NYT conflates civility with indifference to injustice

Yes, folks, the New York Times is suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, at least if they publish op-eds like the one below (click on the screenshot to read it). Sugrue was motivated to write his piece by acts like the expulsion of Sarah Huckabee Sanders from a restaurant and the verbal attack on White House advisor Stephen Miller in a Mexican restaurant. I have decried this incivility and still do, as it accomplishes nothing except make the Left look bad and allow Leftists to parade their virtue. Others disagree with me, and I invite them to pick a number, get in line, and so on. . .

Thomas Sugrue is a professor of history and social and cultural analysis at New York University. And his piece is just a big mess, because his apparent point is to say that we of the Left shouldn’t try to be civil to individual members of the Trump administration in public because nothing socially progressive was ever accomplished by civility. But he mistakes social civility with public “civility” as the ignoring of calls for justice.

Sugrue’s example is the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

He says, correctly, that much of the success of that movement was due to the use of civil disobedience (note the word “civil”): peaceful violation of the law, putting protestors at personal risk for the great good of integration. An important part of that tactic was nonviolent resistance, which King derived, in part, from Gandhi. But to Sugrue, the protests were “violent” in the sense that whites reacted violently; and it was the sight of dogs and fire hoses being turned on peacefully protesting blacks that turned America’s stomach but also turned their hearts towards civil rights.

According to Sugrue, these protests were “disruptive”, and of course they were, though not terribly disruptive. They were disruptive to the social order of the South, where blacks couldn’t eat at lunch counters or ride in the front of buses. And so Sugrue argues that it’s okay for us to now be disruptive because that’s the only way to achieve our aim: getting rid of the Trump administration and making our country more progressive. His form of “disruption” is apparently harassing and embarrassing the Right in restaurants and gas stations.

As he argues, unconvincingly:

But, in fact, civil rights leaders, while they did believe in the power of nonviolence, knew that their success depended on disruption and coercion as much — sometimes more — than on dialogue and persuasion. They knew that the vast majority of whites who were indifferent or openly hostile to the demands of civil rights would not be moved by appeals to the American creed or to bromides about liberty and justice for all. Polite words would not change their behavior.

. . . [Martin Luther] King aimed some of his harshest words toward advocates of civility, whose concerns aligned with the hand-wringing of many of today’s politicians and pundits. From his Birmingham jail cell, King wrote: “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice.” King knew that whites’ insistence on civility usually stymied civil rights. [JAC: note that he conflates public “order” with the “order” of not harassing Republicans in restaurants.]

Those methods of direct action — disruptive and threatening — spurred the Kennedy administration to move decisively.

. . . He tasked his staff with drafting what could eventually become the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dialogue was necessary but far from sufficient for passage of civil rights laws. Disruption catalyzed change.

That history is a reminder that civility is in the eye of the beholder. And when the beholder wants to maintain an unequal status quo, it’s easy to accuse picketers, protesters and preachers alike of incivility, as much because of their message as their methods. For those upset by disruptive protests, the history of civil rights offers an unsettling reminder that the path to change is seldom polite.

This is about as stupid an argument as I can imagine, but who ever said professors had common sense? There is a difference between disruptive civil disobedience in the cause of justice and insulting Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a restaurant. The former galvanizes America and focuses its attention on great injustice; the latter accomplishes nothing except make centrists dislike the Left and embarrass the rest of us. (Well, many of us.) Dr. King would never have called for, or approved of, insulting members of the administration in public, demonizing them, or making their personal lives miserable. Civil disobedience is a public act: a peaceful defiance of the law to call attention to injustice. (I’ve practiced it myself.)

Insulting Sarah Huckabee Sanders or Stephen Miller in public places is not the same thing as sitting in at lunch counters or marching to Selma. Sugrue should know this, but apparently doesn’t recognize the difference between treating an individual human with civility and ignoring calls for integration because it’s “uncivil” and leads to “disruption.”

In fact, I’ll go so far as to call Sugrue a moron, and to call out the New York Times for publishing lame tripe like his, pretending that it’s a serious and thoughtful piece.  The downgrading of journalistic standards, and of gravitas in thought, is one of the symptoms of Trump Derangement Syndrome.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if Sugrue expects to be treated in a civil manner in return?

    • BJ
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      But he’s one of the good guys! If his political opponents treat him the same way, that just makes them even worse than they already are.

      It’s the same standard that make lefty Twitter think that harassment of left-wing people on social media is harassment, while harassment of right-wing people is activism and justice.

      • Harrison
        Posted June 30, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        The argument you’ll often hear is “my political opponents want to literally KILL me so this justifies anything I do as self-defense.” And you’ll have as much success convincing them otherwise as convincing Ken Ham that there wasn’t a global flood.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        You are so right. Just reading many of the comments below proves it.

    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      That’d be harassing down. It’s okay to harass up.

  2. mikeyc
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    The slope is getting slipperier by the day. Pretty soon we’ll be in free-fall.

    • Posted July 1, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      There’s an Occupy camp at the Portland ICE office now.

      Abolish the federal agency responsible for regulating customs and border security, or we’ll hold our breath until we’re blue in the face.

      Yeah, running on that’s gonna push Dems over the top this November.

      • Posted July 12, 2018 at 3:51 am | Permalink

        Because the previous Occupy movement was so terribly successful…

        • Posted July 12, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

          Patience — direct democracy takes time.

  3. BJ
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    That is some of the most absurd mental and rhetorical gymnastics I have ever seen! Civil disobedience was actual violent disobedience because it often provoked violent reactions? How utterly stupid. The civil disobedience of that movement was the exact opposite of what these people are now advocating.

    And, of course, yelling at anyone associated with Trump in public is only disruptive in the sense that a child yelling in class is disruptive. It accomplishes nothing but making the disrupting person look childish and unsympathetic — again, the exact opposite of what Kind and his movement did.

    The civil rights movement civil disobedience made America take notice that black people were just like anyone else, that they were peaceful (unlike how they were portrayed by racist whites who opposed civil rights for them), and it engendered sympathy and empathy. What Sugrue and others are promoting will achieve the exact opposite. Even most people who agree with their politics think this is an ugly look and stupid from just about every angle.

    But, most of all, it’s his desperate attempts to rationalize and justify this pathetic behavior by dishonestly invoking the opposite behavior of great people like MLK. Disgusting.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Aside from being wrong and providing no idea or evidence that kicking someone out of an eating establishment is going to change the world, he gets the history a bit wrong as well.

    The 1964 civil rights act did not exactly fix everything and it had it’s negative side as well. If we just take a quick look at the south today and note, it is a product of that 1964 act. Remember the democratic south? No such thing today, it’s all republican. The 1964 rights fixed some things but it was a long way from complete.

    The democrats want to hang everything they have on a handful of social issues and they have blinded themselves to the real problem that must be fixed if the govt. is to survive. It is broke and needs a lot more that Roe v Wade and marriage equality. We sit here crying about the supreme court when we have a Congress that no longer functions. What is that?

    • AC Harper
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Because there are lots of people being fitted with jackets and t-shirts with pictures of donkeys *or* elephants?

      Perhaps people need to start thinking carefully. The map is not the terrain. The t-shirt is not political action. Picking on individuals is not civilisation.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        I think we have a revolving door from the capital building and white house to k-street and lobby land. The more money you get the more time you spend in congress before moving on to k street for bigger money. If the vote determines who shows up, the money determines the votes and who owns the politicians. This is all true regardless of party. You think any of these people even care what the country needs? What the voters want? Representative government? What the hell is that? The jobs are all lined up and your legislators do not give two shits about you.

        The framers had no idea this is what they were creating but we should know by now. If we do not remove the money, we are all barking up a tree.

  5. Barney
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    The purpose of being uncivil to administration members isn’t to make a public demonstration; it’s to annoy the administration members.

    They are extremely selfish people, who have no consideration for others. They only care about themselves; they don’t care if the country or its people is hurt, or left is a worse state than they found it. So the idea is to do something that inconveniences them. If their actions have repercussions for them personally, they might do something different.

    Think of it as punishing a brat who is too young and self-obsessed to understand the difference between right and wrong.

    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, and I guess the Right has the right to do the same to us. After all, to many of them, abortion is murder, and who is worse than a murderer. Murderers, to them, are “extremely selfish people who have no consideration for others.”

      Sorry, but many on the Right see the Left as just as bad as Trumpites. I disagree, of course, but if you claim the right to mistreat people in public because you think they’re hurting the country, then it’s open season on everyone, Left and Right.

      If you think that Trumpites who are annoyed in public “might do something different”, I think you’re living in fantasyland.

      • Barney
        Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Disagreeing with you about the usefulness doesn’t make the NYT author a “moron”, though, nor does it make it “Trump Derangement Syndrome”. I also think you’re conflating “the right” in general with “members of the Trump administration”, against whom the protests are suggested.

    • BJ
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      So, is this the standard only for the people you find selfish? Or should we do this to the people in the Obama administration who authorized drone strikes that killed many civilians? Should we do this to them? How about Bill Clinton, who slashed welfare, which had an enormous impact on minorities? Or Alan Greenspan (and Bill Clinton), who played a big part in the deregulation that caused the 2008 crisis? Should we also do this to every selfish, obnoxious protester we’ve seen on the left, when we see a video of one yell at some random person in a coffee shop or on a college campus because they think something offensive was said?

      Yeah, this is a great standard to set. It definitely won’t devolve into a horrible mess for everyone.

      • Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Well, it works for petulant three-year-olds way past their bedtimes, so it should work on the national political stage, amirite?

    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Rather than doing something different, the Trump gang will do even more of the same. Every time they provoke their opponents into these petty actions, they see themselves as closer to reelection.

    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      That is the same thing people on the right say about people of the left. Both sides demonize the other. And we sink further into inaction and hate. Has the war stared yet? I have been looking at a map of the country. Looks like a fifths fifty split. South, mud vest and west against the northeast and west coast. And Chicago. People should settle down before it’s too late.

      • XCellKen
        Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        All of the major cities in Texas are Blue. Just sayin’

        • Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

          There are spots here and there. Atlanta is blue in a red state. There are some republicans in the northeast and even the west coast. I was just speak in in general terms.

    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      They only care about themselves; they don’t care if the country or its people is hurt, or left is a worse state than they found it.

      This what the left misunderstands about the right. The right see themselves as acting for the good of the country — just as the left do.

      If their actions have repercussions for them personally, they might do something different.

      As they see it, they’d simply be suffering for a noble cause, which is only going to reinforce their conviction that they’re doing the right thing.

      • Barney
        Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        No, that’s the point – the Trump administration does not see itself as acting for the good of the country. They see themselves (not “we on the right”, but “me”) as the only deserving people, though they’ll also act on behalf of people who pay them enough money. They do not care about the country – the first administration the USA has had like that.

        This is not a general tactic to be used against the right. It’s to be used against the Trump administration, because they are incapable of feeling shame.

        Other people here may well be right that it will have no effect at all. But people can get fed up with helping sociopaths having a nice day, so they refuse to do that.

        • Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

          the Trump administration does not see itself as acting for the good of the country.

          Yes they do; they may be badly deluded, but they do.

        • Blue
          Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          I do, Mr Barney, agree with this of your points:
          ” … … they are incapable of feeling shame.”

          Since before Mr Trump’s campaign began in earnest within y2015,
          and definitly since I have seen this incapability
          within my own blood and. while astounded
          at personally experiencing it in them,
          am by now, seeing it as a normalization
          within persons of Trump Tribe.

          I, for one, shall not … … normalize
          this man nor his tribe’s behaviors.


      • Historian
        Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the right probably believes what they do is for the good of the country. This is because they believe they ARE the country. For them, people who are not white straight Christians do not deserve to be in the body politic. They are not “real” Americans. According to them, at one time the “others” knew their place and all was well in the world. Now they are trying to destroy all that is good by demanding equal rights. Trump catered to their grievances and played them like a fiddle.

        Incivility by those on the left to people they don’t like is counterproductive. It will win them no new supporters in the place that matters the most – the polling booth. It is simply a stupid tactic. Typical demonstrations such as the mass marches across the country that took place today to protest Trump’s immigration policies may win over some voters, but I suspect not that many. They key to changing policies is winning elections and that is accomplished by effective political organization, particularly on the local election. The goal is to win over the undecideds and most importantly the vast army of people who don’t vote. Republicans have won elections without the necessity for mass demonstrations despite how psychically satisfying they are. Democrats need to learn this. They will find that educating the public how the right wing Supreme Court has eviscerated unions and may overturn Roe v. Wade could have positive results in the November election. The liberal message could win over lots of people if they only knew what it is.

        • Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          I specially like your last sentence. Many on the Right see the Left solely in terms of identity politics and snowflakery. Identity politics certainly did play too big a role in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Just as Barack Obama avoided black politics in his campaign, Clinton should have avoided identity politics. Instead, she wallowed in the whole “first woman President” story. She would have been the first woman President if she only had distanced herself from it and let others tell that story.

          • Posted July 12, 2018 at 3:58 am | Permalink

            Identity politics persists, and may even become stronger. The quoted tweet above says “White America”. What has skin pigmentation to do with the discussion about whether it is OK to harass opponents and take away their consumer rights? Large segments of the Left (not just the Ctrl-Left) constantly bash and guilt-trip white people for being white, and then blame their victims for developing a white identity.

        • Robert Bray
          Posted July 1, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          As is characteristic of your posts, Historian, well-thought and -said. There is so much ‘liberal education’ necessary to be done in the name of the Republic. Yet this fairly recent retiree from the academy doesn’t see such even being tried, neither in the humanities/social sciences classrooms (dominated by identity politics, postmodernism and relativism), nor by the liberally educated among the electorate. I suspect that we are reluctant, almost to paralysis, to try to teach in the face of what we perceive as a hostile incorrigibility.

          My definition of a Democrat is ‘someone who would vote for a Republican’ (and I’ve done so). I live in a Republican-majority city, have tried to talk sensibly with folks about the current (near?)-crisis of our democracy. Many agreed that the situation is shaky, perhaps dire; some were quite critical of Trump and his administration; but nary a one said he or she would be voting Democratic in 2018.

    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      And what utility does punishment serve? What end will it help achieve?

    • Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      The right way to punish Trump and his cronies is to get him kicked out of office in an election. Harassing his employees in a restaurant will not get that done.

      It’s such simple and obvious point and yet the argument you laid out still seems to come up regularly on this web site.

      I’ve never met the White House press secretary, so I don’t know whether she deserves the treatment she got but I do know that that treatment is absolutely completely and utterly futile.

      I guarantee you that if the Democrats poll enough votes so that the Republicans lose control of Congress later this year or they poll enough votes so that Trump loses in 2020, the nice warm feeling that you got when reading about Huckerbee being ejected from a restaurant will be as nothing to the elation when you hear the election results.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink


        I think a significant number of voters stayed on the couch or voted for nonsense candidates like Mickey Mouse.

        … and the “why not both?” doesn’t work here – even if everybody voted, there’s still no reason to be a jerk.

  6. W.T. Effingham
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    The owner of the restaurant should have grown a pair… of eyes in the back of her head so she could scrutinize every move her staff made in the kitchen while preparing a meal for Mrs. Sanders.

    • AC Harper
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Treating Sarah Huckabee Sanders with impeccable politeness would have demonstrated moral superiority. Not serving her didn’t.

      • W.T. Effingham
        Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        I agree. I don’t think I’d like to be in her shoes, particularly now (I wear men’s 11 EE)..Just one of many reasons I am not in the restaurant business 😬.

  7. chris moffatt
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see that such tactics “allow Leftists to parade their virtue.” They allow these “leftists” to demonstrate their bigotry, ignorance and aggression.

    If getting rid of the Trump administration means replacing it with people of Sugrue’s “progressive” ilk, then I certainly don’t want that either. This is all starting to look a little like the latter days of the Weimar Republic.

    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Oh, I would certainly prefer an administration of progressive SJW’s over the current administration. We would find plenty to oppose from such an admin., but it would be a far lesser evil.

      • Posted June 30, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Agreed but, in a sense, that’s the choice we had in 2016 and we all know how that turned out. Ok, Clinton’s not really representative of SJWs but close enough that the Right was able to cast her as such.

      • Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        “Oh, I would certainly prefer an administration of progressive SJW’s over the current administration.”

        God forbid! SJWs should always be in the resistance. The last thing you want to do is give them power.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      I agree with Mark above.

      And how is asking Sanders to leave a restaurant, or yelling shame at someone in a restaurant, or anything else leftist protestors have done against this administration demonstrating bigotry? I surely haven’t seen any bigotry. Maybe I missed it.

      • Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        “Obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices”?

        • Mark R.
          Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          I’m using it in the form of racial bigotry.

          • mordacious1
            Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

            …of course you are.

            • Mark R.
              Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

              Yes, I was. Why the snark?

              • mordacious1
                Posted June 30, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

                Because some people on the Left only see bigotry as being about race. This, of course, was bigotry…it may even have been racial bigotry. Would they have attacked a black woman?

              • mordacious1
                Posted June 30, 2018 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

                BTW, why do these morons mostly attack women? Pam Bondi, Michelle Malkin, Sarah Sanders, Ivanka and Melania Trump…the list goes on. And Barron…it’s pretty pathetic imo.

              • Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:21 am | Permalink

                Oh no! Not Barron!

              • Mark R.
                Posted June 30, 2018 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

                You really think politely asking a Sarah Sanders to leave a restaurant has something to do with racial bigotry? You’re not worth the time to type against.

          • Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

            Time to put the goalposts down.

      • Posted July 12, 2018 at 4:04 am | Permalink

        As a woman who, throughout her life, has had to put up with lots of crap merely because I am physically much weaker than the average male, I’d immediately ask myself whether the restaurant warriors would have been as militant towards a man.

  8. Jon Gallant
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    False analogies to the “disruptions” of the civil rights movement are a cliché on the pop-Left, invariably used to justify or excuse virtually ANY kind of infantile behaviour. Disruptiveness is presented as almost its own justification, and sometimes praised on behalf of causes that are comically remote from those of the civil rights movement. The great cause presented as justifying the 1999 Seattle “disruption” of downtown and of the bus system was to stop World Trade Organization delegates from attending a meeting about regulating world trade.

    The 1999 Seattle disruption show was so popular on the pop-Left that the idea spread widely. The very next year, demonstrators geared up for a frolic in Minneapolis, this time to protest a conference of the International Society of Animal Genetics. According to a news account, “Organizers say the biennial event, being held in the United States for the first time, has never been confronted by demonstrations. But protest groups say they’ll do “whatever is necessary” to end what they call the exploitation of animals and dangerous manipulation of genetic material.”

    In 2001, idealists of the Earth Liberation Front disrupted Toby Bradshaw’s research laboratory at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture by firebombing it. This action was on behalf of the great cause of the racial purity of poplar trees, as a contemporary report revealed: “A man who identified himself as a spokesman for the North American Earth Liberation Front media office, in Portland, Ore., said in a phone interview today that such acts were a justifiable response to the ”genetic engineering of our forests” that he said corporations were carrying out.”

    [By the way, one of the perpetrators of the firebombing, Briana Waters, a graduate of the Evergreen State College, was sentenced for this disruption only a few years ago. In her first trial, Ms. Waters claimed innocense and insisted that federal agents had framed her; but in a second trial in 2012 she pleaded guilty to reduced charges.]

  9. Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    As I see it, the Left is on the horns of a serious dilemma here. In non-political personal disagreements, decent people agree that the right thing to do is remain civil. If the other person gets in your face, the best thing is to walk away. However, this assumes a context where one can simply move on — take an alternative route, buy the item elsewhere, use a different service. In some contexts walking away is giving up, admitting defeat. Where our country is at stake, it is not so easy to walk away.

    It is suggested that both sides in this political debate are doing what they do “for the good of the country”. While the Right surely think their policies don’t harm the country, I think many of their policies are about themselves and not the country at all. Those that are ostensibly for the country (eg, immigration) are really about themselves and are built on as many lies as they feel is necessary to get their way. This is why they cry about the supposed crisis at the border and that both legal and illegal immigrants are stealing their jobs and murdering their loved ones.

    The dilemma is between wanting to take the high road and be civil vs fighting as hard as we can to save our country and perhaps democracy itself. Of course, we do have to choose our battles wisely so I still lean away from harassing the other side’s politicians at restaurants. Still, I am not absolutely sure it is the wrong way to go. If we lose this fight, there will be little solace in knowing that we were civil.

    • Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:12 am | Permalink

      Is it not a false dichotomy you are proposing in your final paragraph? Being civil to Sarah Huckerby in a restaurant is not incompatible with fighting hard to save the country and democracy, surely?

      It is also likely that refusing service to Huckerby was counter-productive with respect to the political goal of pushing back the Trump administration. The political rise of Trump was based on the exploitation of a sense of victimhood amongst his supporters. If they see ‘their guys’ being refused service in restaurants by the ‘liberal elite’ it will simply reinforce that sense of victimhood and convince them to vote for Trump again.

  10. Jim Lombardi
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, You are the one confused. You confuse private figures with public ones. Huckabee and Miller are just as public as McConnell and Ryan. Their daily drum-beat promoting the cruelly selfish policies of their leader and his party is very different than the wistful coal miner, steel worker or dairy farmer who shows up in an occasional interview or focus group embracing the promises of a snake-oil salesman.
    And accordingly, it’s high time to take off the gloves and call out all of these public figures anywhere, any time and any way.

    • Historian
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      How will doing what you suggest accomplish anything except making those who do what the restaurant owner did feel good? Will these actions have a net gain of public support? I don’t think so. These actions are shortsighted, counterproductive, and reflect a total ignorance of how to change policies. Policies are changed by winning elections. If you don’t like Trump and his odious ilk then join a Democratic political club and canvas your neighbors.

      I am not interested in making people feel good. I am interested in taking actions that can be effective in getting rid of Trump and his Republican congress. If you want to feel better, see a therapist.

    • Posted July 12, 2018 at 4:06 am | Permalink

      Public figures are also human beings who periodically need to eat.

  11. Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I am not sure it is right to conflate an opinion by an op-ed contributor with that of the NYT. The NYT entertains op-ed pieces from anyone. No doubt it would be difficult to get a Stephen Bannon-style piece accepted, but I bet they would publish a well-written piece on how these regressive left antics are destructive for the hoped for blue wave. Care to try, PCC?

    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      The NYT must have some selection process as their opinion page is valuable real estate. However, my guess is that once an author and subject has been selected, they would likely accept the article as written for fear of interfering with the author’s opinion. It’s a different relationship than the one between editorial and staff writer.

      • Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        They claim they want a diversity of opinions, and specifically those that might differ from their own editorial position. But, in actuality?

      • Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        It is funny that so many op-eds in the NYT are liberal and so many in the WSJ are conservative despite both papers claiming they seek diversity of opinion through op-eds.

        • Posted June 30, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps NYT’s opinion section is representative of, say, Times Square whereas WSJ’s is more, well, Wall Street.

        • Diane G
          Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:50 am | Permalink


  12. Mike Cracraft
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I think the problem is that we are too damned impatient to get rid of Trump and his minions.
    The only path to November is civility and resistance within the system.

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Two thumbs up (high in the air, that is..👍👍).

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Civil disobedience is a public act: a peaceful defiance of the law to call attention to injustice. (I’ve practiced it myself.)

    Gonna be time to practice it again soon, Jerry, probably before this long, hot summer is over. Our nation is ineluctably headed for its greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War.

    Dunno if you watched the congressional testimony this week by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Both these men are career Justice Department prosecutors, as well as lifelong registered Republicans, and (for cryin’ out loud!) Donald Trump’s own appointees. Both are endeavoring to perform the duties of their office without fear or favor. Yet Trump’s minions in the House of Representatives, the red-hot crazies of the Freedom Caucus, attacked them viciously on completely bogus grounds, for no damn decent reason at all.

    These House crazies keep sending subpoenas to DoJ, seeking massive numbers of documents to which they have no entitlement, the type of documents that have never before been relinquished to congress — documents concerning classified, highly sensitive information regarding sources and methods in an ongoing criminal and counter-intelligence investigation. The House Republicans are trying to bait Rosenstein into refusing to comply with their subpoenas (as surely he eventually must, although so far he’s attempted to placate them, presumably in an effort to give the special counsel a chance to complete his investigation). This ploy has already done lasting damage to our norms and institutions, But their real goal is more nefarious still: either to hold Rosenstein in contempt of congress when he refuses (thus giving Trump an excuse to fire him), or to outright try to impeach Rosenstein themselves — all with the goal of curtailing the special counsel investigation of Donald Trump.

    Meanwhile, Trump continues apace to do Vladimir Putin’s bidding. Yesterday, he went back to denying that Russia played any role in the interference with our 2016 presidential election. And in two weeks he’ll be rewarding Putin with a bilateral summit conference in Helsinki. Trump’s also advocated that Russia be invited back into the G-7, even though Putin has failed to withdraw from Crimea or the eastern Ukraine (which was what got Russian tossed out in the first place), even though Russia interfered in our last election (and is fixing to do the same in our next), even though Putin has interfered in the electoral process of our European allies, and even though Putin has conducted assassinations of British subjects on British soil.

    Trump has lately accelerated the pace of his execution of Putin’s playbook — seeking to undermine our NATO alliance (calling it “worse than NAFTA”), threatening to withdraw from the World Trade Organization, even endeavoring to persuade our quondam European allies to withdraw from the European Union. All the while, Trump refuses to criticize Putin on any grounds and repeats, like a Manchurian candidate, his well-worn mantra: “If we got along with Russia, that would be a good thing, not a bad thing.”

    We have for the first time in our history a president who does not have undivided loyalties to the United States of America. Trump will, in the end, do everything in his power to prevent the truth of his underlying conflicts and collusion from being fully exposed, including, foremost, by terminating the special counsel investigation. When he does, the Republicans in congress may do nothing about it; indeed, many will be party to it. The fate of our Republic may thus depend on citizens of good will coming together to take it to the streets, with massive demonstrations, and civil disobedience where appropriate.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the number of impeachment items in front of Trump are many right now, without Mueller’s many more. His actions with N. Korea are impeachable. His actions with Europe are also and before he is done the tariff mess could also be added. He brakes the law on the border with his internment camps just like the Japanese WWII. With any normal congress he should be gone. But we have no congress and this is the fault of all of us. Here we are, still fighting about social issues and lots of crap and we have had a dysfunctional congress. Have had one now for years.

      We are screwed because now we have Trump and no way to get rid of him. Nice going all.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        I see US intelligence has determined that North Korea is already back to making fuel for nuclear bombs, notwithstanding the page of precatory pablum Kim and Trump signed in Singapore promising peace in our time.

        Will Trump turn a blind eye and refuse to acknowledge the truth of the US intelligence report, as he has so often, rather than forfeit his yoooge Asian victory and his chance to claim a Nobel peace prize (or, more likely, his chance to bitch ceaselessly about not receiving one)? Or, if NoKo’s breach is beyond deniable, will Trump come under NSA John Bolton’s sway and decide that Little Rocket Man must be punished with a military first strike?

        • Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          I suspect the former. He will ignore his intelligence apparatus on NK. To do otherwise would be admitting failure and prove his critics right. While he loves to talk tough, I really doubt he has the stomach for a real war. I also suspect (and hope) that his GOP scumbags won’t follow him there anyway. There aren’t really many who share Bolton’s hawkish views. At least that’s my impression.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            Do not discount Trump’s need to save face by appearing strong (or how little distaste he may have for war, so long as it’s somebody else doing the fighting). Trump has no moral compass; he’s incapable of considering things along a right/wrong or true/false axis. For him there’s only strong/weak and winner/loser. It’s all about what you can get away with. And Trump has a deep-seated, morbid psychological fear of ever being labelled a loser.

            Plus, a splendid little war makes for a great distraction from a crumbling administration, a great way to rally the rubes around him.

      • Posted July 1, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        ” He brakes the law on the border with his internment camps just like the Japanese WWII.”

        trump’s intent may be needlessly malicious, but what law has he broken?

    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      That unfair grilling Rosenstein got last week was horrifying. If we make it through this, he deserves a statue at least. There may also need to be a purging of Trump’s traitors, a la Joe McCarthy. Of course, we’ll be fair. 😉

    • Historian
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Civil disobedience is a tactic to achieve a goal. What would it be here? Would it induce more people to oppose Trump? If so, how so? I’m not sure how massive civil disobedience can be effective to bring down Trump. In fact, it can have the most dire consequences. It could be used as a pretext for Trump to declare martial law. The courts and most Republicans would support him. He might cancel the election and nobody would be able to stop him. Then democracy would be gone, maybe for good. As I have stated several times before, politics is the only feasible way to stop Trump. If Trump interferes in the election, democracy will also be gone. Then, the only alternative would be armed revolt, which Trump and the military would be able to put down, although guerrilla warfare could still persist. In this case, also, democracy would be gone. A fascist regime with elements of apartheid could be the end result.

      The only hope is that Trump will not interfere with the election or that enough Republicans will realize that Trump has gone too far. Political organization at the grassroots level is necessary. Democracy is hanging by a thread. Ultimately, the blame for our sorry situation rests with the Republican Party, led by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. These two sicken me as much as Trump.

      • Historian
        Posted June 30, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Note that I am not calling for armed revolt against Trump. But, there are some who might attempt it out of desperation if the elections are tampered with. If the situation in this country reaches such a moment then democracy would already be lost, probably for good. I wonder if the anti-Nazis in Germany in 1933 felt the same way as we do now with democracy under attack.

        • Posted June 30, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          I think the Nazi build-up to WWII is a better model for what’s happening now than the Civil War. There’s no single issue dominating the discourse, just a single man with power and a broken vision for the country.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted June 30, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

          I agree with most all you say above. Congress is all we have for this and I don’t see congress functional enough to do anything. All that is left is a peoples revolt and this can still get the job done. Call it chaos or anarchy but it brings everything to a halt and demands departure. The next step should be demands of congress or whatever is left of it. Constitutional amendment to remove money from elections period. An amendment to change the Senate to make it more representative.

          Trump cannot use the military against all the people. That just won’t fly and the military will not stand for it.

          • Posted June 30, 2018 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

            That is up to the military to decide. To a large extent the government belongs to whoever’s orders the military will follow. When push comes to shove. Revolts by the people succeed only if the military sides with the people. If they follow the government the revolt will fail. Generally speaking.

        • Posted July 12, 2018 at 4:15 am | Permalink

          As far as I know, anti-Nazis were busy fighting each other (Thalmann’s communists rejecting a union with socialists). This also has some analogs in today’s America.

      • Posted June 30, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Yes, civil disobedience is about peaceably breaking the very laws you want to change. Interrupting a political opponent’s meal is certainly not that.

        Just to play devil’s advocate a little, it might be effective against Trump in two ways:

        1. It might cause the politician to reconsider their support of Trump. Many have found their WH job too much to bear. This turnover certainly hurts Trump as his supporters see formerly trusted insiders calling Trump a moron and leaving or getting fired.

        2. These televised incidents do tell the country that there is a lot of resistance to Trump. If this is perceived as overwhelming, anyone on the fence about Trump may be convinced to join the other, winning side.

        I’m not saying that these are valid reasons to interrupt Sarah Huckster’s dinner but that it might have some effect.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Since he rode down his gilded escalator into our presidential politics three years ago, Trump’s support among the American populace has never exceeded 45% (and rarely fallen below 35%). It is around the middle of that pack right now. These numbers roughly correspond to the 90% of the Republican Party that supports Trump, since he has done nothing to reach out to independents and Hillary voters.

        Of Trump’s supporters, I think roughly half constitute his hardcore, deporable white nationalist base (many of whom accompanied Trump into the GOP from his “birther” days). This group is essentially beyond rational reach, and must be opposed on all fronts. The other half, I think, includes a mixture of rubes who are in thrall to Trump’s strongman image from his Apprentice days, right-wing trolls who who dig how he “triggers the Libs,” and mainstream conservatives who thought they could dance with the devil to get tax-cuts and Obamacare-repeal done. These people, I think, are persuadable, not necessarily to join our side, most of them anyway, but at least to abandon Trump.

        (What’s kept congressional Republicans petrified so far is that the deplorable group likely constitutes slightly over half of all Republicans — and the much more energized half at that — and is, thus, capable of voting incumbents out of office in a Republican primary.)

        I’m not sure at this point what the best way to reach the persuadables might be. But it may become necessary, if things begin to unravel quickly (as well they might) to take to the streets, if for no other reason than to focus their attention, to shake them out of their political lassitude, and to ensure at the very least that “the whole world’s watching.”

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          Also, I disagree that the lifetime-appointees on the federal bench will just go along with any outré moves by Trump. We may, nonetheless, be thrust into a especially ugly constitutional crisis when it comes to enforcing court orders restricting Trump, since the man has no bottom and displays complete contempt for American institutions and the rule of law.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            That last sentence or two kind of applies to some of his boys in congress and many others such as the speaker of the house with no spine and no moral center to do anything. So number three on the list is no better than one or two. I think the next crisis is going to be either in the street or in the next election. He has no intention of doing anything at the border and that mess could blow up in his face. Russia could use this time to invade any number of places and do whatever they wish.

            Anyway I think it is take it to the streets or nothing at all. The govt. is just dysfunctional to operate and if the justice department unravels what is left.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

              Mitch McConnell is a rotten son of a bitch, without a statesman’s-like bone in his body. All he really cares about is remaining senate majority leader (and there’s nothing else in second, third, or fourth place).

              In the run-up to the 2016 election, Barack Obama went to see him in the capitol building, along with the nation’s top intelligence experts. They laid out the case of Russian interference, and asked McConnell to join a bipartisan statement warning the American people about Russia’s efforts to influence the election. McConnell refused, and told Obama if he went ahead on his own, McConnell would call a press conference and accuse Obama of playing partisan politics.

              At the time, McConnell, like pretty much everyone else, believed Trump was going to lose the election. His only concern was that a bipartisan statement might suppress Republican turnout, costing him his Republican majority in the senate.

              As for House speaker Paul Ryan, he was last seen pacing around the Capitol rotunda, flicking himself in the crotch, trying to get some feeling back in his balls.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted June 30, 2018 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

                McConnell is living proof that Kentucky is still attempting to come out of the 19th century. That cracker mentality that hugs their guns and bibles at the same time are still getting use to their first pair of shoes. I am not being nice on purpose here because who would keep sending this guy to congress? Who would think he was from this country if you did not live in Kentucky? This is the best we got and our congress is now full of very sick individuals.

        • Posted July 1, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          By your estimation, everyone who supports trump is either: a white nationalist; a rube; a right-wing troll; or mainstream conservative. All of whom, excepting the first group, you believe can be persuaded to abandon trump. What form of effective persuasion or message did you have in mind?

          • Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

            The “rubes” sound like they might be persuadable. 😉

            • Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

              You mean like in The Music Man?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted July 1, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

                So you’ve noticed the similarity between Donald Trump and “Professor” Harold Hill, too?

                That’s Trump with a capital T, which stands for “trouble,” and not just in River City.

              • Diane G
                Posted July 2, 2018 at 2:11 am | Permalink

                @ Ken

                No, no similarity whatsoever! Harold Hill had a heart!

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

                DG – Yeah, you’re right; I was thinking solely in terms of the Act I conman. 🙂

          • Robert Bray
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

            . . . or someone who misuses semi-colons.

            Incorrigible, I suspect.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted July 1, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

              I dunno; I sometimes use semicolons to separate seriatim phrases, but usually only to avoid confusion when the phrases themselves contain an internal comma.

              You heard the one about the fella had his semicolon removed? Now he has to punctuate into a rubber bag.

              • ThyroidPlanet
                Posted July 1, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

                “seriatim ”

                I came for the evolution

                I stayed for the vocabulary

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

            I said “includes,” not “limited to”; there are other subspecies in the Trumpian menagerie.

            • Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

              You said one half were white supremacists, the other half comprised of the other categories.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted July 2, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

                I said “includes a mixture of”; it was not meant to be exhaustive.

                As I said earlier below, I think a good start would be to expose the full extent of Trump’s perfidy in public hearings (which the Republican majority controlling congress has refused to do). I don’t expect them to change all their political allegiances, merely to persuade them to abandon their support for a traitorous miscreant like Trump.

            • Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

              In any case, I remain curious as to your proposed means of persuading them.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

            One thing the Trump menagerie doesn’t contain is “principled conservatives”; they’ve been in the never-Trump camp from the get-go.

            As far as persuasion, the best first step would be to lay out all Trump’s multifarious crimes on the public record (as by conducting an honest congressional inquiry). If you lead an elephant to water, maybe it’ll take a drink.

            • Posted July 1, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

              By definition! There can be no such thing as a ‘principled conservative’ that supports Trump.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        “Civil disobedience is a tactic to achieve a goal. What would it be here?”

        I’m thinking here, for example, of constituents picketing their congressional representatives, and perhaps conducting a sit-in at their offices, if Trump fires Mueller and congress fails to act on a bill of impeachment.

        We saw a bit of this in opposition to Obamacare-repeal — and it worked!

        • Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          Continuing to demonize all republicans and harassing them will not work. That only causes backlash. Democrats stating what they will do and offering a better program – which Hillary failed to do – might work. The only likely thing that will prevent Trumpt’s teelection is a recession n 2019 of 2020. If that happens democrats will regain the White House. Otherwise, probably not. History likes two terms in one party, than back. It is hard to fight history.

    • Posted July 3, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      “If we got along with Russia, that would be a good thing, not a bad thing.”

      I agree with that. But it doesn’t follow that *any agreement at all* is a good thing.

  14. Linda Calhoun
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Let me start by saying that I don’t have any answers.

    But, I think the whole civility question is a lot more complex than it might seem on the surface.

    It has been exactly nine months since we took over the restaurant. We pride ourselves on great food and friendly conversation, and even in some of our reviews, our patrons have mentioned now much fun the mix of locals and tourists is.

    But, we face the “civility” dilemma daily, and some days it’s worse than others. Mostly we just run to the back and do a silent scream, but…

    One observation I’ve made is that, while the lefties may snark, the righties are REALLY ANGRY, so they tend to be a lot more unpleasant, and also a lot more obsessed.

    So, how should it be handled if one of them asks you a direct question? How should it be handled if one expresses hate toward a group to which a staff member of ours belongs? How should it be handled if one patron loudly expresses disdain for a group that other patrons belong to?

    If someone’s definition of incivility is “having an opinion that’s different from mine”, then what?

    The owner of the restaurant who asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave had her restaurant vandalized afterward. And, other restaurants of the same name that had no connection to hers, some in OTHER STATES, also had their restaurants vandalized. So, if you think someone is going to come back later and trash the place if you don’t agree with them, then what? If someone is bent on terrorism, do you respond? Do you go along? Is just walking away “uncivil”?

    We are still wading through these questions. I have to tell you, it’s horrible to have to be grappling with this at all. We just want to serve great food and give our customers a pleasant time. And, if possible, we’d like to have fun doing it.


    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Expressions or hate toward staff members or loud expressions of sustain are both valid reasons to refuse service and ask the customer to leave.
      Customers with unruly behavior can always be removed.

      • Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Agree. If Huckabee Sanders mouthed off to employees in any restaurant I owned, I’d kick her ass out. But that is not happened.

        • Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          Right. And in my opinion was illegal as a violation of her civil lrights to service in a place of public accommodation.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

            Civil-rights laws, like Title II of the CRA 1964 and its state and local counterparts, prohibit discrimination in places of public accommodation on specific bases, such as race, religion, place of national origin (and in more recent enactments, sexual orientation). They do not create a general enforceable right not to be denied service.

      • Linda Calhoun
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 6:03 am | Permalink

        You’re missing my point.

        I’m not stupid; I know that obviously disruptive people should be removed.

        What I’m talking about is more subtle than that – patrons speaking loudly enough for staff to hear, but not so loudly as to disrupt other tables, or, patrons asking me pointed, leading questions about political issues, and then expecting me to stand there and politely listen to their diatribes..

        The “civil rights” of Sarah Huckabee Sanders don’t actually exist anymore. She was enthusiastically in favor of their suspension, when the people dishing it out were part of her religious cohort and the people on the receiving end were people she didn’t like. Not so much when she’s on the receiving end herself. Although she didn’t make any ugly statements while she was in the restaurant, she was in a position to have made many in her official capacity, so her beliefs are well-known. The staff expressed their discomfort about serving her to the owner based on those public statements. Whether you believe the owner’s response was right or wrong, Sanders’ feelings are well-documented and not ambiguous in the least. Several of the restaurant’s employees are gay, and others who work there aren’t interested in her homophobia, either.

        All I’m saying is that it’s not as cut-and-dried as you’re making it out to be.


        • Samedi
          Posted July 1, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

          It is cut-and-dried. Some of the staff didn’t like her opinions. So what? Civility, if it means anything, means being polite to people we may not like or who may not like us. We do that for the reasons of social harmony and tolerance. We also do that out of humility because we may not be as right as we think we are.

          • Linda Calhoun
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

            In an ideal world, I would absolutely agree with you.

            In the place we inhabit right now, there is no reciprocity.

            The dilemma, then, is how do we deal with people who think civility is just for other people?

            I’d be a lot more comfortable with the whole question if calls for civility were also directed at people who vandalize unrelated businesses, people who doxx, and people who feel justified in issuing death threats. But, I never hear any calls for civility until someone who leans left gets fed up and tries to fight back.

            As I said, I really don’t have any answers. I go round and round with myself about whether to hang on to my principles, or whether to fight back. When you’re dealing with an opponent who cheats, and who doesn’t care about norms, then what?


            • Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

              My thoughts are that owners and employees should not let themselves get into political discussions with their customers. Pointed questions should not be answered. Unless the owner wants to engage in debate. We had a bar owner here who was an staunch democrat. His establishment was known for political discussions and for the outspoken opinions of his owner. He eventually went into politics and was successful.
              Most businesses operators avoid political discussions nd don’t listen to rants from customers.

              • Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

                Yes, business owners that serve the public intimately should avoid taking sides in political debates. However, the fact that the Red Hen owner thought that protesting the Trump administration was more important. Her decision being against her own business interests was not lost on her audience and definitely enhanced her message.

          • Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

            Protest is always going to seem uncivil to its target.

        • Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

          The “civil rights” of Sarah Huckabee Sanders don’t actually exist anymore.

          I’m not even sure what that’s supposed to mean.

          • Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

            flip that block quoting.

          • Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            It means people should be served regardless of their political views.

  15. mordacious1
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I suppose, if it comes right down to it, you’ll have Tide Pod eating Millennials up against gun-loving NRA members. I wonder how that will turn out?

    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget us infrastructure-supporting technocrats. We won’t be on Trump’s side.

      • Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        I thought Trump was a big infrastructure guy.

        • Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink


        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          Trump has had several purported “Infrastructure week[s]” by my count. But they never survive his first Monday-morning tweet on another (usually bizarre) subject.

          Infrastructure is the one issue on which it might be possible to build a bipartisan coalition. But, from the fleeting ways in which Trump has ever addressed the topic, it’s clear what he has in mind is a give-away for fat cats.

          • Harrison
            Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

            Infrastructure is popular with voters of all stripes, but very unpopular with Republican politicians because it supports the narrative that government can solve problems (without bombing or shooting at them).

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted June 30, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

              Today’s the 62nd anniversary of Dwight Eisenhower signing the Federal Interstate Highway Act. They ain’t making Republicans like Ike anymore, as to infrastructure or most anything else, either.

          • mordacious1
            Posted June 30, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

            Wouldn’t “The Wall” be infrastructure?
            (I’ll get my coat)

          • Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:18 am | Permalink

            Yes, I think that’s right. Trump’s blocked on how to do infrastructure without it looking like the total giveaway to his developer buddies that he has in mind. Perhaps a solution will come to him eventually.

    • Posted June 30, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Nixon supported universal health care. Times have changed.

  16. phoffman56
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    “Thomas Sugrue is a professor of history and social and cultural analysis at New York University.”

    ‘Social analysis’, ‘cultural analysis’, ‘NYU’:
    Could anything better than that tripe be expected?

  17. John Black
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if Sugrue thinks that Trump Voter chants of “Lock Her Up” were also a necessary wake-up call to overcome a grave injustice, or just incivility by political partisans?

    (Bill Maher brought this up on his recent show with Ben Shapiro.)

  18. harrync
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Ross Douthat actually had a pretty good take on the issue in last Wednesday’s NYT:
    “But to mitigate the effects of backlash, an effective protest politics also needs to make sure the acts of protest are clearly linked to the evil being protested, and that they set up scenarios where the person being protested, not the protester, comes out looking bad.
    Thus in the civil rights era, the sites of protest — lunch counters, city buses — were carefully chosen to make segregation look at once evil and ridiculous, and the protests were calibrated to make it plain that the police officers and vigilantes enforcing the institution were the bad guys. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was no plaster saint of civility or centrism, and he was often willing to earn a reputation as a disturber of the peace. But he still chose his disturbances strategically, which is why the images on American television screens featured Southern Christian Leadership Conference activists sitting peacefully in lunch counters or facing down attack dogs — rather than, say, turning Lurleen Wallace out of her favorite restaurant.”
    But, alas, most of the comments basically say “If I harass Ms. Sanders, I’ll feel morally superior. And that is more important than winning elections.”

    • BJ
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      I rarely like anything Douthat has to say, but he worded that perfectly. Gets right to the center of the problem here. The people doing this are the ones who come out looking worse. I wasn’t able to articulate the core difference between this shit and what MLK’s movement did nearly as well as Douthat has.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, that’s a pretty good piece by Douthat. Even a blind pig …

        I had some hope for Douthat when he first arrived on the scene, that maybe a movement to revivify moderate Republicanism might coalesce, but I’ve been disappointed in his output for a while now.

  19. BJ
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    So many people here, even in a place with a somewhat higher quality of commenter, who think with nothing but emotion when it comes to politics (especially Trump). No thought of consequences; no thought of utility; no thought of anything beyond how it makes them feel.

    • Harrison
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      I’ve pointed this out before but if people want to argue from consequentialism and say “it’s okay to fight dirty, the ends justify the means,” that would be one thing. But they’re not fooling anyone that their tantrums are going to somehow get us one micron closer to our goal. That’s not fighting dirty, it’s fighting stupid.

      • Posted June 30, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Maybe they are fooling themselves. They probably feel – not think – that their “tantrums”will help. Or it is just emotion contagion.

        • BJ
          Posted June 30, 2018 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

          There’s definitely a contagion element to it, but that’s the case with all social movements, especially when they spread, in part, through hysteria.

    • Craw
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:05 am | Permalink


    • Barney
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      This isn’t thinking “with nothing but emotion”; it’s thinking that includes emotions. Saying that’s it’s OK for restaurant workers to agree to not serve an administration member does not mean that that is the only, or best, thing to do.

    • Robert Bray
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      ‘so many people here. . . think with nothing but emotion when it comes to politics. . . .’

      I haven’t done a census, yet this seems mistaken to me. As do your follow-up assertions of ‘no thought of consequences’ etc.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      BJ, I agree with Robert Bray. There are about 3 comments on this thread that might somewhat fit your characterization. The large majority of comments on this thread are critical of the “be mean to Trump lackeys” tactics, ranging from regretfully critical to over-the-top critical.

  20. Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    If the emotion is enough it will drown out thoughts, logic and reason.

  21. Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    If the emotion is strong enough . . .

  22. Posted July 1, 2018 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  23. Steven Carr
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    Civil disobedience is the act of removing a hijab in Iran or dancing in the streets of Iran.

  24. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    [ I know there’s a Red Hen Incident thread but since it came up I’m putting this here ]

    The failure of The Red Hen incident- if it were ever thought of as civil disobedience- is that all the employees and owners should have been faced with discipline- going to jail, for instance.

    There never were any consequences for the owners and employees, even as they voted to reject Sanders…. imagine how fast that all went down….

    • Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      It is clearly not civil disobedience. Not only do the protesters have to risk going to jail but they also have to be violating the law they would like to see changed. Neither of these conditions were met in the Red Hen incident.

  25. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Happy Canada Day, Canadians! Recently, we changed our anthem from “in all they sons command” to “in all of us command”. Now let’s get the god part out!

  26. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I think the question of civility vel non ought to be decided strictly on utilitarian grounds. In general, incivility is self-defeating. But if there are specific instances where incivility will further the desired end — the desired end here being the removal of Donald Trump from office — rather than merely flaunting public virtue or purging pent-up pique, then I, for one, have no ethical or moral compunction against it. (In all circumstances I abjure violence, and am in favor of avoiding incivility toward mere Trump supporters as opposed to those who have willingly joined his administration to promote his policies.)

    The Trump White House is itself the cynosure of incivility. Our president mocks the handicapped, disparages the service of US prisoners of war, belittles gold-star families, and puts down natural-born American judges as “Mexicans” unfit to preside over his case. He responds to any criticism, no matter how mild or well-meaning, with viciousness — if from a woman, by mocking her looks; if from a man, by attacking his masculinity. He promotes public cruelty for cruelty’s sake.

    • Posted July 2, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      The 2016 election proved that none of those things matters. That is old news and boring. The democrats have win those voters on other issues. Calling them deplorables, rubes and crackers is not going to help. Time to try to unite not further divide.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Ten million more Americans voted against Trump than voted for him in the 2016 election. He won a lower percentage of the popular vote than any victorious candidate running in a race without a credible third-party candidate. His electoral college victory was the biggest fluke in this nation’s 57-presidential-election history, aided and abetted by large-scale Russian meddling. Trump has been a disaster in office, and his approval rating has fallen since his inauguration. That puts him in a historically weak position for reelection.

  27. Posted July 2, 2018 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    In spite of all that he got elected. The voters thought other issues were more important. To defeat him democrats will have to address those other issues and overcome them. So far they have not done that. They are simple critizing him for the same faults that the voters overlooked in 2016. The voters have already ruled on those matters. It is time to change tactics.

    • Posted July 2, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Sure but now we know Trump better. Many thought he really was a smart deal maker. He isn’t. Many thought he would at least try to unite the parties. No. Many thought he might protect (or at least fix) America’s institutions. Instead, he is destroying all those that get in his way. We thought the name-calling and personal insults might only go as far as his election opposition. They did not. Some thought that he would be a champion of the little guy. That has shown to be wrong. Some thought he was not racist but he’s backed that up to all but the blind.

      Some of us thought he would make a bad President but couldn’t be sure or provide proof. Now we have a lot more to go on.

9 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] travel — drew fire at the time for their impertinence or incivility. But those protests don’t provide a proper parallel to the hounding of administration officials in public eateries. They have their analogues, rather, […]

  2. […] travel — drew fire at the time for their impertinence or incivility. But those protests don’t provide a proper parallel to the hounding of administration officials in public eateries. They have their analogues, rather, […]

  3. […] travel — drew fire at the time for their impertinence or incivility. But those protests don’t provide a proper parallel to the hounding of administration officials in public eateries. They have their analogues, rather, […]

  4. […] travel — drew fire at the time for their impertinence or incivility. But those protests don’t provide a proper parallel to the hounding of administration officials in public eateries. They have their analogues, rather, […]

  5. […] interstate travel—drew fire at the time for their impertinence or incivility. But those protests don’t provide a proper parallel to the hounding of administration officials in public eateries. They have their analogues, rather, […]

  6. […] interstate travel—drew fire at the time for their impertinence or incivility. But those protests don’t provide a proper parallel to the hounding of administration officials in public eateries. They have their analogues, rather, […]

  7. […] interstate travel—drew fire at the time for their impertinence or incivility. But those protests don’t provide a proper parallel to the hounding of administration officials in public eateries. They have their analogues, rather, […]

  8. […] travel — drew fire at the time for their impertinence or incivility. But those protests don’t provide a proper parallel to the hounding of administration officials in public eateries. … In truth, the civil rights […]

  9. […] travel—drew fire at the time for their impertinence or incivility. But those protests don’t provide a proper parallel to the hounding of administration officials in public eateries. They have their analogues, rather, […]

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