Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

One of the things I’ve grown to hate about politics in recent years has been the tribalism of both the Left and the Right. It seems if someone from one side does something horrible, like killing a bunch of elderly nuns trying to cross the street, the two extremes can’t come together and say “You know, that’s fucked up.” Invariably, one side will say it was wrong and demand justice, and the other side will decry the criticism and claim it was partisan and/or fake news.

The recent revelations about Puddin’ Head Joe and his penchant for leaving classified documents where they shouldn’t be has brought out the worst of this. People on the Right (including your humble correspondent in this case) think this is a criminal offense and should be prosecuted. Leftists, on the other hand, keep trying to defend Puddin’ Head Joe while trying to make distinctions between the current fuckup and the raid on Mar-a-Lago, which is the previous fuckup.

Throughout the online debates on the topic, I see the word “whataboutism” tossed around like a football at a Philadelphia Eagles game. That means it’s time we take a turn at trying to understand it, and hopefully have fun doing it.

whataboutism

What the Left thinks it means – a tactic used by the Right to equate events that are substantively different as a means to excuse right wing criminality

What it really means – a tactic that proves both major parties suck ass

Our good friends at Merriam Webster define whataboutism thus:

the act or practice of responding to an accusation of wrongdoing by claiming that an offense committed by another is similar or worse

Basically, whataboutism involves diversion and deflection. Instead of taking up the accusation directly, those who engage in it try to bring in something unrelated to the original accusation to get the person levying it to either get defensive or shut down completely.

Unfortunately, both the Left and the Right engage in whataboutism on a regular basis, which makes civil debate on social media next to impossible. Then again, it may be because these debates are being done on social media, where civility is as alien as E.T., or at the very least correct spelling. It is possible, mind you, but you’d have better luck surviving while having credible information that would implicate Hillary Clinton in criminal activity than you would be to actually converse with someone on a political issue.

For the record, I do not have any information on Hillary Clinton, so if you could take that red laser point dot off my forehead, I’d greatly appreciate it. Whew! Now that’s out of the way, back to the topic at hand.

The Left has been doing its usual bang-up job trying to create distance between Puddin’ Head Joe and Donald Trump’s handling of documents. This strategy has a two-fold benefit. First, it excuses Biden while leaving Trump open to criticism. Second, it enables the “whataboutism card” for the Left. If Leftists create enough of a difference in the minds of people who don’t follow current events that closely (i.e. 95% of Twitter users), they can downplay the potential criminality while redefining legitimate criticism as sour grapes.

The problem is these two separate incidents are similar enough to warrant equal scrutiny. Both are former government officials who had confidential documents in locations where they shouldn’t have been in the first place. Spin it any way you want, but the core issue is still the same. Where things get a bit cloudy is in what each official is allowed to declassify and how it was done. That’s a debate for another time (and possibly another blog post).

When you strip away all the partisan bullshit, you can’t call the Right’s outrage over Puddin’ Head Joe’s actions whataboutism because it’s literally the same thing Trump is being accused of. And, to be fair, the Right’s criticisms have more meat with regards to how the President is being treated right now because of the way Trump was treated, with the Left’s overwhelming approval. Even then, it’s hard to get past the whataboutism label completely here since there’s the element of an unequal response, which works in the Left’s favor.

At least, it does until you realize the Left wants there to be different and unequal rules for their side. But that’s to be expected. After all, they’re our moral and intellectual superiors (just ask them).

As long as there are partisan hacks on both sides willing to be intellectually dishonest, there will be whataboutism, and there will be accusations of whataboutism, legitimate or otherwise. We may even find it creeping into our own thinking at times when we let our passions override our logic. The key to overcoming this is to keep consistent when presented with a seemingly contradictory situation.

That’s why I say both Trump and Biden need to be held accountable, no matter what. Not only does it confuse the partisan asshats, but it keeps things nice and simple. Plus, it will make for some great snarking.

Regardless of how you feel about Puddin’ Head Joe, it’s hard to deny the classified documents situation he’s in looks bad, as in Lena Dunham nude pictorial in Playboy bad. That’s why I take the Left’s whataboutism defense of Joe not as seriously as they do. Even so, it’s far too easy a trap to get into with political and ideological differences, mainly because neither side wants to be consistent. They want their team protected and the other team prosecuted until the end of time. But bad behavior is bad behavior, no matter what team you’re on, and it needs to be called out even when the partisan jagoffs accuse you of whataboutism.

When they do, feel free to do what I do and tell them “What about you shut the fuck up?”

Author: Thomas

I'm a writer and a ranger and a young boy bearing arms. And two out of the three don't count.

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