The Harmful Mania of Blaming Both Sides

The Harmful Mania of Blaming Both Sides:
Like many a news junkie, the Rude Pundit read with interest what James Taranto had to say about drunk college rape in his ironically-named "Best of the Web" column in the Wall Street Journal. Taranto is one of the Legion of Portly Righties who mask their self-loathing with Pringles and attacks on the powerless. In case you haven't read it, or one of the many aghast responses, Taranto posits that, often, when it comes to whether or not straight, drunk college fucking is rape, it's the fault of both parties involved in said fucking.

As Taranto put it, "If two drunk drivers are in a collision, one doesn't determine fault on the basis of demographic details such as each driver's sex. But when two drunken college students 'collide,' the male one is almost always presumed to be at fault. His diminished capacity owing to alcohol is not a mitigating factor, but her diminished capacity is an aggravating factor for him." But you may sputter, "In a drunk driving accident, they may both be charged with drunk driving, but only one is getting the ticket for veering into the other driver's lane." Or, in other words, in the vast majority of rape cases on campus involving drinking, somebody fucked somebody else when the latter somebody didn't want to be fucked. To say that a woman is not a victim because she put herself in a bad situation is the equivalent of saying that black people should get out of Stand Your Ground states because white people can't help but feel threatened by them and shoot them.

It's a bullshit argument that both sides are equally culpable. That is almost never the case in anything ever. It has become an almost ludicrous way that we deal with things. It's the converse of the "Everyone's a winner" mentality that pervades child-rearing: "Everyone's a victim and everyone's a perpetrator."

Last week, at an event in Michigan where he signed the Agriculture Act of 2014 (aka "The farm bill"), President Obama offered his umpteenth version of "Well, hey, we're all just the same kind of motherfuckers, right?" remarks: "It doesn’t include everything that I’d like to see. And I know leaders on both sides of the aisle feel the same way. But it’s a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come through with this bill, break the cycle of short-sighted, crisis-driven partisan decision-making, and actually get this stuff done."

The Rude Pundit's first thought was "Are you goddamn kidding me?" The farm bill itself is not the issue here (although it could be). The phrase "short-sighted, crisis-driven partisan decision-making" is what punched the Rude Pundit in the balls. There is only one short-sighted, crisis-driven party. You remember when you were in elementary school and the teacher said if one of you fucks around, the whole class gets punished? Remember how patently unfair that seemed? (And, no, it didn't build character or group-unity; it just made you hate whatever little shit ruined the day.) President Obama does that every time he lumps Democrats in with Republicans, who were invited to attend the signing of this great bipartisan victory, but not a one did.

There's a perversity to this approach by the President. In a speech earlier this month about the long-term unemployed, whose benefits ran out only because Republicans refused to extend them further, Obama didn't mention the GOP once. He did say, "Congress made that harder by letting unemployment insurance expire for more than a million people. And each week that Congress fails to restore that insurance, roughly 72,000 Americans will join the ranks of the long-term unemployed who have also lost their economic lifeline."

Democrats in Congress must be thinking, "What the fuck, man? What the actual fuck? We put our asses on the line for the Affordable Care Act. How about some back-up on other shit, huh?" Frankly, it's no wonder that Democrats don't want Obama campaigning with them. If every speech he makes says that Congresswoman Dem is halting progress the same as Congressman Gop, stay the fuck home. Obama is actually harming the Democrats' chances in 2014 by his constant calls for bipartisanship.

So why throw these two disparate things together? How dare the Rude Pundit compare a WSJ shit stain's terrible rape apologia to President Obama's call for comity and cooperation in Congress, no?

Here's the thing: What the hell does it accomplish to try to say that both sides are equally culpable? It doesn't make drunk dudes think before they rape. It doesn't make the Republicans in Congress all of a sudden say, "Oh, shit, Obama's right. We gotta work together." Our bizarre notions of "balance" and "fairness" (even in the Fox-ian sense for the media) are burying us.