American Exceptionalism

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Steve Sack

Independence over empathy

America is the home of individuality, but too many people interpret that to mean selfishness. They say “The government can’t tell me to wear a mask!” instead of “I should wear a mask in consideration for other people so as not to spread the virus.”

Valuing independence over empathy is no virtue.

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Paid agitators

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Matt Bors

Biden’s poker strategy

by guest blogger David Gerrold

I know that a lot of people are impatient for Biden to come out swinging.

But …BIDEN

Let me tell you a story. In 1968, George Romney was running against Richard Nixon for the Republican nomination. Nixon was holding back during the early part of the year and his advisors were a little worried. They wanted him to speak up.

Whatever else he was, Nixon was a very astute, calculating, poker player. He said, “Let the press chew on the other fellow for a while.”

Because Nixon kept himself out of the spotlight, the press focused on Romney — who seemed like a pretty good guy, until finally, he stumbled. In order to backpedal his position on the Vietnam war, he said he had been “brainwashed.”

Oops.

The press turned it into a big story and Romney’s campaign evaporated.

Nixon then had the field to himself without ever having to get his hands dirty. He had other tricks to pull. But in terms of managing his campaign, it was the right thing to do.

Biden is wise to avoid the attention of the press right now. It’s too early. The public will get tired of him in two months. But, after Labor Day, when the campaign starts in earnest, Biden and all the other Democrats, all the surrogates, etc. will start hammering their message like a battalion of blacksmiths.

But right now — let the press chew on the other fellow for a while. The Trumpalumpas have only one place to go — Fox Noise. All of the other media are reporting the bad news. It’s fun to watch some of those people trying so hard to keep a straight face when you know they really just want to smirk and grin when they report Trumplethinskin’s latest political face-plant.

And it’s only going to get worse for him. The pandemic is going to get worse. The economy is going to stagger into a depression. And all it takes is a couple more police murders and the summer of protests will escalate into a general strike. Oh, and SCOTUS might rule against him on keeping his tax returns secret. And Mary Trump has a tell-all too. And there are half a dozen other rough scandals slouching toward Washington, waiting to be borne.

The karmic chicken has come home to roost.

So why should Biden say anything.

“Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

Nebula and Hugo award winning author David Gerrold is the author of over 50 books, several hundred articles and columns, and over a dozen television episodes. TV credits include episodes of Star Trek, Babylon 5, Twilight Zone, Land Of The Lost, Logan’s Run, and many others. His most recent novel, now available, is HELLA. Other novels include WHEN HARLIE WAS ONE, THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF, the “War Against the Chtorr” septology, The “Star Wolf” trilogy, The “Dingilliad” young adult trilogy, and more. The autobiographical tale of his son’s adoption, THE MARTIAN CHILD won the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novelette of the Year and was the basis for the 2007 movie starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Joan Cusack. He also has stories in my anthologies BAKER STREET IRREGULARS, RELEASE THE VIRGINS!, and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. His web page is here.

The Salute

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Clay Bennett

Taking down our statues

The Confederate statues we want brought down are on our property, maintained by our tax dollars.

You want a statue of some treasonous general? Fine. Pay for it yourself and put it on your own property. That would be completely legal and there won’t be a damn thing we could do about it.

We’re just saying stop using our tax money to support monuments to traitors.

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Beat the Press

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Jen Sorensen

Please don’t say “Defund the Police”

Words matter.

Yes, the goal of “defund the police” — as anyone who is knowledgeable is aware — is to shift resources so police aren’t handling every single problem, many of which do not require a gun. It’s about getting rid of the military gear they don’t need and which, to be honest, is exactly what we’re protesting. It’s about retraining them and reorganizing them.

It’s the exact same thing that has been proposed for the past 100 years or so every time there is a major riot but which, for some reason, never seems to happen.defund-the-police

But the words — the words are the problem.

People hear “defund the police” and they think “And replace it with anarchy?  And have no police at all?”  And that’s not what it means.

But now we have to explain it. And words matter.

Politics is as much about advertising as anything else. You need to sell your product to the public.

Having a slogan that can be misinterpreted and abused by your opponent is not the way to sell your product.

There was a poll done a while ago where people were asked whether they supported Obamacare. A large percentage said no. The exact same people were then asked if they liked the Affordable Care Act, and the exact same people were in favor of it.

Words matter.

Note: This is NOT the same thing as watering down your policy to appease moderates. If you’ve read my blog over the past eight years or so, you know I do not believe in that — I think our views are the majority ones and we should stand by them.

This is only about the words used to accomplish those goals.

Do I like the fact that you can sell politics like you do toothpaste? No, of course not. But dammit, when I got my Political Science degree, and when I worked on campaigns as a campaign manager and also as a media contact for campaigns, I knew this was the case. Image is more important than reality. What you say is often more important than what you do. If you refuse to acknowledge that, you lose.

You will note that Biden and other politicians know this too, which is why they are avoiding the phrase “defund the police” while still agreeing with everything we’re saying about reforming the police.

We’re not giving anything up by using terms to help us win while avoiding words that could cause us to lose. Being stubborn about using the term “defund” (no matter how correct it may be) might hurt our cause.

EDIT to clarify (based on comments made on my Facebook page):  I am talking about political candidates and their operatives, not protesters. Protesters bringing this to everyone’s attention is a good thing. Protesters can also chant “Fuck Trump” all they want, but I would also advise any candidate to not use that slogan, either.

The Real Flag

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Matt Davies

Protests Don’t Accomplish Anything

So after a week of protests, all four cops have been arrested, other cops are being arrested and/or investigated over their overreactions in other cases, Minneapolis may be disbanding their police force, other cities are demilitarizing their police, the Marines have banned Confederate flag symbols, Confederate statues are coming down, and even Republicans are starting to say “Black Lives Matter.”

But yet people are still saying “protests don’t accomplish anything.”

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