When conservative writers defamed Nathan Phillips in order to shore up their own virtuous image I thought it best to ignore them–never mind the fact that Nathan Phillips and his people pose no threat to them, or that they wouldn’t have sufficient resources to retaliate, even if they wanted to. The Covington High School saga has morphed into a tribal face saving effort involving parents, corporate media, and lawsuits.
It should also be mentioned that at least one person tried to make peace with Phillips at the time. In other words, he tried to make amends at the scene. I’m sure this makes the viral nature of the story all the more disheartening from a conservative point of view.
I defended the Covington boys because they are young men just starting out in life who were caught up in a situation they don’t fully understand. I thought the story would go away once the additional facts came out but conservative parents and pundits won’t let it die. I think this behavior may be based in a reality that progressives don’t fully understand.
A recent opinion in the Wall Street Journal https://www.wsj.com/articles/most-likely-to-panic-about-old-yearbook-pics-business-leaders-11549376319 argued that a person’s youth is no excuse for bad behavior. Business leaders can’t afford to hire people with incriminating yearbook entries or other youthful indiscretions, the authors insist, therefore background checks must include 25 years or more of an applicant’s history. For me, this raises the suspicion that a new American caste system is being created right before our eyes. Of course, America has a long history of similar processes affecting poor people of color, but now it appears they extend to the privileged among us. Could that be why the conservatives won’t let this story die?
Bret Cavanaugh’s yearbook was used against him by Democrats. However, I saw it as a last line of defense against Republican maneuvering for control of the Supreme Court. This began in ernest shortly after the death of Antonin Scalia and was largely responsible for the election of Donald Trump. But it does seem to set a precedent.
Cananaugh’s past became fair game in his confirmation hearing because of Republican duplicity. However, the young boys at Covington had no part in that. What appeared to be taking place in that video was an offense against a representative of the Indian Nation who had come to represent progressive hopes during the 2016 election–hopes that were put on hold by the election of the MAGA man himself, Donald Trump. It turned out the offense was largely blown out of proportion, but the fact that the video went viral in its original form is a separate issue–conspiracy theories are not necessary to explain the initial outrage.
What this will eventually come down to, if the Wall Street Journal opinion piece is correct, is some anonymous human resources maven pushing a few buttons and calmly eliminating job applicants with very little cause, and without batting an eye. Alternatively, those involved in the dissemination of the video, and maybe those who published condemnations based on the video, will pay dearly. It goes without saying that the opinion writers are a product of this unforgiving world and are not responsible for this state of affairs, but considering the impersonal and insulated context of a corporate human resources department, or alternatively, the context of a crack legal team, Jesus’s admonition hardly seems to apply.
“…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…” (John 8:7)
Is this what we want for our future?