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A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD - Official Trailer (HD) - YouTube

Can you hear the Twitterverse collectively sighing with delight? That’s because Tom Hanks and Mister Rogers are trending.

The trailer for Sony Pictures’ “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a film about Fred Rogers, one of the country’s most beloved entertainment icons and host of the long-running children’s TV series, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” debuted Monday. Rogers is played by Hanks, a two-time Academy Award winner who holds a similarly warm place in the hearts of many moviegoers.

The trailer’s opening moments are a gentle blend of rosy nostalgia and goodwill. Piano keys, swelling melodies – the two-and-a-half-minute trailer is a parade of hugs and smiles, punctuated by a line that Hanks delivers as Rogers: “We are trying to give the world positive ways of dealing with their feelings.”

Fans rushed to places not often associated with dealing positively with feelings: online comments sections. Their consensus? This is the purest, most perfect thing ever. Give it all the Oscars now.

The purity of it may be part of the delight. Biopics often provide not only a narrative of a famous person’s life but insight into their flaws. “The Wolf of Wall Street” showed Jordan Belfort’s drug-addled descent into hedonism and greed. “The Social Network” and “Steve Jobs” highlighted not just the brilliant minds of a pair of tech titans, but also their social ineptitude, jealousy and aggression. “Vice” focused on former vice president Dick Cheney’s cunning and ruthlessness, and the damage it caused.

Other biopics have portrayed good people navigating bad circumstances: Ruth Bader Ginsburg facing sexism in “On the Basis of Sex.” Jackie Robinson facing racism in “42.” Abraham Lincoln facing the disintegration of the country in “Lincoln.”

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” seems to belong to a different category: It’s a feel-good biopic about a feel-good character. There is no scheming antihero, no overwhelming societal obstacle. Instead there is Fred Rogers, the cardigan-wearing advocate for childhood education.

Hanks is an appropriate choice for the title role, having been named America’s favorite film star by The Harris Poll five times (2002, 2004, 2005, 2013, and 2016). It’s a match made in heaven: one highly popular American icon playing another. The film will come out around Thanksgiving. The stars are aligned for maximum wholesomeness.

Maybe that explains the reaction online to the “Neighborhood” trailer: the absence of dread. “Please don’t ruin my childhood,” Vogel’s wife asks the journalist as he sets out to tell the real story of Fred Rogers. A lot of people might ask the same of a biopic, and by all indications they have nothing to fear.

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By CAROLE FELDMAN

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed tightening automatic eligibility requirements for the food stamp program, a change that could affect about 3.1 million people.

The Agriculture Department said the rule would close “a loophole” that enables people receiving only minimal benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to be eligible automatically for food stamps.

“For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines. Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

Under current law, states may confer eligibility for food stamps, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, if they meet income and other requirements for TANF. USDA says 43 states have expanded that to include households that the agency says “barely participate” in TANF.

USDA said this has resulted in people receiving food stamps who don’t need it and wouldn’t qualify under regular program rules. It estimates that in 2020, 3.1 million food stamp recipients, or 8% of the total could be affected.

Under the proposal, to qualify for automatic eligibility, people would have to get at least $50 a month in benefits from TANF for a minimum of six months.

Perdue said the change is necessary for “preventing abuse of a critical safety net system.”

The rule is open for public comment for 60 days.

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The upcoming debut of new Minnesota United midfielder Robin Lod could come sooner than initially expected.

After making the transfer deal official last Tuesday, the Loons had Lod penciled in for his first game in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals against Portland on Aug. 7.

Lod — pronounced Luud — first needed to return to Finland to complete his immigration paperwork and be there for his wife, Janni, to give birth to the couple’s first child.

“He went home on Saturday, and his wife had the baby on Sunday. Baby and mother are doing well,” United coach Adrian Heath said on SKOR North on Monday. “Hopefully we will have him back here by the end of the week, if we get his paperwork through. Then he will be ready to play.”

Lod was planning to stay in Minnesota to train with United this week, but Janni started to have contractions with their baby girl earlier than her due date. Lod raced home as his new team was in Salt Lake for the Loons’ 1-1 draw Saturday.

Heath said the new target date for Lod’s debut is now the MLS game against Portland on Aug. 4. “Things are dropping in nicely now,” Heath said.

Heath said they first learned of Lod when watching current Loons midfielder Rasmus Schuller play for the Finland national team. Heath then asked Schuller who was the best player in their country’s team, and the no-hesitation answer was Lod.

“Ras is not one to go over the board,” Heath said on the radio. Schuller told his coach: “ ‘He’s fantastic.’ ”

Heath praised Lod’s ability to play on right, left and centrally, his skill with both feet, qualities in possession and ability to beat others on the dribble. “I just think his game is tailor-made for the MLS,” he said.

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“There is one area of his game which so far he needs to improve on,” Heath acknowledged. “He’s got an incredible shot off both feet and I don’t think he gets enough goals yet. It’s something that we spoke about when he was in town last week.”

Lod averages one goal per 498 minutes in his last four seasons with Sporting Gijon in Spain and Panathinaikos in Greece.

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Bruce Corrie, the director of St. Paul’s department of Planning and Economic Development, has resigned the position that put him at the helm of many of the city’s major planning initiatives and day-to-day operations.

Corrie said he will step down immediately to visit ill family in India and then return to Concordia University, his previous employer, as both an economist and administrator.

“I have made the decision to return to the university and I am deeply appreciative that Concordia University is welcoming me back to the role of Associate Vice President and Professor of Economics,” said Corrie, in a written statement.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter appointed Corrie shortly after winning the mayoral election in Nov. 2017 and the decision was immediately seen as a non-traditional one.

As an economist, Corrie had promoted the concept of using “cultural corridors” such as Little Mekong or Little Africa to promote small business growth in the city’s ethnic areas.

His lack of experience working with major corporations and large-scale planning projects had drawn some criticism, given the city’s stated goal of attracting employers, as well as a slate of redevelopment discussions on the horizon, from the former Ford site in Highland Park to the Hillcrest Golf site on the East Side.

Said Corrie, in his public statement, “The strategy for economic inclusion was to put the person, particularly those with the least access to power and resources, at the center of all we did at the department. The model for economic inclusion is evident in the focus on Cultural Destination Areas (CDA) across the city.

“We have achieved a lot in the last 18 months, made systemic changes, set an infrastructure in place to implement and grow this strategy and we are documenting successful outcomes.

“I took a leave of absence to work at the city and now I am at a critical decision point. Concordia University has begun the new academic year and is appointing a new president. Also, family, both locally and overseas, is my top priority right now.

“My intent was to transition over in the next few weeks but I am now required to leave immediately for India since my mother is seriously ill. I hope to return in the second week of August and help with the transition.”

Corrie thanked Carter, Deputy Mayor Jaime Tincher, city council members, “the great team at PED and city colleagues for supporting and working on these efforts at economic inclusion.”

His replacement has not been immediately announced.Related Articles

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A compliance officer in Minnesota’s Department of Human Services says she was retaliated against after reporting problems with contracts at the agency.

Faye K. Bernstein says she was verbally reprimanded and not allowed to carry out her duties after she pointed out what she called “serious non-compliance issues” with some contracts approved by leaders in the behavioral health division.

The Star Tribune reported Bernstein’s complaint after obtaining a July 10 email to employees in her division.

DHS Deputy Commissioner Claire Wilson says the agency’s internal audit unit is reviewing the issues Bernstein raised in her email.

Bernstein’s complaint is the latest black eye for an agency in crisis. Commissioner Tony Lourey resigned abruptly last week after two top deputies left. Gov. Tim Walz had appointed Lourey just six months earlier.Related Articles

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By JILL LAWLESS and DANICA KIRKA

LONDON (AP) — Brexit hard-liner Boris Johnson, one of Britain’s most famous and divisive politicians, won the race to lead the governing Conservative Party on Tuesday, and will become the next prime minister in a little over 24 hours.

Then he will have just over three months to make good on his promise to lead the country out of the European Union.

Johnson resoundingly defeated rival Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative leadership contest, winning two-thirds of the votes in a ballot of about 160,000 party members across the U.K. He will be installed as prime minister Wednesday in a formal handover from Theresa May.

In a brief speech to hundreds of party members and lawmakers gathered for the announcement, Johnson radiated optimism, pledging to “deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn,” leader of the opposition Labour Party.

“I think we know that we can do it, and that the people of this country are trusting in us to do it and we know that we will do it,” said Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign secretary.

“I say to all the doubters: Dude, we are going to energize the country, we are going to get Brexit done.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has praised Johnson in the past, tweeted his congratulations and said he will be “great.”

Trump has been very critical of May’s inability to achieve a Brexit deal and has said Johnson will do a better job.

Hunt, who trailed in the polls throughout the contest, said he was sure Johnson would “do a great job.”

“He’s got optimism, enthusiasm, he puts a smile on people’s face and he has total, unshakable confidence in our amazing country,” said Hunt, who is likely to be removed as foreign secretary by the new prime minister.

May stepped down after Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with the 28-nation bloc.

Famed for his bravado, quips in Latin and blond mop of hair , Johnson wooed Conservatives by promising to succeed where May failed and lead the U.K. out of the EU on the scheduled date of Oct. 31 — with or without a divorce deal.

Johnson insists he can get the EU to renegotiate — something the bloc insists it won’t do. If not, he says Britain must leave the EU by the deadline, “come what may.”

Economists warn that a no-deal Brexit would disrupt trade and plunge the U.K. into recession . Fears that Britain is inching closer to crashing out of the bloc weighed on the pound once again Tuesday. The currency was down another 0.3 percent at $1.2450, nearly a two-year low.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director of the Confederation of British Industry, said businesses needed a withdrawal agreement with the EU to restore confidence that has been badly shaken by uncertainty about the terms of Brexit.

“On Brexit, the new prime minister must not underestimate the benefits of a good deal,” she said.

The EU is adamant that the deal it struck with May will not be renegotiated.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said he looked forward “to working constructively” with the new Conservative leader “to facilitate the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

British lawmakers are due to start a six-week summer break on Friday. When they come back in September, Johnson looks set for a fight with Parliament over his plans.

He will preside over a House of Commons in which most members oppose leaving the EU without a deal, and where the Conservative Party lacks an overall majority.

Education Minister Anne Milton and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart on Tuesday became the latest ministers to announce they were quitting before they could be shuffled or demoted by Johnson.

They and others plan to resist any push for a no-deal Brexit.

“We’ll have to see what Boris can muster,” said Margot James, who quit last week as digital minister but remains a Conservative lawmaker. She said she doubted Johnson would be able to get a new Brexit deal by the deadline.

“The default position is leaving without a deal, and there is a significant majority in Parliament who will work very hard to sure that doesn’t happen. And I will be among that number.”

__

Associated Press writer Raf Casert in Brussels contributed.

__

Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and the Conservative Party leadership race at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

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HILLSBORO, Ohio — There is a shared belief among many evangelical Christians that the Bible represents God’s complete and infallible word. Everything from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation is what humankind is intended to know. God has nothing new to say beyond the words contained in the Holy Scriptures.

Among the concluding words of the Bible is this admonition: “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)

Likewise, former special counsel Robert Mueller regards as complete and infallible his written report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible “collusion” or obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump and associates. As Mueller made clear in his only comments since his report was handed down from on high, he has no interest in testifying before Congress, because he has provided from beginning to end that which he intends humankind to know.

“Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report,” Mueller said back in May. “It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”

One envisions Mueller sitting at the witness table and, under questioning, doing nothing more than leafing to the appropriate page of his sacred text to recite his answers. Mueller is smart. He understands that many regard him as an infallible arbiter of truth. His admirers portray him as beyond reproach. Throughout his investigation, he remained inscrutable and aloof. He knows that testifying can do nothing but lessen the impact of his written words.

The Mueller report has been scrutinized and debated just as biblical scholars parse the meaning and intent of every word of scripture. God does not subject himself to man’s interrogations. He does not clarify his intent or participate in political theater. Likewise, Mueller understands the value in remaining above it all.

That is why, rather than resist the notion of Mueller testifying, Trump and his Republican allies should be clamoring for it. They should be thrilled that his advent was delayed a week to allow for more time and more questions. Why did he select certain members of his team and not others? Why did he interview some witnesses and ignore others with pertinent information? Why did he ask one set of questions and ignore other avenues of inquiry? Why did he break prosecutorial tradition and elaborate on incriminating episodes when no charges were forthcoming?

Highlighting those items and many others, no matter how inconsequential, will reveal that Mueller is a human being subject to the same imperfections as are all humans. Mueller knows it, too. He has nothing to gain and everything to lose by subjecting himself to the political agendas of Trump’s persecutors and defenders. His testimony cannot enhance his written report; it can only diminish it. Democrats are foolish for insisting on such a spectacle, and it is likely Mueller has tried to explain as much as he negotiates his manifestation before Congress.

In fact, Mueller, a churchgoing man, knows he is not God. He is fully aware that he is not omnipotent or divinely inspired. He realizes that the more he elaborates in public testimony, the more his fallibilities will be revealed. He worked hard on his written report and fine-tuned it to perfection. “We chose those words carefully, and the report speaks for itself,” he said. His report is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.

Everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Mark Twain has been credited for a variation of the quote, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” Regardless of its source, it is a sentiment filled with wisdom. It is widely agreed that Trump’s approval rating would jump several points if he would cease his endless tweet-fests. He chooses instead to remove all doubt on a daily basis. By contrast, Mueller knows silence is golden.

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies,”King David wrote in the 23rd Psalm, describing God’s care for him under dire circumstances. But in their bloodlust to devour Trump, Democrats are leading Mueller to a witness table prepared for him in the presence of his Republican enemies, content to make him their sacrificial lamb.

Gary Abernathy, a contributing columnist for the Washington Post, is a freelance writer based in Hillsboro, Ohio.

 

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As retail bans and public pressure on commercial breeders have made it harder to find local pets, Minnesotans are looking to other states and countries for their next family dog.

Some 40,000 dogs cross into Minnesota each year, according to the National Animal Interest Alliance. And the number of foreign dogs entering the United States has quadrupled in the last decade, reaching 1.1 million nationwide last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Buyers and nonprofit rescue groups are delighted with the state’s embrace of imported dogs. But critics say the animals bring untold problems, from disease to aggression due to poor breeding.

“We have lots of concerns,” said Courtney Wheeler, senior veterinarian for the state Board of Animal Health.

Some worry Minnesotans are enabling communities that refuse to deal with their own animal problems, as breeders simply replace the dogs that are rescued.

“People do this because they think they are saving dogs,” said Wayne Harmon, a Minneapolis man who participates in the American Kennel Club, which opposes the unregulated importing of foreign dogs.

Animal rescuers say they examine every dog for diseases and have a moral obligation to rescue any suffering dog, anywhere.

“It is not the animal’s fault which geographic location it is in. That is a strictly human decision,” said Amy Swenson, Director of Operations of Midwest Animal Rescue & Services, which says it has rescued 18,000 dogs since 2006.

FEWER MN-BRED DOGS

The birth rate of Minnesota dogs is plummeting because activists have been fighting against the dog-breeding industry.

St. Paul in December became the third Minnesota city to prohibit retail sales of cats and dogs, joining Roseville and Eden Prairie, over concerns about the practices of breeders supplying the animals.

At the same time, advocates have pushed pets owners to spay and neuter their animals.

“Guess what? We were successful!” said Alliance founder Patti Strand. “Today, Minnesota has no natural overpopulation of dogs.”

However, other states and countries are stepping up to meet the demand, bolstered by rising interest in pets in need of “rescue.”

Rescue dogs are promoted on TV and in movies as alternatives to dogs raised by breeders. In California and Maryland, pet stores may sell only rescued dogs, not those bred commercially.

“Rescues are taking over the marketplace,” Strand said. “If you don’t adopt a rescue dog, they will tell you it says something about your morals. It is a marketing scheme.”

DUMPING GROUND

Generally, rescued dogs flow from southern states to the north.

Some states — including Minnesota — depend on Southern dogs. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health reports that 70 percent of imported dogs in 2018 came from Southern states. Because of the 11,615 southern dogs, the dogs moving into Minnesota are roughly equal to dogs moving out.

Without them, the state’s canine population would plummet.

Dog rescuers say they’re making up for the negligence of Southerners.

“Dogs in the South are considered disposable. There is a lack of rescue (nonprofits) there,” said Midwest Animal Rescue’s Swenson. “Dogs go to high-kill shelters and they die.”

The Animal Alliance says that America — and especially Minnesota — is an international dumping ground for unwanted dogs arriving from Turkey, China, Mexico, South Korea and Thailand, as well as Puerto Rico.

Minnesota does not keep records regarding foreign dogs. But Colorado, with a comparable human population, recorded 40,000 dogs imported from other states and countries last year.

Strand said Minnesota likely imports more than that because the dog ownership rates are higher here.

Half of Colorado’s imports are “juveniles,” including puppies. That’s a sign, said Strand, that dogs aren’t just being randomly picked up. Instead, they’re specifically bred for a market; commercial breeders are meeting the demand for supposedly “rescued” dogs.

DISEASES COMMON

Local veterinarians know what ailments to expect from local pets. But a dog from another part of the world could have — and spread — entirely different problems.

In Chicago in 2015, a foreign dog brought in a new strain of canine flu, which spread to 1,100 dogs. In May, after rabies was found in Egyptian dogs, the United States banned canine imports from that country.

Heartworm — a footlong parasite that lives in the bloodstream — is common among Southern dogs. When they arrive in Minnesota, mosquitoes spread it from dog to dog.

“It’s a fine line. We want people to own dogs. Yet, we have to juggle the risk to the dog population in Minnesota,” said Wheeler, the state veterinarian.

Canine brucellosis, a sexually-transmitted disease, is common in South Korea. Wheeler can’t prove it but suspects that a recent increase in that disease in Minnesota is from imported South Korean dogs.

The imported dogs — few of which come from loving homes — can be dangerous to their new owners. When introduced into families, they sometimes bite.

“We have to admit that these are basically feral animals,” said animal advocate Harmon.

Especially difficult are South Korean dogs, said Harmon. “Those are meat dogs. They are not bred to be pets. They do not have socialization,” he said.

“I would avoid those rescues like the plague,” Strand agreed. “There is such a thing as a bad dog.”

‘RESCUE HAS NO BORDERS’

Minnesota’s dog importers say they carefully screen every dog, both for diseases and behavior problems.

For example, Midwest Animal Rescue puts every dog into a foster home for a waiting period to get them accustomed to household life. Each dog is quarantined and examined by a veterinarian.

Then, they are adopted, for a fee of $200 to $600 per dog.Related Articles

Molly Nemec of Lindstrom has brought in 183 dogs from South Korea since 2016.

She likens suspicion of foreign dogs to the mistrust of human immigrants at the Mexican border.

“It’s all about the fear of foreigners, of being afraid of different people, and building a wall,” said Nemec. “Rescue has no borders, and compassion has no limits.”

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DEAR ABBY: I recently located a person I knew a long time ago who stole an expensive gold bracelet from me. I’d dated this guy for a while. He wore my bracelet, and I wore his. My bracelet was a gift from a relative I cared for deeply. His bracelet was a piece of junk, but I was a teenager with no brains and allowed him to wear mine. Well, we split up and he just disappeared. I tried getting my bracelet back but couldn’t find him. As I mentioned, I found him on Facebook, married with children, and I felt this anger come over me. Should I contact him and ask what happened to my jewelry? — GOLDEN GIRL IN MISSISSIPPI

DEAR GOLDEN GIRL: No, you should contact him and tell him you would like the item returned or be compensated for it. What “happened” to the bracelet was that he stole it. Because many years have passed since you two dated, the odds that he still has the bracelet are slim. But it’s worth a try.

DEAR ABBY: I am 16 and have a hard time making friends. I have more guy friends than girl friends, which causes me problems. I got called a slut again the other day because of it. I’m a virgin and only have a crush on one of the guys I hang out with (my boyfriend). I have tried finding more female friends, but the drama is really hard to put up with. I have tried ignoring the comments, but after a while it gets hard to ignore. I’m not sure what else to do. Please help me out. I would be really grateful. — MISUNDERSTOOD IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR MISUNDERSTOOD: I wish I could make the name-calling go away, but I can’t. The perpetrator is most likely jealous because of the relationship you have with your boyfriend and other guy friends. Not everyone makes friends easily. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; it’s just a fact of life. That’s why you should treasure the ones you DO have — because old friends are some of the best friends, and high school and its cliques won’t last forever.

DEAR ABBY: Two years ago my family had a run of bad luck, which landed us in a homeless shelter. I got an apartment fairly quickly, and it’s mine and my daughter’s. My mother was supposed to move in rent-free, but she brought her boyfriend, who I didn’t want here. He’s still here and barely contributes to the expenses. I recently lost my job and he promised to help out more financially, but he hasn’t. He continues to mooch. This has caused so much stress between my mother and me. “Hate” is a strong word, but I hate him and want him out. He knows it, but makes no effort to leave. What can I do? — WANTING MY OWN SPACE

DEAR WANTING: You are not helpless, and you shouldn’t be held hostage because of your mother’s feelings for her deadbeat boyfriend. Contact your state bar association to see what your legal rights are. Then tell your mother you want him out, give her a deadline to see that it happens, and suggest that she go with him if she can’t bear to be separated from him. If he doesn’t meet the deadline, put his belongings in a box, place them outside and change your locks.

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As I watch the conflict between the president and four minority congresswomen, I know I’ve seen this movie before. The first release was called “2016.” The second was called “Put Colin Kaepernick in his place.”

Here is how the plot goes. Shamelessly, President Donald Trump barrages minorities with racially coded verbal abuse. The language is treated by the White House, in the words of his then-personal lawyer, as “part of the expected fiery rhetoric, hyperbole and opinion that is squarely protected by the First Amendment.” Yet even if such language is protected by law, it is still shameful to use it. Trump can wield the weapon of racially coded language only because his superpower is shamelessness.

Predictably, his shameless speech provokes outrage. This is not an accident. It is what Trump intends.

Equally predictably, the white knights of outrage launch their counterassault catapults toward an overbroad range of targets and inflict extensive collateral damage.

Exhibit A: white knight Hillary Clinton’s invention of the category of “deplorables” for Trump supporters. When the white knights assign to all Trump voters the shamelessness that is accurately attributed only to Trump himself, they make those voters mad.

Only one person has the true, complete superpower of shamelessness and that is Donald Trump. Most people who voted for him did so because they saw him as an instrument for getting conservative Supreme Court justices, or a tool for diminishing China, or a way to stick a thumb in the eyes of snobby elites. You might disagree with their judgment about the trade-offs, but they shouldn’t be perceived as mini-Trumps. They’re generally not.

Most Americans are good and decent people. Recovering this belief is the great gift the Russians gave me with their election meddling. I wrote a lot of opinion pieces during the 2016 lesson that criticized candidate Trump, and so I got some incredibly nasty stuff in my inbox. It was affecting my feelings about my fellow Americans. At the time, I had a friend with tech expertise do a network analysis for me of the incoming slime — and to my surprise, I found that a lot of the nastiness directed at me was coming from Europe. At the time, I didn’t know what to make of it. Now, I understand that it must in some fashion have flowed from the Russian interference efforts and from a narrow subset of Americans who were trying to stir up division and hatred. Now I’ve gotten back my loving relationship to my fellow citizens. Thank you, Russia! Thank you, Mr. Mueller!

It’s true that various surveys find that extreme opinion is on the rise in our country, but those who hold extreme views are still a very small minority. So let me say it again. The vast majority of Americans are good and decent people.

Unfortunately, when good and decent people who voted for Trump after having weighed the trade-offs are tarred with the same brush his adversaries apply to him, their anger activates. We all know what it feels like to feel falsely accused. This again is what Trump is counting on.

He knows that if he provokes outrage, his opponents will over-target, thus generating anger that will drive support to him. His assault on Kaepernick did drive down public affection for NFL leaders, led to a reduction of freedoms for NFL players, and won support for himself.

In Errol Morris’s very fine but undistributed film about former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, “American Dharma,” Bannon reflects on the 2016 campaign. A standout moment for him was Hillary Clinton’s speech in August when she said Trump’s success reflects the rise of a new movement, “the alt-right.”

In the film, Bannon says that he watched that speech and thought: “She’s walked into the trap. If she preaches identity politics and we preach populism and jobs and bringing manufacturing jobs back, we’ve got her.”

Trump’s assault on the congresswomen is a trap. Right now, too many of us are falling into it.

We have to change the script. Here’s an alternative: (1) Don’t be trapped. Don’t attribute Trump’s views to anyone other than him. (2) Affirm your love of country and remember that to love our country is to love one another. (3) Focus on the specific harm Trump is doing to a specific person; don’t widen the lens, however tempting that may be. Trump is putting one specific person, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., at real risk. This is abominably irresponsible. About that, there is only one thing to say: “Back off, man.” (4) Ask everyone who loves this country to help protect the specific person who is being put in danger regardless of what you think of her opinions.

And following that script, we can rise to one another’s defense, for love of country.

Danielle Allen is a political theorist at Harvard University and a contributing columnist for The Washington Post.

 

 

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