August 16, 2017

Yesterday, Dave Weigel observed that the test of whether Trump had crossed any lines at all would be whether Fox News prime time and Fox & Friends stepped up for him.

Fox News prime time did not disappoint.

Tucker Carlson's bizarre slavery lesson Tuesday evening was some of the most contorted and bizarre argument I've ever seen. Intended for an audience of one, it was meant to offer up some new talking points for Trump to use the next time he's in front of reporters.

Frankly, I don't think he should go there.

Tuckie dutifully explained that lots of the founding fathers had slaves, which has never been the point of removing Confederate statues anyway.

"Let's be honest," Tuckie exhorted, "Up until 150 years ago when a group of brave Americans fought and died to finally put an end to it, slavery was the rule, rather than the exception around the world."

He continued with a laundry list of high-profile slaveholders before getting down to business.

"If we are going to reduce a person's life to the single worst thing he ever participated in, we had better be prepared for the consequences of that, and here's why. 41 of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence held slaves." he said.

After name-checking Madison and George Washington, Tucker delivered his punch line, "If these men were simply racist villains and that's all they were, then the society they created is as evil as they were," he warned. "There is no reason to respect its traditions or uphold its laws."

Here's the problem with that argument. These are men who built this nation, and they did it with the sin of slavery baked in. Still, they built the nation.

Robert E. Lee and others honored in these Confederate memorials were working to destroy the nation. Tucker never bothers to bring that up.

The issue here is not whether slavery is bad, or whether our founding fathers held slaves, The issue is whether we want to memorialize people who were trying to destroy the nation in order to cling to their slaves. It's an entirely different question.

One group, flawed and wrong as they were, struggled to bring a country together. The other group struggled to destroy it. It's pretty easy when you view it in those terms.

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