Something I Missed …

I wrote about Tuesday night’s debate yesterday afternoon, and I don’t want to seem to be beleaguering the topic, but there was something I missed … something crucial, I think.  Due to having only about 10% of my hearing, I rely heavily on closed-captioning, but in live events such as the debates, the captioning is by necessity a few seconds behind and sometimes more.  This is why I rarely watch such events.  I thought I picked up on the key parts of the debate, but I missed the part where Trump said, “Proud boys, stand back and stand by.”  This morning, it was quickly brought to my attention, and even republicans are condemning Trump for this blatantly racist call for potential violence.

I would like to share with you this morning, Nicholas Kristof’s take on the implications of Trump’s statement, as well as a couple other observations.  Please take a few moments to read … I think this is very important.


Trump Calls on Extremists to ‘Stand By’

Instead of condemning violent groups, the president marshals them.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

President Trump didn’t hurt Joe Biden in Tuesday’s debate, but he badly damaged our country.

Trump harmed the United States in three ways, reminding us that the biggest threat to America comes not from desperate migrants, not from “socialists” seeking universal health care and not from “anarchists” in the streets — but from the White House itself.

The first way in which Trump damaged the country was in his salute to violent extremists.

“Are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists?” Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who moderated the debate, asked Trump. Trump initially dodged the question but finally asked petulantly, “Who do you want me to condemn?”

Biden suggested the Proud Boys, a militant group that is fervently pro-Trump.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump declared.

Stand by?

The Proud Boys, founded in 2016, are part of what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “a fascistic right-wing political bloc.” The Anti-Defamation League compares it to a gang. The Proud Boys’ founder once said, “I cannot recommend violence enough,” and its members have brandished guns, committed criminal assaults and engaged in rioting. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram have banned Proud Boys.

While the Proud Boys deny that they are white nationalists and the founder is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center for its descriptions of them, the group’s members identify as “Western chauvinist” and assert that “white men are not the problem.” They have longstanding links to racism, and a Proud Boy (since expelled) apparently was the organizer of the 2017 Charlottesville rally that drew neo-Nazis. An anti-Semitic podcast once estimated that if Proud Boys were pressed, “90 percent of them would tell you something along the lines of ‘Hitler was right. Gas the Jews.’”

The Proud Boys responded enthusiastically to Trump’s comments at Tuesday’s debate, celebrating them as “historic” and boasting that they were already bringing in new members.

“That’s my president,” declared the Proud Boys’ leader, Enrique Tarrio, adding, “Standing by, sir.” Some added “stand by” to the group’s logo.

After addressing the Proud Boys on Tuesday night, Trump added: “Somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem … this is a left-wing problem.”

Look, violence is a right-wing problem and a left-wing problem. A careful study by the Center for Strategic & International Studies concluded that “right-wing extremists perpetrated two-thirds of the attacks and plots in the United States in 2019.”

Biden quite properly has deplored leftist violence, but to me the biggest take away from the debate was that the president of the United States refused to condemn white supremacists and instead called on modern brownshirts to “stand by.” Under intense pressure on Wednesday, Trump claimed that he did not know who the Proud Boys were and urged them to “stand down”; disavowals of extremism never seem quite so sincere when they’re made only after public outrage.

The second way in which Trump damaged our country was by seeding further doubts about the election. He served as a mouthpiece for Russian-style propaganda about the illegitimacy of American democracy and laid the groundwork for postelection upheaval and violence. Here’s what Trump said:

“As far as the ballots are concerned, it’s a disaster …. This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen …. It’s a rigged election.”

I’ve seen postelection violence explode abroad like a volcanic eruption. In 2008 in Kenya, covering such violence, I met a man whose wife and children had been burned to death and a 16-year-old boy who had been tortured with a machete. A dazed woman arrived at the bus station with the head of her husband, decapitated by a mob; after a similar ordeal, a man showed up with his severed penis in a sock. All this had been unimaginable until an election dispute polarized society and unleashed enraged mobs on rival groups.

Americans should stand together to disavow Trump’s words and ensure we don’t ever go a step down that road.

Ominously, Trump said: “I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that’s what has to happen. I am urging them to do it.”

Trump refused to elaborate on what he meant. Was he calling on supporters to act as legal poll watchers? To disrupt voting? To engage in street violence? He was artfully ambiguous — but he managed both to undermine election integrity and increase the risk of mayhem.

That leads to the third way in which Trump wounded our nation: He made our country a laughingstock around the world. Trump claimed in 2016 that he would make Americans respected around the globe — but instead, we are pitied.

A Nigerian friend emailed me after the debate: “I regret to say that this is the most disgraceful public display by a leader of a developed country I have seen …. And this from the United States of Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan …? Good God. Sorry, Nick.”

If Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Al Qaeda worked together, I don’t know that they could damage the United States as deeply — unraveling our social fabric, destroying our norms, devastating our global image — as Trump has. And we still have two more presidential debates.

27 thoughts on “Something I Missed …

  1. from twitter, just to show how screwed up the left’s priorities are.
    “Of all the problems that our great nation faces: war, debt, the police state, the virus, the totalitarian lockdowns, the riots, where do you rank the Proud Boys? I’m thinking one or two. If we just solve the Proud boys problem the rest will fall into place.”

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  2. It’s a very sad state of affairs for our country, but the saddest is that he actually still has followers…some that you might have thought were decent Americans, that might be family or friends, aside from these outright dangerous hate groups. That’s the true harm…otherwise “normal”people gone rogue, conned, brainwashed ….falling into hate, racism, greed and selfishness

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Mary. I am more disheartened by the fact that his 40% rabid base continue to think he is wonderful. This is why I don’t think that just getting Trump out of office will resolve the problems …. the problems, I’m afraid, go far deeper than Trump.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. the best thing they can do going forward with these debates is just to dump the moterator and let the two of these clowns go at it. We all know that the moderators are not unbias, they favor the democrats, Chris Wallace didn’t call out Joe for telling Trump to “shut up, man” and if Trump had told Joe that very same thing, he would have been scolded like a schoolboy by the teacher and all of you know it. that’s just my opinion though.

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      • Here’s another thought on this whole debate topic from another friend of mine. see what you think of his position. it’s an interesting one.

        “Usually I don’t have a problem with the vast majority of people on my Friends list being pro audio folks and musicians, but today I do. Everyone is talking

        about how much more smoothly things would have gone if there had just been easy access to and proper usage of Mute buttons on the debate floor mixing console.

        I’m sorry, but I disagree with everyone on this. When you’re talking about a Presidential debate, even one with as much potential to turn into a mud wrestling

        match as this one, the last thing any professional engineer who ever wants to work again (anywhere other than a Federal penitentiary, that is) would want

        is to even have ACCESS to a Mute button, much less some showrunner’s directive to actually USE it. I’d quit first.

        If either candidate had been muted even once, even for only two seconds, the outcry of censorship and deliberate tampering would have overwhelmed everything

        else. Not worth it. Part of judging a debate, as any forensics student will tell you, is how the debaters handle themselves, and censorship “in the name

        of clarity” only muddies the waters.

        No. Leave the damn mics open all the damn time and let the audience hear every interruption, every insult, every attempt to make a point, every shouting

        match, every attempt to get back on topic… and see who’s responsible for which.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, he makes some good points here, but I still contend that the debate conducted in this fashion, with all the interjecting and talking over and crude insults is useless to We the People. We gain nothing of value, don’t learn a single thing about the candidates ideology or what he/she would do regarding important issues … we only get a taste of their temperament and while that may have some value, it’s not what we watch the debate for.

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          • I totally agree that the talking over each other doesn’t allow for the issues and positions on those issues to be clearly heard and understood.

            One reason I don’t watch the election coverage on networks like cnn is because there’s so much of that people talking over each other and it drives me crazy.

            I also read this and wouldn’t be surprised if it was true.

            .@United Airlines received $5 BILLION under the CARES Act, just laid off 32,000 employees, and still had the money to sponsor the @debates.

            That sounds pretty corrupt to me.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, you never disappoint! An excellent share indeed! This column by Nicholas Kristof arrived amidst my inbox late last evening. After having spent much of the morning engaged in laborious yardwork, which resulted in an aching old body, I did not read it until this morning and just knew that it would find its way to your blog! Kristof, as always, hits the nail on the head and this column proves that statement. The former allies of the USA look up to us…shake their heads, roll their eyes and laugh! Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, my dear friend! I was pretty sure you had already seen Kristof’s piece! I do hope your back and the rest of you have recovered from picking up tree limbs! Our former allies laughed for a while, but now they are gritting their teeth, trying to figure out how to protect their own people from the madman in the Oval.

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  5. Jill, the Proud Boys are using Trump’s words of endorsement as a campaign slogan for more members. As Janis said to my latest post on this (starting with a quote from former Republican Senator Rick Santorum), this was not a gaffe. This was his nature coming out. The post is called “The racist incumbent in the White House” and summarized his racist remarks. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey there gal. Like I truly never went away, just returning from ‘The Oakhostian’
    OK, so The Proud Boys. It was obvious Trump was going to invoke these. See Hitler and the Brownshirts.
    And why was I note surprised to read about the ‘debate’….Here we go the 1850s have been resurrected, the splitting of a nation along lines so raw and visceral that no one is talking to each other anymore.
    There is nothing new here folks. I’m just so damn sorry for you folk personally that it is happening in your lifetimes.
    Take good care of yourselves and those you love.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Roger Jacob!!! Just where have you been??? I’ve been worried sick, even emailed you, but no answer, so of course I began to imagine the worst! So … the Oakhostian … you were living in a tree house in an Oak tree? I’ve missed you!

      The Proud Boys are indeed today’s equivalent of Hitler’s Brownshirts. This nation is so divided now that there’s likely only one thing that could possibly re-unite us and I shudder to think about that one. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry Jill. The e-mail did not arrive, like anyhow. And ironically I was planning on e-mailing you to explain my absence.
        Freaky time. One laptop died, used a cranky old back up, finally got a new one after an adventure I found finally hilarious (but then I was in the UK Civil Service….)
        But above all, I really got in very deep with the re-write of my book, a real writing experience …wow heavy stuff….I’m loving it. (Oakhostian….the place where the action unfolds).
        Yeah those (bad words) don’t surprise me. Europe has been full of such types ever since….well nationalism broke out….Read enough and you start to think autocratic empires aren’t so bad after all.
        Basically what is needed in the USA at present is the political version of Darth Vader. Focused, without vanity, deadly to all foes, and not suffering any annoying disruptive creep (looking at you Alex Jones for an example). Those maybe harsh words, but your nation needs pulling together and those who would divide stamped out…there I said it.
        Oh by the way. Didja know if you don’t wear you might catch Covid? That seems to apply to folk who mock folk who wear masks too.
        Not that I’m pointing a finger of course……..cough Trump cough.
        I’ll try and attend more.

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