BRADLEY R. GITZ: We've got questions

Some news items that raise questions:

• According to Harvard's Arthur Brooks, "Only 22 percent of U.S. adults are on Twitter, and 80 percent of the tweets come from 10 percent of users. If you rely on Twitter for political information, you are being informed by ersatz pundits residing within 2.2 percent of the population."

Questions: If so many Americans never or hardly ever use Twitter, why do the media act as if it somehow reflects American public opinion, rather than just a tiny, radical fringe thereof? And wouldn't it be a useful step on behalf of more civility in our politics if even fewer people were spewing vitriol on it and the media ignored what was being spewed (granted, that's made harder when you have a Tweeter-in-Chief)?

• The National Education Association came out with a statement opposing "all attacks" (meaning any restrictions) on the "fundamental right" of abortion, thus adopting an extreme position shared by hardly anyone but Democratic presidential candidates.

Questions: What percentage of our nation's school teachers actually support the abortion position that their union has so blithely adopted? And for that matter, why would a teachers' union feel compelled to take a position on abortion either way? What does it remotely have to do with our public schools?

• Liberals demanded a boycott of Home Depot after one of its founders said he would donate to Trump's re-election campaign.

Questions: Just how many woke pajama boys have ever parked in the lumber pickup at Home Depot? Or can successfully install a toilet seat or even figure out one end of a hammer from the other?

• Nike shelved its shoes with the Betsy Ross flag because, according to some reports, the flag had been embraced by some white supremacist groups.

Questions: Doesn't such a reaction give the wingnuts among us vastly greater influence than their numbers justify, in effect allowing them to determine what symbols can and cannot be displayed? And what if they next adopt the Nike "swish" logo and begin wearing Nike shoes?

• The nation celebrated "LGBT Pride" during the month of June.

Question: We've come a long way since Stonewall and Heather Has Two Mommies, but isn't it a bit strange to actually celebrate someone's sexual preferences? And wouldn't it be peculiar to have a Heterosexual Pride Month?

• Democrats rushed to defend Al Sharpton after he became the latest Trump tweet target, with Joe Biden calling him a "champion in the fight for civil rights," and Elizabeth Warren claiming he had "dedicated his life to the fight for justice for all."

Questions: Do any of these folks remember Tawana Brawley, Crown Heights, or Freddy's Fashion Mart? And what would be the reaction of Democrats if Republicans sought the support of figures like David Duke? What, precisely, would be the difference?

• Megan Rapinoe is writing a book about "social justice" that will be published by Penguin Press.

Question: Isn't Rapinoe a soccer player, rather than a political theorist? And why does she (and apparently Penguin Press) think she has anything useful to tell us about such a subject? More to the point, what kind of people get their political instruction from such sources, paying for it to boot?

• News reports linked Procter & Gamble's $8 million non-cash writedown to Gillette's "toxic masculinity" advertising campaign.

Question: Why would a shaving company think that you can enhance profits by insulting the men who use their products? And was the person who devised the ad campaign in any way related to the folks who thought up that photo op of Michael Dukakis in a tank back in 1988?

• Elizabeth Warren chastised her debate competitors by wondering "why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we can't do," to great media applause.

Question: Isn't what we can or can't do determined by what we can afford? And isn't one of the purposes of the system of checks and balances contained in our Constitution to prevent politicians from doing too many things?

• The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture announced that it will be honoring Angela Davis with a special film showing, accompanied by a press release asserting that she was criminalized "because of her activism in support of social justice."

Question: Wasn't Davis criminally charged (and eventually acquitted) not for social justice activism but aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder?

And since when does the federal government use the taxpayers' money to honor a lifelong communist who twice ran on the ticket of the Stalinist American Communist Party (CPUSA), praised the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and was an honored guest of Fidel Castro in Cuba?

• In the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, politicians, in a rush to be seen doing something (anything!), even if it's ineffectual and stupid, have proposed increasing the legal age for gun purchases to 21.

Questions: Don't large numbers of men and women under the age of 21 serve responsibly in our military, often with guns in their hands? So why should they now be judged insufficiently responsible to actually purchase them?


Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

Editorial on 08/12/2019