After writing my article yesterday and proclaiming the first debate to be a train-wreck that was of little consequence, I was astounded when I turned on the 10 o’clock news and heard the following:
“The moment that shocked the world: Donald Trump refuses to condemn white supremacy”
I had to turn off the TV in disgust. Out of all the things said in the debate, this is what they took from it? And did it really rock the world?
Let’s examine the “controversial” remarks in question.
Joe Biden then shouted "Proud Boys" when Trump asked for someone specific to condemn. He replied: "Proud Boys - stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what... Somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem."
Does that sound to you like a whole-hearted refusal to condemn white supremacy? It’s pretty clear to me that this, although far from a clear and concise denunciation that would have done his image the world of good, wasn’t him staying silent or weaselling out of answering, which is the way the media portrayed it. Was Trump telling a Far-right hate group to stand by for action when he refuses to leave office in November, like some modern-day SA?
As Chris Christie told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos,
“I didn’t read it that way, George, but listen, if you want to read it that way that’s your prerogative.”
I would go further and say that if you want to read it that way, you’re telling yourself a dystopian bedtime story that you’ve written to convince yourself that “Orange Man Bad, Old Man Good”. Over 100 continuous days of rioting in Portland. Downtown Austin, Seattle, Kenosha, etc. etc. all trashed. Who are the enemies of America who perpetrated this destruction? Was it by the Proud Boys? The KKK?
Ask yourself: Who is writing the narrative?
Even the Proud Boys, the so-called “Far-Right” group that Biden referred to, seemed to understand what Trump was saying. Read the following comments from Enrique Tarrio, the Cuban immigrant who is one of the leaders of the group:
"We've been called many names, but probably the most inaccurate name you can call us is white supremacists," he said.
"I'm a 'person of colour', I'm a brown person, I'm chairman of the organisation, I got voted in"
He also said: "I think it was a great moment that we were mentioned on stage... if we were recognised by anyone we were recognised by Biden."
Referring to the “Stand back, stand by” comments - "We've always done that - we did this in Portland - we stood back and stood by in Portland on the 26th, and we had a great event," he said. "And basically I think what he meant was let the police do their job - which we have."
Trump mentioned in comments after the debate, "They have to stand down. Let law enforcement do their work,"
Has his clarification been met with relief? Is everyone now content that the President actually doesn’t want the Proud Boys policing the streets? Are people glad that they misunderstood what he was saying? Please do not mistake this piece as a defence or endorsement of the Proud Boys - I am far from an expert on what they stand for and believe. However, other than a few reported scuffles, there is very little evidence that the Proud Boys are fomenting violence and unrest, yet a major presidential candidate chose to highlight them as the scourge of America.
Ask yourself again: Who is writing the narrative?
As a side note, I recommend that everyone reading this checks out Tim Pool on YouTube – one of the last truly fair liberal journalists active today- for outstanding coverage of the riots, the Proud Boys and Antifa.
This is far from the first time this has happened. I’m sure we all remember the press conference in the wake of the Charlottesville episode. Both the events on the ground, and the subsequent press conference were a disgrace to the nation for different reasons. In a lot of ways, that press conference was the proudest I had felt of the President, and I am certainly no Trump fan-boy. He confronted media bias head-on, and exposed the grandstanding of Acosta et. al. However, it led to one of the biggest media hoaxes perpetrated in recent years. And there are a lot to choose from. Enter, the “Very fine people” hoax.
The contentious statement in question on this occasion was Trump’s assertion that there were “very fine people on both sides”, despite the fact that the whole conference was centred on his condemnation of the racist displays of the night. This attempt to bring nuance to the debate was highly unpalatable to the outrage-mongers in attendance. How dare he not fall in line with the official version of events!
Perhaps the reason I resonated so much with this particular criticism of Trump is the fact that I had seen the event widely shared among benign conservative groups on Facebook in the weeks preceding the event. Therefore, I knew for a fact that there was a good chance that some, if not most, of the people in attendance were in fact fine people. I’m sure most of those people were equally disgusted at the white nationalist elements who hijacked the event.
This is a continually repeated pattern that we cannot afford to tolerate any longer. Why is any nuance that is brought to a situation immediately shut down, misrepresented and condemned?
Answering the question I’ve been asking throughout this article is a tough assignment, and each reader will need to spend time in reflection, meditation, prayer or whatever other practice they find helpful in order to decipher what is going on. As a Christian, I have no doubt that there are spiritual forces working to sow seeds of hatred, confusion and division in the world. No matter what your beliefs are, please take time to ask yourself this tough question:
Who is writing the narrative, and am I blindly following it?