Monday, September 05, 2022

Tweet of the Day- Divorced from Reality

Former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms did as she should have on This Week without George Stephanopoulos, wisely sticking to the righteous script that "the President will continue to work with mainstream Republicans" and that the danger is posed specifically by "MAGA Republicans."

Raddatz asked

Whatever you said, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which tracks hate speech, said after the Biden speech, there was a surge online in conversations that said Biden’s remarks singling out MAGA Republicans were interpreted as a declaration of war against conservatives and all the Trump voters.

Bottoms responded

Well, what I would say to that is that this is what this MAGA agenda has been all about. It’s been about distorting the truth. It’s been about misleading people. It’s been about putting out information that inflames (ph) people.

And I just encourage people, go to The White House website,, and read the speech for yourself.

I’ve read it multiple times and what I see in the speech, I see words of encouragement. I see optimism. I see a commander-in-chief who was calling out to all of us, no matter our political affiliation.

You don't have to be Bill Maher to notice that we have a problem with the concept of "hate speech" in this country.  Much speech is hateful, however that's perceived, and there is no explicit definition of "hate speech" in the USA. 

Nonetheless, federal law identifies hate crimes as those offenses committed against an individual because of  actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Most state laws are less expansive.)

With all due respect to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the concept of "hate speech" is so arbitrary as to be irrelevant- and hate crimes have nothing to do with MAGA. "Make America Great Again" is political expression and condemning the political values it represents is not "hate speech" in any meaningful sense.

Bottoms sidestepped the political time bomb of Raddatz's reference to "hate speech" and instead noted the "MAGA agenda" distorts truth and misleads people. Steve M., who liked Biden's speech, nevertheless realizes it 

would have been attacked unfairly no matter what he said, but he might have sidestepped this attack if he'd specified that pro-Trump politicians and activists are the biggest problem. This could have set up a contrast between people who have power within the system (or who might acquire that power) and ordinary citizens who are at risk of being victimized by Trumpist abuses of power.

Raddatz then asked "has the president essentially given up on those MAGA Republicans, some 70 million people?"

In invoking  "some 70 million people," the show host presumably was referring to the  74 million+ individuals who voted for Trump in 2020. No doubt a substantial number of these were (was?) the Independents or mainstream Republicans Bottoms was talking about when she replied to Raddatz

Well, what the president has done is said that he will continue to work with mainstream Republicans, that he will work with Democrats, that he will work with Independents, to get things done in our country.

However, Bottoms also reminded Raddatz

But this MAGA Republican agenda, this hate-fueled agenda, this MAGA Republican agenda that we saw incite violence on our nation’s Capitol has no place in a democracy. And if we are not intentional about calling it out, which is what the president did, then our country -- everything that our country is built upon is in danger.

Martha Raddatz doesn't seem to understand that silence in the face of creeping- maybe galloping- authoritarianism will only fuel the cultists and authoritarians.  And if Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis is elected in 2024, it won't be only Hillary Clinton ("lock her up!") who will face the threat of arrest and prosecution. Well-known journalists such as Raddatz will be targeted. And this time, Donald Trump or a Trump wannabe will know how to get it done.

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