Everyone should know that there are people serving our country who believe that disorderly, law-breaking and violent response to police killing Black Americans are an overreaction. As was said on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: We should be glad that all Blacks want it equality and not revenge.
It’s shocking that a sitting US senator would openly express what can only be described as a fascist world view, or that he would suggest that the peacekeeping methods used in the ‘50s to stop oppression of black people by southern racists applies equally to use of force against peaceful protesters, whom he falsely accuses of being violent marauders.
That said, I’m not sorry the NYT published the essay. When Cotton runs for president in 2004 and attempts to don sheep’s clothing, many of us will remember what he wrote in 2020. What the NYT should have done is run the essay alongside a rebuttal written by a credible voice from the left.
One final point: calling it an “overstatement” that the police have borne the brunt of the violence is a massive understatement; based on news reports and the video evidence circulating in social media, by far most of the violence has consisted of the police shooting tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters and members of the press, and severely beating individuals who they consider to challenging their authority (not attacking them physically, resisting arrest, etc.).
I agree that the NYT had every right to publish the essay, particularly since it is in the Opinion section. I also agree that I think Sen. Cotton is wrong. While I think he is wrong, I don't see anything particularly fascistic in what he is describing. I think it is misguided, federal troops shouldn't be imposed on governors or mayors. It could escalate violence and turns american cities into battle grounds. It could also deteriorate trust in the military which is one of the few institutions left that enjoys broad public support.
Much ink has been spilled since 2016 on what exactly constitutes fascism. What I was basing it on was Cotton’s depiction of the protesters as some sort of organized cabal seeking to undermine the safety and security of law-abiding citizens, as a pretext for attacking them with state-sponsored violence. He talks about the left in much the same way as a right wing dictator might talk about communists to trade unionists.
The NYTimes opinion editor just resigned due to backlash for publishing this piece. The editor's note added to the beginning of the article seems pretty reasonable to me, but also leads to further questions for me about what the normal editorial process is for selecting and reviewing opinion pieces. I've certainly read plenty of opinion pieces in the NYTimes and Washington Post that I thought seemed pretty out there and made questionable assertions but of course that's what the opinion section is for, right?
As for the article itself I think there's definitely some value there, especially in providing the historical accounts of the military being used for law enforcement on domestic soil which I wasn't aware of. The current situation seems substantially different from the past examples though. Local law enforcement has been increasingly militarized since 9/11 and yet they're apparently incapable of preventing opportunistic looters from breaking into shops. Just seems to me like another sign that we've been going down the wrong path in that regard and that serious reform is needed.
I really don't understand the backlash and resignation. It was an opinion piece - one with which I seriously disagree, but an opinion. This amounts to people saying ''don't print what I don't like". One thing to understand here for everyone thinking he is crazy, is that polls show a majority of the country agrees with him. A good response wouldn't dismiss him as crazy (and by default dismiss people who agree with him as crazy), but to take his argument in good faith and repute it.
In that vain there is plenty to rebuke. In each of the cases cited the local authorities asked for help, except in the desegregation examples in which the local authorities were flouting federal law. When the military has been called in it has often turned bloody, although since the 90's the military, unlike some police departments, has gotten much better at riot control and dispersion without violence. There is a running disagreement in the literature between if calling in the military ended riots, or if by the time the military was called in riots were running out of steam anyway.
TLDR Lots to disagree with, but we should treat the opinion shared by millions of our fellow citizens with respect - and then debate it with energy. We shouldn't try to silence those voices or launch ad hominem attacks that serve to entrench rather than change opinions.
Interesting. More info here.
Yeah wow this was awkward to read and it’s encouraging to see that there were consequences to publishing this