Thursday, November 16, 2017

Al Franken, Roy Moore and the Dangers of Partisanship

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that my Republican friends were almost gleeful about the accusations leveled by a female talk show host against Senator Al Franken. Given all the negative reports about Alabama Republican Roy Moore, I'm sure they felt a sense of relief. Now, they could say "See? Your side does it too!!!"

But that's exactly what's wrong with the conversation up to this point. It's become a predictable exercise in tribalism: my guy couldn't possibly have done such a thing, but your guy is absolutely guilty.  Republicans want to re-litigate Bill Clinton, or point the finger at Al Franken.  Democrats want to demand a reckoning for Donald Trump or focus on the many sins of Roy Moore.  Too many folks on each side are certain that the other side is lying, or that the women speaking about what was done to them are not victims at all-- they're just frauds with partisan motives.

Unfortunately, lost in all of the partisan defenses of "our guy" is this fact:  a lot of powerful men, in politics and entertainment and even the clergy, have behaved in a disrespectful way towards women; and up to a couple of months ago, most have gotten away with it.  Many professions have been dominated by men who regarded women as intruders-- these guys wanted to run the company like their own boys club, and women were not welcome (or were grudgingly tolerated). Yes, women who were pretty and knew their place could get hired; but they could also be subjected to crude comments and rude behavior-- and nothing would be done to help them if they complained.

True story:  I worked at a radio station where the guys would go off to the conference room to watch porn.  True story:  I worked at another radio station where a drunken rock star grabbed my breast and laughed (he will remain nameless because he did apologize years later, after he got sober); unfortunately, the guys standing there watching also laughed... I didn't think it was so funny, but there was nothing I could do about it.  When I hear women telling similar stories, I don't think "Wow, they must be lying." I think "Wow, a lot of us really did endure the same things." 

I don't know (nor did I even think about) the political party of the music business executive who tried to force himself on me during what was supposed to a job interview. But I do know that even 40 years later, talking about it is painful.  Defending Roy Moore, a right-wing provocateur, Dinesh D'Souza, said on Twitter that any woman who still cries about something that happened forty years ago is performing (or lying). I was doing neither, Dinesh. I was reliving something I hadn't talked about in years, and remembering it was not pleasant.  Being as partisan as you are, I wouldn't expect you to understand.

But some things aren't partisan, or they shouldn't be.  Some things are wrong.  They're wrong if a Democrat does them, and they're wrong if a Republican does them.  They're wrong if the guy thought he was being funny, and they're wrong if the guy thought he was the boss and had a right to act this way.  We can ignore the women (or demonize and mock them), we can pretend everything is fine and someone from "our side" would never do such things; or we can think about ethics and values:  many folks claim they care about morality, but they make excuses for men who think fondling a woman without her permission is funny, as long as those men are in the right political party or working in the right position of power.

So, before everyone retreats to their corners, I hope folks, especially the skeptics and doubters, will recognize what is happening in this moment-- why are so many women, in all walks of life, deciding it's okay to tell their story?  And ask yourself honestly if your company, and your workplace, is a safe and welcoming place for female employees.  It's nearly the end of 2017, and too many of us have suffered in silence for far too long.  If some folks continue to see this as just a bunch of lies from women with partisan agendas, we'll still be having this conversation next year, and the year after that; and an important opportunity to create positive change will have passed us by one more time.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

So, I Got A Letter from the KKK

This has been a truly bizarre month.  Nearly everyone I encounter seems tense, short-tempered, in a perpetually dark mood.  Yes, there are moments of calm and moments of beauty, but then something sets people off and we're back to that same negative energy.  At first, I thought it was my imagination. But when I asked, a number of folks said they'd noticed it too.  So either we're all having a group delusion, or something is making people really, really irritable. I have a few theories about what could be causing it. Perhaps you have some theories too.

When I say it's been a bizarre month, consider this:  four days ago, I got a letter in the mail (yes, some people still send letters). It was addressed to the editor of the school newspaper at Lesley University, and right now, that's me. The sender included no return address, but it was post-marked from Tampa FL. (Since our newspaper is online, we have readers from almost everywhere.) I opened it, and got a surprise: it was on letterhead that read "The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan."

The writer, who signed off as "Loyal American Patriot," wanted me to know that the KKK is being treated unfairly, and they're not happy about it.  For example, said the writer, some people call the KKK a hate group.  But, be assured, they're not. "Nothing could be further from the truth. We follow the teachings of the Bible, and only wish to keep the white race pure, as God intended."

Dear readers, I used to teach Comparative Religion, and I used to be a chaplain.  The alleged purity of the white race (whatever that means) is not discussed in either the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) nor the Greek Scriptures (New Testament). Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jesus, the Apostles, none of them took a stand about white purity. Rather, they talked about helping the poor, feeding the hungry, living a life of ethics and compassion.  But in whatever bible the KKK reads, it evidently has a different set of instructions.

The letter went on to say the Klan has a new book that will tell me more about their views. They gave me a chance to get the book and have a student review it for the school newspaper.  (Sad to say, there is credible evidence that the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and other White Nationalist groups are actively recruiting on college campuses.)  After I got over the initial shock of receiving mail from the Klan, which I must admit has never happened before, I talked about it with my journalism students and decided there was no benefit to sending for, or reviewing, their book.  I pretty much know what the Klan believes, and I see no point in giving them free publicity-- even if we trash it, we're still giving them publicity. Frankly, I'd rather not.

In such a bizarre month, so filled with vague uneasiness and tension, I guess a letter from the KKK is just one more example of how crazy life has become.  It certainly seems that more haters are feeling emboldened-- they see an opportunity to get their message out, via rallies, or via social media, or via old-school snail mail.  I don't like any of this:  when I saw the Neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, part of me thought they looked silly, but part of me feared for my country.  Seeing folks marching with swastikas also brought back some very unpleasant memories.

I'm noticing over and over how easy it is to stir up anger and animosity, especially online; these days, even folks who aren't haters seem ready to argue at a moment's notice.  As for me, I filed the KKK letter in the appropriate file.  But I found myself unable to forget about it. No, I don't think my students will be joining the KKK any time soon; but the fact that this group and others like them believe now is a great time to recruit is profoundly disappointing... and it should worry us all.   

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Culture of Hypocrisy, Harvey Weinstein Edition

There's a line in a Rush song ("A Farewell to Kings") that says, "the hypocrites are slandering/ the sacred halls of truth," and it's come to mind a number of times in the past several weeks.  I've never been fond of hypocrisy:  if you're going to complain about others who do X, you shouldn't be doing X yourself.  I was very impressed with my father, for example-- he quit smoking (not an easy thing for him to do) so that he could set a good example for his kids, and not be a hypocrite when he told us not to smoke.

This has been quite a week for hypocrisy, and I could give so many examples.  But let me focus on one: all the guys in the entertainment industry who are now shocked, shocked about (former) movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.  They can't distance themselves from him fast enough.  Yet many of these same guys were just fine about going to his parties, and taking his donations for their pet causes.  And before some of my readers get all self-righteous about Harvey being a Democrat, how about all the guys who defended and applauded Republicans like Roger Ailes, or made excuses for Bill O'Reilly?  Republican politicians and celebrities are every bit as guilty as Democrats when it comes to power: they will hang around with anyone who can help them to advance their career or provide some favorable publicity.

But the issue of sexual harassment has never really been about politics, although some folks seem eager to turn it into "my side good/your side bad." And I also don't want this blog post to seem like a rant against guys in general (nor even guys in the media). I spent nearly four decades in broadcasting, and I met some amazing guys, who were wonderful to me.  But on the other hand, there are some guys who should have been called out long ago, and they never were.  It's an open secret that many powerful men have long been able to get away with treating women shamefully; and what helps it to keep recurring is the colleagues who look the other way, or the boards of directors who don't care about sexual harassment as long as the profits keep rolling in.  But when one of them gets caught, instead of addressing the issue, it's treated as an isolated incident with one guy who behaved badly.  The wagons get circled, excuses get made, perhaps the guy in question is fired.  But the culture that made it all possible continues, and the hypocrites who benefited from it go back to living their lives.

The victims have no such luxury however.  When it happened to me in the mid-1970s, the advice I got from the men who knew him was to keep quiet and accept the fact that "this is how some guys are."  But none of his male colleagues seemed surprised and none condemned his behavior; I was told that I alone had to adapt.  It took a while before I stopped being angry, and I never entirely got over the feeling of helplessness. (If you've been through it, that's the worst part-- you know what happened, you know who did it, you know he'll probably do it again, and nobody in his circle of friends and colleagues is willing to do anything about it.)

And here we are in 2017, and it seems not much has changed:  women who were harassed are still asked why they didn't come forward sooner.  In many cases, the reason is self-preservation, a reaction to a system where the cards are stacked against you.  If you complain, you're branded as a trouble-maker and nobody will hire you.  If you come forward in a public way, you're often accused of lying, or blamed for what took place (as if harassment or sexual assault is somehow your fault, not his).  It's no wonder many women keep quiet. So, now Harvey Weinstein will be driven out, as Roger Ailes was. But I fear that we still won't see an end to the culture that allows such men to have so much power over women's lives.  And I fear that those who enable these men will now decide their work is done. They'll return to doing what they've always done: looking away, or pretending it doesn't happen... until the next time...      

Saturday, September 30, 2017

You Don't Have to be Jewish to Learn Something from Yom Kippur

First, my thanks to the more than 13,300 folks who read my most recent blog post. I've never had that many readers, even when I've blogged about Rush on other occasions. And I do understand that I get the most readers when I blog about Rush.  But while I love the guys and always will, there are also some other topics that interest me.  Today, I was thinking about the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), perhaps the most serious day in the Jewish religion, and one of the most widely observed.  But this isn't just a post about religion.  It's also a post about spending 24 hours without media.

Yom Kippur is a day when many Jews (even some who aren't particularly observant) refrain from eating for 24 hours; they also go to synagogue, study the sacred texts, and ask God to pardon them for the wrongs they've done in the previous year. And they also turn off their devices.  No smartphones, no tablets, no internet, and of course, no social media. That may sound horribly boring, but in actuality, it can be a very spiritual experience, and one that I recommend.  Instead of having Twitter fights over the latest silly thing that [insert name of politician here] just said; instead of posting a photo of your adorable kid (or your pet, or your new tattoo, or the amazing restaurant you just went to), you get to spend 24 hours being anonymous to the outside world, without any need for an online persona, without any need to find the right meme, or locate some arcane fact on Google.

A day without media (and especially social media) gives you a chance to humble yourself, and to appreciate what's all around you, including the everyday stuff we often take for granted. Weather permitting, you can take a walk and look at the sky or watch the birds. Since you don't have to be anywhere for a while, you can read a book, or just sit and talk with someone-- texting is not allowed, so it's an opportunity for face-to-face communication, which is often a lost art these days.  And speaking of lost arts, you can also take the time to listen--  it's amazing what you can learn just from listening.     

I used some of the time to think about forgiveness-- one of the most difficult things in life (and I admit this affects me) is letting go of being angry at certain people. On Yom Kippur, we ask for God's forgiveness, but we also have to agree to do some forgiving of our own.  We have to apologize to those we spoke harshly to, those to whom we were unkind.  I thought a lot about that: we've all had our share of petty disputes over the past year, both online and in person. Holding onto those negative emotions doesn't really solve anything, and yet so many of us still do it.  Today was a good day to agree to forgive, to agree to start over.  That was a promise I made, and I will do my best to keep it.

It was also a good day to think about gratitude-- in the high-stress, busy life most of us lead, we don't spend much time being grateful. Instead, we're tend to focus on what's going wrong:  we're upset that someone cut us off in traffic or [insert name of politician again] has just said something outrageous, or we hate our boss, or we wish everything wasn't so expensive.  Maybe we find some escape in our favorite music, or our favorite TV show, or the latest YouTube video of a dancing cat, but we don't always take the time to think about what's good in our life, rather than being irritated by what's bad.  So, I spent some time thinking about gratitude, and I probably should do that more often.

One of the things I'm grateful for is being alive. When you're a cancer survivor, as I am, it's no joke to say that every day, and ever year, is a gift.  So, I'm grateful I've made it through another year on the Jewish calendar, and hopefully, I'll still be here when the secular calendar changes to 2018.  I'm also grateful I was able to write these words-- we can all debate what freedom of speech means, but it's nice to live in a country where expressing ourselves doesn't usually result in being thrown in jail. I'm grateful to have a husband who appreciates my good points, while forgiving my faults; and I'm grateful that people, be they Rush fans or not, think my words are worth reading.

So, that's what I learned on Yom Kippur:  24 hours without food isn't as daunting as it sounds (I do it every year, and while it's sometimes a challenge, I keep thinking about people in other parts of the world who have no choice in the matter, and it puts everything in perspective). Similarly, 24 hours without media isn't so bad either-- making the time to turn off all the noise can be very fulfilling, both spiritually and otherwise.  Reading a good book, whether about religion or any other topic, is also very fulfilling.  And making time to forgive, and time be grateful-- that's worth doing on a religious holiday or any other time.  Thank you again to those who read my blog, and whether it's to find out Rush news or to engage in discussions with me about politics or media or whatever, I appreciate the opportunity; and I appreciate all of you.     

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Finding Our Way

Yesterday was Neil Peart's birthday.  For those who are not Rush fans, Neil spent more than four decades as their drummer.  He was an amazing and talented musician, and I don't say that as just some fan-- his own peers in the music industry have spoken with great admiration about his skill.  He was also a respected songwriter, who helped Rush to go from being just another bar band in Toronto to becoming a well-known rock band with millions of loyal fans all over the world, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well.

Drumming was a large part of Neil's identity, and he took great pride in it; he studied the work of other drummers, past and present, and he always gave 100% every time he performed.  If you ever saw Rush in concert, you know that few bands put on a more dynamic and energetic performance-- no opening act, just Alex, Geddy, and Neil, onstage doing what they loved, entertaining their fans.

And then, one day in late 2015, it all came to an end.  Yes, bands break up, but it's usually due to animosity among the members. That was not the case here-- the guys were friends and they remain so to this day.  But Neil announced he would no longer tour, and in fact he was retiring. One major factor in his decision was health:  he had severe tendonitis, and drumming was just aggravating it over and over again.  Another factor was his desire to spend more time with his wife and their little daughter.  As he told Drumhead magazine, he accepted the fact that it was time to "take [himself] out of the game."

At a certain point in life, many of us have to reinvent ourselves, or see what the next thing is for us.  Sometimes, it's voluntary-- some folks hate their job, even if it pays well, and they're eager to make a change.  But for others, it's a difficult decision-- they love what they have been doing, but they realize they cannot continue on with it.  Athletes often confront this dilemma:  as they get older and their skills begin to diminish, they gradually have to accept that it's time to retire.  Veteran politicians also encounter this same problem:  they may have served for years, but now they must agree to step aside and let the next generation onto the stage.  If you've ever been in the situation of wanting to stay but knowing it's time to go, it's not an easy place to be.  

I know it well.  In my own life, I had to accept the fact that the broadcasting industry had changed and my skill set was no longer in demand; the most difficult decision I ever made was deciding to go back to school and study for my PhD so that I could become a professor.  I miss radio every day, but there were no jobs, and it was time for some other way to make a living.  I'm fine about being a professor, but I can't deny I wish I could have stayed in broadcasting.  I imagine many athletes and politicians know exactly how I feel, since they too wish they didn't have to walk away from what they loved.

But Neil doesn't seem to fit into any of those categories-- he wasn't unhappy playing drums for a living (in fact he was devoted to it); his skills were not diminishing (although he was increasingly in pain each time he played); and he probably could have continued on for a while longer, if that's what he wanted to do.  But he knew it was time, and he wanted to leave on his own terms.  And so he did.  I would be lying if I said I've talked with him recently, but I do know several friends of his, and I am told he is very happy with his decision.  He and Alex and Geddy still keep in touch, but by all accounts, he has no regrets about being a "retired drummer."  Fans desperately want him to return to drumming (and return to Rush) but that is not what he wants, nor what's best for his health.  It's a wise person who understands when it's time for a change.  And whether the change is voluntary or not, it's a wise person who embraces whatever the next phase in their life happens to be.  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Why Everyone Should Fact-Check, LeeLifeson Edition

This past week, as any Rush fan knows, a rock music website published an article containing some quotes from podcaster Eddie Trunk, who asserted that Alex and Geddy would soon form a band that could possibly be called LeeLifeson.  I'm still in contact with the guys in Rush, and I had heard nothing about this; but I'm also someone who does fact-checking for a living. The article contained several red flags for me-- most notably that neither Alex nor Geddy had confirmed Mr. Trunk's speculations.  I was always taught during my journalism days never to assume ("When you assume, you make an Ass out of U and Me," as the old saying goes); while Mr. Trunk had every right to guess what Alex and Geddy might be doing in the future, the article gave the impression that he knew for certain.  And that was enough for Rush fans, many of whom miss the band and would be delighted to see some kind of reunion.  

So, I did what any fact-checker would do:  I contacted Alex and asked him. (I tend to speak with him more often than I do Geddy, plus it was Alex's birthday and I wanted to get in touch anyway.)  I figured if a reunion was in the offing, he might know something about it.  However, as I suspected, he didn't... because there wasn't one.  Nor did he think there would be one at any time in the near future, given how busy both he and Geddy are with individual projects.  He and Geddy speak often, and they are often at the same events; but that doesn't mean they're auditioning drummers and preparing to go out on the road.  So, with his permission, I posted to the site that first had the article, and got them to update and correct the original piece.  Mr. Trunk also walked back his comments, which was greatly appreciated.  I've never met him, I don't think, and I'm sure he's a good person.  But he has certainly seen first-hand how easy it is for speculation to be taken as fact online.

And that is what really bothers me.  While this is a post about what happened with some untrue assertions about two beloved rock stars, I can point to hundreds of claims I've read online that don't have an ounce of truth in them, yet they get forwarded, re-tweeted, re-posted, turned into memes.  More troubling, they get widely believed.  I see these myths and rumors a lot on internet fan sites. ("Did you know that Geddy and Alex haven't spoken to Neil in two years???" Umm, NOT TRUE.  I have it on good authority that they speak to each other quite regularly.  But never mind...)  However, more often than that, I see these false claims on partisan political sites, where people who love Donald Trump and people who hate Donald Trump eagerly toss around unproved and unverified stories that make them feel better but do little to provide accurate information.

The internet can be a great blessing, as I've often stated.  It can put you in touch with people you might never otherwise be able to talk to. It can create world-wide communities where people with shared interests can share their views.  It can give you access to old newspapers and magazines and books, making historical research much easier for students, and for professors like me.  But it can also spread hate and bigotry and stereotypes at lightning speed.  It can be the source of misinformation and misunderstanding, and it can contribute to inaccurate perceptions of politicians, rock stars, celebrities, or ordinary people who made one foolish remark and are immediately shamed by folks who evidently have never made a mistake in their lives.

So, whether you read speculation about the members of Rush or speculation about Donald Trump or speculation about Barack Obama (please don't send me those memes about how Obama messed up Hurricane Katrina-- he wasn't president then... Bush was), consider the source.  Is it a partisan site that always hates on that person?  Is it a site where the writer has never really met the folks he or she is writing about?  Is it a site where fact-checking never occurs but lots of conspiratorial speculation does? (I was always taught that Correlation is NOT causation:  if two events happen at the same time, that doesn't mean one caused the other.  But in the online world, if X goes wrong and someone I never liked was there when it happened, then that person must have caused X. It's rarely true, but in the online world, that's a frequent tactic of certain websites.)

I know I've asked this before, but it seems rather timely this week:  before you forward an article from a fan site, see if it has actual quotes from the person being written about, and find out if what the author is claiming has been verified.  This is true for politics too:  before you send around that meme, find out if the person actually said it.  You may think it's fun to spread fake quotes or fake stories, but it can have some really unfortunate consequences.  Meanwhile, I am not good at predicting the future, so I don't know if Alex and Geddy will ever reunite.  I love them (and Neil too), and I wish them health and happiness.  But I must say that whether it's about rock and roll or whether it's about politics or whatever else, facts matter.  And I wish all the folks who enjoy spreading rumors would just... stop...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Learning the Wrong Lessons from History

As someone who is fascinated by history, I can understand why many white people in the south have felt passionate about preserving statues of Confederate figures like Stonewall Jackson or Robert E. Lee.  These are historical artifacts from a bygone time, and in their day, they were meant to honor how the south seceded from the Union and fought against what southerners called "northern aggression."  Today, our views are somewhat more nuanced: the generals may still have some fans among Civil War buffs, but most of us wish the war had never happened, and most of us are glad the Union was saved.  Today, the statues are a reminder of a difficult and contentious time in US history, and they reflect our changing attitudes about it.

Unfortunately, some southern cities placed the statues on the grounds of the state government or in a public park, which seemed to show support (or even nostalgia) for what the Confederate generals did.  Giving the statues such a prominent location may not have been a problem in the era of segregation; but it certainly sends the wrong message in 2017.  That said, it's not surprising there are traditionalists who get upset whenever there is a plan to move the statues to a museum (where they belong), or to tear them down (something that, as a historian, I oppose; I may not be fond of Confederate generals, but they were real people and we shouldn't pretend they never existed).

The people who show such reverence towards memories of the Confederacy (including the Confederate flag) often insist it has nothing to do with prejudice:  they simply believe they are honoring the history and heritage of the south. But what they are honoring means something very different to black southerners, who lack that same nostalgia for the era of slavery or segregation.  And in fairness, many southern whites (especially younger people) no longer feel positive about those old symbols either. Still, for a certain group of white southerners, some of whom identify as white nationalists (or white supremacists), the statues and the Confederate flag are something to celebrate.  And when the city of Charlottesville VA decided to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee and rename the park where it stood, some of these folks decided to take a stand.

On Friday night, a large group of angry protesters, many aligned with the Alt-Right, came to Charlottesville to express their outrage.  They carried torches (much like the Ku Klux Klan of years ago) and shouted neo-Nazi slogans.  They talked about "white genocide," and painted themselves as the true victims of discrimination. (Hint: they're really not.)  I believe in the First Amendment, and I do understand that even when protesters (on any side of the issues) are hostile or hateful, they have every right to express their views.  But I still found it disconcerting to see images of flaming torches, and to hear rhetoric from the era of Adolph Hitler.  Okay fine, it was only a few hundred white nationalists, but in my view, one is too many.  My father (of blessed memory) fought the Nazis in World War II; he would not be amused to see a resurgence of Nazi views here in America.

It got worse on Saturday, as the white nationalists held a "Unite the Right" rally, with more neo-Nazi and white power chants and more outrage; accompanying them were some members of all-white militias, carrying weapons.  They were met by counter-protesters, most of whom came from churches or local social service groups and held peaceful vigils; and a few of whom came from more activist groups and clashed with the white nationalists.  Meanwhile, some of the white nationalists were very vocal in their praise of President Trump; some gave Nazi-like salutes and said "Heil Trump," while the ever-present David Duke, former head of the KKK, basically reminded everyone that Mr. Trump was their inspiration, and it was time for white people to take their country back (I had no idea they'd lost it). In the midst of it all, a car intentionally slammed into the counter-protesters-- the people who were hit had been peacefully expressing their opposition to what the white nationalists were saying. One person was killed and at least nineteen were seriously injured.

I had hoped President Trump would forcefully condemn the white supremacists or speak out against neo-Nazi rhetoric.  He did not. He sent out a vague statement about how violence on "all sides" was wrong, as if the peaceful counter-protesters were as culpable as the folks carrying Confederate flags or banners with swastikas. He later read a statement about how we are all Americans and we should all get along.  I'm glad he said that; but given how quick he has been to specifically criticize Mexicans or Muslims or undocumented immigrants, I found it disappointing that he refused to criticize white supremacists or neo-Nazis.  Perhaps since they seem to be his supporters, he feels he shouldn't be too harsh.  But I wish he had been.

I know what some of my conservative friends are going to say:  "But what about ANTIFA? What about [pick some other example of alleged left-wing bad behavior]?"  Please, let's not go there. This is not the time for "whataboutism."  Some things are just wrong, no matter which side does them.  And in this case, the last thing I want to hear is folks defending the white nationalists or justifying their actions.  What they believe is contrary to what America is supposed to be about.  And while they have a right to hold those beliefs, we do not have to agree with them.  In fact, the last thing we need is tolerance for white supremacist or neo-Nazi views.  We tolerated them in the past, and it did not go well for us as a nation.  As I see it, Mr. Trump missed an opportunity to call these folks out, not with a vague statement, but by name and directly.  He should have told them they're doing more harm than good, and that he doesn't want their support.  But then again... what if he still does?