Whether you think Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, is a commie or the greatest progressive since, well, whenever, you have to admire this.
Remember the time Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) met with Sandra Bland’s mother and shamelessly used it for political capital?
Neither do we, because — though the Democratic presidential candidate apparently did meet Geneva Reed-Veal — he didn’t tell anyone about it. He did, however, promise to #SayHerName, which he did Tuesday during the first Democratic presidential debate.
A two-fer. Not only did he keep his promise, but he refused to shamelessly capitalize on his meeting for purpose of self-aggrandizement. Love or hate his politics, you have to admire the fact that he did something he could have used to promote himself but didn’t. Nobody does that anymore. Bernie did.
Radley Balko, writing about how St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch used his position to get a judge to oust a former ACLU lawyer from his seat as grand jury foreman, despite any law authorizing removal, sought to get an independent “expert” opinion to bolster the post, turned to a Columbia Law School professor.
“I’ve never heard of anything like that,” says Jeffrey Fagan, a law professor at Columbia University and an expert on criminal law and procedure. “It’s extremely unusual. I’m not familiar with Missouri law, if anything a challenge should have been mounted at the time the jury was empaneled. For the judge to later remove the foreman after a complaint by the prosecutor, that’s disturbing.”
He’s “not familiar with Missouri law”? Translated into English, this means:
As was subsequently pointed out to me, Fagan isn’t even a lawyer. In fact, Fagan doesn’t have a J.D. Some expert, right?
It galls me that journalists turn to law profs to bolster their posts, because they’re easily attributed credibility by virtue of their job and the presumption that if they didn’t have a clue, how did they get hired by a law school. “Scholar” sounds so much more believable than “another dumb trench lawyer.”
But that doesn’t mean Fagan has to give a quote. I get called by reporters all the time for quotes on cases I know little about, or in states with which I’m not sufficiently familiar, and I tell them that I can’t help them because I don’t know enough to offer anything insightful. I usually try to point them to someone who does, but beyond that, I offer nothing.
Why can’t lawprofs ever turn away a chance to get their name in the paper? If you don’t know the law, then don’t offer your worthless, ignorant opinion. Just say “no.”
But this is a two-fer as well. Did Jeffrey Fagan inform Radley that, while a lawprof, he wasn’t a lawyer? Of course, not being a lawyer, he has no ethical duty to not engage in deceitful conduct, thus relieving him of any duty to not mislead by omission.
Todd Nickerson published a post “I am a pedophile, but not a monster,” at Salon. Why he chose to do so isn’t at all clear, though the crux of his post is that while he has horrible urges, he controls himself and doesn’t act on them.
To confess a sexual attraction to children is to lay claim to the most reviled status on the planet, one that effectively ends any chance you have of living a normal life. Yet, I’m not the monster you think me to be. I’ve never touched a child sexually in my life and never will, nor do I use child pornography.
As Mike Cernovich notes, there is definitely an aspect of normalization of pedophilia by the mere publication of this post. Humanizing pedophilia reduces our ability to hate the pedophile, even while we hate child molestation.
At the conservative National Review, this should have given rise to an explosion of gleeful, facile anger and ridicule at progressive values. After all, do they not preach that we must be accepting of all sexual orientations, including the one that makes grown men molest innocent children? But Charles C.W. Cooke refused to take the bait.
I’ve seen a good number of conservatives slamming this confession, often on the presumption that it represents an attempt to “mainstream” pedophilia. Respectfully, I have to disagree with this assessment. Naturally, I am as disgusted by the urges that are referenced in the piece as the next guy, and, despite the author’s heartfelt plea for “understanding,” I find it difficult not to harbor a real animus toward him.
Whatever one might reasonably think of the man and his afflictions, to draw the opposite lesson from his admission than the one he intended seems to me unjust. He is clearly not arguing that he should be let off the hook if he commits a heinous crime.
Had Cooke piled on, no one would have questioned his position. There aren’t a lot of National Review readers who wouldn’t have agreed that a pedophile shouldn’t be defended. Or, assuming Cooke simply preferred to keep his contrarian opinion to himself to avoid a backlash, he could have not written about it at all. Nobody would have called him out for not piling on.
Instead, he did the outrageous thing. He challenged the lack of nuance in those who “slammed the confession” by highlighting Nickerson’s point, that despite his reprehensible feelings, he refused to give in to them, to act upon them, and to commit a repugnant crime.
That was the point, personal responsibility to not act upon feelings. Who does that anymore? And who goes out on a limb, as Cooke did, to make this clear even though his core readership would likely retch at the thought that he supported someone they hate so much?
Integrity. It’s one of the few things we have that no one can take away. But once one gives it up, there’s no getting it back.