And you are not my friend
Your terms are unacceptable
Jacksonville, FL Sheriff’s Office
I read some terrific stuff online and occasionally link to it on social media, but the one A.R. Moxon put out on Saturday was especially good, and I’d just tell you go read it and close the session but that goes against policy (5 days a week! I’m Cal Ripken, fuckers!) and I have a few things to add.
To synopsize, “If You Want To Be Friends, Then Why Aren’t You Friendly?” addresses the common pseudo-centrist idea that if you let politics get in the way of your relationship with other people with whom you have some things in common, you are What’s Wrong With America, and (as usual with such claims) this Wrongness is exclusive to liberals:
It’s a very common lament: that there is no civility left these days, as compared to earlier days, and the main reason appears to be that those on the “left” refuse to be friends with those on the “right,” shunning them simply because of their political views.
This implies something rather startling: American conservatives want to be friends with the rest of us. Had you realized? You’d never know it to listen to them, but apparently it is so…
Thus Moxon quickly debunks the most obvious fallacy — conservatives, who constantly accuse liberals of communism, hating America, pedophilia, etc., are not less unfriendly to liberals than vice-versa. But Moxon takes the deeper claim seriously and explains why conservatives – who, it is established, hate us – still believe we should be “friendly” toward them.
First he readjusts what is generally meant by “left” and “right” – those who identify with the former are “about an emerging spirit that believes that everyone deserves access to basic human needs…simply because of the fact of their humanity,” while subscribers to the latter believe “only some deserve life… and that they are entitled to punish and abuse, harm and exclude, exploit and kill, those to whom they choose not to issue license.” Moxon rechristens these beliefs “humanist” and “supremacist” respectively.
And based on the actions and policies of the supremacists — “newspapers raided by police, and librarians harassed and libraries closed, and children refused medical treatment and their parents menaced with loss of custody, and rising maternal death rates that disproportionately affect Black women, and fleeing medical professionals, and on and on and on”— Moxon deduces that when they seek our friendship, they don’t mean the same thing by that word that we or indeed most people do: “They feel strongly that friendship is something they still deserve, though it feels less like something they actually want, and more like something they believe they’re owed.”
And of the idea that “politics” shouldn’t interfere with that “friendship” they demand of us — that is, of those of us who belong, at least for the moment, to the in-group (generally white people with certain status markers like property and heterosexuality) and thus haven’t yet been written off — Moxon says this:
One thing that occurs to me is that the act of being mutually friendly despite political views is the main way that a conservative (that is, a supremacist) can signal to somebody on “the left” that they are one of the good ones who deserve to live, despite their ongoing disagreement about the way the world is. It occurs to me that if somebody rejects that overture, a supremacist might conclude the rejection means what it would mean the same thing that it would mean it were coming from them — that is, a declaration that in the eyes of the rejector they have not earned life — because they apparently cannot imagine a person who is willing to die for their political beliefs who is not also far more willing to kill over them.
There’s more, plenty more. Read it and spread it around.
Moxon’s inspiration in this case is Laura Ann Carleton, the San Bernardino, California shopkeeper who was murdered by an anti-LGBTQ psycho (and devout Christian) because she kept a Pride flag up at her store despite the slurs he screamed at her about it. Maybe he wouldn’t have murdered her if she’d taken it down, which would have been the “friendly” thing to do.
The folks who were murdered in Jacksonville, Florida last weekend had no such opportunity, since they were black and the shooter was a Nazi who wanted to shoot black people. Seems he had planned to shoot up a black school but, denied admittance, went to the local Dollar General and found black people to shoot there. The cops hint that the “manifesto” he left behind makes his mission even clearer than the swastikas he painted on his gun.
CNN’s Dana Bash later brought this up to Vivek Ramaswamy, the Venture Capital Haircut Candidate trying to out-Trump Trump in the GOP Presidential race, and if she thought Ramaswamy’s dark skin would make him more sensitive to the screamingly obvious racism of the assailant, she was cruelly disabused as Ramaswamy blamed people who acknowledged racism, and affirmative action, for making the shooter mad:
The reality is we've created such a racialized culture in this country in the last several years so that, right as the last few embers of racism were burning out, we have a culture in this country largely created by the media and establishment and universities and politicians that throws kerosine on that racism. And I can think of no better way to fuel racism in this country than to take something away from other people on the basis of their skin color. I’ve been saying that for years. I thinking that is driving, sadly, a new wave of anti-black and anti-Hispanic racism.
From The Messenger:
Bash pivoted to a recent comment made by Ramaswamy at a campaign event where he said he has not been confronted by a white supremacist and joked perhaps he'd run into a unicorn first.
Asked what the families of the victims of the Jacksonville shooting would say to that comment, Ramaswamy pushed back, saying he would not want to "politicize" those victims.
Because why would we let politics get in the way of the understanding that we all should have — we who have either been born into the in-group, or have bought our way in?
Later in the weekend I found a nest of guys on Twitter talking about race treason (“A lot of otherwise inexplicable trends in the USA make sense when you realize that wealthy liberal whites - just statistically - almost hate other white people.” The “statistics” are never offered, though). The responses are pretty much what you’d expect; while some are especially loony (“This is searingly evident in Aaron Sorkin’s version of To Kill a Mockingbird, which stops just short of saying there are some whites so irredeemable we should just put bullets in their heads”), all the respondents — well, the friendly ones — agree with the basic contention that for white people not to be friends with one another is absurd and unnatural because, well, you know.
These people are no more embarrassed to make these statements right after an obviously racist mass murder than Ramaswamy, because the important thing is to eschew politics and promote friendship — on the extremely limited, indeed suffocating, terms that Moxon calls out in his essay. Like I said, spread it around.
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