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Over the weekend, one of my friends finally blocked me on social media.
It was a long time coming.
I sort of pride myself on having friends that exist on opposite sides of the fence: the radically liberal, the ultra-conservative, all those who fall in-between, and those who are on the fence. It’s been my opinion that it’s important to keep channels of communication open and ongoing if we – as a nation – are going to move forward. I think we need to learn how to understand each other, even if we don’t agree. And maybe most importantly, we need to learn how to disagree respectfully. That’s just not always so easy to do.
So back to Saturday, when I sat down to start reading the Mueller Report. I didn’t want to read anybody else’s spin on it. Not CNN, not Yahoo News, not Kellyanne Conway or the President himself. I wanted to read it myself, and draw my own conclusion. So I went to the NPR News website, and found the link to the redacted report, all 448 pages of it. It’s really more like 300 pages though, because so much of it has been blacked out. Entire pages, sometimes.
Like page 30:
We, the public are not privy yet – and might never be – to what’s been blacked out from our view in the report. But I can tell you – because I read the thing – that this entire page was somehow related to the investigation of how Russian agents, in service to their employer, the Russian government, not only purchased ads on American social media platforms like Facebook, but also arranged rallies in the U.S. (pro-Trump rallies, pro-confederate rallies, and we don’t what else because its blacked out) and duped their followers on dummy social media accounts to help them. You know what that means? That means that Americans were conspiring with Russians to meddle in the 2016 Presidential election. They just didn’t know it.
I know, I’m just giving you my takeaway on what I think is behind all that black ink, the information that I extrapolated from the written paragraphs just prior to and after the redacted material. So don’t take my word for it that I’m right, read it yourself.
You can even read it right now, for free. It’s right here, at National Public Radio’s website.
When reading a good piece of fiction, I never ever skip to the ending first. But since I am of the opinion that the Mueller Report is the compiling of evidence and facts gathered in a lengthy investigation, I was okay with starting with the conclusion to see for myself if the report was – as stated by Trump himself, a “complete and total exoneration.”
Don’t take my word for it that he said it. Again, you can see/hear that for yourself as well.
But that’s not what the report actually said. And rather than tell you what I think the report concluded, read it for yourself.
Additionally, if you’re interested in checking out Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of the Mueller Report that explains why he decided not to recommend any further indictments against any of the other players in this modern Game of Thrones, you can also read that for yourself right here, courtesy of the New York Times.
Read it. Draw your own conclusions.
Back to Facebook … where I posted a link to the Mueller Report and encouraged everyone to read it for themselves. One of my friends on the left side of the fence said he felt the Mueller Report showed “the reason (Trump) didn’t commit obstruction is because no one would do what he ordered them to do. So technically the crime didn’t happen but he tried to make it happen. He’s a treasonous piece of human garbage we will be lucky to overcome.”
Now, I don’t know for sure if that friend actually read the report or was sharing his sentiment based on news coverage, but that was his opinion. A friend on the other side of the political fence reacted with, “That was not in the report.” At first I thought she was solely talking about the part where he referred to Trump to as a treasonous piece of human garbage (true, that wasn’t in the report). But now I’m not so sure, because she followed up with “You obviously haven’t read the report. You should, though.”
Curious, I went back to the report, and took in page 370 in the section labeled “Overarching Factual Issues” regarding the President’s conduct, which was fortunate to escape the black marker of death. But it hasn’t escaped my sunshine yellow highlighter.
I posted the highlighted material above so she could decide for herself if she still felt the person she’d accused of not reading the report had done a pretty accurate job of paraphrasing (or if maybe she hadn’t actually read the report?), and it was then that my friend on the right deflected with, “One thing that was clear in the report is that the Russians have been using all this to divide Americans and its worked well. Posting this kind of crap is feeding right into their hands.”
At this point I reminded my friend that while I agreed with her 100% about Russians purposefully dividing Americans, that having the freedom to make posts about how we feel about the President is one of the rights that makes this country great.
I don’t know if she even saw that, because the next time I checked, she’d unfriended and blocked me. And that’s her right. Ain’t America great?
It’s not the first time that’s happened to me over a political discussion on Facebook. The last time was during a discussion thread about Brett Kavanaugh’s blackouts. That time it was a former liberal college friend who ditched me after I defended another friend on the right. The friend on the right was, ironically, the same gal who just blocked me over the Mueller Report.
Oh yeah, the Mueller Report. I have to admit that I still haven’t finished the entire report, although I will. There’s just so much to digest. But I feel really fortunate that we have been given the opportunity to be able to read it for ourselves, even with all that black ink obscuring much of it. You might share my former friend’s opinion that the report is simply airing our dirty laundry, but hey, it’s our dirty laundry. We can air it, toss it, burn it, or read it.
I am of the opinion that knowledge is power. So take advantage of the opportunity.
You can do so right now by clicking on the NPR link to the Mueller Report online, or buy it at Barnes & Noble with versions running between $7.40 – $24.99 depending on whether you want to read it plain or buttered up with prefaces from Sean Hannity, Alan Dershowitz, or the Washington Post. B&N is even giving away the report for free if you want to download it onto your Nook.
Then let’s talk.
In the spirit of working together, I’m starting off today’s streaming Blacked Out Playlist, but I want you to help me finish it. Please feel free (along with any comments you might have on the subject) to make your own suggestions for songs that might fit in with the theme and I’ll add them. Together, we can build this.