The Denver Post & American Values


Back in the shadow of the Dies Irae when I had to live by my wits, when I had to navigate the treacherous shoals of the engineering business, it was important to know what the other people in the meeting were thinking. Who is a player and who is just consuming the limited supply of oxygen in the room? Is this a real deal or is this just a client idly flipping through engineering’s Swimsuit Issue? What do they want to hear, and more importantly, what is a deal killer?

Most of my established competitors in the engineering business employed real salesmen relying on a traditional mix of dinners, golf games and fly-fishing trips down the Rio Grande, usually coded on expense accounts under relationship building. Given my limited skills in relationship building, I had to rely on other, more innovative but oblique approaches, something that might work well with my skill set. Over time, driven by the Darwinian pressure required to feed a growing family, I came to rely on a technique I affectionately began to call, “Flush the Rabbit”.

The basic idea of “Flush the Rabbit” is simply to highjack the meeting by taking it in unexpected directions. Most people in the ordered life of permanent organizations feel the need for an agenda, either written or the unspoken agenda dictated by custom and hierarchy. An agenda is an ordered expectation of what will be talked about and how it will proceed, respectful of the rank of the participants and culture of the organization. It is orderly planning. Everyone can prepare in advance, knowing what is expected and what will be talked about. It is also a perfect device to control the flow of information, to keep unwanted options and alternatives off the table, to keep the unspoken from being spoken.

“Flushing the Rabbit” is a technique made to order for the socially inept. It is surprising that it isn’t more commonly used in engineering meetings. Evidently our need for order and security outweighs our fear of ignorance. We, the socially clueless, have spent our lives being chastised for saying the wrong things or inadvertently embarrassing others. Thus we display our natural talent for the technique as well as having been immunized against the subtle reproaches that are the antibody response of regular people to those bumping against social norms. As with all differently abled people, the socially clueless are extended a special grace as well. Perhaps it is a psychic body odor that we have, but other people quickly discern our disability and pretend not to notice our faux pas.

But the point of the “ Flush the Rabbit” technique is to understand the people and the situation at hand, to get the truth out on the table. This is a needed conscience salving excuse, as we are all prone to worship at the Altar of Truth. Who among us would admit to dissembling or worse, to obfuscation and discombobulation? But to gauge our actual commitment to the truth, one need only read one’s latest resume.

Of course the real reason we hide our bare self in business, other than the need to camouflage the scoundrel within, is to negotiate a good deal. It is an accepted part of being a shrewd negotiator. And yet, who has ever had a business arrangement where all of the facts, the hidden truths, the awkward organizational tics did not come to light, usually at the worst possible time? Do you know anyone trapped in a disastrous business deal, job, marriage who remained pleased with their ability to obfuscate?

As a technique, “Flushing the Rabbit” relies on the human need for time, and more importantly repetition, to create a believable story. We create stories to hide our blemishes, to cover up our ignorance, to misdirect from our real intentions. In my experience, clients create stories explaining their needs to contractors in a manner reminiscent of Rocky’s Used Auto Sales. Woe to the contractor actually believing the Grimm’s Fairy Tale woven by the client.

Have you ever noticed that people tell the same stories over and over again? It takes practice to craft good stories. An important part of telling a good story is the need for the spinner of the tale to actually believe what he says. Even the most inept listeners can pick out the story told without conviction. It takes repetition to create a deep and unconscious belief in the teller of the tale, which in turn creates a good believable story.

But when some insensitive listener has the bad grace to ask a question not on the agenda or broach a sensitive subject that everyone knows is taboo, the rabbit is flushed. To mix metaphors, the offensive line is breached and the quarterback is forced to scramble. Once the unthinkable has been said, the quarterback is forced to scramble, and in so doing cannot help but illuminate hidden biases and unspoken agendas to an alert watcher. Of course anyone using this tactic with members of the female persuasion, in situations business or relational, must be aware that forceful and immediate ejection from the game is a distinct possibility.

The insight provided by this technique into the human animal explains the unexpected look we are now being given into who we are, what we really think about each other and our country. Of course Hillary’s remark about Deplorables a few months back removed more than a little of the fig leaf, but the election of Donald Trump has flushed the rabbit, big time. The models of polite discourse and allowable thinking so carefully crafted by the good and great over our lifetimes are broken. Things are being said; things are being done that were not on the agenda. The rabbits are flushed, the quarterbacks are scrambling. And as our quarterbacks scramble, we learn a great deal about the hidden thoughts of the people who lead us, who manage us, who entertain us, who inform us.

A case in point was the centerpiece, a color photo meant to catch our attention, on the front page of the Jan. 31 edition of the Denver Post. The Denver Post is the newspaper of record here in the Rocky Mountain region. It must be said that Jan. 31 was not a slow day for news in the Rocky Mountain region. Many editors might have focused on the rumor that our own native son, 4th generation Coloradan Neil Gorsuch, was expected to be a Supreme Court nominee the next day. Instead our hometown paper gave pride of place, as well as the impact of a front page color photo, to an obviously staged photo of four high school students, immigrants, wondering about the vanishing of “American values”.

Staring out at us from the center of the front page of the Denver Post is an earnest self-possessed young girl wearing a burka. The burka is fashionably chic, after all, she is a teen-age girl. Respectfully framing her in the background of the photo are three other students, suitably and tastefully diverse, looking upward in a fashion both haunted and questioning. Of course we expect political comment in the guise of news by the Denver Post. This photo and its staging is simply an editorial on the tempest surrounding the immigration firestorm. What more important function do newspapers and their editors have than to tell us both what the news is and what we should think about it?

Of course we, at least those of us uncomfortably aware of being manipulated, understand the click bait strategy the Denver Post is using, exploiting our Facebook/YouTube fostered sympathy for abandoned kittens and photogenic girls. In all fairness, we can excuse the Denver Post for exploiting our weaknesses. As virtually every other newspaper in the land, they are fighting for their financial life. And to our chagrin, since the demise of the Rocky Mountain News, the Rocky Mountain region is left without alternative to the Denver Post. One need only observe their gushy schoolgirl crush on the Peoples Republic of Boulder to figure out the Denver Post’s political leanings.

Given the politics of the Denver Post’s editorial staff, the fact that Neil Gorsuch is a conservative said to sympathize with legal positions important in Christian circles explains a hesitant engagement by the editorial staff of the Denver Post. Though there is a saving grace in the fact that Mr. Gorsuch attends an Episcopal church in Boulder, a church shepherded by a Priestess prominent in the recent Woman’s March, so thank the non-existent Lord for small favors. It may be possible to extend Mr. Gorsuch favorable coverage in the future.

But it is the picture and the caption underneath that allow us to see the exposed rabbit. What I find telling is that the Denver Post thinks it appropriate to use a Muslim teenager to accuse me of a lack of American values. In its own way, it is as enlightening as Hillary’s lamented comment about deplorables. And as insulting. Of course anyone who might find this photo and its caption objectionable has become inured to being insulted, to being held in contempt, by the media.

Is the contempt for me shown by the media, simply cynical politics played for advantage to feed the Democratic Party’s true believers, currying favor among Boulder’s Progressive corps d’elite? Is it an honest opinion, borne of the self-imposed isolation and secularization of the educated elite? I do not believe that they hate me. I want to think it is an honest opinion born of the fact that they don’t know me. Even though I look like almost everyone in their entire region outside of the Boulder-Denver axis, they simply have never talked to us, or even seen us.

We, the Deplorables, are used to being ignored. We are used to being laughed at or treated with contempt. Most times, we look at the lives and life styles of those who presume to laugh at us, to ignore us, to “school marm” us, and shrug it off. But it hurts. Nobody likes to be sneered at, laughed at and vilified. Especially when we feel it very unfair.

My grandparents were immigrants to this country. My extended family, the members of my family tree that remained in the “old country”, died or suffered in circumstances every bit as bad as those these immigrants are fleeing from. My aunts, uncles and cousins, two or three times removed, died in a decade long civil war or of starvation in government managed campaigns of man-made famine, were executed for being counter-revolutionaries, shipped to the Gulag or suffered one army’s occupation after another. I have a daughter-in-law attempting to get a green card so she can live in the United States. I have worked my adult life in and around large numbers of immigrants, many of whom I count as friends and associates. I don’t think my experience is in any way exceptional among the Deplorables, not that the Adorables seem to care.

We, Deplorables and Adorables, all are the children of immigrants, to say, even to imply, that we, the Deplorables, despise immigrants is deeply insulting. But when the Denver Post uses a teenage Muslim girl to instruct me on my civic duty, to indict me as not being American, that is a flushed rabbit. It is both revealing and appalling. Of course Muslims are the current poster children for those who aspire to flaunt their tolerance, their own impeccable credentials in the struggle against oppression. And using a girl is become common, a “two-fer” being almost de rigueur; a single marker of diversity becoming increasingly banal. But to use a Muslim to lecture on acceptable American values? That is below the belt. In what alternate Universe would a Muslim, at least a practicing Muslim, be sympathetic to “American values”?

What are American values? That is a question as easy to answer as – “what is honesty”? We can get lost in endless obscuring thickets of words explaining something we recognize when we see it. Perhaps American values hew closest to the pillars of freedom, of liberty. What is it that was said once upon a time?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Somehow, I don’t think that is anything a Muslim would say or pledge allegiance to. Our government and the society it governs is a Judeo-Christian foundation with a structure first framed and designed twenty-five hundred years ago in Republican Rome, then strengthened by Enlightenment thinkers hardened during a history of recent and endless civil war over the proper relationship between the laws of God and the rule of men. We are a nation of immigrants, every one whether of the current generation or the fruit of an immigrant generation ten thousand years past. We have borne the burden of wars, fighting cousins only a generation or two removed, in defense of those overrun by tyranny in lands not our own.

And now the editors of my newspaper present me, like the bird from the driver cutting me off, a Muslim lecturing me on my lack of American values. Here is a person flaunting the distinctive dress of my country’s enemies and lecturing me on American values. Could Denver Public School superintendents have sympathetically listened to a German teenager sporting the uniform of the Hitler Youth in 1942? Would a Chinese teenager in a Chairman Mao jacket, quoting from The Little Red Book, have been given a respectful hearing? Would the Denver Post editors have run front-page color photos of these past occasions, sympathetically posed?

Given that the thought processes of the media appear to run in the artificial channels of Identity Politics, it could be said that my problem with the photo is racism. After all, it is well known that we Deplorables are a racist bunch, holding secret conclaves in the dead of night, awaiting President Trump’s signal to spring forth in cataclysms of cross burning on the lawns of oppressed populations. I expect that a companion thought of theirs might be that my antipathy is born of a Christian’s hatred of Muslims. They would think it, but since Denver is an isolated outpost of the Blue Enclaves, they would hesitate to say it. Denver is a blue island awash in a sea of red and there is no need to cause any more canceled subscriptions than necessary.

Racism is a useful argument to make when the rabbits crouch naked in bright sunlight. How do I prove I am not a racist? Have I stopped beating my wife? Attempting to prove a negative is a fool’s mistake, made by inexperienced lawyers and conservative politicians. Racism is simply a 21st Century update on Samuel Johnson’s timeless observation about the last refuge of scoundrels. I can only offer my life, and the lives of my fellow Deplorables, as we have lived them in rebuttal to charges of racism. Look at the people feeding immigrants in quiet church basements. Then look at the people getting stoned at rock concerts To Stop the Immigration Ban. We know who we are. The America of the Deplorables has an outstanding record of assimilating immigrants, at least those immigrants desiring to assimilate.

Perhaps I, as a Christian, don’t like Muslims. After all, Islam is the mortal enemy of Christendom, right? What spirited rant about Christianity’s oppression of Islam would be complete without the trump card of the Crusades played as proof positive? Of course, Tours, Vienna and Constantinople, not to mention Spain or North Africa or the Balkans, have faded from the memory of our politically correct educational system and thus are irrelevant in debate. One might as well argue the fine points of the Theory of Relativity with the Flat Earth Society.

It is true that I, and most of my fellow Deplorables, am uncomfortable with the teachings of Mohammed. On the other hand, I am equally uncomfortable with the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard and Buddha, as well as a whole host of others currently misleading the world’s peoples. But they have all found a welcome in America. I see no evidence of persecution. What I find objectionable about the girl in the photo, and insulting by the editors who placed it there, is the bald rejection of our values, American values, the words quoted earlier from the Declaration of Independence.

While I expect the girl in question has the nuanced and deep understanding of her faith allowed teen-aged Muslim girls, the burka is a deliberate statement by her. She desires to be free from the horrors of her Muslim culture, but she wants to remain a Muslim in a safe and free society. That is her right and I defend her right to believe in mutually exclusive ideas. In our pursuit of happiness, we often mistake shackles for freedom. If teenagers were not given the freedom to be foolish, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber might be sweeping floors at Wal-Mart.

But the deliberate insult by the editors of the Denver Post shows contempt for the Deplorables in a naked way. Perhaps nothing unites, the Deplorables, more strongly than our love of our country. We are Americans. We love our country. We hold our “American values” dear. What we ask people seeking to live in America is that they love it as well.

Implicit in the statement made by the editors of the Denver Post is the fact that they don’t see Muslims as anything other than an oppressed people group, just another minority that needs protecting from the Deplorables. Muslim culture must be honored, respected, with allowances made. The fact that nothing in Islam is sympathetic to “American values”, either as stated in the Declaration of Independence or on the editor’s own expanding list of “human rights”, must not stand in the way of demonstrating progressive virtue. Of course as Muslim enclaves form, enforcing their cultural and religious imperatives, they will be in neighborhoods well removed from those of the editors’ residence.

The saddest part however, is the fact that the editors of the Denver Post think me, think us, so petty and mean spirited. Why do they go out of their way to hurt me, to heap scorn upon me? Do they really think we wish to send innocent people back into the fire? Do they really think that we wish to separate children from their parents? Americans are a generous people, a people with big hearts. I have no doubt that if we are allowed to muddle through in our own halting way, that burka wearing girl’s children will be Muslim in name only, if even that. That is unless of course, the progressive editors of the Denver Post are right about “American values”.

 

 

3 Responses to “The Denver Post & American Values”

  1. jeffrey Esbenshade says:

    Every word in the bible is from God.To understand Islam read Genesis 16

    Hagar son Ishmael would be a great nation, but he will be a wild donkey

    he will be against everyone,he will live in hostility to everyone.
    His mother was a slave. They are not part of the covenant. Abraham would worship
    only 1 God and his ever lasting possession will be Israel.God said nothing of a

    West Bank. No Israel land is to be given to the Arabs not part of the covenant.

  2. Dave W. says:

    It’s interesting that the media expect us to accept whatever they dish out without critical examination. They believe they are much superior to those who would differ from their liberal/progressive bias. In their eyes, all cultures are equal. But, are all cultures equally good and beneficial? Liberals would say that they are more ‘compassionate’ and accept everyone. However, they are blinding themselves to obvious differences. Isn’t a culture that values freedom and liberty of thought and action better than one that does not? Most Americans think so, but most Muslim cultures value Sharia Law and subjugation, and eschew freedom and liberty, except as liberty can be used as a means for them to bring a culture such as America under Islamic domination and destruction. Europe is currently a good example of that.
    They also forward the idea that all religions are equally valid. Of course, that can only be true if none of them represent the real God. I suppose if you believe that the universe created itself out of nothingness (which is irrational), then all religions would seem to be about the same, since they would all be equally invalid.

  3. Greg V. says:

    Progressives, many politicians and media types argue that the first amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion prevents the president and congress from banning emigration to this country. Thus the refusal to allow entry of Syrian refugees and others from terrorist-supporting nations is considered a violation of the Constitution. The Constitution free exercise of religion is one of the privileges attached to CITIZENSHIP; it can’t be said to be owned or possessed by all those who wish to emigrate to the United States.

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