[ by Charles Cameron — didn’t i post this? okay, it’s a few days old, but i’ll post it ]
Pres. Trump on Charlottesville: "There's blame on both sides…you also had people that were very fine people on both sides." pic.twitter.com/ayX9eHABsN
— ABC News (@ABC) August 15, 2017
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…" pic.twitter.com/InZ58zkoAm
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 13, 2017
Both forms of both / and:
What interests me here is that Trump’s tweet and Obama’s both represent “both / and” positions.
Obama sees our common humanity cutting across whatever borders of skin color or whatever might be thought to separate us.
Trump shares the blame equally between the alt-right folk and the folk who were protesting them, when at least arguably the protesters came with (largely) peaceable intent, while the alt-right folk were trying for provocation:
No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) August 16, 2017
Note, however, that Trump sees things in exactly the reverse manner — another enantiodromia? From Amy Davidson Sorkin in the New Yorker — Donald Trump, from His Tower, Rages at “the Other Side” in Charlottesville:
You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I’ll say that right now.” The bad group was the white nationalists; the “very violent” group was those who had come to object. In case anyone missed his point, he continued, “You had a group on the other side that came charging in—without a permit—and they were very, very violent.” Trump wasn’t putting the two sides on the same level; he was saying that the counter-protesters were worse.
There’s a very different feel to the two kinds of “both / and” IMO — Trump’s actually favoring one side in a conflict and protecting it by shifting some of the blame away from it, while Obama’s is neutral as to sides (though in the case of racists vs non-racists, he’d presumably favor the non-racists.
My head buzzes: an interesting little logical knot, I think.