OPINION | The opinions expressed in this article are that of the writer, and may not necessarily reflect those of Tatum Report LLC
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Is Don Lemon the dumbest news anchor on T.V.? Don’t answer that. It’s a rhetorical question. And, before we go further, I must confess when I say Don Lemon’s name in my head, I hear it with Tucker Carlson’s pronunciation: “Don LeMon.” I appreciate Carlson’s magnanimity in his attempt to elevate a colleague, struggling for ratings, by creating for him a snooty French pronunciation.
In a recent video blast from The Officer Tatum over at Rumble.com, he fillets Lemon as if he were a helpless smelt splayed on a cutting board. He called out Lemon for his outlandish response to an opinion from former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Sen. Santorum is one of the few non-flaccid Republicans who’d been holding on by a thread at CNN. However, this topic caused that last threat to snap. CNN canned him. I’m ambivalent about Santorum, but he has a right to his opinions, right? Well, not if he disagrees with Don Lemon.
Lemon’s manufactured outrage was triggered when Santorum said, “‘We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here,’ Santorum told students during remarks at a Young America’s Foundation event. ‘I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.’” It was an opinion, and he was obviously speaking relatively.
While Santorum’s opinions were valid, if arguable, I can see where some might have a few niggles with his contention. After all, across the nation, there are various Native American place names. This includes the names of just over half (26) of the states that make up the U.S. I don’t know if that translates into “culture,” but an argument could be made. I can also attest to individuals’ Native American names. My sons’ middle names are Sequoia and Tecumseh, whom I greatly admire. Wait… is that cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation? Either way, sorry if I triggered anyone. Not!
Though expressed somewhat inartfully, Santorum’s observations about a lack of Native American culture in the U.S. are at least arguable. But Santorum’s opinion should not have provoked in Lemon such a degree of indignation, even if it was pretend. As The Officer Tatum noted, “These are facts. And I’m black, and I think these are facts.”
Lemon doesn’t seem to understand “a country” as a legal or political entity. The portion of the North American continent (the land) the United States of America inhabits is not our country, per se. It’s where our country, our nation, happens to be physically. The Officer Tatum said, “The way you see it now, is not the way it was.” He’s right.
The U.S.A. is a political entity, a nation—a country, founded in 1776 and more fully established after the Revolutionary War. By the way, Native Americans fought on both sides. The country the American founders created, and subsequent generations have strived “to form a more perfect union,” is not the “country” Native American tribes lived in before Europeans arrived. Or lived in before they “conquered territory” from other tribes, or even from the ancient people who preceded them.
People seem to make the condescending error of treating Native Americans as if they were one homogenous, peaceful, living in harmony with nature, people. When Europeans arrived, the people populating North America were as distinct as the peoples inhabiting Europe, Asia, or Africa. Different histories, languages, customs, and societies. The Mohawks were as different from the Haida; as the Swedes are from the Spanish, the Vietnamese are from the Koreans, and the Ethiopians are from the Congolese.
The Officer Tatum admonishes Lemon, “That stuff happened a long time ago. You lost. You win some, you lose some.” He then elaborated about the conquering and colonizing that were going on all over the world. “Victims” are everywhere in every culture. The U.S. is not unique in having historical victims. But, the U.S. is unique in bringing freedom and liberty to its people and much of the world.
Don Lemon doubled down on dumb when he uttered, “Europeans did not found this country. It was here. The Native Americans had this country before the Europeans came. Yeah, the Europeans conquered the country, they colonized it, but it had nothing to do with the founding of this country.”
Again, the land was here, not the “country.” And though Native American tribes inhabited territory, the civil society British colonial America and later the United States built is not what was here when Europeans first arrived. It wasn’t like when Nazi Germany conquered France. That’s what “taking over a ‘country’” looks like.
Lemon continued the stupid by telling Sen. Santorum if he wants to “speak for them” (CNN), he must do it from the “right perspective.” Apparently, Lemon, somewhere in his vapid mind, has concocted a myth where he thinks he’s brilliant. He said Santorum needs to study history. Well, not from Lemon, who, it seems, must have studied American history from Nikole Hannah-Jones.
And if doubling down on dumb wasn’t enough, he tripled down on hyperbole when he said, about Santorum’s comments, “Like Black Lives Matter, this was a Native American Lives Matter moment for me.” Really? Did Santorum’s opinions kill anyone?
I mean, if Santorum said it was great that Lord Jeffrey Amherst gave smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans, okay. Or, if the former senator supported the atrocity known as the Trail of Tears, I could understand Lemon’s argument. But because Santorum made factual statements Lemon doesn’t like does not create such a moment as he describes.
It’s essential for people like The Officer Tatum to push back and call B.S. on Lemon’s fake rage. Since Lemon’s just on the other side of a name-change publicity stunt, this seems like just one more way for a declining personality on a declining (fake) news network to claw for more viewers.
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