A highlight from Deep Dive with Dorian Warren: Political Cruelty

The Takeaway


We talked about his experiences in two thousand sixteen. I remember that there was a bit of an air of darkness. And i say that just as someone because when i looked around didn't see too many people who looked like me didn't see too many people who were kind of excited It seemed like people were very very angry almost like vengeful and it wasn't just trump rallies. See zach also vividly remembered particular south carolina primary rally for senator ted cruz. It was uncomfortable environment in my mind. Like i don't know how we all got through that moment. But i just remember there was a point in time where we were with one of our staff members who is a gay muslim and immediately we started talking about you know well. Ted cruz starts talking about you. Know how all the things that god ordained and all these things that the left is trying to do with gay marriage and abortion and this and that And then also still pivoting to that talking about terrorism and i just remember looking at the number of being like this is someone who in my heart like has done nothing but shown us love protection and genuine empathy and he knows that a lot of us are nothing alike And to see him get a moment of just like scared and anxiety. It like really hurt me And so yeah. I remember that moment. 'cause that was powerful for me melissa zachary's reflections here are of in many ways a perfect 'lustration of this issue of civic cruelty and zachary remembers seeing the fear in his kind empathetic staff leader and realizing just how cruel this political space have become as they were standing there. And this is exactly what christina beltran told us about how cruelty operates as a system so thinking about the fact that these sort of descriptions antonyms sometimes than real enactments of cruelty made people feel like they were free it made people feel like they were powerful and it made them feel like they were part of a community of people so it was so this kind of cruelty and i think when you think about things like the history I i i. I turned to either be wells and talk about early white riots and some of the different civic disturbances lynch mobs and not even lynch mobs but simply public hangings That happened when before before we outlawed public hanging in those sort of spectacles of violence those spectacles were not just there to sort of just be a be cruel they were also there to sort of tell us who we were as a people and what we stood for and our belief systems and i think when you start thinking about cruelty as as something that's also civic you start to realize that those enactments make people feel like they are defending their country that they are fighting for a better future that they are enacting the kind that they are able to because they believe so strongly in the law. They're able to be the law. Christina beltran gives us to critical insights here to remind us that civic cruelty did not begin with president trump cruel force divisions are of course. A marker of many eras of american history enslavement is a practice of intergenerational cruelty and the end of slavery the brutality of lynch mobs and the policy violence segregation together ensure that formerly enslaved black people could not join the body politic. Full americans and i was especially interested. That beltran describes this cruelty as being definitive of the law itself. So even if using lynch mobs to keep black people from voting or or owning property might have been technically illegal it was actually fully within another version of law that is a law of forced racial hierarchy and melissa. All this got me thinking about another writer who has outlined this idea of cruelty. Adam sir. I'm talking about really goes back to the owning the country. You know you have a country where you say all created equal but you sever a tremendous amount of the people from the country to that idea. Adam is a staff writer for the atlantic and he published an incredible new book titled the cruelty is the point the past present and future of trump's america. Here's adam on c. span's book. Td in july. I really applies to wiping property. It doesn't apply to black people it doesn't apply to enslave really apply to women as they minute at the time justify that you have a reason for why these blessings that you are the right of all humanity why certain segment of humanity is not entitled to them. Okay so i i get it. I see the connection. You've made here one of the things. He writes about this the spectacle of public cruelty. That i mean for me. It remains one of the most. Painful that i've ever encountered. Is this famous photograph. From nineteen thirty indiana black ben thomas ship. Abram smith had been lynched. We can see in the photograph. Their bodies still hanging from the trees. And there's a crowd milling around their feet. They're young and old men women and children and have always so surprised because they're not ashamed. They're looking directly at the camera. But maybe most shocking. The hardest to see is that in the foreground of the photo. There's young couple and they're kind of holding hands and smiling and there's something about the way their fingertips meat that is such an intimate and familiar gesture. Like i remember reaching for my husband. James for his hand in the same way the first time that we saw

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