for me, I honestly haven’t seen anyone saying that all Republicans espouse precisely the same degree of hatred for the poor that Russell indicates. The closest I’ve seen is people saying precisely what I am: that hatred of the poor seems to be endemic in the modern GOP, though seldom do we see it so rawly and virulently expressed as we do here. It requires a much less charitable reading than you have been willing to extend to Russell to read me as saying “all Republicans want to execute the poor just like he does,” especially in the face of repeated replies to the contrary.

    Benefit of the doubt is a good thing. I’m honestly curious, though, why yours seems to be so one-sided?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Maybe I was reading too much into the article, but I think letting
    people go on their bullshit in the interest of keeping the peace when it
    doesn’t seem that important is a universal human experience.

    If they think the notion of executing these parents is “not that important,” then yeah, I’m pretty willing to say that they could stand to learn some compassion, too.

  • AnonaMiss

    I don’t think you’ve been saying that Republicans-in-general want to execute the poor, Alsafi. I do think some other commenters have. And since one of them was responding to me from the beginning of the conversation-thread, I ended up addressing that position out of proportion with its actual presence in the comments-thread as a whole.

    As for one-sided benefit of the doubt, I think it’s a combination of having higher expectations for the commenters here, and the commenters here being around to defend themselves. My first note against the commenters here was (intended as) a gentle chide/reminder; but some of the most virulently Republicans Burn Kittens posts were made in response to it. A number of people seemed to think that I just didn’t understand how evil they really are, which understandably alarmed me even more.

    The more alarming quotes:

    People like this are why I consider the entire Republican party to be a satanic death cult. There is almost nothing in this world that I consider to be evil that a Republican somewhere doesn’t cheerfully embrace. Torture. Preemptive war. The deliberate destruction of the global environment. Forced pregnancy. The constitutional right of employers to mistreat and abuse their employees. Institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia and religious bigotry. The suggestion that it is better for children to die than be saved by any program which ignorant people consider to be Socialism. The death penalty even in the face of systemic racial bias in sentencing and even in the face of proof of actual innocence! And now, here’s a raging GOP asshole who proudly proclaims his desire to commit genocide agaisnt the poor. Right now, I would not throw a rope to save a drowning man if I knew he was a Republican/Teabagger. I could not bear the awful moral burden of being responsible for his survival and thus partially guilty for whatever evil things he does in the future.

    The point of the article is that people like this really do exist, and guess who they’re voting for this year? Not because they can overlook his faults, but because they wholeheartedly approve of any idea which involves making it implausible for poor people to continue, you know, milking the system… These are actual kitten burners.

    This guy flat out advocates mass murder.  His stance on the poor practically Godwins the thread before anyone even starts trying to discuss it.  And yet he’s working at a Romney campaign headquarters.  This tells me that either everyone there is terrified of him and that’s how he’s managing to stay there (though why no one ran up to the author of the article going “Oh, God, don’t judge us by him!” afterwards, I can’t explain) or no one there has a problem with his stance.

    At what point does the Republican party actually deserve condemnation?When they actually set up “sanctuary districts” for homeless and the unemployed?Or when they graduate to full-on gulags for same?But what does it say when being for mass murder becomes a tribal position?How exactly do we find reconciliation with people who genuinely want to kill us?If they think the notion of executing these parents is “not that important,” then yeah, I’m pretty willing to say that they could stand to learn some compassion, too.I have a grandpa who has a personality composed mostly of verbal and emotional abuse of anyone who challenges his authority. When he says that we should round up the “chinks” and put them into camps since it worked so well for keeping the “japs” in line in World War 2, I don’t think not-challenging him on that means I find the idea of interning Chinese-Americans unimportant. It means I find what he thinks unimportant, as it’s unlikely to have any effect on anything ever.

  • alsafi

     ‘Kay, so I have evidence that we’re reading the same thread, anyway. (Not that I had any doubt.)

    But I don’t read any of those quotes you pulled as saying what you seem to want them to say: that all Republicans everywhere are exactly like Russell. They do point out, rightly, I think, that the Republican Party endorses actions and platforms that increase misery and death, and that from the things we’ve seen many of them verifiably say, that’s just dandy with the people voting for them.

    (I am not touching the argument about the difference between actively harming and not saving, or even the bit about wishing harm on others, firstly because I’m not a part of that argument, and secondly because I don’t see a point in having an argument on two fronts.)

    But I don’t like the argument that “I expect better from you” justifies a double standard. I am a gay person. I am a woman. I grew up poor. I am being personally harmed by the policies they want to double down on. To have you add to my burdens by telling me that if I dare to let my anger and despair show through, it means I’m just as nasty and hateful a person as the people who are mistreating me and mine–because you “expect better”–is quite painful. It comes across as just another iteration of the old song about how “you people” have to be twice as good to be thought of half as well, and how if we’re just suffering angels, someday they’ll understand. It serves to silence legitimate anger, and it hurts people who are already hurting.

    I don’t expect to change your mind, but I hope it’s something you’ll consider.

  • AnonaMiss

    I recognize that being told you need to be better than the people who attack you hurts, and I’m sorry for causing you pain by touching on that argument. If it makes you feel any better, my “I expect better of the slacktivist community” was intended to convey that I was surprised at what I found here, not that I hold y’all to an objectively different standard. I don’t think Russell’s remarks were anywhere near OK, nor do I think that any of the condemnations given here, however violent, held a candle to what he said.

    You guys are here to listen to me, and Russell is not, so I criticized those who could hear. This was, in retrospect, unkind of me, and I’m sorry to everyone to whom I gave the impression that you were more to be criticized than Russell himself.

  • alsafi

    You and I are probably the only people still reading this thread, but I want you to know how much I appreciate you sticking it out with me. I can understand criticizing the people who are actually there to hear it, and I never got the impression that you agreed with Russell to any extent, for what it’s worth.

    Once again, thank you–this discussion has actually been really helpful for me in developing greater understanding, and for that and for your willingness to engage, even when I’m sure you must have felt piled on at times, I am grateful.

  • AnonaMiss

    And thank you for getting past my manner!

    All of the hugs!


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