Gazette Defends Mitchell

On March 5 The Gazette weighed in on the “look alike” fake scandal that I discussed earlier. To briefly review, after State Senator Shawn Mitchell named the wrong senator during a debate at the capitol, he joked that Senators Groff and Gordon “look alike” due to their political similarities. To get the context, look at the photos of Groff and Gordon, who could hardly look more different.

Some of Mitchell’s intellectually dishonest critics tried to turn Mitchell’s comments into some sort of racial sleight. The Gazette rightly defends Mitchell against any such charges:

At most, the slip says Mitchell pays little attention to looks, race or age. … It said that despite differences of race, and obvious differences in age and height, Mitchell saw two liberals. The joke said race, height and age don’t matter — that what matters is ideology, in which case Gordon and Groff are the same. It’s antithetical to the grotesque biases of racism, which would hold Groff and Mitchell as vastly different men, for superficial reasons, regardless of politics.

“But let’s say, hypothetically, that Mitchell’s comment had some distant connection to the racist comment that people of Heritage X ‘all look alike.’ Then the force of Mitchell’s comment would be to make fun of that racist comment. It’s not racist to make fun of racists,” wrote Ari Armstrong, on the blog

The Gazette also offers more details about the dishonest attacks against Mitchell:

Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont [said that]… that Mitchell’s comment was inappropriate. … The progressive Web site pounced on Mitchell’s comment, calling it “tasteless above all.” The organization deemed Mitchell’s explanation “weak as hell.” … The Web site of a liberal organization known as IndependentBasis tried to characterize Mitchell’s quote as a racist gaffe, printing his comment like this: “You [blacks] all look the same to me.” Never mind that one of the men at the podium was white.

In this last example, not only did Mitchell’s critics drop the relevant context, they manufactured a lie about the context. These critics of Mitchell are engaged in character assassination, pure and simple.

The only result of such tactics — other than to treat people unjustly — is to draw attention away from a substantive debate of the issues. Apparently, those engaged in this sort of character assassination don’t have anything substantive to say and don’t believe they can defend their political views rationally. So they try to tear down their opponents rather than beat them in argument.