We have two stories unfolding in parallel this week which should allow community organizers and political activists alike to take a pause, draw in a deep breath… and quit. Just give up, folks. Pack your bags, go off the grid and take up fly fishing, because while the battle may still be raging, the war is long since lost. The truth – however you define that in 2015 – has raised the white flag and surrendered to narrative journalism, a school of thought which holds that facts are primarily ornaments on the tree of history, having little effect on the substance of the story we wish to tell.
The first of these two stories is the now infamous, but already fading tale of Hillary Clinton’s private email system. The facts were clear, pretty much from the beginning. The woman broke the law. It couldn’t be more clear, as Politico noted yesterday and M.K. Hammer expanded on last night. And her actions completely short sheeted the Freedom of Information Act, as well as flying in the face of established transparency and record keeping regulations.
So that should be the end of the story, as well as her career, right? Oh… you people are so silly.
“Those supportive of Hillary Clinton that were backing her in 2008 are pushing this aside,” Linda Nelson, the Pottawattamie County, Iowa, Democratic chair, told ABC News…
Walt Pregler, Democratic Party chair for Dubuque County, Iowa, called the email issue “trivial,” and other local Democratic leaders seemed to feel the same way.
“Everybody has a private email account. The fact that she has one doesn’t seem to make a big difference,” Polk County Democratic Chair Tom Henderson told ABC News. “I don’t think voters know why it’s important yet.”
People are already walking away. This story is simply too inconvenient, and those of you seeking to make a big deal about it are screwing up the history books for the next ten years which have already been written. And so, we’ll hang a few softening adjectives on it and tuck it away in the file for things which are better left unsaid.
The other story is the final result of the investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson. Allahpundit seemed completely shocked when Eric Holder was actually forced to acknowledge that Wilson acted correctly. (Even the New York Times had to give the report a nod.) The whole “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” theme which set large portions of the nation on fire (in many cases literally on fire) should have fallen apart because the hands in question here not up, but rather balled into fists as the owner charged at a police officer.
And yet I turned on my television this morning and watched the Morning Joe crew welcome Al Sharpton on to the show to discuss it. Scarborough had just completed an impressive tirade about how the story had been wrong all along and Darren Wilson was not to blame. And yet Sharpton was able to ignore it entirely and deliver himself a big old pat on the back, saying that the “systemic practice of racism” had been exposed because he and his team had gone down there and spurred people to action.
So I guess it was all worthwhile in the end, eh Reverend?
There are more examples in the news today than I could list here. The fact that this great explosion across the nation, the marching in the streets, businesses being shut down by black brunch, highways turned into parking lots, police officers being assassinated… it was all based on a lie. But today the findings make no difference. Michael Brown’s family is still going to move forward with a lawsuit and they have plenty of supporters in the media. But even for those who are not talking quite as much about the specifics of the Brown shooting, it’s the larger narrative which matters. Black Lives Matter. The Police Are Racists. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. Even if it didn’t happen we need to keep blocking the roads and marching on the police stations because it shouldn’t have happened even if it didn’t. Or something.
In the most important ways imaginable, these two stories – Hillary Clinton and Michael Brown – are the standard by which history will be written. The truth is wonderful if it supports your case, but if not… well, just reclassify it and move it to the back burner. The play’s the thing, as the man once said, and we’re not going to let a few obnoxious facts bring the curtain down. History has already been written, my friends, and if you try to derail this train you are a racist or a woman hater or whichever label will pull you off the front page.