Sarah Sanders Shunned: Should Justice Constrain Civility

Jul 5, 2018

TAA 0027 – C. Travis Webb, Steven Fullwood, and new contributor Meloo discuss the limits of civility. Does justice demand that we make public life uncomfortable for members of the Trump administration, or have we left too little space for principled disagreements on immigration?

C.T. WEBB 00:18  [music] Good afternoon, good morning, or good evening, and welcome to The American Age podcast. Today, I’m talking to Steven Fullwood and a new podcast contributor, Meloo. Is that correct? Am I saying that correctly? 
MELOO 00:29  Meloo. Yeah. 
C.T. WEBB 00:29  Meloo. And what’s your last name, Meloo? 
MELOO 00:32  Oh, that’s my stage name [laughter]. 
C.T. WEBB 00:35  Oh. Ah, all right. All right. So it’s Foxy Brown Meloo is who we’re talking to today [laughter]. So, Steven, you had suggested today’s topic, so why don’t you just kind of lead us in, and we’ll go from there. 
S. FULLWOOD 00:53  So I was inspired by what had happened to Sarah Huckabee Sanders and with Kirstjen Nielsen being harassed or asked to leave restaurants. And right now, we’re talking about we need this call for civility. The White House put out a call that we need to be more civil to one another. And I was thinking about it, and I said, “Well, how to be civil in a civil society that’s not being civil to you?” or, “Where does civility function in a society when our leaders are not being examples of civility?” Because on the one hand, you have people saying, “You should be civil,” or even Melania Trump saying, “No bullying,” but then her husband’s a bully. So I’m trying to figure out– so I thought it’d be a good conversation to unpack right now, where you stand with it, because I do think we should be civil to one another. But I’m also very interested in justice, and justice where families aren’t being torn apart, and rights aren’t being taken away from people, these sorts of things. So I knew that we’d have a pretty good conversation, you and I and Meloo. 
C.T. WEBB 01:59  Meloo, do you want to jump in with anything before we start the back and forth? 
MELOO 02:06  Yeah. Well, I just am excited to talk about this and talk through it because I have a lot of sort of contradictory thoughts. And maybe they aren’t as contradictory. Maybe I need to be able to hold multiple things, multiple thoughts, multiple emotions on this topic at once. So I’m excited to talk, to work through things with you. 
C.T. WEBB 02:26  Yeah [laughter]. So I don’t know how much help I can be because I’m really conflicted on this topic. So I am very sympathetic to– not sympathetic. I am an advocate for civility in public discourse, as Steven knows pretty well. We’ve talked about it on several different occasions. At the same time, I clearly think that there have been moments in history where, let’s just call it, shunning was, if not an effective tool for change, certainly an effective tool for an expression of disapproval, right, so that the behavior’s not sanctioned. And to be super clear, I am 1,000% against separating families at the border. Just illegal, legal, I mean, whatever you want to call illegal, whatever you want to call legal, I am opposed to it in every situation except, of course, if the child’s welfare– I mean, there are all these caveats– 
S. FULLWOOD 03:35  Of course. 
C.T. WEBB 03:35  –that have to be minded. But I do think that the rhetoric is such that we have not left any room for reasonable discussion around the issue of illegal immigration. And so, yeah, actually, the LA Times had this article on the zero tolerance policy that, unofficially or before it was officially in place, child separations had accelerated. And it was not at all uncommon for asylum seekers crossing at legal borders to be separated from their children. One of the stories, and perhaps anecdotal – we’ll see how the court case plays out – but mother separated from her 18-month-old son. I mean, just what kind of– it’s just nonsense is an understatement. It’s just wrong. It’s wrong. It’s evil. It’s not right. But– 
S. FULLWOOD 04:36  Yeah. I was going to say evil. Yeah. 
C.T. WEBB 04:38  Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I think it should be– I think it should be condemned in no uncertain terms. So here’s the but, and then I’m interested what you guys think. What room is there in the conversation around immigration? What room have we given on the left? And what room does the right– I mean, because this is just sort of our tribe, right? So where is the space for a reasonable discussion around immigration in the public discourse? Now, not in political discourse, right? I mean, you’ve got clearly serious people at high levels of government. I mean, Obama was concerned with immigration. I mean, this is a long-standing problem. But I do feel like in public discourse, amongst talking heads, amongst pundits, amongst people who share the same politics as I do, I don’t really think we’ve created a space for people to say, “Hey, immigration is a problem. We cannot have open borders. How do we tackle this problem?” 
MELOO 05:42  Well, one thing is that not everybody agrees that we cannot have open borders. 
C.T. WEBB 05:47  Okay. So– 
MELOO 05:47  So that’s one. And– 
C.T. WEBB 05:51  Okay. So if I can ask you, what is the plausible argument for an open border? Now, I’m being open to it, so I’m not saying I’m shutting it down. I have– 
MELOO 05:59  Yeah. No, I’m not saying that I actually know exactly what– but I’m saying that I don’t think everybody can even– we can’t start the conversation, necessarily, with that most people agree that there shouldn’t be open borders because I know a significant amount of scholars even in Europe are talking about rethinking about societies, not from a bureaucratic and political perspective, but– there was actually a great podcast I listened to. Oh, it was Krista Tippett, where she had a Hannah Arendt scholar on. And Hannah Arendt, of course, had been a refugee herself and a person without a state. And I’m not prepared to talk about that, but I think that has to be a part of the discussion too. And I’m taking that upon myself to understand what the argument for that is too. But I don’t think that, for me, is off of the table until I know what that is exactly and what the arguments for that is. So I just want to put that out there. 
S. FULLWOOD 07:04  So I really can’t answer your question. I was just thinking about the timing of this. This is something that Trump promised during his election, during his campaign. This is something– 
C.T. WEBB 07:17  Promised the zero tolerance thing or–? 
S. FULLWOOD 07:19  Absolutely. And this is something that they started early on with sort of deciding who can’t come in the country, this sort of thing. This was at the beginning of 2016, I believe, right? 
MELOO 07:31  In January. 
S. FULLWOOD 07:32  Right. So that– 
MELOO 07:33  It was like two weeks into his presidency. 
S. FULLWOOD 07:34  This was the Steve Bannon thing. So what I feel what’s happening with the open borders thing is– I mentioned it to you, this, in our last podcast, Travis, that Manthia Diawara, this Malian filmmaker, had done a film called An Opera for the World. 
C.T. WEBB 07:52  This is Opera for the World? 
S. FULLWOOD 07:53  Yes. And how he dealt with immigration. He was looking at Malian people who were trying to migrate to different parts of Europe for a better life. And I think what’s lost in the conversation is it’s not about the open borders. For me, it’s about helping people when you can. And this zero tolerance thing feels like it’s largely enforced about black and brown people. That’s the shape of it. It doesn’t sound like any European immigrants or any of that. It sounds like Mexico. It sounds like the shit countries, Haiti and African countries. You know what I mean? So– 
C.T. WEBB 08:35  I do. So, for me, I think that’s a foregone conclusion. I think you are absolutely right. There is no way that you can have a serious discussion about immigration and not recognize the fact that it is a colored discussion, right? I mean, and that quotas– 
S. FULLWOOD 08:53  And a class one. 
C.T. WEBB 08:54  Of course. Yes. Absolutely. So I appreciate Meloo’s wanting to kind of put a button in the open borders thing. So, as an intellectual exercise, I am definitely open to that idea. My reading of history and social evolution says that that idea is so far potentially in the future, that seriously entertaining it as a matter of policy, just my imagination can’t even extend that far on a practical level. On a sort of emotive level, absolutely. But I appreciate the putting a button in it because it’s a fair point. I mean, if there are, I mean, obviously, people doing serious work on it, I would want to read what they have to say about it and educate myself on that. So very happy to kind of bracket that. The other piece of it, though, is I feel like when we don’t create a space– and I can already imagine a counter to my suggestion here [laughter]. But when we don’t create a space in which people– we have to understand that the country is filled with a lot of scared folks. And those scared folks are not bad people. They’re just people, and they plug into whatever ideology that they plug into. So you’ve got a significant portion of the country that is afraid of people that don’t look like them, that don’t dress like them, that don’t share their politics. And those people are at the table. We may not want those people at the table, but they’re there. You’ve got to break bread with them, and you’ve got to share meals with them, and– 
MELOO 10:52  And do you know what? I’m interested in breaking bread with them. I think the issue is, for me, so often, it’s that I don’t necessarily have access to them. I have access to Sarah Huckabee Sanders [laughter]. You know what I mean? 
C.T. WEBB 11:07  Yeah. Sure. Sure. Yeah. 
MELOO 11:08  And to me, she’s different from the guy in Appalachia. And the reason– 
C.T. WEBB 11:15  I agree with that. 
MELOO 11:16  And so something I’ve been thinking about, and I listen to [laughter] a meditation on this. And I’ve been just thinking about, with a friend or with somebody like you, I don’t know you but I can already feel that there is room for us to be polite to one another in discussing ideas because there is not a feeling of harm being shared. So when we talk about civility towards Sarah Huckabee Sanders, I am like, “Whoo.” I’m trying to do all the Metta, loving-kindness work [laughter] that is possible. Because, to some extent, what is so frustrating about politics, for me, in general, but politics, for me, right now, it reminds me of when I was in high– I was in high school during the W. Bush years. And I remember, at that point, feeling like, “Okay. My country’s being run by supervillains [laughter]. Condoleezza Rice is a supervillain, and Rumsfeld is a supervillain. I don’t know. Is George W. Bush the dope and his vice president’s the–?” In a just world, that wouldn’t have existed, but even if it had, they would have been imprisoned by the next regime, right? To me, in my mind, right? In the film that goes right, they would have all been imprisoned and brought to justice. Obama didn’t do that. Okay. Fine. Or didn’t pursue that. No one pursued that. 
S. FULLWOOD 12:54  Lock them up. Lock ’em up, Meloo. 
MELOO 12:55  Right [laughter]? So, for me, when I think about Sarah Huckabee Sanders and all these people in this administration, what I have difficulty with is understanding how to have a conversation with figures like that, who are wearing a mask. They lie consistently, right? So I was thinking, “How would I, if I were another politician, work with a Sarah Huckabee Sanders, work with a Donald Trump, or work with these people?” Knowing that they’re humans and, therefore, there is something shared– 
S. FULLWOOD 13:31  Oh, absolutely. 
MELOO 13:32  –right, because they’re human beings? 
S. FULLWOOD 13:33  Absolutely. 
MELOO 13:33  Which is also why it’s so much more terrifying because they are human beings. And thus, unfortunately or fortunately, we have to treat them with the care that we give other human beings, when I want to treat them like a monster. And so my question when it comes to civility is, I mean, it’s not whether we serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders food. That’s just not that interesting to me. But about how you have a civil conversation, how you are polite, which is basically what civil means, how you are polite with people who are lying to you every day, and with people who are doing things like this– 
S. FULLWOOD 14:09  And mean you harm. 
MELOO 14:10  –and who are committing harms over and over. I mean, it’s been just a barrage since he was inaugurated. It’s like shock treatment at this point. So that’s my question is how do you come in good faith towards those who– and I suspect it’s harder towards a Sarah Huckabee or a Donald Trump than it is the coal– 
S. FULLWOOD 14:36  Maybe the person who lives next door. 
MELOO 14:37  –or the Republican on my street or something. I don’t know, but I suspect, for me, it is harder to imagine breaking bread with someone who is lying to me every day and who is enacting harm and lying about it. I don’t know. So I threw a lot in there. But my question is how are you civil? 
S. FULLWOOD 14:59  No. That’s a good– 
MELOO 15:01  How are you civil? Yeah. I don’t know. 
S. FULLWOOD 15:05  I guess it’s sort of– so I’m going to take a different tack. We’ve both mentioned things I thought were really important. And I want to throw the intersectionality piece in it. Everybody who is black is not a liberal dot dot dot. Everyone that’s white is not a Republican. 
C.T. WEBB 15:21  Of course. Sure. Yeah. 
S. FULLWOOD 15:21  So even when you go to the marches, right, you’ll see different kinds of people there, and they all have different reasons for being there. And I think that one of the ways that I think that we really need to – this is the hippie in me – really try to see some kind of humanity in people you feel like you disagree with because everybody would like to have a house and clean water and healthy food that’s not modified genetically that could make you sick. And I keep thinking – and it’s funny I’m going against what I said earlier – that there’s got to be something in that other person that’s in you that you recognize and that you try to come together. And you realize that politically, in this country or any countries, that everybody doesn’t get what they want. People make concessions, and they come, and they say, “Okay. We can do this, but we can’t do that and so forth.” And right now, it feels like we’re getting way too much of, “You’re not getting anything [laughter], and we want it all.” But I– 
C.T. WEBB 16:25  I think I can usefully jump in and sort of join those two things together and one of the things that Meloo said earlier in her sort of confession of difficulty of being civil, which I completely understand. By the way, I don’t want to position myself as someone that is completely convinced that civility is always the way to go. I don’t actually think that’s true. So in high school, sort of Bush one, and supervillains, and Condoleezza Rice, and whatnot, if that is the way that one is moving through the world, politically, right, seeing people on the other side and their policies as supervillains, how do we not, as a logical conclusion, end up with someone like Donald Trump? I had this little interview that I did with this magazine called Monologging. And I really do feel, I mean, there are times that I feel, all through graduate school, certainly in my undergrad– I mean, I was swimming in postcolonial theory. There was literally nothing that the United States could do, politically, when I was in my formative years, that I would not have labeled or called out as sort of neocolonial, right? There’s nothing that it could’ve done. So if the intellectuals, the most talented and sensitive among us, right, not to say that I’m talented and sensitive, but just sort of the people that are– 
S. FULLWOOD 18:13  I’ll say you’re talented and sensitive [laughter]. 
C.T. WEBB 18:16  That’s very sweet. I appreciate that. But the people who are drawn to think about things and wonder about things and feel the wounds of strangers, right, the people that are drawn to do that, that have an inclination to do that, if we believed for all those years and rallied all those years in our seminar rooms and in our conversations that the people on the other side were supervillains, of course, we were going to eventually conjure a supervillain. I feel like the failure– and I honestly feel this. I feel the failure of my own personal imagination to extend a sympathy to the other side of even someone like Bush and even someone like Cheney. And let me just– and then I’m very happy to get pushback on this because, like I said, it depends on the day [laughter], I would be saying something else. But– 
S. FULLWOOD 19:14  Fair enough. 
C.T. WEBB 19:14  All you’d need to do to extend sympathy to that world view is believe that, A, you are doing people a favor by pushing them to work harder, just the way a father would push a son or daughter to work harder to achieve something. So by believing that the social safety net impedes human excellence, the thinkers on the other side believe this. Now, I’m not saying I believe that. I’m saying that is actually how they see the world. And, two, that in international relations, it really is just two ticks below war, that it is large-scale national interests pushing for everything that they can get. And so your ass better protect what you have because someone is ready to take it. If you just have those two points of view, you can make sense of most straight-up-the-middle Republican positions, disagree with them, but it doesn’t make them evil. Anyway, so please, jump in. I’m happy to hear counters to that. 
MELOO 20:27  Yeah. Well, what I would say about the sort of monster thing is I think there is something to that, that when we see people as monsters, we actually create monsters. And I think that’s sort of the tension I feel in the deplorables thing. Okay. So I’ve been thinking a lot in terms of Venn diagrams. It’s something I’ve actually been learning as sort of mindfulness technique, being able to hold both things. So the actions and words of a lot of people that we’ve called the deplorables is fucking deplorable. 
C.T. WEBB 21:14  Sure. Absolutely. 
MELOO 21:15  And at their essence, they are not deplorable. 
S. FULLWOOD 21:18  Right. 
MELOO 21:19  Right? And I think I can hold both those things, and I think that’s something I’m working on. And Tara Brach, one of my favorite meditation teachers, says when we’re dealing with some of the things we struggle with, it’s not our guilt; it’s the guilt. So when we’re dealing with, for example, George W’s war in Iraq, it’s like, “Well, why am I so infuriated? Why am I so insulted? What am I so pained by this?” It’s the imperialism. It’s not his imperialism. You know what I mean? So with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, I’m trying to do the Venn– trying [laughter]. Or with anybody, to say, “It’s not the person. This person is a locus or a fine-tuned point. It’s not her. It’s the mendacity. It’s not her mendacity. It’s the mendacity.” And I think I’m trying to do that when I think about, frankly, white supremacists, when I think about Jeff– ooh, it’s hard with Jeff Sessions too. But it’s like, “Jeff Sessions is a human being, who is operating from something that I do not know because I do not know him.” And to some extent, we never truly know each other, as we never truly know ourselves. 
S. FULLWOOD 22:53  Well, we know fear. 
MELOO 22:55  I know that’s part of it [laughter]. I know greed is part. I know there’s a lot of stuff. But it’s the racism. And when I think when I make that difference, it’s a little easier for me to have righteous anger as opposed to reactive anger, responsive anger as opposed to reactive anger, which is a little more flailing. And I think, for me, on a bad day, if I saw Sarah Huckabee Sanders on the street, I don’t even know what I’d do. I might spit. You know what I mean [laughter]? But that’s my reaction. 
S. FULLWOOD 23:33  Right. A flailing. 
MELOO 23:33  It’s not a skillful response. And so being able to look at this person and say, “I acknowledge you are a human made of the same shit that I am made of. And I think that you are doing evil, but that you are not evil.” Okay. Just one thing [laughter]. I have this fantasy. I have this fantasy that some how I meet George W. Bush. And this is clearly– shows my age and whatever [laughter]. But I have this fantasy that I meet George W. Bush, and he’s a fan of my music or something. And he asks me for something, and I can’t even think, right? I can’t think in his presence because so much stuff comes up– 
S. FULLWOOD 24:16  Is coming up. 
MELOO 24:17  –whenever his face is on screen for me. So just looking at him and saying, “If you could admit, if could just tell us, if you could tell us, if you could admit it, then we might forgive you.” And it reminds of this story in a Buddhist thing, and then I’ll be quiet. A lot of things come at once for me [laughter]. But this amazing story about forgiveness, where, I think, this boy writes an advice column with his mom or something. And so somebody sent in a question about forgiveness, and he said, “My friend kicked me or something, and then I fell. And then my nose started to bleed, and I couldn’t forgive him until my nose stopped bleeding.” And so – I don’t know – there’s something about what is possible. Certain things are easier, and certain things are possible when our nose isn’t still bleeding. And I think the problem right now is that we are constantly inundated, so nothing has healed since the beginning of last year. It goes from one action to another. We’re constantly here, anxious and attacked. 
C.T. WEBB 25:31  So I would say two things. One, I would say I appreciate the distinction between righteous anger and the sort of reactive anger. The only thing I would say is probably just the difference between righteous anger and self-righteous anger, right? I mean, they’re two different things. One is something that you do to titillate yourself and build up your ego, and the other is something based on principles. And I very much relate to that. Well, I want Steven to jump in because I don’t want to [crosstalk]. 
MELOO 26:02  Sorry for my monologue. 
S. FULLWOOD 26:03  No. No worries [laughter]. I thought [inaudible] was great. So I was thinking about– 
C.T. WEBB 26:10  Yes. You are, Meloo. It’s great. It’s wonderful having you here. 
S. FULLWOOD 26:12  –feeling the wound of strangers. I really love those lines because they mean a lot to me when humans are trying to relate to one another. It doesn’t have to happen to you for you to care, or to be concerned, or take care of something, or be spurred into action. And I think that that’s what I don’t see a lot of on the news. But in life, I see it, people taking care of one another. I was thinking earlier when I made the point about every recipe of a human is not the same kind of thing. And so, where my father would be like, “Yeah. Get those Mexicans out of here too,” it makes me think about what you said about the imagination and the failure of it. It’s not enough to call someone evil or not enough to call someone bad. I don’t know if that’s completely correct that we’re sort of actualizing some kind of monster into existence when the monster has evolved and shaped over the years. And different kinds of people have appealed in different ways for civil rights or for all kinds of things. So people are trying to– I think, right now, we hear a lot more of the yelling and the screaming, but there are people who are still trying to do the very things that we’re talking about in terms of coming to the table. I used to wonder whether or not– so I asked this woman named Annette Gordon-Reed. She’s a Lincoln scholar. And she said to me– no. She was actually asked by Dr. Muhammad, who was then the director of the Schomburg, when people come up to you and they sort of minimize the effect of slavery or talk about it as being just sort of a moment or an internship or some kind of bullshit, right? And so [laughter]– 
MELOO 28:11  A choice. 
S. FULLWOOD 28:12  “It’s a choice. They came over. It was relaxing.” 
C.T. WEBB 28:15  “They were well fed while they built the White House. Didn’t you hear?” 
S. FULLWOOD 28:16  “Have you seen how naked they were in Africa? Here, they have clothes, and they’re speaking English. This is great.” So what she said was, which I thought was really important, and I’m still kind of questioning it. She goes, “If people can’t come to the table with a basic understanding of how ridiculously brutal and violent and soul-sucking that institution was and still can be, based on the kinds of legacies and fortunes that were made off of it, then,” she says, “I can’t talk to them because they’re not coming with a certain kind of truth about the basics, right?” And so that’s what I wonder, going to the table. If we can’t come to the table and say, “This is incorrect. Families should not be separated at the border. They should be treated with more respect,” and regardless of, like you said, if it’s legal or not illegal, that’s not really the issue. It’s just humanity. So if we don’t have a basic understanding of humanity and how to treat people, then I don’t know. I’m having a failure of my imagination to figure out how to do that, when someone’s denying my basic right to be or I’m doing the same to them. 
C.T. WEBB 29:23  Yeah. Yeah. So I think you exactly encapsulated it. I think that there do have to be a basic set of assumptions and principles to open a dialogue with people like that. And I think two things, and then I’d like to actually give both of you guys the last word before we wrap up today. One, Meloo, the only think I would say is it’s not that we’re still bleeding; it’s that we’ve had cancer, and we’ve had it for years, and we just figured it out, and we just got the diagnosis. And so, I mean, we were bombing people for eight years under Obama. We were bombing people under Bush. Poor people were getting poorer. Poor people have been getting poorer for 40 years, and the middle class has been eroding for 40 years. And so we just got the diagnosis. And now it’s like, “Shit. Do we need chemotherapy? What kind of radical treatment do we need to do to take care of ourselves? And then the second thing is, strategically, tactically, if you want to think small scale or large scale, when I advocate for civility, it is not for those motherfuckers, right? It’s not for those people that are going to deny that you are a person. It’s for all the people watching that don’t have strong opinions, that are really busy and can only spare limited bandwidth to tune in. And it’s to capture those people for what I believe is right, and it’s to advocate for civility so that we can marshal more people that are kind of in the margins and in between and don’t have the time to pay that much attention or even the inclination. Let’s not valorize them. They just might really be into bullshit pop culture. But those bodies and those opinions still matter in a democracy. So it’s for those people. I want to do battle with the people that we are talking about. The people that are perpetuating this, no corridor. But it has to be done– I mean, and honestly, black culture has the very best examples of this, right? I mean, the sort of movements, the significant movements in American history, I mean, those were real straight-up battles, I mean, in-the-street battles. But their sense of propriety and their sense of principle and honor and dignity, they held onto that. And so, I guess, if I had a position, that’s what it would be. 
MELOO 32:15  Yeah. I hear the cancer thing very much so. But I feel like it’s an autoimmune disease. But now, it’s just in overdrive. Now, it’s like you can’t move anything. You know what I mean? It’s like the lupus has gone out of control. And you knew. We knew. That’s the thing is we knew. 
S. FULLWOOD 32:42  But did we know? I’m not sure. 
MELOO 32:43  We knew. We knew. 
S. FULLWOOD 32:44  I don’t know. I keep thinking that– 
MELOO 32:46  We knew. 
S. FULLWOOD 32:48  –we are just like a snap out of the ’50s and ’60s, where people were trying to break open their minds around different ways of thinking about the world. And the blowback happened immediately in the ’70s. It just– 
C.T. WEBB 33:00  For sure. 
MELOO 33:00  But it happens ever decade. 
S. FULLWOOD 33:02  It completely does. But I think we’re still in a pendulum moment. And I think Jimmy Carter was a blip, and so was Obama [laughter], and so was Clinton. I feel like there was still a lot of the very things that we’re fighting. Mass incarceration that happened under their watch as well. Not all of them, but there was this moment where I think Jimmy Carter– 
MELOO 33:20  I mean, some key immigration foibles under the Clinton administration. 
S. FULLWOOD 33:23  Oh, [inaudible]. I mean, and no one holds them to that accountability because we want to have the heroes; we want to have the villains. And so we need to be able to hold people accountable for what they do. And we don’t do that very well. And I think I agree with Travis. The failure of our imagination to imagine something bigger and more robust is lacking, I think. The right, definitely when I read the right’s stuff, I’m just going, “I don’t know what planet you’re from. I have no idea what’s going on with you.” Listening to, I think, the Milo guy, who was recently saying something about kill journalists, he’s not in jail or not being brought up on charges. So I wonder where they’re going. But I don’t think that people know how ill they are. I don’t. 
MELOO 34:07  But here’s one thing. I mean, I think that right now, I’m really excited about grassroots activism in a way that I’m not actually that excited, besides maybe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or somebody like that, about sort of mainstream politics because I think they’re– I don’t know. I think there’s just a lot– 
S. FULLWOOD 34:27  Well, change doesn’t happen there. 
MELOO 34:29  No. It doesn’t. 
S. FULLWOOD 34:29  Change happens at the bottom or what we call the bottom. 
MELOO 34:31  And so when you bring up black movements, something that excited me, when I was learning about the Black Panthers, were all of the other groups that they were in conversation with, including white working-class folks, sort of leftist groups. And, I mean, are they called civil? Would their actions be called civil in 2018? 
S. FULLWOOD 34:59  It depends on who’s calling who what. 
MELOO 35:01  Yeah. I guess. Because my whole thing is when you said self-righteous, it kind of made me think of how, I mean, the MAGA hat is, I guess, really triggering for a lot of people. It’s not particularly for me. I saw one at a Dave Chappelle concert. I mean, I’m also in a space where it’s like one MAGA hat. And– 
S. FULLWOOD 35:22  I walked past an Asian man with a MAGA hat on the other day [laughter]. 
MELOO 35:25  Oh, no. Pray for his soul. 
S. FULLWOOD 35:26  Yeah. And I was going, “You know making America great again, in a lot of people’s eyes, means that you’re not in the equation?” 
MELOO 35:32  You’re not here. Right. Oh, God. But it’s like I’m not going to attack him because that feels like I’m attacking him. And so the idea of not serving people– I mean, I don’t feel bad for Sarah Huckabee Sanders in any which way or form, not now, probably not for a very long time. So I don’t care, but I wonder what that does for whom? What does that do? As opposed to what I think Maxine Waters was saying, was like, “Stop them in the streets. Don’t let them sleep at night.” To some extent, I’m like, “No. You should be shamed. You should be banished. There should be–“ 
S. FULLWOOD 36:12  For your behavior. 
MELOO 36:13  “–or you should be kept up at night for what you–” kind of like, “If those kids don’t get peace, you don’t get peace.” That, I can kind of see. But I don’t know. The restaurant thing doesn’t move me. It seems small. 
S. FULLWOOD 36:27  Well, people have argued that you’re just giving ammunition to the other side. And I really don’t think so. I think that immobility, or sort of a static way of sort of responding to people, or the idea that you’re being civil if you don’t come out of your mouth a certain kind of way is a way to not minimize or demoralize, but to sort of shame you into having an opinion, that you should just go ahead with the program. You should just go along with it. And so– 
MELOO 36:56  Yeah. Sorry. 
C.T. WEBB 36:58  All right. No, no, no, no. I actually really wish we could keep the conversation going [laughter]. But we’ve promised ourselves that we would keep the podcast in the thirties, and we’re pushing up on it. So I’m very happy to continue the conversation next week, though. 
S. FULLWOOD 37:11  I think it’s a good idea. 
C.T. WEBB 37:12  And it was wonderful to have you, and I appreciate you joining us. 
MELOO 37:15  Thank you. 
C.T. WEBB 37:15  And, Steven, it was great talking to you. 
S. FULLWOOD 37:17  Great talking to you, Travis, as well. Thank you. 
C.T. WEBB 37:19  Thanks [inaudible]. [music] 

 

References

First referenced at 03:35

LA Times

Records show asylum seekers at ports of entry are frequently separated.

First referenced at 05:59

On Being 

The Moral World in Dark Times

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