NYT Editorial Board Member Objects To Cruz Even Uttering The Name Of Frederick Douglass

440px-Frederick_Douglass_(circa_1879)Mara Gay, a member of the New York Times editorial board, is under fire for her angry response to Sen. Ted Cruz quoting Frederick Douglass. Cruz was responding to a quote posted by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and posted a link to the whole speech from Douglass.  Rather than disagree with Cruz’ point that Douglass was not (as suggested by Kaepernick) against the Fourth of July, Gay lashed out to Cruz, a conservative Republican even uttering his name. Cruz declared the Civil War-era abolitionist’s “name has no business in your mouth.”Cruz and others responded that the attack epitomized what they saw as the bias at the New York Times.

It all began with the tweet from Kaepernick, who has been widely denounced for his role in the pulling of sneakers featuring an image of the Betsy Ross flag. Kaepernick saw the 18th century flag image and was deeply offended.  As I have written, I am one of those angered by Nike’s decision.  Many have vowed never to buy another Nike product.  Nike clearly would trash any symbol if it meant greater sales, but it may have miscalculated on this one.  It was one thing to embrace Kaepernick in its 2018 ad campaign.  This clearly put the company in line with his highly controversial and widely rejected views of the anthem and the flag.

Kaepernick proceeded to double down on the Fourth of July with a tweet of the quote from Douglass:

“‘What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? This Fourth of July is yours, not mine…There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.’ – Frederick Douglass.”

Nike has succeeded in tying himself to Kaepernick’s rejection of not just the Betsy Ross flag but the Fourth.

Cruz tweeted a fair and reasoned response that the line was taken out of context. One can disagree with the view but it was a civil and substantive response:

“You quote a mighty and historic speech by the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, but, without context, many modern readers will misunderstand. Two critical points: This speech was given in 1852, before the Civil War, when the abomination of slavery still existed. Thanks to Douglass and so many other heroes, we ended that grotesque evil and have made enormous strides to protecting the civil rights of everybody.

Douglass was not anti-American; he was, rightly and passionately, anti-slavery. Indeed, he concluded the speech as follows: “Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably, work the downfall of slavery. ‘The arm of the Lord is not shortened,’ and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from ‘the Declaration of Independence,’ the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age.”

Rather than respond to the substance of the criticism, Gay opted for a personal attack: “Frederick Douglass is an American hero, and his name has no business in your mouth.”

Cruz responded “You respond to any view you don’t like, not with facts or reason, but w/ ad hominem attack. And you seem dismayed that I linked to Douglass’s entire speech, so readers can judge for themselves. You represent your employer well.”

It is important to note that Gay is not a journalist but editorial writer.  I would not focus on this conflict if Cruz’ original tweet was not so civil or substantive.  Such rare exchanges should be welcomed in our increasingly poisonous and superficial discourse.  Instead, Gay suggested that, while Kaepernick could invoke Douglass, a conservative like Cruz could not even utter his name in response. Why is this an acceptable form of political or legal discourse?

70 thoughts on “NYT Editorial Board Member Objects To Cruz Even Uttering The Name Of Frederick Douglass”

  1. “…as ephemeral as the Mayfly and just as significant.”

    True of most of us — even you.

    And you too will be old one day.

  2. Fun Fact: The Israelites had a brilliant leader, Moses, who removed them from Egypt and on to the “Promised Land” before the ink was dry on their release papers. If this clown was so intellectual and competent, why didn’t he charter a small fleet and get his people to heck and gone to safety and back to Africa before any more “suffering” was endured. Certainly everyone perceived the thorough rejection by Americans, North and South, and the benefits of repatriation such as the legitimacy derived from nationhood and renewed self-esteem. Perhaps it was that inadequacy was too great to overcome or the fear of being sold by African tribal leaders all over again. “Crazy Abe’s” opinion and plan for repatriation or “colonization” was ubiquitous in America.

    To wit,

    “If all earthly power were given me,” said Lincoln in a speech delivered in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, “I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution [of slavery]. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” After acknowledging that this plan’s “sudden execution is impossible,” he asked whether freed blacks should be made “politically and socially our equals?” “My own feelings will not admit of this,” he said, “and [even] if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not … We can not, then, make them equals.”

    It’s pretty clear from the incessant caterwauling and endless solicitations for “alms for the poor” (the eminently ineligible Kamel Hairis just offered $100B for black housing in exchange for votes) that oil and water will never mix and that the compulsory “emulsifiers” of generational welfare, affirmative action privilege, food stamps, social services, forced busing, minimum wage, utility subsidies, WIC, TANF, HAMP, HARP, Education, Labor, Obamacare, Obamaphones, rent control, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing,” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc., etc., etc., are counterfeit, unconstitutional, temporary constructs forcibly imposed by communists.

    Regression to the mean is nature’s solution.

    What goes up, must come down.

    That which is falsely, unreasonably, maliciously and forcibly imposed must be rectified.

  3. Cruz belongs to a political party that spews toward anyone that does not tow the Trump doctrine of division. It’s Trump’s party now, and Cruz who was insulted beyond belief by Trump has kneeled and kissed the ring of Trump, as has all of them. For anyone in Trump’s party to talk about civil rights now, is nothing but pure theater.

    1. “For anyone in Trump’s party to talk about civil rights now, is nothing but pure theater.”

      Fishwings, here is you chance to talk about something of substance, civil rights.

      Tell us how Trump has abridged the civil rights of American citizens. Will we now have silence or a sincere discussion based on provable facts?

    2. Fishywings…. to get down to the level of discussion you just portrayed….. is there anything more comical than the dems presidential hopefuls going to Harlem to kiss sharptons butt and get ready for the future shakedowns from jackson and sharptons organizations. I think I’m gonna gir me a beer…..

    3. For anyone in Trump’s party to talk about civil rights now, is nothing but pure theater.

      The dems of the woke left already have a stranglehold on political theater in this country.

    4. Cruz, whatever else you may think of him, is at least literate and understands the history of the US and its uses and misuses. He is absolutely within his rights to correct a prancing ignoramus like Colin Kaepernick.

      1. Alan Dershowitz (very Liberal) from Harvard stated that Ted Cruz was the smartest student he every had

  4. Two things.

    First, it’s unfortunate that Turley did not note that after Cruz tweeted his response, Gay tweeted back at Cruz saying he is right. She pretended she thought he was criticizing Douglass, not praising him. No reasonable person can believe that, but that’s how she wiggled out of it after conceding Cruz was right.


    Second, I think many of Douglass’ speeches ought to be required reading for all college and university students. He was a brilliant defender of the Enlightenment principles of freedom and liberty that guided this country until we went horribly off track in the early 20th century during the communist influenced progressive era.

    One speech that should be read by everyone was delivered in Glasgow, Scotland in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War in which he defends the U.S. Constitution and correctly makes the case that it is anti-slavery.


    Another is his passionate defense of free speech in Boston titled “A Plea for Freedom of Speech”. The background is that abolitionists had gathered in Boston on the one year anniversary of John Brown’s execution. Some mild rioting broke out. The Mayor refused to protect the abolitionists against the mob because the mob consisted of “gentlemen” – part of the Bostonian elite class. The “gentlemen” wanted to avoid civil war. They argued the anti-slavery agitators needed to shut up and accept slavery on the grounds that it is lawful. Douglass scorches them in the speech saying the principle of free speech is more sacred than any other right. “Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist.” He noted that free speech is the dread of tyrants. It is the first right they seek to strike down (I am not so sure that is true today. Wannbe modern tyrants not only want to control what can and can not be said, but they also seek to disarm the law abiding population or restrict their gun liberty).

  5. Fortunately, the dicta of the New York Times‘s kennel of editorial loudmouths aren’t legally binding. Mara Gay can bark all she wants without touching anyone else’s freedom to speak.


  6. I would never censor Benson’s comments. He’s a laugh-making oxymoron. Emphasis on “moron.” To equate advocacy of suppression of free speech as free speech takes some doing but, on the other hand, most of academia (from which Benson hails) is a contradiction of its stated principles.

    1. And you don’t have to because someone else will. Predictably, as of this morning, they’re gone.

  7. DB Benson,
    Your comment still appears here, and has not been erased.
    Is your “free speech” somehow being squelched in your University town as well?
    And do you think that monitors of a blog can exercise, or should be able to execise, their own right of free speech in allowing or not allowing certain people and/ or their comments?
    And will the ACLU take up your case😋?

    1. Other comments of his — perfectly civil ones — have been deleted. You should stay in your own lane, Tommy.

  8. And yet civility is not “enforced.” There’s a policy, but it’s not evenly applied. Have you emailed Jonathan to make your case? It seems to me that he’s not necessarily aware of who is banned and why…

    1. anonymous should probably go and tell the principal 😲 on those that anonymous feels have broken the rules here.
      That oughta set things right.

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