It all started about a day ago when Michael Brown posted a tweet that made a plea for civility. I agreed with the sentiment while also lamenting the fact that the president would not follow that excellent advice. This prompted a response from a fellow named Moses who took issue with my reference to Trump: “The reason liberals hate this president is because he fights back…”
This, of course, is false. Those who disagree with Trump (whether “liberal” or otherwise) have many excellent reasons to take issue with the man. So I responded to Moses’ tweet by listing some of those reasons.
“Some reasons Trump faces criticism: he objectifies and sexually assaults women; cheats on his wife; sexualizes his daughter; defends white supremacists & wife beaters; attacks free press; admires dictators; habitually lies; mocks & bullies people; violates emoluments clause.”
Moses replied that I was “so wrong on every point!”
I replied by taking up the challenge and defending my initial points that Trump objectifies and sexually assaults women (including his own daughter(s). I then listed six examples of Trump objectifying/dehumanizing/sexualizing women and invited Moses to reply to my defense of the claim.
At that point, Moses chose instead to make his exit. (You can lead a horse to water…)
However, the exchange was not done. At this point, another Trump supporter named “Joel” took up the baton. Joel’s response to my litanty of sexism and misogyny was to argue that Obama was no better than Trump. The evidence? Obama had once allegedly “flirted’ with the Danish Prime Minister at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.
I responded that Joel had committed the fallacy of false equivalence. Even if one concedes that Obama engaged in an inappropriate flirtation on that one occasion, that was not comparable to Trump’s history of sexist and misogynistic comments and behavior, including the 22 women who accuse him of sexual misconduct and assault.
We then went back and forth on a few additional comments until Joel conceded my basic point about false equivalence:
I don’t recall disagreeing with your point to begin with. I think he is reprehensible, as was his predecessor, but for different reasons. Supporters of any recent president have overlooked their faults. Having said all that, I concede your initial point.
— Joel Nadel (@joelthedisciple) April 23, 2018
I give Joel deserved credit here. While my earlier interlocutor (Moses) had disappeared as soon as he was asked to reply to evidence, Joel was willing to stick it out and admit my basic (but nonetheless important) point. To be sure, there are likely still chasms that separate Joel and me. But in this modest Twitter exchange, we did find at least one important point of agreement. And in our day of loud voices and hardened opinions, that’s something.