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Re: “Dear Orange County GOP HQ Firebombers: You’re Not Helping

There is certainly an intuitive appeal to the idea that the arsonists of the Orange Co. GOP headquarters aren't helping, and it may even be true that such actions aid or embolden Trump supporters, as the author suggests. Such conclusions may well be sustained in a longer analysis, but most of this item is background; only a single underwhelming sentence ties the facts together to support the central claim: This incident gives Trump die-hards license to say that both sides do it . When held up to the light, this remark raises more questions than it attempts to answer.
1. Do they not already have that license?
It would seem this is a sunk cost at this point. All manner of rowdy behavior has already transpired from opponents of the Trump and/or Hillary campaigns, including an Indiana GOP HQ torched the week before the North Carolina one, flags burnt outside the DNC and RNC, miscellaneous randos punching randos during a California campaign stop, and attacks on anti-Trump protesters in Greensboro. Each time, there has been much moaning and groaning about the negative impacts on the Democrats' campaign and the cause in general, but there has been little evidence of any significant impact, let alone a game-changing one, and each time the short term memory of the news cycle has shuffled on to other things. This isn't unique to this election; the same process takes place whenever action is taken beyond the permitted, well-marshaled street march. If anything, this incident is interesting in that many of the usual criticisms the direct endangerment of other activists without their consent, the choice of politically tangential or irrelevant targets don't apply.

2. Why would a lack of license stop them? When has it?
The bizarre beliefs and violent behavior of many Trump supporters, especially 'die-hards', have been widely reported; is there any reason to believe that, in the absence of such an incident in consensus reality, they wouldn't latch upon one or more of the exotic zoo of conspiracy theories which could be similarly used? For that matter, would anyone who employed such a flimsy pretext to assassinate a politician, need any pretext at all? What license did they have or need early in the campaign when they repeatedly and violently assaulted peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters?

3. Who is this this Trump supporter speaking to?
A third party voter? A Democrat who supported Hillary in the 2008 and 2016 primaries, and will for the foreseeable future? Another Trump supporter? Themselves, as they try to fall asleep at night? The author himself presumably does not accept such an argument, so why does he expect the hypothetical audience to do so?

4. What are the consequences of this speech?
What would happen if someone accepted this rationale? We've already questioned its relationship with interpersonal violence, such as assassination or poll-booth vigilantism (1 & 2). But there is also often an anxiety that some audacious act of direct action, mentioned as a rhetorical weapon by one's opponents, will turn people's minds and behaviors against some cause. What evidence exists to suggest this concern is at all justified? During a simple exchange in the public square, whose mind will be swayed by such a remark? On Facebook and or on the bus, how often do you hear people say I was going to vote for Hillary, but then I heard about (aggressive direct action instance) and now I'm not so sure? Many people seem to believe that *someone other than them will do this, but how often does it actually happen?

5. What is 'it'?
The hypothetical Trumpling draws one, maybe two shaky equivalences in gathering different acts under a single umbrella called violence:
a) property damage is equated with personal injury: melted campaign signs are put on the same footing as a bullet in the head.
b) the violence of the oppressed is equated with the violence of the oppressor: assault perpetrated by a marginalized person against enablers of persecution and deportation (as in San Jose this summer) is put on the same footing as racial profiling by self-appointed poll booth monitors.
Maybe such equivalences hold in this case, but in letting the point slide without a fight, the author is doing the Trump supporters work for him. Doing so makes the author and the rest of us vulnerable to sporadic false flags and antics of bored teenagers, both par for the political and social course.

To be sure, I don't encourage people to just wander around setting fire to things. I don't spend my time that way, certainly. But it's far from clear that any damage done to progressive causes is nonnegligible, or even exists. On the other hand, the $13k donation of which the author writes approvingly quite plausibly made things worse.

From a results-oriented, strategic standpoint, the first-order material consequences of the donation drive seem obvious. This was not a residence, a dance hall, or a hospital that was damaged; its purpose was not to grow tomatoes like a greenhouse, house children like an orphanage, or display art like a museum. It was the headquarters of a regressive political party. Their presidential candidate threatens literal fascism and their local representatives have their own headache-inducing resume. NC Republicans brought us House Bill Two and Amendment One; they are willing to twist data science to overtly racist ends when it helps them keep minorities from voting but they try to outlaw climatology when it comes to sea level rise. Their offices have one function, and that is to produce and enact such social engineering. When their infrastructure suffers damage, their ability to disenfranchise black voters declines, however minutely. If yard signs didnt bring in votes, politicians wouldnt employ them; when such signs are destroyed and must be replaced, the vote efficiency per dollar spent goes down, however infinitesimally. When files are destroyed, informational and organizational havoc is wrought. Maybe this doesnt justify arson. But when the cost of repairs is covered, the sad fact is, theyre left with more resources on hand to slander transwomen.
There are plenty of things such a perspective might be called: callous, cynical, the justification of means or lack thereof by their ends. Yet many of the prominent donors themselves have gone on record, saying that now is no time for anything but! Several have written at length, echoing popular arguments against third party voting (Clay Shirkley is a high-profile example). And yet every charge they levy against the act of voting for Jill Stein or Monica Moorehead, describes the donation drive at least as well.
*It's a waste of resources (even before the devastation of Hurricane Matthew there were oodles of cash-starved organizations in NC doing good work, and buying booze for winos would frankly have been a more worthy cause)
*The donors are acting out of a position of privilege (I wish I was affluent enough to throw in $100 for a pity party benefiting people who hate my guts!)
*it is emotionalistic, performative and self-righteous (this is half the credit the author gives to the donation drive: it made us feel a little bit better about the world, whoever us is)
*it is hopelessly idealistic and lacking in realism (by acting magnanimous, they expect to coax decency out of people who clearly have no interest in it).
Material support for a bass-ackwards political organization is at least as bad as failure to support its most viable competitor! Moreover, if we take seriously the idea that perceived hypocrisy changes minds for the worse (if property damage by 'liberal animals' somehow rationalized violence in the word or thought of Trump's brownshirt wannabes, in the authors example), how does such selective pragmatism look to someone who was previously sold against voting idealistically? With the disingenuity of arguments against doing so laid bare, how many people will reconsider a vote for a third party instead of Clinton? The author concedes that the donation was only useful as PR, but it's far from obvious whether it accomplished even that, and could well have made things worse!

In the course of appealing to centrists and conservatives, Clinton has sought and often gained the endorsement of establishment conservatives, from former president and Iran Contra alum George Herbert Walker Bush, to conspiracy peddler Glenn Beck, to think tanker Roger Kagan. In the process, their role in bringing our current electoral crisis to pass has gotten glossed over. The strategic utility of this move isn't obvious: its a waste of a unique opportunity to render radioactive the vehicle of US conservativism for election cycles to come. DNC staffers themselves have expressed concern that by casting Trump's horrorshow as an aberration of the Republican party rather than its natural conclusion, they were distancing down-ballot Republicans from their unpopular presidential candidate and undercutting their Democratic competitors. It is this atmosphere which has brought us a popular logo of a rainbow flag hugging a confederate flag, and a popular photo of Michelle Obama hugging George W. Bush. Clearly, liberals will forgive anyone except for Ralph Nader. But if one really must give sympathy to the devil, why not send something less fungible and less liquid than money? What about a greeting card, or maybe the ever-popular thoughts and prayers ?

You can forgive Darth Vader for blowing up Alderaan, without chipping in to build him a new Death Star!


3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by TheCarrboroProvocateur on 10/23/2016 at 10:41 AM

Re: “Durham native "Bud" Barbee's sensational career tells the story of segregated baseball in the Triangle

Thank you Arthur.. Walter is my grandfather and Bud is my uncle.. It's a lot of confusion about the both of them! I have so many pics that I can share ...

Posted by barbee on 10/22/2016 at 11:03 PM

Re: “Dear Orange County GOP HQ Firebombers: You’re Not Helping

The question to ask is "Who gains from this?". And the answer is surely not Orange County Democrats, who were likely to win big before this happened.

Posted by Nate on 10/22/2016 at 12:29 PM

Re: “First Day of Early Voting: "The Bluest Areas in N.C. Are on GOTV Steroids"

The lower turnout statewide might also have to do with the ridiculous rules many county Boards of Elections have instituted this year. Guilford County, for instance, the third largest city in the state and reliably blue, has all of *ONE* early voting site open right now. The rest don't open for another week.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Nate on 10/22/2016 at 9:26 AM

Re: “The Greenbox Project Brings Reusable To-Go Boxes to Durham Restaurants

Excellent! I hope they get everybody on board.

Posted by MichaelEdits on 10/22/2016 at 6:11 AM

Re: “Following a Federal Settlement, Duke Energy Is Funding Solar Schools across N.C.—Including in Durham

Clean and lowest cost energy after the initial construction cost. I would not say that everything should be solar but anytime you go to many other countries they are becoming energy independent because of solar and wind. If you are interested in solar energy, go to for more details.

Posted by MonaCrue on 10/22/2016 at 1:42 AM

Re: “Raleigh landlord Bhola Gupta arrested for allegedly breaking into his own house, stealing tenants’ stuff

Not doing a background check on this guy tried to rent a house from him his lack of workmanship is poor we had to wait over a week he called and said the house ready I got off work went to see the house he asked me do I have the money I said I just came by to see how it looked and it still wasn't ready he asked si why am I here if I don't have the money and closed the door in my face I'm not about to give my money for a house that's not ready to move in his attitude is unnecessary a landlord should act like that especially when someone is trying to put some money in your pocket with his attitude no one should rent from a dick head like him he needs his business licenses taken asap he's a thief and a con-artist I will be writing the Mayor and complaining I want him out of business

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Deshawn on 10/21/2016 at 7:17 PM

Re: “The INDY’s Endorsements for Orange County Schools and Affordable Housing Bonds

Another point is that 2014 state legislative changes limit Orange county bond referenda to only even numbered years during the primary or general elections. The county was working on a housing plan and moved ahead with the bond referendum to have funds approved at the lowest cost vs. having to wait two more years as the need continues to grow. Other writers comments are valid. Please reconsider and endorse the affordable housing bond.

14 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jamezetta on 10/21/2016 at 4:26 PM

Re: “The INDY’s Endorsements for Orange County Schools and Affordable Housing Bonds

Clearly insufficient research lead to your disappointing recommendation to not support the bond for affordable housing. "Asking around" with no citations should not meet your journalistic standards. The Affordable Housing Coalition is handing you the specific plans you failed to ask for. Please admit your error and change your recommendation to "yes." The wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens are at stake here, this isn't some theoretical exercise. We'll respect you a great deal for changing your position based on the actual evidence that was there all along.

16 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Susan Hoerger on 10/21/2016 at 2:53 PM

Re: “The INDY's Voting Guide

How about a version that doesn't have color or a colored background so we don't waste all our ink?!

17 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by AlSel on 10/21/2016 at 1:58 PM

Re: “Battleground North Carolina: The INDY's 2016 Election Endorsements

Orange County still isn't threading the needle on this one. Yes, there is an "Affordable Housing plan". So how does the $5M tie to the plan? Simply saying "it supports it" is not enough: what is going to get done with the $$$: there are no details.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by John Allore on 10/21/2016 at 1:17 PM

Re: “Battleground North Carolina: The INDY's 2016 Election Endorsements

Indy Week did you read the 5-year plan for Affordable Housing in Orange County? The 5 million Bond will support the county’s overall goal of building 1000 units in the next 5 years, but will not be the sole source of funding to make this goal possible. The Bond is vital to enabling our community to reach this goal!
Read the plan Indy Week at : #makeroomorange

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jonathan Young on 10/21/2016 at 12:16 PM

Re: “Evangelicals in the Age of Trump (Or, Why I Was Called a ‘Jew-Boy’ at a Franklin Graham Rally)

Is it not lost on these people that Jesus Christ was a "Jew-boy"? I wouldn't be surprised if some of these so-called Christians wouldn't insult their own Messiah should he show up incognito at one of these rallies and preach compassion and mercy. Disgraceful.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by PRGuy on 10/21/2016 at 11:36 AM

Re: “The INDY Endorses Roy Cooper for Governor

Thanks, Ricks. We are currently working on fixing this component of our story pages. We will let you know once it's updated!

Posted by rbenjamin on 10/21/2016 at 11:24 AM

Re: “The INDY’s Endorsements for Orange County Schools and Affordable Housing Bonds

Indy and all,

The Coalition has made its goals and plans available here:

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by chgrne on 10/21/2016 at 10:13 AM

Re: “The INDY’s Endorsements for Orange County Schools and Affordable Housing Bonds

Dear Indy, Your voting guides are generally very helpful, but I'm stunned by your recommendation to vote no on the Affordable Housing bond. Perhaps you imagine the affordable housing problem to be insurmountable, but strong coalitions in Chapel HIll and Carrboro, including Justice United, have been working hard on this with community leaders and have plans that can make a real difference, if funded. I hope you will take some time to get more informed and that new information will lead you to change your recommendation.

18 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ruth Gibson on 10/21/2016 at 9:39 AM

Re: “The INDY Endorses Roy Cooper for Governor

The link here for "all Elections" is broken.

Posted by Ricks on 10/21/2016 at 8:58 AM

Re: “The INDY’s Endorsements for Orange County Schools and Affordable Housing Bonds

As the Indy article recognizes, there's a serious shortage of affordable housing in Orange County. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the Orange County Affordable Housing coalition work effectively with other organizations and the local faith community to make progress, but they are hampered by lack of funds to acquire suitable land in an expensive market. The $5M bond would make a dent in this big problem. It's not enough, but it is a good start.

Your "no" recommendation is wrong-headed. There are organizations in place who could quickly put this money to good use helping our neighbors in Orange County. I urge you to reconsider your recommendation and to get a retraction out immediately. There's no time to lose given that early voting is already underway.

15 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lee Nackman on 10/21/2016 at 8:41 AM

Re: “The INDY’s Endorsements for the N.C. General Assembly

Scott Ross Koon says it succinctly, with no need for elaboration, clarification or modification. Thank you.

"Somebody ought to explain that you don't win a majority by giving up seats, especially when they are to be filled by capable public servants such as Mike Woodard. His opponent would caucus with the Republicans, that's all you need to know."

12 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by DNCBulldog on 10/21/2016 at 8:08 AM

Re: “The INDY’s Endorsements for the N.C. General Assembly

Mike Woodard has worked his whole body and soul off to be present in every school, every church, every community in every county he represents. He has not just supported Durham's needs but his district as a whole. This is the reason that he has so many endorsements. I have known Mike for nearly 30 years and every one of them has been a year of dedication to the best for all Americans, especially youth and girls. His wife is a true partner, and represents the same ideals. Mike's record on race relations is stellar and he immediately worked to repeal HB2. I cannot imagine what the Indy is thinking. Vote Woodard.

19 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Patricia Bartlett on 10/21/2016 at 2:36 AM

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