Editor’s note: The following letter to the editor was written in response to the Nov. 13 article “‘Queen of Warmongers’: An in-depth analysis of Gabbard’s Twitter meltdown.”
I’m not going to vote for Tulsi Gabbard. Her record on LGBTQ+ rights, her affinity for nationalists like Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and her bizarre defense of Joe Biden’s segregationist history all present ample reason to avoid her on election day.
That being said, the article “‘Queen of Warmongers’: An in-depth analysis of Gabbard’s Twitter meltdown” published on November 13th begs the question of how deeply someone can stuff a boot down their throat while still meeting a publishing deadline.
The rhetoric of the article is beyond Orwellian, becoming a dystopian self-parody of the bourgeois moderate academic thumbing their nose at anyone who would dare challenge the record of a woke war criminal who lost an election to Donald Trump, a man so farcically inept that he warrants no further descriptors.
This trend begins near the top of the article wherein the author helpfully illustrates Orwell’s notion of “doublethink.”
“Where did this come from?” the author asks, in reference to a series of tweets made by Gabbard against Clinton, before moving on to describe how Clinton publicly spoke against Gabbard the day before, peddling the same Russiagate nonsense she wheels out against anyone who she is politically opposed to. Just the sort of thing, perhaps, that warrants a response?
Eh, no matter.
When trying to analyze this article one finds it difficult to actually get through the xenophobia directed at those rascally Russians, which is added without any substance outside of some residual Cold War paranoia. You really have to ask when reading paragraph after paragraph of dubious Russian connections what exactly you are supposed to take away from it all.
If Russia opposes endless American interference in the internal affairs of other countries does that mean we must then support those undemocratic interventions? If Russia opposes the agenda of the Wall Street and Washington billionaire class does that mean that we must support their privilege uncritically? If Russia supports Tulsi Gabbard does that mean that we must oppose her unconditionally, regardless of anything she says or does as a politician?
Indeed, discussed very little in this article about Tulsi Gabbard’s tweets against Clinton are those tweets made against Clinton. When that subject is finally introduced the author’s analysis began and ended with the fact that they did not like the tone.
“One cannot take to Twitter to accuse a former Secretary of State, former Democratic nominee for president and high-profile party leader of using the very vague but threatening ‘war machine’ to personally ruin a politician’s reputation.” They write, “It is not tasteful.”
Here we see “taste over truth” as the norm for political discourse. To Hell with the more than 600,000 thousand dead in an invasion of Iraq that Clinton voted for. To Hell with the thousands more who died in a Libyan Civil War Clinton helped ferment as Secretary of State. To Hell with the American citizens who were targeted by extrajudicial drone strikes approved by Clinton’s state department. All of those ghosts get in the way of civility, so they’re best left ignored.
The fact of the matter is that political reality is brutal and oppressive. It is not tasteful for the majority of Americans, let alone the majority of humanity. Yet we are expected to limit our rhetoric to only that which is respectful to the very architects of our oppression.
How exactly are we expected to honestly critique a politician like Clinton with these constraints? There is no dignified way to describe a politician who masquerades as someone on the Left while taking three times more in campaign contributions from the defense industry in 2016 than Donald Trump.
Over time this leads to a media whitewash of some truly horrific politicians, as the dark realities of their policies are ignored in favor of the romanticism and dignity of the office they held. We have seen this already, with Reagan and more recently with W. Bush and we will no doubt see the media attempt the same thing when Trump is out of office.
Ultimately, we are faced with a choice. Either we can hold politicians accountable and criticize them in the vulgar and passionate ways they ought to be criticized or we can maintain civility by ignoring the reality of politics and embracing the boot stamping on the human face of this country, forever.
Global Studies, Philosophy Senior
UMBC YDSA Chair