A piece from New York Magazine’s Andrew Sullivan over the weekend ended with an old, well-worn trope: Asian-Americans, with their “solid two-parent family structures,” are a shining example of how to overcome discrimination. An essay that began by imagining why Democrats feel sorry for Hillary Clinton — and then detoured to President Trump’s policies — drifted to this troubling ending:
“Today, Asian-Americans are among the most prosperous, well-educated, and successful ethnic groups in America. What gives? It couldn’t possibly be that they maintained solid two-parent family structures, had social networks that looked after one another, placed enormous emphasis on education and hard work, and thereby turned false, negative stereotypes into true, positive ones, could it? It couldn’t be that all whites are not racists or that the American dream still lives?”
Sullivan’s piece, rife with generalizations about a group as vastly diverse as Asian-Americans, rightfully raised hackles. Not only inaccurate, his piece spreads the idea that Asian-Americans as a group are monolithic, even though parsing data by ethnicity reveals a host of disparities; for example, Bhutanese-Americans have far higher rates of poverty than other Asian populations, like Japanese-Americans. And at the root of Sullivan’s pernicious argument is the idea that black failure and Asian success cannot be explained by inequities and racism, and that they are one and the same; this allows a segment of white America to avoid any responsibility for addressing racism or the damage it continues to inflict.
“Sullivan’s comments showcase a classic and tenacious conservative strategy,” Janelle Wong, the director of Asian American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, said in an email. This strategy, she said, involves “1) ignoring the role that selective recruitment of highly educated Asian immigrants has played in Asian American success followed by 2) making a flawed comparison between Asian Americans and other groups, particularly Black Americans, to argue that racism, including more than two centuries of black enslavement, can be overcome by hard work and strong family values.”
The Clintons are about the pursuit of power by almost any constitutional means possible. There’s a lack of integrity to both of them. I’ve witnessed this first hand as the editor of The New Republic. Under my editorship– we actually championed the [Bill] Clinton candidacy. Sidney Blumenthal was my campaign correspondent in ‘92. And I saw it with Sidney, when I actually caught him faxing pieces to Hillary in advance of the publication, to check that he got every single ‘spin’ right. The Clintons are operators. They’re moneygrubbers. They’re liars. They’re at the center of a web of friends and colleagues– dedicated primarily to the advancement of each other. Even their most ardent supporters, many of them, have acknowledged this.
The Clintons have gotten ahead by always arguing “Whatever we do, however we behave, we are so much part of the greater good. And the Republicans are always so evil that anything we do is justified.” And that of course is how they have succeeded. Largely because every time the Republicans have opposed them–they’ve done so on despicable and overreaching grounds. I mean, impeaching a President the way they did, was such a grotesque overreach. The way they poured into Bill Clinton’s private life was just appalling. And I think the American people decided “No. If we have to pick between this charlatan, philanderer, liar or these fanatic Republicans, then I guess we’re going to have to put up with the Clintons.” And in some ways that’s the story of their entire career. Somehow they’ve managed to always play the lesser of two evils. Successfully–and in some cases, absolutely rightly.
Andrew Sullivan, on the Clintons as the “The Lesser Evil”
Monsters remain human beings. In fact, to reduce them to a subhuman level is to exonerate them of their acts of terrorism and mass murder — just as animals are not deemed morally responsible for killing. Insisting on the humanity of terrorists is, in fact, critical to maintaining their profound responsibility for the evil they commit.
And, if they are human, then they must necessarily not be treated in an inhuman fashion. You cannot lower the moral baseline of a terrorist to the subhuman without betraying a fundamental value.
The great conservative bugaboo, Obamacare, is also far more moderate than its critics have claimed…Yes, it crosses the Rubicon of universal access to private health care. But since federal law mandates that hospitals accept all emergency-room cases requiring treatment anyway, we already obey that socialist principle—but in the most inefficient way possible. Making 44 million current free-riders pay into the system is not fiscally reckless; it is fiscally prudent. It is, dare I say it, conservative…What liberals have never understood about Obama is that he practices a show-don’t-tell, long-game form of domestic politics. What matters to him is what he can get done, not what he can immediately take credit for. And so I railed against him for the better part of two years for dragging his feet on gay issues. But what he was doing was getting his Republican defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to move before he did. The man who made the case for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was, in the end, Adm. Mike Mullen.
Andrew Sullivan absolutely kills this. He defends Obama’s first term as remarkably prolific, moderate and true to principle. Hear, hear.
We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading, and several boys made comments such as, “That’s disgusting.” We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him. The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.“But,” I continued. “As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.” The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked. “So think about that the next time you hit on a girl. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to.”
Homophobia: The fear that another man will treat you like you treat women.
Trump’s lies are different. They are direct refutations of reality — and their propagation and repetition is about enforcing his power rather than wriggling out of a political conundrum. They are attacks on the very possibility of a reasoned discourse, the kind of bald-faced lies that authoritarians issue as a way to test loyalty and force their subjects into submission.
At some point reality becomes unavoidable, If you met someone in real life who speaks and acts the way Trump does, you would conclude there’s something very very wrong there. The recent interviews are unhinged babble.
It seems obvious to me we can’t maintain the pretense that Trump is a sane and balanced adult, however much we’d like to. He’s extremely damaged and therefore an imminent threat to all of us. I’m glad the media is bringing the analysis into line with the facts.