Can we just… not? Please? Stop it. Stop it, America!
The media works itself up into a frenzy over nothing all the time, but that impulse has mutated into something infectious to Tea Party Americans and I’m getting tired of it. People are freaking out over things that normal people in normal times speaking in normal tones would regard as “Oh, I see what happened here. I get it,” then move on.
Just two examples, in no particular order (with full disclosure I’m supporting Ted Cruz for President, just so everyone knows where I stand.):
- Dr. Carson’s “scholarship” offer from West Point. Everybody’s gone insane over the fact that one doesn’t get a “scholarship” from West Point. It’s free. (Well, nothing is “free” but you know what I mean.) It’s so obvious what happened here: young Ben Carson, top guy in his local ROTC in Detroit is told by some big brass, in essence, “If you want it, you got it.” Reporting from various news outlets and men his age tell us that the military was vigorously recruiting young men of color at that time, and the word “scholarship,” obviously, was used colloquially. I mean… C’mon… It was 4 or 5 decades ago! The sum & total of what happened is real and truthful. He was made to believe he could have gone if he wanted to. That is a fact. To get all hung up on the word choice (“scholarship”) or what month it happened (Carson said it was April or something but it turns out the brass’ schedule shows he was really in Detroit in May or some such thing)… I mean, give me a break. He could have gone. He didn’t. It happened. Shut-up.
- Trump’s recollection of American Muslims celebrating 9/11/2001. He says he saw “thousands.” This number, after a week of frenzy, appears to be the final sticking point. We began with “It never happened,” then “Somebody called the cops about it, but they don’t remember,” to “Here’s the police report about it, but nothing happened,” to multiple newspaper & broadcast reports from September 2001, that it did, in fact, happen, in “Patterson,” (New Jersey) and other places (Newsweek, CNN, Howard Stern, etc.). I remember it happening. How do I know I remember correctly? Because I remember being shocked and thinking “This is like the O.J. verdict.” It was like there was a whole ‘nother America out there completely foreign to me. I linked those images, the American Muslims celebrating 9/11 + Black Americans celebrating the O.J. verdict in my mind because they were both shocking to me; shocking examples that there were entire populations of my fellow Americans I truly did not understand and who regarded me with enmity.
So, in summary, like the Carson thing, it’s obvious what happened here: Trump conflated 14 year old memories of the overseas celebrations with the homeland celebrations and got “thousands,” but the sum and substance of what he said was materially, largely true. There are other examples, but those are the two loudest & most recent.
So shut-up, America. Put your big-boy pants on and calm the frig down. We’ve got bigger fish to fry.