On Racial Issues, Can The Left Take Good News?
Some people do not know how to take a loss. How one “takes the L” determines whether they are a serious person or an unserious one. Nobody takes a lost causer seriously. But, some people also do not know how to take a win.
Earlier this week, NASCAR, and the entire country, was horrified to learn that the sport’s lone black driver, Bubba Wallace, was targeted by someone who put a noose in his garage. The event came not long after NASCAR announced it was banning the Confederate flag, at Wallace’s insistence, from its events and for some it was seen as proof that NASCAR, despite the emotional displays of unity and solidarity with Wallace, has a culture problem.
An FBI and NASCAR investigation would later find that the noose in question was a simple rope that could be used to close a garage door and that it had been in place since 2019 and that whoever originally tied it could have no way of knowing that Wallace would be present there a year later.
This is good news. If I have to explain why it is a good thing that a hate crime was not committed, then you probably need to spend less time on the internet.
Responding to Twitter criticism that she peddled fake news, Jemele Hill of The Atlantic and formerly of ESPN, tweeted:
That’s not what the statement says, it says “fashioned like a noose” which is different than “was a noose.”
The proper response should have been to say that she made a judgement based on the facts available to her at the time, that this is not fake news (fake news would be if there was a noose, but somebody put it there not as a hate crime, but to “raise awareness” or as part of a vile get rich quick scheme), but that it is a good thing there was no hate crime and that in the future she will not rush to judgement on similar controversies.
She was not alone. Al Sharpton told Morning Joe, “It’s clear what a noose represents… I do not think that we’ve seen closure in this particular inquiry.”
Stories are great for narrative building. An emotional story with a bad guy (the noose tier) and a victim (Wallace) are much better to build political support for your cause than a series of charts produced in Excel. But, nobody likes being told that they are wrong and if the premise for your story was false, people may start to view your larger theory as false.
The problem for Hill and others like her is that when you present evidence that they are wrong, that evidence is solely good news. If the number of unarmed black Americans that die at the hands of law enforcement is lower than widely perceived and is on a downward trend, that is good news. If people who consider themselves to generally be pro-cop or for law and order are willing to consider things banning certain apprehension methods, qualified immunity, and union protections, that is a good thing.
So, why did Nancy Pelosi accuse Republicans of “trying to get away with murder” of George Floyd? Why did Democrats on Wednesday vote to block the Senate Republicans’ police reform bill?
We conservatives are concerned about issues of federalism (your super duper serious police reform bill won’t do you any good if it’s struck down as unconstitutional), over-generalizations, and about people who are not cops being far too willing to engage in armchair and Monday morning quarterbacking in controversies that are often not so simple.
Yet, most of us have been willing to talk about what could be done to address the concerns of the protesters and to engage in a topic that which the left might consider to be their issue.
You would think that Democrats would be happy about this. Even law and order conservatives are willing to talk with us. They’ll do their bill in the Senate, we’ll do ours in the House and then we’ll iron out the differences like we do on countless other bills. But no, the left can not take a win. Senate Democrats won’t even debate the Republican bill, because if they did, they would be forced to acknowledge that we over here on the right side of the aisle aren’t a bunch of racist monsters that you need to be afraid of.
The question for the Democratic Party, and the American left more broadly, is do you want a legislative answer to things you care about? Do you only want one if you can take all the credit for it? Or do you simply want the campaign issue?