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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The Donkey in the Room

We continue to haggle over the Russian hacking of last year's presidential election. By that we do not mean that the Russians hacked into the voting system and modified the actual votes cast or any such thing. Not at all. No such allegation. The "hacking of the election" refers instead to an apparent work by Russians to hack into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and obtain nearly 20,000 emails including some 891 documents and 175 spreadsheets giving information about what the DNC was up to. They released that information through WikiLeaks ... and "the crowd went wild".

What did the hack reveal? It revealed efforts by the DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to scuttle Bernie Sanders' campaign and forward Hillary Clinton's. She was forced to resign. There were racist comments, efforts to release false information about Trump, attempts to manipulate the media, efforts toward manufacturing fake protests against the RNC, assaults on Sanders' religion (a Jewish atheist, apparently), collusion with the media (where, for instance, a Politico writer cleared his stories with the DNC before he sent them to his editor), that kind of stuff. It's all pretty seedy although, perhaps, not particular surprising. I mean, it seems like this would be "business as usual" for a lot of campaigns, except, of course, for the "let's shoot down this candidate of ours for that one" thing. That one kind of makes the "Democrats" and "democracy" as distant relations.

Well, of course, none of this will fly. We will not have some foreign government muddling about in our elections. We will find out who did the hack and for whom even if we have to make it up. Heads will roll ... and with any luck, it will be the president's head first ... even though so far no facts have suggested any connection between President Trump himself and the Russians.

Perhaps the Russians did do it. In fact, they apparently hacked the RNC as well. No one is in a snit over that. So everyone is in an uproar over the Russians "hacking our election" by which we mean "the Russians illegally obtained information that made the DNC look bad." I mean, you all know that "interfering with elections" is the norm, right? Government authorities comment all the time about elections in other countries. "We want this guy elected; we don't want that one." "Hey, don't vote for Brexit; it won't do the rest of us any good." That kind of thing. Public figures not part of the election process urging voters to vote the way the public figures want them to -- normal. So it was the releasing of "private information" that was upsetting and we're going to have to hurt someone over that.

Here's the thing that really nags at me, though. While I understand that we're upset that a foreign government illegally obtained and released private information, it appears that the complaint is that they did it and not that the information was false. We are more upset that the information was released; no one is denying that the information is true. "They told everyone" is more upsetting than "The DNC is evil and underhanded in its dealings with its own people and with us." Racist, sexist, even "homophobic" comments from the DNC are not an issue; they're only relevant to the public if they're from the RNC, apparently. So, completely ignoring the elephant in the room (or would it be the donkey?), we are so focused on "those bad Russians" and, obviously, the Republicans that obtained their help (which, again, hasn't been shown) that we're ignoring the facts that no one is refuting. We are so ignoring those facts that it will likely arrive at the point that we will deny them entirely before this is over and focus solely on the messenger, not the message.

We live in an age when "I decide what gender I am and you have no right to use science or anything else to disagree" right alongside "I decide which race you are and you must submit to science or whatever else I choose to use." We live in an age when words don't mean much anymore. They only mean what we decide they mean at the moment we decide and don't you dare conclude otherwise. We live in an age where "fake news" is bad when it's news we don't like and good when it's news we like but never simply bad because it's fake. So why would I be surprised that the country in general and the DNC in particular would ignore the facts that the Democratic National Committee is underhanded and devious and not to be trusted while demanding justice for currently unsubstantiated accusations of Russian hacking and the Republican party? I shouldn't. Doesn't mean I'm not disappointed, though. I'd prefer a world where truth and reason ruled rather than what we have now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Late last year Democrat chairwoman Donna Brazile got caught doing something underhanded in connection with CNN and presidential debates. Over the years she and James Carville managed to turn me off with their constant efforts to divide this country. Yet I've known some people who idolize those two.