January 13, 2011

Michelle Obama's lesson from the Tucson massacre: Teach your children "the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us."

"We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree."

Shouldn't we learn to be perceptive, analytical, and aware that some of the individuals among us are, in fact, mentally sick and need something other than tolerance and wishful thinking about how good they might be? So why is the First Lady telling us to teach kids the opposite?
We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families. We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.
But that's quite obviously untrue! Some people seek power for the wrong reasons or go astray after they've reached power. We need to observe the government with a clear, active, and critical eye. I can certainly understand how someone who holds power would love to turn off the criticism, but that is not the system we have, and it's self-serving for government officials to tell us to inculcate these false beliefs in children.

It would make more sense to teach creationism instead of evolution than to teach these wishful lies about government since children need to learn how to be effective citizens and lulling them into passive admiration of the government undermines the democratic process. Believing or not believing in creationism, by contrast, isn't going to change what happened in the grand expanse of evolutionary time.

102 comments:

mesquito said...

We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.

190-proof buncombe.

mesquito said...

Anyone else growing weary of moral hectoring from the Party That Frowns On Moral Hectoring?

Paddy O said...

Simmer down everyone. Our betters in public office know what's best for us. Stop all this disagreeing and be open to all their country loving ideas.

Don't be a hater. Be a lover, who loves and listens to those who have only our best interests at heart, the best interests of the country.

AJ Lynch said...

Public life and the humble, idealistic, underpaid public servant - what an anachronistic concept.

Mrs. Obama, like most political bigwigs, Congress critters, mayors, governors, etc are not happy because they know the barbarians are not happy and are ready to storm the castle gates IYKWIM. I bet Mrs. Laura Bush is glad she got out when she did.

AJ Lynch said...

Mesquito:
I have a far left liberal sister who will claim she is not judgmental about so many things except, of course, when it comes to Republicans, Fox News, Wall Street, business owners, and the like.

mesquito said...

AJ Lynch:

omg I think we have the same sister

R.L. Hunter said...

Paddy O said...

Simmer down everyone. Our betters in public office know what's best for us.

Funny how "what's best for all of us" benefits them the most.

Jason said...

What is it about libtards and their obnoxious need to draw stupid lessons about nothing in particular from shit?

Lem said...

What Michelle is saying sounds sounds a lot like what Britney Spears said (and got spurned and made fun off) about GWB.

The Drudge Report recently carried a short exchange between Britney Spears and Tucker Carlson on CNN from Wednesday, September 3, 2003:

CARLSON: A lot of entertainers have come out against the war in Iraq. Have you?

SPEARS: Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens.

CARLSON: Do you trust this president?

SPEARS: Yes, I do.

CARLSON: Excellent
.

Shanna said...

And what comes of assuming "the best, rather than the worst" about a homicidal crazy person who tells you he wants to kill people.

Let's ask the sheriff in Pima!

chr1 said...

Whoa there Althouse.

Michelle Obama has just learned to love her country; she's on a curve.

We have to elect these people to find out what they stand for.

mesquito said...

File this under: "Lessons Probably Not Taught In Sunday School at the Trinity United Church Of Christ in Chicago, Illinois."

deborah said...

@ mesquito: word.

AJ Lynch said...

Why did you use two tags for the first lady? ...Insanity and Michele Obama.

LilyBart said...

The sad thing is, she's not talking about all the people who leapt to conclusions about the source of the Tucson shooting before any facts were in - letting their prejudices inform their opinions.

No, she's likely speaking to the people she herself doesn't like - those icky Tea Party people - telling them to tone it down and be "civil"

SteveR said...

She is supposed to be smart, right?

Pete said...

I recall being taught passive admiration for government in 1938, even though my parents were not supporters of FDR. The government then was a lot easier to admire.

John Lynch said...

Assuming the best about people will lead to a miserable life.

JAL said...

the value of tolerance - the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us

Unless, of course you are a guy running up to pull some kids out of a burning car.

Or are a male day care worker.

Or ... a male. Period.

No wonder our kids are confused.

Learning how to assess, evaluate, and make appropriate choices (critical thinking Crack?) isn't the Simple Answer, is it?

Sheesh.

MayBee said...

Interesting.
Yesterday, it was reported Barack Obama was trying to decide whether to work the theme of tolerance into his speech.
Obviously, tolerance is something this White House is just itching to preach to us.

But yes, in this case I'd say Jared was over tolerated. I don't think he didn't get help because nobody wanted to help him. I think he didn't get help because it just seems so gauche to think the weird guy might actually be insane.

yashu said...

But Althouse, Michelle Obama is right. As some commenters here persuasively argue (again & again & again), regarding our government with any kind of critical eye, analyzing their words or actions with any kind of skepticism (especially a paragon of humanity like O) is just being a nag nag nag, whiner whiner whiner. The least we can do is be infinitely grateful to our politicians-- noble & omniscient public servants with our best interests at heart, knights in shining armor all-- just shut the fuck up, and bring them a beer! We should thank our lucky stars they don't beat us on a nightly basis-- consider O's transcendent magnanimity toward us last night. But instead, like Palin, we choose to be "ugly"-- viragos & shrews. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

bandmeeting said...

Anyone here ever try to teach a crazy person anything?

How it that done?

Michael said...

I am afraid that the First Lady offers nonsense and the opposite of what might have prevented the Tucson massacre. Assuming the best about the murderer was precisely why he was permitted to roam free for months as a qualified maniac. This kind of pablum, sanctimonious shallow and stupid is not helpful.

yashu said...

Viragos and shrews and contrarians (oh my).

Henry said...

It's a good thing young children aren't Star Trek robots. Couple this lesson with "stranger danger" and their heads would explode.

My solution is to get all my kids together with all their friends (or even better, their cousins), and let them deal with each other. They pretty quickly learn to assume the worst and roll with the punches.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Hayden said...

I think that the problem that I have with what Mrs. Obama said there, is that she, her husband, and their friends are the ones whom she is telling us to assume the best about.

But why should we? Because they so nobly do what they do to live in penury? Not from a woman who lives in one of the most valuable houses in the world (apparently worth 1/3 of a billion or so before the recent crash).

I am not sure what she has done to earn our trust. This is a woman who has been a part of the unelected elite for much of her life time, who earned somewhere around 1/3 of a million dollars a year being the wife of a politician. This is someone whose skin color greased the way to an Ivy League education, a cushy, highly paid job, and now the big house with all the guards around it. She has spent little of her life living like the rest of us. And that isn't going to change, regardless of what happens to her husband politically.

I think also that she puts too much import on the good intentions of her and her husband and friends. It isn't how good your intentions are that matters in this world, but how well your actions work out. Indeed, that is why even the most saintly of "public servants" are not above suspicion, because their attempts to do good (with our money, of course) are a big reason why we are in such trouble right now.

bagoh20 said...

Loughnerian

Pogo said...

I would rather parents teach their children the value of intolerance for the intolerant, the practice of assuming nothing about those around us. A smile and pleasant behavior doesn't equal "nice" or "safe".

Don't trust anyone from the government.

David said...

"We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it."

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!

On the other hand, sounds like she's really proud of the country these days.

edutcher said...

A certain amount of prudent circumspection is necessary when dealing with one's fellows on the all-important ground that not everybody is a nice guy.

What Michelle Obama said is 100% self-serving. Go back 5 years and read what she and her husband said about the people in public life.

bagoh20 said...

Loughnerian

Goes right up there with dupnik

kcom said...

"She has spent little of her life living like the rest of us."

Remember when she complained that the $600 check from the government (wasn't that a pre-Obama "stimulus" check?) was practically worthless? About all you could do with it was a buy a pair of earrings. No wonder they have excelled at throwing away other people's money. They have no concept of the value a dollar. Specially when they've spent their whole life spending other people's money, gained through connections and not merit.

Alex said...

Maybe Michelle O can teach the kids how one gets a really cushy hospital administrator job that pays high 6-figures by being politically connected.

Lem said...

We can teach them [children] the value of tolerance..

also that we should live within our means..

or is that too incendiary?

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

What we need is a wee bit of the old Scotch-Irish way of looking at things the way that my Grandmother used to do instruct us.

Give them the "hairy eyeball".

Look ascance at everything.

Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Teach your children to be sceptical and to have good critical thinking skills and they will survive.

This is the exact opposite of what Michelle and the other Democritters are recommending....AND the opposite of what our schools should be teaching.

Instead, we are making lambs to the slaughter out of our children by whitewashing and making everything namby pamby, sunshine and roses, unicorn farts......


Whap...upside the head with a box of kleenex! Jackwagons!.

rocketeer67 said...

Anyone here ever try to teach a crazy person anything?

Well, yes. Just this last November. The lesson doesn't seem to have made much of an impression.

LilyBart said...

"Teach your children to be sceptical and to have good critical thinking skills and they will survive."

This is what we've been teaching our daughter.

Pogo said...

"Whap...upside the head with a box of kleenex! Jackwagons!."

That commercial makes me laugh every time.

I dream about saying it at work.

kent said...

"[...] anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it."
But that's quite obviously untrue!

Consider the source, Professor.

gadfly said...

From michelle My Belle's Princeton thesis:
"My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my 'blackness' than ever before," the future Mrs. Obama wrote in her thesis introduction. "I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong. Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second."

So does that qualify as tolerance? To Hell with those Whities.

BJM said...

Here's another interesting perspective of last night's whatever-it-was.

"Last night we may have witnessed the 21st Century’s first spiritual gathering in which our political leaders become High Priests too. There were no Jewish rabbis or Catholic and Christian clergy who represented the faiths of those who actually died or were terribly maimed. Instead, the University of Arizona offered up secular political leaders to serve as our spiritual leaders. They were the ones who were there to salve our wounds. They were the ones to quote from the Old and New Testaments, to cite from proverbs, psalms and other scriptures. We witnessed a national secular religious event. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, welcome to the New World of religious secularism. We may be seeing the “new normal” of a religious ethos being born before our very eyes: Government becomes the new church."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second."

Well....isn't that the unintended consequences of Affirmitave Action after all.

They elevate you for your skin color and not for your abilities as a student. Unfortunately, some people eventually recognize it. ....sorry, Michelle Ma'Belle. It wasn't about your mythical abilities after all...was it?

jr565 said...

This is a lesson that the dems and libs need to learn, since it was the dems and libs that brought Sarah Palin into the storyline in the first place.
The dems then got outraged that Palin would insert herself into the storyline by speaking, despite the fact that we wouldn't have heard anything from Palin if the dems just understood the value of tolerance, and practiced assuming the best rather than the worst around us.
God, are they dumb.

kent said...

"We witnessed a national secular religious event. [...] Government becomes the new church."

"... but, hey: t-shirts! WOOT WOOT!!!"

Methadras said...

The level of leftard disconnect is actually on the level of deep insanity. These leftards prove it daily. They are unhinged, fruit-cake, bat-shit crazy nuts. All of them.

Phil 3:14 said...

Well it makes sense...

assuming she's speaking to those on the left

tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst

edutcher said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What we need is a wee bit of the old Scotch-Irish way of looking at things the way that my Grandmother used to do instruct us.

Give them the "hairy eyeball".


Scotch-Irish?

I thought it was Italian.

The Musket said...

"Paddy O said... Simmer down everyone. Our betters in public office know what's best for us.

Funny how "what's best for all of us" benefits them the most."

Also remember that her 'us' doesn't include us - we are here 'them.'

BTW - Michelle O. does think she's sacrificing -- remember her sacrifice in trying to get the Olymipics in Chicago?

And yep -- teach your kids to be skeptical free thinkers and to question everything.

kent said...

There were no Jewish rabbis or Catholic and Christian clergy who represented the faiths of those who actually died or were terribly maimed. Instead, the University of Arizona offered up secular political leaders to serve as our spiritual leaders.

Well, given that the left uncritically swallowed, en masse, the baldly preposterous notion that He did waken the stricken Giffords with naught but the sublime perfection of His holy word, made utterance -- "Magic Negroes," anyone? -- it actually makes a perversely logical sort of sense that they've now officially anointed Him as the one, true secular pope.

*shudder*

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I thought it was Italian.

Dunno.. I remember my maternal grandmother, in the late 50's early 60's saying it.

Along with a thimble whack on the forehead if you weren't really paying attention.

Perhaps its a generational thing?

Revenant said...

"For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,"

- Michelle Obama
February 18, 2008

Kansas City said...

The idea that we should listen to the wife of the president about anything is silly almost all the time.

But, for fun, does anyone think that Michelle Obama EVER fells or acts this way about those with whom she disagrees with politically:

"We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree."

MayBee said...

By how many multiples has the Obamas' personal net worth increased since he entered the very selfless realm of public service?

MayBee said...

I'm fine with the Obama's making their money, btw. I'd just not prefer this was all so selfless and for our benefit.

MayBee said...

eeerk Obamas. Errant apostrophe

The Crack Emcee said...

Don't believe a word of it.

Stevie said...

So shut up you fuckers and train your children to love us as much as we love ourselves. We’re from the government and we’re here to help. You stupid ingrates.

jamboree said...

She's getting assassination-fear again.

Not many mothers/wives that don't couch their wishes in the name of the children - sometimes even having the children themselves voice them to better manipulate the target.

Florida said...

My takeaway from the Tuscon massacre:

"If you tell people to bring a gun and to get in their faces and to punch them twice as hard and to punish their enemies, then innocent people are going to die at the hands of very liberal nutjobs who do precisely what you told them to do."

Michelle Obama should punch her dumb ass husband in his fucking piehole and tell him to shut it the fuck up.

Florida said...

"She's getting assassination-fear again."

She's probably right to fear it, since her husband has set out in the last two years to fuck over every American who voted for him.

They're pissed off because he told them he would close his torture gulag at Gitmo, end the wars, cancel the Patriot Act, end the drone murders, stop the signing statements, slow the rise of the oceans and that he was against the personal mandate to buy insurance from Democrat Party millionaires at whatever price the fatcats dictate to us.

Barack Obama has screwed the liberals who voted him into office and they're mad as hell and they're not going to take it any more.

If I was Michelle, I'd take the kids back to France.

Shanna said...

"... but, hey: t-shirts! WOOT WOOT!!!"

Seriously. Tshirts. With slogans. At a memorial service! What in gods name were they thinking??????

And where do you even wear such a shirt? To the gym? I can't even.

Sixty Grit said...

She shouldn't use the word "ass-ume".

MikeR said...

"But that's quite obviously untrue! Some people seek power for the wrong reasons or go astray after they've reached power." Yeah, but people have a tendency to see these things specifically in their political opponents, and it's worthwhile trying to avoid that. Because it's not reality.

traditionalguy said...

The Warmist Fraud clearly was designed to 1)destroy all intolerant deniers, and 2) to move the money in American's IRAs and any other saved assets into AlGore and Associates pockets, and 3) enable a World Government run by UN Masters so that 4) the population can be cut to a manageable few billion. With government Servants like that, we don't need enemies. Why must we silently pretend that the Warmist Fraud is sincerely for our benefit? So Michelle Obama will stay Queen of the World is not a good answer.

Class factotum said...

Seriously. Tshirts. With slogans. At a memorial service! What in gods name were they thinking??????

I went to an Easter sunrise service on the beach with a friend years ago. It was sponsored by Lipton. The pastor mentioned Lipton in his sermon (because iced tea has a lot to do with the resurrection) and after the service, Lipton reps were at a table handing out samples and coupons.

One of the tackiest things I have ever seen.

MikeR said...

"Why must we silently pretend that the Warmist Fraud is sincerely for our benefit?" Well, that's a good example of what we're discussing. I have no doubt that the average climate scientist is sincerely doing the best he can. They might be mistaken, they might be confusing themselves via groupthink, they might be co-opted by a leftist ideology that strives to undo technology any way it can - none of that justifies talking about The Warmist Fraud. I doubt there is a human being who really knows what an massive increase of CO2 in atmosphere will do to our climate, and that includes you. All that kind of rhetoric accomplishes is to convince most working scientists that conservatives are yahoos.

Christopher said...

"And where do you even wear such a shirt? To the gym?"

To the 2012 kickoff election rally, of course, Shanna. I've got 50 bucks that says "Together We Thrive" will be the Kenyan cocksucker's campaign slogan.

Calypso Facto said...

Sure! Mrs. Obama is obviously smarter than Madison and Hamilton:

"If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.... but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."

TMink said...

People assumed the best about the shooter. That did not work out very well.

Trey

holdfast said...

I assume that's why she dragged her offspring to "church" every week so they could learn "tolerance" from Rev. Wright? Tolerance to the hated Jew and Whitey?

Please, pull the other one - it has bells on it.

Mister Snitch! said...

Regardless of what you think of the woman: She's asking for tolerance. Jesus asked for the same thing 2000 years ago.

She's saying 'assume the best'. Jesus said take the plank out of your own eye, before you look for splinters in your brothers' eye.And he also said love those who persecute you.

I guess if this constitutes insanity - OK, he was insane.

I know you hate the woman, so everything she says must be wrong. And I get it - she's a hypocrite who doesn't practice what she preaches. But there's actually nothing wrong with what she's saying, and it's more than a bit disturbing to see it labeled 'insanity'!

Isn't the left's problem reflexive, mindless reactionism - and mindless mob agreement with any attack on the 'bad guys'? I know I've heard that said on sites like this on more than one occasion. Well, pot meet kettle.

Just because it comes out of HER mouth doesn't make it implicitly untrue. And just because you get linked by Glenn doesn't mean you're clueless.

Mister Snitch! said...

Errata - meant to say 'just because you're linked by Glenn doesn't mean you're NOT clueless'.

Really, this was just a terrible, mindless post. You should repudiate it, but you won't stop and reflect on what you actually said. Too busy watching your traffic-meter I guess.

Never really did get why Glenn Reynolds links this site.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Never really did get why Glenn Reynolds links this site.

So that you will come here....duh.


But there's actually nothing wrong with what she's saying, and it's more than a bit disturbing to see it labeled 'insanity'!

First of all, most people and especially most conservatives do NOT assume the worst about those around us. That is the Liberal's schtick.

Second. Survival of the fittest and of the species and of society makes it prudent to be aware of others. To do othewise makes you a victim or a slave.

You can assume the best, but you should be prepared for the fact that the world is not full of angels or perfect human beings. In fact, it is populated with those who do NOT have your best interests at heart and who want to take advantage of you.......AND as we have seen with the Liberals, take advantage of other people's tragedies for their own political purposes.

kent said...

@ Snitch: next time, just come right out and ask for a hug, all right?

Brad said...

When the actions of the likes of Michelle Obama demonstrate they understand opposition to their policies can be - and usually is - advanced in good faith, then she can start talking about "tolerance."

Until then, she has no moral standing to speak on the subject.

cf said...

I think the worst part of the message is really that she' s suggesting that heated political speech was the reason for the massacre. She's playing the now discarded Climate of hate card.

Larry J said...

Her "lesson" is stupid. The real lesson from the terrible events in Tucson is that we need to address the issues of mental illness before things turn violent, not afterwards. What we're doing now isn't working, much to the detriment of society in general and the mentally ill in particular.

To clarify: not everyone who is mentally ill turns violent. However, how many times have we seen things in retrospect that should've been warning signs of violence but nothing was done to prevent it?

orbicularioculi said...

Unfortunately, 1/2 of our Citizenry will listen to the pap coming out of Michelle Obama's mouth and nod their heads "yes".

We have become a nation of non-critical thinkers and are incapable of recognizing illogical, nonsensical bullshit.

Have you noticed that the Messiah's performance ratings in office have gone up in the last week? What happened? I must have missed something.

Bogart said...

Given all the wonderful "tolerance" and "assuming the best" of people from 2000-2008, towards Pres. Bush, I can see how this is something the left clearly needs to hear. Recent "tolerance" towards the majority of the country that aren't statists, or fiscal bingers, and of course the "assuming the best" of Sarah Palin would be a nice change for the left.

I really want to give them another chance in 2012 to "assume the best" of a Government comprised almost entirely of fiscal conservatives. But according to party of tolerance and sunshine, and their captured media, Im a tea-bagging inbred white redneck racist, who hates. I believe I'll wait for the evidence that the "vitriol" has subsided from the left before I buy any of this crap.

MathMom said...

Gadfly helpfully posted part of Michelle Obama's Princeton thesis:

"I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong. Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second."

She leaves out the very real possibility that she's just an unlikeable person with a chip on her shoulder. Most pictures of her show a nasty frown. She blows large sums of money on perfectly hideous clothes, while she complains about the uselessness of a $600 windfall, to a group of people for whom such a windfall might outfit their car in a much-needed set of new tires, or their children in an affordable wardrobe from WalMart. I doubt that off-putting disposition appeared after she arrived at Princeton, or after she landed the $300K job for doing nothing when Barky became a US Senator.

I'd cross the street to avoid someone with her attitude. I don't give a $#!+ about her color.

Skookum John said...

Here's the lesson I taught my kids: while not all those who go into politics and government are evil, and not all evil people are to be found in politics and government, the sad fact is that the power and prestige of government draws the wicked like moths to a flame. We absolutely SHOULD assume the worst of any politician or bureaucrat until proven otherwise. And we should consciously, deliberately, and continuously engage in citizen action to limit the power of government to manage the life of the individual.

Bogart said...

Her "lesson" is stupid. The real lesson from the terrible events in Tucson is that we need to address the issues of mental illness before things turn violent, not afterwards.

That's actually a useful discussion to have I think. The problem is of course how much power should the state have to decide someone will become violent, and then what to do about it, before an act is committed.
What is the opportunity for abuse to a solution to such a problem? Given these events are exceedingly rare, how willing are we to lock up people who "might" get violent in the future? Given that a great many leftists just accused Sarah Palin and the Tea Party of murder, without even a hint of fact to back it up, are we really willing to let these people make such a decision?

Mitch said...

I see the states, across this big nation
I see the laws made in Washington, D.C.
I think of the ones I consider my favorites
I think of the people that are working for me

Some civil servants are just like my loved ones
They work so hard and they try to be strong
I'm a lucky guy to live in my building
They own the buildings to help them along

vnjagvet said...

Posts like this are what keeps me coming back here every day.

craig said...

"Be wise as serpents, but innocent as doves."

Or, to turn this statement around, it is good to refrain from presuming the worst, after one is first conscious of the potential for it.

dwbosch said...

If we hold to evolution, then every man/woman has a right to defend themself from being selected out of the gene pool. Only the strong survive, politically or otherwise. On the other hand, if we believe in Creation, then we believe in a Creator to whom we are ultimately accountable, and before whom all men and women are equal. This is both humbling and agalitarian.

It is also, by the way, how our Framer's thought....

M. Report said...

Civil Rights vs Civic Duties,
one of which is to be prepared
to defend one's person and property, so that the government does not have an excuse to take over that duty, and take away that right.

A technical point; There are many
non-lethal incapacitating weapons
available; Had the half of the
crowd standing behind Loughner
been so armed, the damage would
have been far less.

Mister Snitch! said...

"First of all, most people and especially most conservatives do NOT assume the worst about those around us. That is the Liberal's schtick."

Yet you are assuming the worst re her intentions here. Ergo - your statement is false.

"You can assume the best, but you should be prepared for the fact that the world is not full of angels or perfect human beings"

An excess of goodwill is not exactly the problem in this world.

"Until then, she has no moral standing to speak on the subject."

Huh. The commenter just before you said conservatives 'don't assume the worst'. That aisde, what you're telling me is that: Even if what the woman says is true, she should be criticized for saying it. I assume, then, she should also be criticized when she lies. She should be criticized every time she opens her mouth, then.

OK. No assumption of the worst THERE, huh? That's what liberals do. Except when conservatives do it, and then it's... justified. Hey, there's a bit of logic you'll never find on Kos, I bet.

"I think the worst part of the message is really that she' s suggesting that heated political speech was the reason for the massacre."

Exactly how is that quoted text suggesting that - unless you're reading into it?

But you wouldn't read something into a statement that isn't there, right? 'Cause that would be 'assuming the worst'. Which I am told conservatives never do.

"Her "lesson" is stupid."

Uh, OK. Guess we have all the tolerance we need.

"Given all the wonderful "tolerance" and "assuming the best" of people from 2000-2008, towards Pres. Bush, I can see how this is something the left clearly needs to hear."

Quite so. But, uh... not the right, right? Conservatives have this 'tolerance' thing down cold. No need to demonstrate it for the tolerance-deprived left.

"I believe I'll wait for the evidence that the "vitriol" has subsided from the left before I buy any of this crap."

I don't suppose there's anyone on the left thinking the same thing... I mean, if they DID, why, they'd just be displaying a petty, hardened mindset. That is, if THEY thought this way.

"She leaves out the very real possibility that she's just an unlikeable person with a chip on her shoulder."

I agree. Woman makes my skin crawl. I don't care for the reactionary intolerance so prevalent on the left.

Then again, I don't like it from conservatives, either.

"We absolutely SHOULD assume the worst of any politician or bureaucrat until proven otherwise."

Except she's not SAYING "expect the best from your LEADERS". She's not SAYING "obey your government without question". She is saying "show tolerance for one another". And it's tagged as 'insanity'.

"a great many leftists just accused Sarah Palin and the Tea Party of murder"

Yup. And they should address that, though I'm pretty sure they won't. Question is: Am I setting a better example, or am I guilty of more of the same?

It's telling re the nature of the problem that no one here is prepared to ask that question.

Takes two to tango. True, you're not both leading, but you ARE both dancing - no matter how hard you protest the other guy the only one doing it.

Mister Snitch! said...
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(Sorry. The excised comments were just repeats. Blogger kept telling me the posts didn't go through.)

The Ghost said...

"So why is the First Lady telling us to teach kids the opposite?"

Because she's not analyzing and learning from the tragedy as it happened, but from the tragedy as she (still) wants it to have happened.

SPImmortal said...

"But you wouldn't read something into a statement that isn't there, right? 'Cause that would be 'assuming the worst'. Which I am told conservatives never do."

Casting a critical eye and assuming the worst are not the same thing. If we can critically dicern that Michelle's words are 1) self serving and full of advice she would never hold herself to 2) ridiculous pablum that is completely untrue and 3) contains an attempt at propagating the blood libel against the tea party, then it's only sensible to discount what she says, don't you think?

"Except she's not SAYING "expect the best from your LEADERS". She's not SAYING "obey your government without question". She is saying "show tolerance for one another". And it's tagged as 'insanity'."

Wrong, she's saying the people that work in the government have our best interests at heart and she's implicating the "climate of hate" for the shootings. Both assertions are ludicrous.

Jonathan Silber said...

After the massacre in Tucson, I regret more than ever that I shall die without sons or daughters: Who will survive me to operate the T-shirt concession stand at my funeral?

Sofa King said...

Except she's not SAYING "expect the best from your LEADERS". She's not SAYING "obey your government without question". She is saying "show tolerance for one another". And it's tagged as 'insanity'.


But, Mr. S., she IS saying, "...although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it." Which IS dangerous, IS wrong, and if she truly believes it, IS rather insane. That assertion is not a call for tolerance. It is risible.

Jonathan said...

In general, I don't have a problem with her letter, although I agree that the part on the motivations for entering public life is naive at best. However, I can't see what "assuming the best" has to do with this tragedy. I'm curious to know which of her children's hard questions is answered by this particular lesson.

Irrelevant as it may be, I'm a little concerned by the way that the idea of "assuming the best" is being received by many of the commenters here. I don't know what the First Lady means when she uses that phrase, but to me, "assuming the best" implies "given the circumstances". That is, I should assume that someone is honest until they give me reason to think otherwise. If they should prove to be a liar, I should assume that they are so because of fear or force of habit, unless they demonstrate malicious intent.

That doesn't mean that I should needlessly put people to the test: I'm not going to leave my children with a stranger unless there is an extremely compelling need to do so.

But if we assume the worst first, how do we ever fully trust anyone? We will always be waiting -- expecting -- for them to prove that they were untrustworthy all along. I've always been struck by this C.S. Lewis quotation: "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken."

There are untrustworthy people out there; sometimes I am one of them. So, trust, but verify. But above all, love.

Even if we have to lock up the homicidal mentally insane people, love them still.

holdfast said...

@Bogart:

We currently have ankle bracelets that can monitor if someone is drinking or doing drugs - could they also monitor is someone is off their anti-psychotic meds, or in extreme cases even have something to automatically administer them? I have no desire for the rights violations or costs attendant to mass institutionalization, but the current approach is not working either. Even if it is just getting people hospitalized for a short period, evaluated and given appropriate meds - and also getting their name on the list of folks who can't buy guns (with a good appeals process that can get you off the list again, so that it isn't abused).

Robin said...

Indeed, "tolerance" has absolutely nothing to do with the behavior of a paranoid schizophrenic.

It is just Michelle Obama trying to sneak in some more attacks on political opponents in her usual ham-fisted way.

JAL said...

MO which I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second.

Well, if you guys would stop mentioning it every single time you and your husband talk.

Here's a thought -- maybe it's not something "whites" think about that much. Maybe it's YOUR problem, Michelle.

JAL said...

MO anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it

So they say.

I see a lot of power.

I see a lot of rich politicians.