"Silence from the right on James Comey's race talk" -- Jonathan Capehart wonders why our top G-man was merely "ignored" rather than "trivialized"
FBI Director James Comey at Georgetown Thursday
In his column today, "Silence from the right on James Comey's race talk," the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart raises a fascinating point in the aftermath of the hard-hitting speech given by FBI Director James Comey on the subject of race and law enforcement Thursday at Georgetown University: Why, instead of cranking up the Right-Wing Noise Machine, has it been greeted with stony silence from the Right?
As Jonathan points out, what Director Comey had to say wasn't all that different from what a number of other public figures have occasionally had to say about the problematic relationship between law enforcement and people of color, and usually the Right-Wing Noise Machine rises up in holy wrath and unleashes a cacaphony of defamatory lies at deafening volume. And so, Jonathan says,
I thought for sure hellfire would rain down upon him from the right. After all, in tone and word, he echoed the sentiments expressed by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder on the same topic. Yet instead of being accused of having blood on his hands or labeled a race-baiter, Comey and his “hard truths” have been met with silence.This, Jonathan says, was "strong stuff" which Director Comey delivered to his Georgetown audience.
The four “hard truths” articulated by Comey were tough on police. “Much of our history is not pretty,” he said as he acknowledged law enforcement’s role in maintaining the status quo against “disfavored groups.” He talked about the unconscious bias that grips many in law enforcement. He discussed the “different flavors of cynicism” that cops “work hard to resist.” And he talked about the staggering problems facing many young men and boys of color that become part of officers’ “life experience.” In addition, Comey called on police to “better understand the people we serve and protect — by trying to know, deep in our gut, what it feels like to be a law-abiding young black man walking on the street and encountering law enforcement.”"And yet," Jonathan says, "those easily irritated folks on the right who slammed Obama and Holder for saying similar things over the past six months have been rendered mute."
No doubt it is because the new messenger is a white, 54-year-old Republican son of Irish immigrants and grandson of a police chief. What’s disturbing is that they willingly ignore Comey’s entreaties while trivializing the same from the president and the attorney general.And Jonathan recalls the venom poured forth by the likes of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani:
We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president, that everybody should hate the police, I don’t care how you want to describe it, and that is what those protests are all about. The protests are being embraced. The protests are being encouraged. The protests — even the ones that don’t lead to violence — and a lot of them lead to violence, all lead to a conclusion: the police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.No, Rudy, what's wrong is this tissue of lies you've invented in your malfunctioning brain. It earned you four Pinocchios from the Washington Post's fact-checker.
Of course Rudy is very nearly the last person any person of minimal sense and decency should be listening to on -- well, just about anything. In reality, a locale Rudy G knows only as an outsider with his grotesque mug pressed up against the perimeter glass, it might take a team of experts in psychopathology and mental dysfunction and goodness knows what other areas of brain disorder to figure out whether Rudy is too mentally defective to know better or just a big fat liar. But since his career is based on a giant lie -- that he is a mentally functional human being, a persona he is able to mimic only when he can play the role of punishing authoritarian avenger -- it's not surprising that everything about his existence is a lie, or that everything that comes out of his toxic mouth is delusional.
Or there's giant waste of protoplasm that calls itself George Pataki. Or rather, calls itself Governor Pataki -- aka "@GovernorPataki" -- more than eight years after slithering out of the governorship of the Empire State.
Which brings us to the out-of-control diseased opportunist who heads New York City's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, the deviant who, fueled by his sleazy, cynical opportunism, propagated the appalling lie that Mayor Bill de Blasio "has blood on his hands" from the murder of two cops, having nothing to do with the mayor. In Lynch's degenerate world of delusion, anyone who suggests that cops are accountable to anyone except themselves for anything at all is a "cop hater." The shame is the NYC's good cops allow themselves to be represented by this diseased pile of puke, apparently not understanding that the act of supporting him makes them part of the party of cop-garbage -- disgraces to their badges and themselves.
If pondscum like Rudy, "Wacky Pataki" (as David Letterman dubbed him when he was first elected governor), and this good-cop-hating scumbag Lynch had any interest in reality or the real problems of law enforcement, they would be aware that, as Jonathan Capehart puts it, "What Obama and Holder did during those tumultuous months was strike a necessary balance between the fundamental right to protest and support for the men and women who ensure that this right is exercised freely and lawfully."
But the president and the attorney general, who regularly reminds listeners that his brother is a retired police officer, were not shy about placing a critical focus on the excesses of police, as they did after the Aug. 14 flare-up in Ferguson, Mo."With his Georgetown address," Jonathan says, "Comey pushed our ongoing national conversation on race farther along."
Obama and Holder also were not shy about expressing their innate understanding of the anger and frustration that have sown mistrust between many African Americans and law enforcement. And they did so as a way to guide a larger and much-needed conversation about that relationship.
If only Giuliani, Pataki and others were as interested in engaging in this part of the dialogue as they are in delivering destructive monologues about how the commander in chief and the nation’s chief law enforcement officer hate the police.Which still leaves that fascinating difference Jonathan began by noting between the right-wing response to Obama, Holder, and de Blasio on the one hand and Comey on the other. In the end, it turns out not to make much substantive difference. If it's any consolation to Jonathan, I can pretty well guarantee that if there were any indication that Director Comey's presentation was being taken seriously, he would find himself at the business end of the Right-Wing Noise Machine.
Oh, in the case of the African-American federal officials and the self-avowedly progressive white mayor, they do double-dip: not just trashing their talk but demeaning their humanity. Whereas Comey gets just the single dip of having his carefully chosen thoughts stonewalled.
Either way, "ignoring" or "trivializing," the right-wingers seem to me to be acting out a phenomenon nicely described in a piece on the phenomenon of vaccination denial called 'There's No Way Out of It" in the March 5 issue of the New York Review of Books, where author Jerome Groopman quotes Eula Biss, author of On Immunity: An Inoculation, one of the books included in the discussion:
[A]s with other strongly held beliefs, our fears are dear to us. When we encounter information that contradicts our beliefs,…we tend to doubt the information, not ourselves.