Borrowing a page from one of my favorite writers and historians, Victor Davis Hanson, I’ve opted to share this recent angry “letter to the editor” of the newspaper I write for, and my response. The writer of the letter has been triggered by last week’s “Charlottesville” piece. I wouldn’t normally post this sort of thing, but the writer betrays something of the totalitarian mindset lurking just beneath the surface of so many of the more animated social justice warriors.
The Angry Reader:
Craig Rullman’s column in the Nugget titled “Charlottesville” (The Nugget, August 15, page ) is a barely veiled, and completely wrong, claim of moral equivalency of white supremacists and counter protestors, more specifically those of the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement, during the recent demonstrations in Charlottesville.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in 2015, white supremacists accounted for 38 percent of all extremist killings, followed by Islamist, anti-government, and anti-abortion extremists. Left-wing extremism accounted for around 1 percent of all killings; so-called “black extremism” did not register.
We can accept the belief that black lives matter. We can accept the belief that white lives matter. Each of these statements is true by itself, and stating one by itself does not diminish nor negate the other. It is sad and telling that a group feels the need and compelled to state that their lives matter.
Rullman dismisses the media, as he has in the past, parroting Trump’s ridiculous accusations of “fake news”, as biased and misleading, but he says nothing about the media’s pursuit of the truth when presented with Donald Trump’s lies. The latest lie, Trump stated the counter protestors did not have permits to demonstrate, but they did have permits.
Rullman states there is no institutional racism in the United States, but we don’t have to look beyond the White House to see it, where Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka not only bring with them a history of racist rhetoric and acts, but who are currently stoking and inculcating racism in government, and the populace, with their opinions and policies.
If you claim to be an American, and that you love the United States, then you must be against those, and monuments to those, and the disgusting “heritage” embodied by those, who tried to destroy the United States, such as Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and you must be against those who now don’t believe in one of the United State’s most admired principles, that all people are created equal. Unfortunately, this principle is under growing attack, and Rullman has implicitly lended his support by his column.
Dear Angry Reader,
Your letter, like so much of the current atmosphere, is full of righteous “musts”. That’s unfortunate, a missed opportunity really, and I would submit that you risk painting yourself into a very tight moral corner when making such blanket demands of, and accusations toward, your fellow intelligent and free-thinking citizens.
I’m sorry that you insist on a belief that America is institutionally racist, apparently based on your vehement dislike of the current administration. Many millions of your fellow citizens, from all walks of life, would be rightly appalled to find themselves so condemned. You do honest people a terrible injustice with that approach, which can only serve to be divisive.
Notably, you do not condemn the many violent actors in Charlottesville where, in a scene reminiscent of Altona, in 1932, both brownshirts and communists, moral equivalents by any objective standard, met in the streets to do violence.
Naturally, you are entitled to believe that a statue of Robert E. Lee, or any memorial at all—one supposes—is subject to demolition during spasms of atonement.
There are, as I’m sure you know, motions currently afoot to defund the Jefferson Memorial for the same reasons. One can be forgiven for asking, then: if I refuse to disavow Thomas Jefferson, will I one day be lined up against a wall by the latest arbiters of truth? Must I be?
The world has seen that sort of thinking before.
You are factually wrong in your assertion that I “dismiss” the media. That isn’t nuanced enough. Rather, it’s that many of us recognize a growing trend toward hyperbolic news, which often devolves even further into hypothetical news, which isn’t really news at all.
A discerning adult must question the coverage bias of the information provider, and I certainly hope my column encourages readers to do so. Each day, it appears, there is less and less journalism and more and more political ideology masquerading as balanced reporting. That’s true across the spectrum. Unlike you, I’m often left unconvinced that our monolithic news organizations are, in fact, pursuing the truth over an agenda. I’m glad you don’t struggle with those notions.
In fact, I like the media so much, I wonder if you would join me in condemning the supposedly peaceful counter-protestors who brutally beat two journalists in Charlottesville after they refused to stop filming Antifa antics?
In the meantime, while you savage your neighbors with vile inference–whose only fault is testing some of your positions–I’ll stick with Alveda King, who said of Charlottesville: “I believe that if we pray, and we act like reasonable, thinking people, one blood, different skin colors, one human blood in America, we will get to the bottom of some of this. My uncle Martin Luther King said, ‘I decided to stick with love. Hate is too difficult a burden to bear.’ I agree with that.”
A rational, diplomatic, and well-reasoned response. Well done.
Thank you, fine sir. I’m striving for a journalism of the center, which is an interesting endeavor these days.
You’re welcome. That you are striving for journalism of any sort, as opposed to some type of propagandizing, puts you head and shoulders above the rest.
I truly think more folks these days have so much difficulty in finding the “true center” of media and information that it takes reading and viewing both extremes to formulate a reasoning anymore. We applaud your views and moral ground Mr. Rullman.
Thank you, Warfighters, for the support. It is much appreciated on this end.
I wish my last name was Gorka.
“Kill them all, God will know His own”
— The Abbot Of Citeaux,
Have we returned to advice from the 13th century?
I am afraid that unbiased or fair and balanced is a noble effort but is more like an exercise in trying to find the dead center of Yin and Yang blindfolded. Nobody bats a 1000 % but I believe you came close on this one Craig. The angry reader takes a unilateral position that possibly in a one-sided argument might make sense. That would be an argument against all the evils you delineated so comprehensively. One hand does not wash the other in this case. The old adage is true that two wrongs cannot make a right. However, the greatest evil must be struck down first. That is the greater evil that provoked it’s subsidiary’s.
I can somewhat compare this to your post about the water protectors and the trash they left behind. Like you I abhor trash and litter as well as people who don’t rack their shopping carts and leaves them scattered in your way. I cannot defend or prosecute a case against the water protectors as I have no idea of any extenuating circumstances or lack of for sure. I don’t compare it to the aftermath of a Grateful Dead concert though. Also plugging in electric instruments all the while plugging being “natural”. Why not go all acoustic you might say. Maybe you have to fight fire with fire to get it done. As for the water protectors, I do know they were inhabiting hostile territory in difficult circumstances. It was war afterall and who cleans up during a war in the militarized zone? I know you probably thought it hypocritical, but purity and safety of water over oil seems strikingly plain as to compared to litter, etc. (and I use and depend on oil on a daily basis). Is this a case for moral equivalency? I think not. We can think of myriad other examples involving oppressive circumstances. What first evil led to it’s minor by comparison reaction. I kind of felt you did not give them the benefit of a doubt. I understand though as I have taken that view on other hypocrisies with other subjects. I do feel you try to entertain opposing views in a thorough and thoughtful manner, but you no doubt have your own leanings in lifestyle choices which is quite understandable. I have to deal with situations daily that I find quite reprehensible. Hell is other people as Sartre said. I say there must be a lot of different Heavens because I know who I won’t want in mine. Each one to their own portal I always say. Well I hope this ties it all together somehow. One thing I can say for certain Craig is that you most certainly are not a knee jerk reactionary with a loaded agenda, but are like most of us just trying to navigate the madness and carve out a corner of sanity with purpose. As for me I am keeping busy driving the lines and taking notes between the lines…
— Saddle Tramp
Jammed in cheek to jowel at the Pilot in Tumwater, WA
That would be cheek to “jowl”.
And more precisely the terminology to apply in this case would be more like what is the immoral ratio as to who is the lesser or the greater of the two. If it is a case to be made for a true “immoral equivalency” the math gets even more difficult to calculate let alone avoiding subjectivity and emotional heat. This is what starts wars among other things. In both of the above cases I believe the one to apply is the ratio approach in a overwhelming way in my opinion. Ugly either way you slice it…
Good read thank you for sharing!
I just read your reply to “The Angry Reader” (I had originally missed it as I was caribou hunting), but I must say that I am totally shocked! I have never heard of a person being called a “moron” in such a polite and dignified manner. I am totally shocked. The “Angry Reader” was, in fact, a moron, but I thought that you handled the situation in a most diplomatic manner, in the highest tradition of the United States Marine Corps–“Be polite, be professional…..” I trust that your editor would agree with my assessment and certainly you deserve a doubling of your meager salary!
A Not Angry Reader
On Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 7:26 AM, The Bunkhouse Chronicle wrote:
> Craig Rullman posted: “Borrowing a page from one of my favorite writers > and historians, Victor Davis Hanson, I’ve opted to share this recent angry > “letter to the editor” of the newspaper I write for, and my response. The > writer of the letter has been triggered by last week’s “” >