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The Worst of Politics, w/o October 15, 2018

First

No entry for w/o October 8 because, seriously, how do you parse out the worst? I’m going to have to narrow my scope.

Genealogy

Long-time readers know that I’ve got an interest. So Elizabeth Warren’s current predicament is kind of a wonder to me.

Here’s how I see it: she shared a bit of family lore, and someone used it as political fodder to discredit her positions on consumer financial protection. By making her out to be a liar and a poseur it was all the easier to gut her baby, the CFPB, and let lenders run roughshod over the rest of us.

Harsh? Well, look at the players and then get back to me.

But regardless why can’t she share family stories? We all have them. Imagine me, plodding along my life when I bring up a bit of family lore that I heard from my mom — that we have a Polish ancestor in there somewhere. So far so good, I might even tell a few people.

–insert scandal here–

map
German Empire ca. 1871
A few years later I was rummaging through old archives at one of the Cuyahoga County Library branches, and found a marriage license for one Henrietta ?(Minnie)? Majewski, a great-great-grandmother of yours truly. Family lore turns out to be a true story.

No biggie — unless I was running for office, I guess. Then someone could try and smear me. And when I pulled out the receipts, maybe the Polish-American community would be all up-in-arms because I was using them?

All the worse — when Henrietta was born, 1871, most of present-day Poland was actually part of Germany. There will be no explaining this to Sean Hannity!

The fault lies not in ourselves but in the unethical behavior of people who use these things for malicious purposes. Family lore is innocent enough, but when your political opponent makes it toxic it’s on him. Especially when he (you know who I mean) starts in on ethnic slurs. Here are the seven stages:

  1. Mention you have Native ancestry
  2. Opponent says you have no Native ancestry
  3. Opponent claims he has more Native ancestry than you do
  4. You prove you do
  5. Opponent says everybody has Native ancestry
  6. Opponents allies say you’re not Native enough to suit them
  7. More full-blooded Natives attack you, instead of your opponent

Not unlike the stages of climate change denial; It’s not happening; it’s happening but it’s beneficial; it’s happening and it’s not beneficial but it’s not our fault…

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