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Is Silence Complicity? (A Meditation for a Reader with a Fussy Email Server)

An eager reader sent me question via the contact form: Is silence really complicity?

My correspondent sought a response by email, but when I tried to reply, my correspondent’s server repeatedly rejected my email. Alas! Lest my correspondent take my silence as a sign of deliberate complicity in some nefarious plot, I post my reply here for my correspondent and all other eager readers to consider.

First, let me summarize the scenario framing the reader’s question. I paraphrase to protect the innocent (or is the silent reader complicit?):

I follow an online activist who is protesting anti-LGBT terrorism like the Club Q mass shooting. I am bothered by the activist’s claim that “Silence is complicity.”

The activist uses that phrase to push people to speak up, but activist ignores that fact that many people, like me, cannot speak out easily or safely. Some people live in small, conservative communities where speaking out will result in bullying, abuse, loss of friends, and loss of work. Such retribution can take a toll on anyone’s mental health. People coping with other mental health challenges may not be able to take further damage to their mental health and choose to stay silent out of self-preservation.

I appreciate activists who speak out passionately to defend human rights, but I get the sense that this activist uses “Silence is complicity” to put down people who don’t speak out, even those who may not live in a supportive community that will protect a vocal activist from retribution.

Is silence complicity? Or is vocal activism on controversial issues too much to demand of some people in precarious situations?

Here’s how I replied to this reader. I welcome (and I think my reader will welcome) your thoughtful, constructive responses and rebuttals in the comment section.

“Silence is complicity.” You hit on a really complicated issue: what guilt do we bear when do not take action against injustice? Are we really involved in and responsible for injustice when we are not directly committing the injustice but do not intervene to prevent others from committing the injustice or at least speak up against the injustice?

Part of the challenge in answering this question is our concern (certainly a concern I wrestle with) about establishing our moral worth. We don’t want to feel guilty. We want to feel we are good people. We want to do everything we can to be good people. And we’d kind of like other people, like the online activist you mention, to see that we are good people and not bring us down by saying we’re not.

(Spoiler: part of the answer I’d like to build toward is, “Who gives a darn what other online activists think about us?”)

In a basic way, “Silence is complicity” is true. When we witness injustice but do not criticize it or say, “Hey, stop that,” we leave it easy for the bad guys to keep committing injustice. We leave the impression that bad guys will not face moral or practical blowback for their unjust acts. Speaking up against injustice is right; thus, inescapably, remaining silent in the face of injustice is wrong.

But how wrong? How guilty should we feel about our silence? We can’t measure our goodness or guilt in grams, but we can at least imagine a spectrum of good and guilt:

  1. Acting to stop unjust acts.
  2. Speaking up against unjust acts.
  3. Not intervening in others’ unjust acts, but not committing unjust acts yourself.
  4. Committing unjust acts.

We complicate that spectrum if we try to fit comforting the victims of injustice into that spectrum. Imagine this scenario: Bad guys have done bad stuff to people. We don’t step in or speak up against the bad actions, but when the coast is clear, we offer quiet practical support to the victims of those bad actions. Refer to Nazi Germany or Red China for examples: maybe we don’t run into the street and get into fistfights with the Gestapo when they round up Jews or the Chinese police when they are arresting dissidents, but we quietly help Jews and dissidents escape the country, or we secretly leave food and money for the widows and children of political prisoners. Such acts are definitely moral. Are they as moral as direct protest or resistance? Does it matter if we can quantify them as more, equally, or less moral?

The question you raise and that activist raises is whether we are obliged to engage in any particular form of resistance to injustice. Is every person who fails to become a vocal activist like the one you mention morally inferior to that vocal activist or, as the activist’s accusation suggests, morally equivalent to the bad guys whom they don’t resist with the volume and vigor the vocal activist demands?

I’ve faced a question like this in blogging. Many times I have felt like one of the few people raising my voice against various unjust acts. When I have tried to get others to raise their voices, many have said things like you are saying, that speaking up would exact too great of a toll on them. I believe many people overestimate the toll they would pay for speaking up, especially when we’re talking about simple factual matters, like reporting corrupt actions by government officials, facts that we could support if the witnesses would simply go on the record and share the documents they have.

But I can recognize a difference between stating facts (“Senator X did corrupt act Y on Date Z, and here are the documents to prove it”) that might provoke some retribution from a political machine and taking a moral stand that defies not just the ruling party but a bigoted, fascist majority in an insular small-town culture. It’s good and well to yell, “Silence is complicity!” to guilt people into vocal resistance. But when you shout it at one skinny guy surrounded by a bunch of drunk and belligerent rednecks, you’re asking that skinny guy to invite a good pounding. That one guy’s silence in a bigoted, fascist crowd allows the crowd to continue blithely exercising its bigotry and fascism, but that guy’s speaking up in that crowd, alone, without planning and backup and an escape route, may not practically reduce injustice. Speaking up may only signal virtue to the online activist (safe in behind his computer screen in his community) and land the skinny guy in the hospital with no job to return to when he gets out.

Maybe speaking up wins merit points in theory, but in practice, what does that merit matter—why assign it?—if speaking up produces no positive change but only harm to the speaker?

If merit points do exist on some spectrum of good and guilt, we should remember that none of us really maximize our scores. We all leave some injustice—actually, most injustices—unredressed. We could always do more. But demanding that we all always do more may lay waste to our ability to do anything to fight injustice.

Consider the injustice of poverty. Consider it in the practical, immediate context of the Sioux Falls schools saying they are going to stop serving meals to students who don’t have lunch money and whose parents haven’t done the paperwork for free lunches. Letting children go hungry is unjust. I should resist that injustice. I shouldn’t just speak up (“Hey, Sioux Falls schools! Feed those kids!”); I should go to the Sioux Falls schools in person and start writing checks to buy every poor kid lunch. That’s the most moral action I could do, right, bringing an immediate and practical end to children going hungry?

But given the SFSD lunch deficit is $105K and rising, I’d go broke within a month. I’d no longer be able to resist injustice in Sioux Falls, and now not only would those Sioux Falls kids go hungry, but so would my kid and my dog. I’d be so busy trying to get out of bankruptcy that I wouldn’t have the resources to organize some community relief effort or campaign for a political solution that would produce durable practical policy to make school lunches free again for every child in Sioux Falls. I’d immolate my personal finances and possibly my family life for the sake of a feel-good gesture (or the pursuit of maximum merit points and minimum guilt) that provides only fleeting relief.

And even if I somehow had enough income flowing in to cover Sioux Falls kids’ school lunches and still feed my family, what about all the other schools in South Dakota where kids are going hungry? What about all the starving children in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Africa? What about all the other injustice that I’m not resisting? Every moment that I spend fighting one injustice is unavoidably a moment when I am not fighting some other injustice. When I am speaking up about Kristi Noem’s corruption, I am silent about discrimination against LGBTQ kids. When I am speaking up against LGBTQ discrimination, I am silent about racial/religious/economic discrimination. When I am speaking against any kind of discrimination, I’m silent about the imminent destruction of our habitable ecosystem via climate change.

Is it wrong to be silent in the face of injustice? Yes.

Can we expect every person to speak up against every form of injustice at every moment? No.

The vocal activist you cite isn’t asking us to do the extreme omni-resistance I formulate in that last question. But that activist is making a demand that, while rooted in a kernel of truth, overstates the moral expectation we can lay on every listener.

The ultimate responsibility for injustice lies with those who do injustice. Those who do not commit injustice but also do not resist the injustice committed by others do not bear the same responsibility and cannot be subjected to the same guilt. Silent witnesses of injustice are not wholly innocent bystanders—we bear some guilt for not taking the highest moral action—and some witnesses remain silent out of nothing more than cowardice, for which we can make no excuses. But some witnesses are silent because they recognize their resistance would not only fail but produce more injustice, often in the form of personal consequences which they cannot practically bear and which would wipe out their capacity to work toward more effective acts of resistance.

That’s not a complete answer, but that’s what you got me thinking about. Tell me what those thoughts spark in your head!


  1. All Mammal 2022-12-08 01:38

    To your thoughtful correspondent’s quandary, don’t mind me saying I feel you. I admit, I have also been unable to speak out against a bully because it would have turned into a battle I not only couldn’t win, but also wasn’t sure if I would have gotten out alive. It had something to do with marital rape. As soon as I literally got one foot out the door, I gave him the news and ran.

    Other times, the loudest protest is silence. And once in a blue moon I have found a simple roll of the eyes while the mean ones aren’t looking can signal others around that are also keeping silent for the same reason. It would be killer if enough moral and thoughtful comrades united and outnumbered the oxen and were able to all dissent. Ya never know. Others could be holding back eye rolls too. Timing presents opportunities once in awhile, be ready to be bold when it comes along. That split second right before you convince yourself to go for it, your heart is pounding and the words are stuck, remember: you got this. I feel shame because of the one time I didn’t speak up when I knew I should have. That one will stay with me. I forgot about the times I did say something and kind of regretted it. Hope my advice makes sense and good luck. You’re not alone and you can always share opinions you have about Mr. H’s articles and join our banter(:

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-08 04:38

    All Mammal offers another reason to risk breaking that fearful silence: our words themselves may not redress injustice, but they may signal to other conscientious but frightened people that they are not alone in loathing that injustice and that they will find one more ally if they speak up. It’s not just that we should speak up to the bad guys; we should speak up to our fellow good guys to sound the alarm and call them to action.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-08 04:40

    Here’s a thought that wakes me up: what if I’m just going too easy on my correspondent? Are there are some injustices so grave that we cannot excuse silence, that the moral weight and practical harm of the injustice left unchecked outweighs any personal harm we may suffer for speaking out?

  4. David Bergan 2022-12-08 06:52

    Cromwell: Now, Sir Thomas, you stand on your silence.

    Sir Thomas More: I do.

    Cromwell: But, gentlemen of the jury, there are many kinds of silence. Consider first the silence of a man who is dead. Let us suppose we go into the room where he is laid out, and we listen: what do we hear? Silence. What does it betoken, this silence? Nothing; this is silence pure and simple. But let us take another case. Suppose I were to take a dagger from my sleeve and make to kill the prisoner with it; and my lordships there, instead of crying out for me to stop, maintained their silence. That would betoken! It would betoken a willingness that I should do it, and under the law, they will be guilty with me. So silence can, according to the circumstances, speak! Let us consider now the circumstances of the prisoner’s silence. The oath was put to loyal subjects up and down the country, and they all declared His Grace’s title to be just and good. But when it came to the prisoner, he refused! He calls this silence. Yet is there a man in this court – is there a man in this country! – who does not know Sir Thomas More’s opinion of this title?

    Crowd in court gallery: No!

    Cromwell: Yet how can this be? Because this silence betokened, nay, this silence was, not silence at all, but most eloquent denial!

    Sir Thomas More: Not so. Not so, Master Secretary. The maxim is “Qui tacet consentire”: the maxim of the law is “Silence gives consent”. If therefore you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented, not that I denied.

    Cromwell: Is that in fact what the world construes from it? Do you pretend that is what you wish the world to construe from it?

    Sir Thomas More: The world must construe according to its wits; this court must construe according to the law.

  5. Richard Schriever 2022-12-08 08:49

    In response to this rationalization from the querier, “…..retribution can take a toll on anyone’s mental health…..”. Repression of one’s emotions/thoughts will DEFINITELY lead to mental health issues. There is no “can – or may – to it. It shall – or will.

    To the general notion of allowing oneself to be bullied into silence – that is a sign of already having mental health issues. If it is the querier’s concern for their own mental health, this is the toxicity that rules small rural SD towns. Submitting to it in fear only deepens the cultural problems. Don’t let your fear kill your courage and therefore your self.

  6. Edwin Arndt 2022-12-08 09:47

    Cory, you have provided a lot of food for thought.
    One of the problems we have is that there is not always
    agreement on what constitutes injustice. (see abortion debate)

    I was a senior in high school in 1960 during the presidential election.
    Kennedy defeated Nixon by (I believe) .17 of one percentage point. Popular vote.
    It can be argued that was about how much difference there was between
    Kennedy and Nixon. At that time there was no real argument about
    the goals of the country. Mostly about how to have a better economy
    and how much should we spend on defense. (I know, Brown V Board
    of education happened in 1954 but it didn’t cause a whole lot of ruckus
    until the 60’s.) The argument was about how to achieve these common
    goals. Now we have (it seems) a whole bunch of competing social agendas.
    A multitude of protected classes that feel they are being treated unjustly.
    At present I have no good solution.

  7. Dicta 2022-12-08 09:53

    Silence as action is directly related to a person’s ability to respond to a situation. If they aren’t in a position to help, don’t know, are being oppressed themselves, etc., they calling them complicit seems to be an awfully privileged stance to take.

  8. larry kurtz 2022-12-08 09:59

    Mike Pence should face prosecution for remaining silent on the crimes committed by his boss.

    John Thune’s rejection of Trump was a ruse. He already knew Donald Trump was a sleaze from his basketball buddy Jim Comey. That’s right: the vast white wing of the Republican Party was going to beat Hillary Clinton at any cost even if it meant colluding with a sworn enemy of the United States, destroying the presidency and taking down the republic. So Thune made Congress look the other way as Russia and Cambridge Analytica conspired with Facebook to hack the election.

  9. LCJ 2022-12-08 10:29

    Sorry, Larry. HRC lost to Trump because she was too lazy to campaign in Wisconsin. Calling half the population “deplorables” didn’t help any either. The Russia collision crap has been long dispelled as myth. Keep trying.

  10. All Mammal 2022-12-08 11:34

    I read a sign at a BLM march that read: White silence=violence. I felt it was appropriate. Alls it takes for evil to overcome is for good people to do nothing. Next time you are in the sotuation with the bullies being bullies you can a)clear your throat real loud. They’ll get the hint. b)I got a guy who makes tshirts with whatever you want to say on them. He made me one that says “Kill your Masters in reference to Run the Jewels’ “Report to the Shareholders/Kill your Masters. or c)bump this jam loud af:

    Beware of horses
    I mean a horse is a horse of course, but who rides is important
    Sitting high with a uniform, barking orders, demanding order
    And I’m scared that I talk too much about what I think’s going on
    I got a way with this, they might drag me away for this
    Put me in a cage for this, I might pay for this
    So I just say what I want like I’m made for this
    But I’m just afraid some days I might be wrong
    Maybe that’s why me and Mike get along
    Hey, not from the same part of town, but we both hear the same sound coming
    And it sounds like war
    And it breaks our hearts
    When I started this band, didn’t have no plans, didn’t see no arc
    Just run with the craft, have a couple laughs
    Make a buck and dash, yeah
    Get a little dap like “Yeah I’m the effing man!”, yeah
    Maybe give a little back like, “Here, I do what I can”
    It’s all jokes and smoke ’till the truth start schemin’
    Can’t contain the disdain for y’all demons
    Talk clean and bomb hospitals
    So I speak with the foulest mouth possible
    And I drink like a Vulcan losing all faith in the logical
    I will not be confused for docile
    I’m free, mothereffers, I’m hostile
    Choose the lesser of the evil people, and the devil still gon’ win
    It could all be over tomorrow, kill our masters and start again
    But we know we all afraid, so we just simply cry and march again
    At the Dem Conven my heart broke apart when I seen them march mommas in
    As I rap this verse right now, got tears flowing down my chocolate chin
    Told the truth and I’ve been punished for it, must be a masochist ’cause I done it again
    Ooh, Mike said “uterus”, they acting like Mike said “You a b itch”
    To every writer who wrote it, misquoted it
    Mike says, “You a b itch, you a b itch, you a b itch”
    Add a “ni gga” for that black writer that started that sewer sh t
    I maneuver through manure like a slumdog millionaire
    El-P told me, “Uck them devils, Mike, we gon’ be millionaires”
    I respond with a heavy “Yeah”
    Big bro says “Uck that, toughen up
    Stay ready, write raw raps, sht rugged rough”
    The devil don’t sleep, us either
    El spits fire, I spit ether
    We the gladiators that oppose all Caesars
    Coming soon on a new world tour
    Probably play the score for the World War
    At the apocalypse, play the encore
    Turn around, see El, and I smile
    Hell coming and we got about a mile
    Until it’s over I remain hostile
    Mere mortals, the Gods coming so miss me with the whoopty-whoop
    You take the devil for God, look how he doin’ you
    I’m Jack Johnson, I beat a slave catcher snaggletooth
    I’m Tiger Flowers with a higher power, hallelu’
    Life’ll get so bad it feel like God mad at you
    But that’s a feeling, baby, ever lose, I refuse
    I disabuse these foolish fools of they foolish views
    I heard the revolution coming, you should spread the news
    Garvey-mind, Tyson-punch, this is bad news
    So feel me, follow me
    Devil done got on top of me
    Bad times got a monopoly
    Give up, I did the opposite
    Pitch perfect, did it properly
    Owner killed by his property (Yes!)
    This life’ll stress you like Orson Welles on the radio
    War after war of the world’ll make all your saneness go
    And these invaders from Earth’re twerkin’ on graves you know
    Can’t wait to load up the silos and make your babies glow
    It’s so abusive you’ll beg somebody to roofie you
    They’ll snatch your hope up and use it like it’s a hula-hoop
    And it’s a loop, they talk to you just like their rulers do
    These ucking fools have forgotten just who been fooling who
    Kill your, kill, kill your kill your, kill
    Kill your, kill, kill, kill your, kill
    Kill your masters
    Kill your, kill, kill your kill your, kill
    Kill your, kill, kill, kill your, kill
    Kill your masters
    Kill your, kill, kill your kill your, kill
    Kill your, kill, kill, kill your, kill
    Kill your masters
    Kill your, kill, kill your kill your, kill
    Kill your, kill, kill, kill your, kill
    Kill your masters
    Killer children of men on the throne roving with no atonement
    Got me feeling like I’m Clive Owen rowing through a future frozen
    But the flow is a burning wind, blowing to your coast and
    Now in cages ’cause we rode the waves of your explosions
    Done appealing to our killers, man, to stop the bleeding
    This song’s a dirty bomb for they dirty dealings
    Boots on the roof, I’m Charley Mingus dumping through the ceiling
    Master P-ing on these lost Europeans thievin’
    Sht be grim, and De La born a reaper
    Born in the beast and fixin’ feast tearin’ its features
    The world surges, the nation’s nervous
    The crowds awaken, they can’t disperse us
    We ain’t at your service, won’t stay sedated
    Won’t state our numbers for names and remain faceless
    We dignified, they can’t erase us
    We ain’t asleep, we rope a dope through the flames
    Man, the world gonna ride on what’s implied in the name
    Run ’em
    Kill your, kill, kill your kill your, kill
    Kill your, kill, kill, kill your, kill
    Kill your masters
    Kill your, kill, kill your kill your, kill
    Kill your, kill, kill, kill your, kill
    Kill your masters
    Kill your, kill, kill your kill your, kill
    Kill your, kill, kill, kill your, kill
    Kill your masters
    Kill your, kill, kill your kill your, kill
    Kill your, kill, kill, kill your, kill
    Kill your masters
    Source: LyricFind
    Songwriters: Jaime Meline / Michael Render / Zacharias Manuel de la Rocha
    Report to the Shareholders / Kill Your Masters lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC, O/B/O Capasso, Reservoir Media Management Inc, Third Side Music Inc.

  11. O 2022-12-08 12:40

    Funny that this question should touch on an element of CRT. What compounds the moral quandary is that often the the person being silent also benefits from the injustice — at least indirectly. As Cory’s lunch example shows lifting those in need up costs someone else.

    As one of those flamin’ liberals in deep red SD, convincing folks that the injustice IS an injustice is too often the first step. Too many still think that somehow a child not having lunch is character-building freedom. But once we know that the shadows on the cave walls are just shadows, we are obligated to tell the others. We have an obligation to tell the truth: that includes the truth of injustice.

  12. larry kurtz 2022-12-08 13:13

    The Electoral College installed Trump and the silence of his supporters on his career criminality led to court packing.

    Author David Gelles is making the case that Jack Welch destroyed American democracy with predatory capitalism and through unprecedented fraud. According to Gelles, rabid Republican Welch even ordered GE-owned NBC to call the 2000 presidential election for George W. Bush despite Vice President Al Gore clearly winning the popular vote and an electoral college in crisis.

  13. DaveFN 2022-12-08 13:56

    The leader of the Republican Party has called for “the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” and party leaders are silent.

    All members of Congress have taken this oath: “I…do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    So why the silence from essentially every Republican??

  14. LCJ 2022-12-08 14:05

    Trumps people knew all about the Electoral College as most people learned in 9th grade.
    Guess they didn’t teach that at your school.
    Talk about election deniers. Sheesh!

  15. David Bergan 2022-12-08 14:59

    Is it wrong to be silent in the face of injustice? Yes.

    Hi Cory!

    My point of difference is that I think morals should revolve around at-one-ment instead of justice/injustice. Perfect justice would be impossible to achieve, but we can certainly try to get along better. If I give my kids each a cookie, perfect justice means that I need to make sure that both cookies have the same number of chocolate chips. If my son’s cookie has fewer, is it wrong for him to be silent? No. The way is for all of us to enjoy the cookies we received and not spoil the felicity of dessert.

    At-one-ment means that we focus on what we have in common, what we like about each other, and how we can help each other. I want the best for you, and you want the best for me. We choose sportsmanship over winning. We’ve forgotten any injustices or resentment that we may have had in the past. We work toward the flourishing of joy in our fellowship.

    In a situation of clear danger, action must be taken. You can’t be an enabler for the Nazis. You can’t watch a crime and do nothing. But do I have a moral obligation to tell my neighbors in South Dakota how I feel about a crime that happened in Colorado? No. Does my silence endorse the crime that was done? Of course not.

    Does bringing up the subject usher in mutual joy and at-one-ment? Does it build us up and strengthen our relationship? These are the salient questions, and they depend entirely on the conversation and its context. In general, I think that making judgments and talking about crimes does not endear oneself to others. Neither does pointing out every little imperfection in someone else. On the other hand, holding back political opinions and being tolerant goes a long way toward at-one-ment, generally speaking.

    I’m wary of activists. They usually don’t want to get to know me nor want what’s best for me. They want their agenda to succeed. Insofar as I am in favor of their agenda, I can take whatever steps to help that I’m comfortable with. But they don’t get to say that it’s my moral obligation to disturb at-one-ment in my community. I’m suspicious of anyone who puts “principles” ahead of people.

    Some people (like you and me) enjoy a spirited exchange of ideas where we can freely assert and critique each other’s opinions. It strengthens our friendship. But, as you’ve said, we’re odd ducks…

    Kind regards,

  16. Donald Pay 2022-12-08 15:47

    When I think about my life, I remember the times when I was silent in the face of some small injustice (which weren’t many) with shame. Obviously, when it comes to how you respond to injustices, you have to pick your injustices. There are so many, and you only have so much of yourself to give. I spent a lot of time learning that one can’t expend all one’s effort on trying to right every injustice. One can pay attention and help out if you can, spreading your efforts out, or you can focus in on a particular injustice and give as much effort as you can. The latter are called “activists.”

    Unlike Dave, I like activists. As the old saying goes, “I’d rather be active, than radioactive.” Generally, activists tend to focus in on one or a few injustices. Yes, they have tunnel vision, and little time to engage in social niceties. I don’t expect them to care about me. I expect them to care about injustice, and to throw themselves into it.

    Now that I’m older, I realize I have little time and little energy left to correct injustice. I’m thankful for those who do the work.

  17. Donald Pay 2022-12-08 16:08

    LCJ is right about Hillary’s decision to skip campaigning in Wisconsin, but he’s wrong about Russia’s efforts to swing the 2016 election to Trump. Russia didn’t “hack” the election system, but they were able to use their propaganda efforts to sway independent voters through misinformation. I live in Wisconsin, and the Russian bots were very active in pumping out and circulating conspiracy theories and lies about Hillary. We were bombarded by them in Wisconsin. But the Russians were advised by the Trump campaign to direct their efforts at certain states and certain demographics. Whether that Russian effort or the Clinton campaign’s failures or the Trump campaign’s dirty tricks were at fault for her loss is an open question. It was probably all three.

  18. David Bergan 2022-12-08 16:43

    Hi Donald!

    Thanks for your perspective. Tunnel vision is exactly what I consider to be the problem. Tunnel vision is the CEO who only thinks about stock price. Tunnel vision is the proselytizer who only wants me to say the sinner’s prayer. Tunnel vision is the workaholic who didn’t see his kids grow up. Tunnel vision is the environmentalist who judges every aspect of everyone’s life by their carbon footprint. Tunnel vision is the chess player who becomes so obsessed with raising his rating that he neglects his wife. Tunnel vision is getting a million strangers to re-tweet your pithy judgment without making a single friend. Tunnel vision is letting the number on the scale determine your mood for the day.

    Everything becomes a means to an end… while we all forget that the real end is flourishing human relationships. Who cares what the stock price was while I was CEO? Who cares what my chess rating was? Who cares about which legislation passed while so-and-so was a representative? Who cares about how many comments I made to Dakota Free Press in 2021?

    Life is just so vast, complex, and amazing. There are places to see. There are things to make. Gardens to plant. There are old songs to hear for the first time. There are people to meet, laugh, hike, bake, and play game with. There are paradoxes to ponder. There are mysteries to gape at. There are thinkers who can introduce me to new perspectives. There are old friends to visit. There are scientific discoveries to read up on.

    To me, the point of life is not to put every injustice under the microscope, assign blame, and make sure restitution was paid. The point is to step into the vast awesomeness of conscious experience that’s available and bring as many people along as we can. There’s so much joy waiting there that most injustices would be completely forgotten.

    Kind regards,

  19. P. Aitch 2022-12-08 17:46

    Cory asks, “Are there are some injustices so grave that we cannot excuse silence, that the moral weight and practical harm of the injustice left unchecked outweighs any personal harm we may suffer for speaking out?”
    We ex-pats are fearless in our speech! We’re free from the SD law enforcement eyes and free from MAGA Billy clubs.
    ~ So, do y’all know about the Muslim grocery store in Sioux Falls that got seriously vandalized this week for the third time? This time the couple that owns it were in the back cleaning the grease traps on the griddle hood when the glass front door was smashed in, and intruders entered. The couple hid in the freezer and damn near froze to death until they called a relative to release them, after checking the premises for safety.
    – Violent white supremacy is going unchecked in the one truly liberal bastion within your state.
    *If you’ve not heard about these three racist, break-in vandalisms ask your news source and tv station why.

  20. Mark Anderson 2022-12-08 17:57

    Jeez this one has unleashed a mess. Edwin, groups don’t “feel” they are discriminated against. They are discriminated against. A big difference. Hillary saying deplorable was accurate but misplaced. It allowed the deplorable’s to believe they were Bugs Bunny and their really not even close to being that intelligent.

    I could go on but the basis of this article is very hard. My own family for instance. My wife was education director at Planned Parenthood and put herself in harms way for over 20 years and then this branch decided to eliminate the education department. I know bad move, bad move. Now, I would like any of you to try, in your late 50’s to try to find a job with your last almost lifetime job of being Education Director at Planned Parenthood in Sarasota, Florida. Sarasota Florida, the New crazyF move in. Michael Flynn, Doug Logan and Cyber Ninjas the election auditers, smelly Steve Bannon, Chris Pavloski and platform Rumble from Canada, Patrick Byrne moneymaking, Charlie Kirk a hole, Caroline Wetherington look her up yourself, Julie Jenkins Fancelli, money woman from Publix, a school board member who established Moms for Liberty Bridget Ziegler, the original Katherine Harris was always a resident. It was impossible for my wife and she had to deal with an unemployment system set up to fail by former governor Rick Scott. Now we personally gave up years of income for defending a Woman’s right to choose. I won’t even go into the dozens of times, the threats the attempts the harassment. We still believe it was worth it. Silence isn’t the way.

  21. P. Aitch 2022-12-08 18:09

    Thanks, Mark. The daughter and her wife just moved to Indian Rocks and are looking to buy in the general vicinity of Tampa.
    Sarasota’s reputation now proceeds it, huh?

  22. Mark Anderson 2022-12-08 18:41

    P. Aitch, Tampa is great , St Petersburg is good too. Just up the road is Dunedin which we’ve had some our best times in Florida. It’s shortstop DeSantis’s hometown but it’s a lively place. We live in Nokomis just south of Sarasota, but Sarasota also has a lively liberal underground. In fact they packed the last school board meeting filled with new DeSantis boys and girls, who barely won. More liberals the merrier. I started at USD in 71 too.

  23. Arlo Blundt 2022-12-08 20:15

    Donald’s point is well taken. In my opinion, Hilary was a terrible candidate, old, broken down, without much energy or new ideas. Trump brought a lot of energy and a whole, new, weird constituency into play and blew her away in the last month of the campaign. Sure, it was a tragedy, and perhaps we can get this guy in jail (probably a bad idea to make him a martyr but he can’t live forever, he’s older than I am). We need to charge him with everything but the Lindberg Kidnapping and then cut a deal with Spain or Slovakia (the Dalmatian Coast is nice) and allow him to slip out of the country and into exile.

  24. bearcreekbat 2022-12-09 00:48

    Arlo, it’s funny how different we see things. In my opinion, the factual history establishes Hillary as one of the best Presidential candidates during my lifetime (starting with Truman on up). From everything factual that I have seen about her history and accomplishments I can only conclude that she was extremely intelligent, full of new and good policy ideas for the Country, relatively young, full of energy, compassionate, caring, and empathetic. I was extremely disappointed in how well the Gingrich hate machine worked to create an artificial and mostly fictional caricature designed to turn people against her.

    . . . few figures in modern history have done more than Gingrich to lay the groundwork for Trump’s rise. During his two decades in Congress, he pioneered a style of partisan combat—replete with name-calling, conspiracy theories, and strategic obstructionism—that poisoned America’s political culture and plunged Washington into permanent dysfunction. Gingrich’s career can perhaps be best understood as a grand exercise in devolution—an effort to strip American politics of the civilizing traits it had developed over time and return it to its most primal essence.

    The lies about Hillary, the conspiracy theories, the dehumanization, the belittling, the name-calling, it all worked its wonders on way too many otherwise decent people. Thus, I can’t sit by comlicitly without raising some objections, and pointing out a few facts, to show how unjustified and untrue these attacks were on this decent woman that pretty much dedicated most of her life to helping people.

    Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments have been centered around health care, the military, and families, especially women and children. . . .

    As First Lady, Hilary Clinton worked tirelessly to introduce legislation helping at risk populations
    As a Senator, she helped give health benefits to the first responders of the 9/11 attacks and those serving in the National Guard. . . .

    Hillary chaired the Task Force on Health Care Reform that drafted the 1993 Health Security Act. Although Congress didn’t pass it, it laid the groundwork for the Affordable Care Act. It also cleared the way for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. . . . . It provides health care to more than eight million children.

    In 1994, she championed the Violence Against Women Act.2 That provides financial and technical assistance to states to help them develop programs that stop domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In 1995, she also helped create the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.

    She supported the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act. Representative Nancy Johnson, a Republican, sponsored the bill. It facilitates the adoption of foster children.3 It also allows states and local agencies greater flexibility on how to spend federal funds.

    She lobbied Congress for the 1999 Foster Care Independence Act.. . . The Act almost doubled federal spending for programs that help teenagers leave foster care after they turn 18. The programs help them complete their education, find jobs, and become self-sufficient.

    Introduced the Pediatric Research Equity Act with Senator Mike DeWine, R-OH.7 This law requires drug companies to research how their products affect children. The Act changed drug labeling to disclose safety and dosage for children. That’s lowered the danger of over-dosage for children with chronic diseases like epilepsy and asthma.

    Worked with fellow New York Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer, to get $21 billion in federal aid to help New York rebuild after the 9/11 attacks.8 She wrote the bill to get health care coverage for 9/11 first responders. That included health research related to the attacks. The rescue operations forced many police and firefighters into early retirement with debilitating chronic injuries and illnesses. Her successor, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, got the bill passed.

    Worked with Republicans to achieve full military health benefits to National Guard members and reservists.9 Expanded Family Medical Leave Act to families with wounded veterans.

    1977: Founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.16 It did research and educate the public on children’s issues. Joined Rose Law Firm. Appointed by President Carter to chair the board of the Legal Services Corporation. . . .

    1982 to 1992: First Lady of Arkansas. Chaired Arkansas Educational Standards Committee, which created new state school standards. Founded Arkansas Home Instruction Program for Pre-School Youth. Helped created Arkansas’ first neonatal intensive care unit. On the boards of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the Legal Services and Children’s Defense Fund. . . . Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983. Arkansas Mother of the Year in 1984.

    1993 to 2001: . . . Chair of the Task Force on National Healthcare Reform. She continued to be a leading advocate for expanding health insurance coverage, ensuring children are properly immunized, and raising public awareness of health issues. . . .

    And that is the tip of the iceberg of this individual’s accomplishments. Thus, the statement that “Hilary was a terrible candidate, old, broken down, without much energy or new ideas” seems to flow from Republican Gingrich style hate propaganda rather than any significant factual history. And considering the factual list of Trump’s accomplishments, there really is no meaningful comparision – his foundation reportedly was found to have engaged in fraud, as was so-called Trump University, both created to bilk good people of of their hard earned dollars and line Trump’s pockets.

  25. Edwin Arndt 2022-12-09 10:00

    Yes, Hillary Clinton was a very accomplished person. But (I think) her “basket of deplorables” statement came
    to define her in a great many minds. She gave the impression that she only wanted the votes of
    people with college degrees, preferably Ivy league degrees. Her air of superiority was not
    politically helpful.

  26. bearcreekbat 2022-12-09 11:40

    Ah, the “basket of deplorables” meme. This is just another leg in the Gingrich style hate technique – the false vicitimization of potential voters to gin up a false narrative of the evil nature of Democrats. Here is an interesting WAPO (apparently with no paywall) piece describing how Marjorie Taylor Greene is using this very technique, that strikes me as analogous to the “basket of deplorable” tactic.

    How a false narrative about Republicans being hunted took root
    . . .
    Her position as a member of Congress and her national profile adds both weight and distance to her commentary. More importantly, her assertions are generally things that she’s picked up from the right-wing information universe, meaning that she is, in fact, speaking for a large population of Americans when she says what she says, however obviously false.

    As when, this weekend, she claimed that Democrats want to kill Republicans. . . .

    “Joe Biden has declared every freedom-loving American an enemy of the state,” she added.

    If we quickly work backward, we see how poorly predicated all of this is.

    In a speech last month, President Biden decried the views of Trump’s most fervent supporters — the ones who reject election results or play down the threat posed by rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. People like Greene, in other words. But since it’s perpetually useful for members of the right’s political and media leadership to cast criticisms of a subset of the group as a criticism of whole group, Biden’s comments become an attack on “every freedom-loving American.” . . .

    . . . what she’s doing is tapping into and amplifying the evolving sense of victimization on the right, one that’s regularly stoked within the right-wing universe. . . .

    This is useful rhetoric for Trump and Greene and Fox News to get people engaged. It is also obviously and immediately dangerous itself.

    Anyone with knowledge of the actual context of Hillary’s comment recognizes that it was not aimed at all Republicans, or even Republicans in general, or even most Trump supporters. Rather it was aimed at describing avowed racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, and Islamophobes, that had jumped on the Trump bandwagon. Yet Republicans managed to do a Greene like bait and switch to convince way too many Republicans that they were being described by Hillary’s comment, i.e. theyt were “victims” of Hillary. The comment itself was totally appropriate, yet turned upside down into just another weapon to create a false and hateful narrative about Hillary. Here is that comment:

    “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? [Laughter/applause]. The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.

    Of course, Trump’s campaign immediately used this comment to make all “hard working Americans” the people Hillary referenced, i.e. unfairly characterized “victims” of her comments:

    Just when Hillary Clinton said she was going to start running a positive campaign, she ripped off her mask and revealed her true contempt for everyday Americans. . . . Clinton revealed just how little she thinks of the hard-working men and women of America.

    On the left, Hillary was criticized because she used the term “half” of Trump supporters, which was clearly an overbroad generalization. Yet Republicans did not focus on “half,” rather they falsely claimed the comment was aimed at “everyday Americans.” Thus, Republicans were able to successfully place their mischaracterization and expansion of the scope of this comment in the minds of not only Republican voters, but too many independents and conservative Democrats, helping to solidify a false image of Hillary that is entirely inconsistent with her factual history.

  27. larry kurtz 2022-12-09 11:50

    The silence of every attorney general since Kermit Sande on missing and murdered Indigenous people has been greased by both catholic dioceses and the Governor’s Club to ensure Republican control.

  28. Edwin Arndt 2022-12-09 15:12

    BCB. You are probably right. But, most voters, republicans and democrats, do not
    subject statements made in a political campaign to the rigorous analysis that you have here.
    She’d have been much better off if she hadn’t made that statement.

  29. Jake 2022-12-09 16:56

    Bear Creek: Thanks for your input into this discussion. As usual, your analysis gets really deep into the ‘meat’ of the issue. When Hilllary lost to trump in ’16 so much of the Democratic party blamed the candidate-wrongly-instead of turning out to vote regardless of whether the polls showed in her favor or not. Also, many thought-“How in hell can the American people be suckered by such a -rick of a candidate?!
    Well, by NOT voting for a highly qualified first woman president when they had the chance, they had to settle for 4 years of an over-weight piece of humanity who so rightly was impeached twice and still faces justice! Yes, she won the popular vote (most of America voters) but the electoral college that the GOP since Gingrich had focused on for years took away the “People’s Choice” and gave the country the fat dude trailing toilet paper from his heel up the stairs of Air Force One.
    The GOP now is focusing on rigging elections to obtain exactly (legally) the same result trump whined about the “stolen election”! Witness the current case from North Carolina before the Supreme Court on how “red states” can choose their own ‘electors’ by the GOP legislature if they don’t like the way the state voted for national candidates; even over their Governor’s veto.

  30. Mark Anderson 2022-12-09 17:15

    Well, Democrats will almost assuredly win the total vote for President. I won’t call it popular because it demeans it. Republican’s are good at that. My wife and I both collect Social Security. We paid in for 50 years and Republican’s call it an entitlement and want to end it. They hate the January 6th committee and yet they had 7 investigation’s of Bengazi. More people died at embassies under Bush. The Democrat’s may not like it but they have to respond in kind to the BS of the Republican Party. The Republican’s won back the house through gerrymandering. The Democrat’s tried in New York but a judge threw it out and they lost. If they had done a better job in New York and had fought DeSantis better in Florida they would still have the house. All over America Republican’s can see the writing on the wall and their response is to rig elections while saying over and over that Democrat’s are stealing elections.

  31. bearcreekbat 2022-12-09 17:52

    While the view expressed by Arlo that “She’d have been much better off if she hadn’t made that statement” is shared by many folks, including the NPR reporter linked in my above comment, I can’t really see how it could harmed her any worse than any other truthful statement she might have made, given the Republican Gingrich style tactics of misrepresenting, or downright lying, about the nature and content of literally any statement by a Democrat. If Republicans had not been able to exploit “deplorable,” they surely would have glommed on to some other term or phrase to develop false and demeaning claims about Hillary’s character, policy ideas or history.

    Indeed, recall for example the Republican created TV commercials in SD’s recent Governor’s race that repeatedly played a Jamie Smith statement completely out of context to create a false impression of his taxation goals. It really doesn’t matter what a Democrat says, as most anything can be manipulated to create a false narrative once the truth no longer has any importance to the manipulator.

  32. Arlo Blundt 2022-12-09 21:47

    BCB–I think Edwin used the deplorable comment, not me. I’d forgotten about it, but, it was an unfortunate flub by Hilary. The campaign took a toll on her, physically and mentally. She can’t be faulted for lack of effort but, frankly, she ran out of gas about 50 yards from the finish line. I have nothing against Hilary, or her politics, or her husband. Against Trump, she had to fight a great deal of political momentum. Wish she’d have won. The world would be a different place.

  33. All Mammal 2022-12-09 23:01

    P. Aitch- I have not heard any reports about the hate crimes committed repeatedly on a local SD store. I am curious why it hasn’t made news. Not. We likely already know the reason. If the victims prayed a little more conventionally and their names and faces were a bit more vanilla… and if the obvious culprits weren’t such ‘very fine people’, it would get a mention on mainstream news.

  34. bearcreekbat 2022-12-10 00:35

    Arlo, sorry, you are right, I was referring to Edwin’s comment, but used your name by mistake. Mea culpa.

  35. David Bergan 2022-12-10 09:30

    Thanks for the link, PH.

    Kind regards,

  36. All Mammal 2022-12-10 09:43

    Muchas gracias, P. I read about the business owners’ struggle on Dakota News Now last night. ¡Que horrible! Seems like the violence and aggression from the racist xenophobes is escalating. We need a hate crime task force. And to teach our families how not to be miserable little haters. Thanks for looking out.

  37. All Mammal 2022-12-10 11:01

    e platypus onion- I suspect that silence was the sort that is bought and paid for. Oil is so drippy dirty, it soils whatever it touches. Thanks for the heads up. I haven’t heard of pipelines leaking since living in the Bakken. I pert near forgot all about their daily occurrence.

  38. Jake 2022-12-10 16:32

    P.H.—Yeah, thanks for illuminating for us another important news item that hasn’t been alluded to by state media (main stream). The Argus and RC Journal are far more interested in selling advertising to boost their corporate out-of – state owners bankrolls than letting people in the state know these little significant breaches of the public’s trust in the law enforcement institution.

  39. e platypus onion 2022-12-11 10:23

    How the NYT helped magats win the House.

    In the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election, there was a lot of attention focused on the role of “fake news,” but a year later, a study published in the Columbia Journalism Review told a very different story, with the blunt title, “Don’t blame the election on fake news. Blame it on the media.” Instead of fake news — which was a real but relatively small problem in 2016 (all fake Russian ads amounted to 0.1 percent of Facebook’s daily advertising revenue) — it centered on an analysis of the New York Times’ agenda-setting campaign coverage: America’s paper of record ran as many front-page stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails (10) in the last six days before the election as it did about all policy details combined in the two months before the election.

  40. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-11 17:47

    “Qui tacet consentire”—interesting to stand Thomas More’s use of that maxim to defend himself from the capital charge of undermining King Henry the Eighth’s authority alongside the moral question my reader poses. More was using silence to protect his integrity against the overreach of an immoral king. His testimony says the opposite of the conclusion I offer my correspondent; the maxim More invokes says that we shall assume you approve of the actions in question unless you speak up against them.

    I wonder: can we draw some assistance from the American judicial/Constitutional principle of “innocent until proven guilty”? When we try to determine criminal guilt, we cannot hold silence against defendants: the state does not get to say, “The defendant refuses to testify, so the defendant must be guilty!” No, defendants’ silence betokens nothing.

    So can we graft our judicial right to remain silent into a moral and rhetorical rule? Can we say that we cannot assign guilt to a person for remaining silent about what we consider to be unjust acts? Can we say silence is passive, betokening neither complicity, consent, or anything else, and that we may only assign moral condemnation to those who actively propagate injustice?

    Can we posit a “right to remain silent” about moral issues? Would such a right be absolute, or would it be conditional, depending on the risk individuals take by breaking their silence? Could we say Mary Miner County has a right to remain silent about discrimination and violence elsewhere in America while elected officials and public intellectuals who have a platform for speaking truth to power have no such right, or a much lesser version of that right? (And if a right can so vary by person and circumstance, is it really a right?)

  41. leslie 2022-12-24 01:51

    LCJ said—The Russia collision [SIC] crap has been long dispelled as myth.

    Nope. Not by Mueller. Not ever. Not a myth. After Mueller’s Report, by June 2019 the media made sure LCJ’s myth was dead.

    TIME’S Mueller Report MYTHS Just Won’t Die. Here’s Why They’re Wrong:

    Mueller spent almost 200 pages describing “numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign.” He found that “a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.” He also found that “a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations” against the Clinton campaign and then released stolen documents.

    ***While Mueller was unable to establish a conspiracy between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians involved in this activity, he made it clear that “[a] statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts.” In fact, Mueller also wrote that the “INVESTIGATION ESTABLISHED^ that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

    To find conspiracy, a prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of the crime: an agreement between at least two people, to commit a criminal offense and an overt act in furtherance of that agreement. One of the underlying criminal offenses that Mueller reviewed for conspiracy was campaign-finance violations. Mueller found that Trump campaign members Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner met with Russian nationals in Trump Tower in New York June 2016 for the purpose of receiving disparaging information about Clinton as part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” according to an email message arranging the meeting. This meeting did not amount to a criminal offense, in part, because Mueller was unable to establish “willfulness,” that is, that the participants knew that their conduct was illegal. Mueller was also unable to conclude that the information was a “thing of value” that exceeded $25,000, the requirement for campaign finance to be a felony, as opposed to a civil violation of law. But the fact that the conduct did not technically amount to conspiracy does not mean that it was acceptable. Trump campaign members welcomed foreign influence into our election and then compromised themselves with the Russian government by covering it up.

    Mueller found other contacts with Russia, such as the sharing of polling data about Midwestern states where Trump later won upset victories, conversations with the Russian ambassador to influence Russia’s response to sanctions imposed by the U.S. government in response to election interference, and communications with Wikileaks after it had received emails stolen by Russia.

    While none of these acts amounted to the crime of conspiracy, all could be described as “COLLUSION.”^

    ***Mueller concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in “sweeping and systematic fashion.” The report documents Trump’s efforts to end or curtail the investigation, his refusal to be interviewed and written answers that Mueller found “inadequate.” The report also notes that members of the campaign lied, refused to answer questions, deleted communications and used encrypted applications. Obstruction is a crime precisely because those who engage in it seek to keep investigators from arriving at the truth. As Mueller wrote in Volume I, pertaining to conspiracy with Russia, “given these identified gaps, the Office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast in a new light) the events described in the report.”

    Here, of course, crimes were charged against 37 individuals and entities, including two dozen Russian nationals.

    Although Mueller was unable to establish each and every element of conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, he found contacts with Russia that may have created concern for Trump that they would amount to a crime or create embarrassment for himself, his family and his campaign. He also may have been motivated by a desire to conceal his payments to silence Stormy Daniels regarding allegations of marital infidelity on the eve of the election after his disparaging remarks about women on the Access Hollywood tape had become public, activity for which he is described as “Individual-1,” an unindicted co-conspirator, in a federal criminal case filed in the Southern District of New York. In addition, Trump may have been motivated by a desire to avoid the appearance that his election was illegitimate because it was achieved with assistance from a foreign adversary. He could have been concerned that the investigation would reveal personal financial matters, which he has always considered sensitive. Regardless of his motive, Trump’s efforts to interfere with Mueller’s investigation legally amount to obstruction of justice, even under the narrow definition and high standard of proof Mueller used.

    ***Trump’s effort to end the investigation constitutes obstruction of justice, even though [Trump’s White House lawyer] McGahn did not follow through on the order. In addition, Mueller found that all elements of obstruction were satisfied with regard to Trump’s efforts to limit the investigation to future elections: Trump directed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “unrecuse” himself from the investigation and to publicly announce that the investigation would focus on only future elections — that is, even if Mueller were fired and then replaced, the new special counsel would be required to ignore facts relating to the 2016 election. If successful, this effort would have prevented us from learning the truth about Russia’s efforts to attack the 2016 election. By looking out for his own interests, Trump ignored the interests of our country.

    ^(my EMPHASIS added)


    McQuade is a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and an NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst.

    Vance is distinguished professor of the practice of law at the University of Alabama, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama and an NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst.

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