Jeff Sessions: " Anglo-American heritage"

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Vociferous, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Vociferous Registered Senior Member

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday brought up sheriffs' "Anglo-American heritage" during remarks to law enforcement officials in Washington.
    "I want to thank every sheriff in America. Since our founding, the independently elected sheriff has been the people's protector, who keeps law enforcement close to and accountable to people through the elected process," Sessions said in remarks at the National Sheriffs Association winter meeting, adding, "The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement."

    Who here is outraged by this and why?
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  3. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Jeff was either:

    1) Being historically accurate, since law and order, US style, does not have a Sino-American, or Afro-American, or Russo-American, heritage. Nay, the heritage is definitely as he said: Anglo-American. Even the word "sheriff" is Anglo-Saxon.

    2) Finding an excuse to tout white American supremacy via the heritage of its legal system.

    3) Just being Jeff.
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Technically correct, but coming from a white supremacist administration, I understand the backlash.
    douwd20 likes this.
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  7. Vociferous Registered Senior Member

    So the same words from two different people can be both bad and good?
    Double standard?
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Yes. One standard for racists, another for people we know aren't racist.
  9. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Double standards are something that our Jeff--well, your Jeff actually, I don't live in the US or have citizenship so I'm invoking a kind of universal there, in that me and Jeff are both world citizens, but I have no wish nor intent to live in his world-- . . . seems to be very much at home with.

    If some professor of Law at Harvard said US law has an Anglo-American heritage, and also says something about the provenance of the word sheriff (a contraction of shire and reeve, a reeve was a medieval sort-of magistrate), he's probably being academic.
    If however the person saying it is a good ol' boy from Alabama or wherever, there would (or should) at least be some suspicion. Are they being racist? Have they said racist things before, and so on. Were they smirking when they said it, have they smirked before . . .? Do they know the provenance of the word smirk?
    (Oh, sorry, that last question has nothing to do with actually smirking, does it? If you see my point)
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    It has to do with messaging. I don't understand, quite frankly, how people can be so blind toward function. For most of us, "Anglo-American" is something we only hear from white supremacists, and it's kind of a weird, specialized thing, because it excludes other whites.

    No, really. The term has little or no use to most people. To wit, I can't imagine a day, other than one in which a white supremacist invokes Anglo-American heritage, that I would take the time to point out specifically, by such a term, that, "Anglo-American heritage includes persecution sexual, ethnic, and religious; and, furthermore, the incompetent loss of a continent."

    And, you know, I come from a region shot through with white supremacism and nationalism, and one of the reasons people don't bother with terms like "Anglo-American", for instance, is that if you live in Seattle, for instance, you live in a place where the Norwegian-American heritage is so thick that not only do we lead with Norwegian jokes instead of disparaging the Polish, successive Kings of Norway have turned up to hang out in Ballard, of all places. Anglo-American? Ya, sure, you betcha ... and?

    The only reason a friend of mine ever gave a damn that she was Franco-American was that her birthday, by coincidence, is also Bastille Day, so nobody in her family ever lets her forget.

    Anglo-American becomes important in a societal condition Americans presently prefer to consider yesteryear. Then again, when Irish-Americans, pale Italian-Americans, and light-skinned Jews all failed to be white enough, people are being pretty specific. We Americans have been through this, over and over, in our history.

    The results affect our general presuppositions:

    • The ordinary presumption is that we are encountering supremacism, and this would, in a philosophical consideration, be described as a the sum effect of both Ockham and LaPlace: Americans have been through this enough that we do not presume, but await the assertion of extraordinary context.

    • A functionally extraordinary context would be otherwise evident; see Arfa Brane at #2↑, and then again at #6↑; the one notes the differences, you inquire about double-standards↑, and arfa brane offeres a more particular context: "If some professor of Law at Harvard said US law has an Anglo-American heritage, and also says something about the provenance of the word sheriff (a contraction of shire and reeve, a reeve was a medieval sort-of magistrate), he's probably being academic."

    ▸ (Toward that point, the omission of function is evident in your explicit proposition: "So the same words from two different people can be both bad and good?" That the words can be bad or good in their application does not specifically depend on the notion of two different people; it depends on how they are used. The question of "Double standard" only arises if we presume without regard to function, e.g., focus on the difference 'twixt messengers without regard to message.)​

    As to the question of outrage, I have such luxury in my society that I can wait for a more direct offense. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is a terrible human being, and part of the reason we know this is that he constantly reminds us. At some point, burning ourselves up in outrage over any one of the Trump administration's myriad exempla of human awfulness is a bad investment of resources.

    Of course, without the American luxury of not being African-American or Muslim, I might feel differently about a white supremacist appealing to white supremacist tropes from such rarified office as the Attorney General of the United States, but "outrage" can mean many things, and in any case, Mr. Sessions can go screw, all the same.
    douwd20 likes this.
  11. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    The Chief of Police of the town I grew up in Indiana was a Kluxxer. Every CoP.
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Either bad or good, as well.
    Even from the same person at different times.
    Of course. Meaning is always from context.
    Not just double - quintuple, hexadecituple, indefinitely multituple.
  13. billvon Valued Senior Member


    In skydiving, a common trope is for the last jumper to get on the aircraft and say "hey asshole!" to which everyone on the plane, from AFF instructors to pilot, replies "WHAT?" It's a long tradition.

    Try saying that to the driver on a city bus; see if it gets a good or bad reaction.
    Nope. Common sense.
  14. Vociferous Registered Senior Member

    Guilt by association?
    Many politicians, in either party, have used that term. And Sessions was speaking to an organization of sheriffs.
    Others have noted that former Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer, an Obama administration official, used the term in a speech about court and legal reforms in China, though this reference also included the more familiar “common law” terminology as well:

    While we are unable to ascertain Sessions’s motives for the change he made to his prepared speech (there were many other places he diverged, as well), we can say that it is factual that Sessions made the statement that “the office of Sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement” and that “Anglo-American” is a way to reference to the common law legal heritage the United States sheriff’s system shares with Europe.
    You seem to have missed the mark, by a rather wide margin.
    "Anglo-American heritage of law" is a reference to English common law. But someone else you know also used the same expression.
    Senator Obama in 2006:
    "The world is watching what we do today in America. They will know what we do here today, and they will treat all of us accordingly in the future—our soldiers, our diplomats, our journalists, anybody who travels beyond these borders. I hope we remember this as we go forward. I sincerely hope we can protect what has been called the “great writ”—a writ that has been in place in the Anglo-American legal system for over 700 years."
    Obama, 2008 campaign:
    But Obama, who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago for more than a decade, said captured suspects deserve to file writs of habeus corpus. Calling it “the foundation of Anglo-American law,” he said the principle “says very simply: If the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask, ‘Why was I grabbed?’ And say, ‘Maybe you’ve got the wrong person.’” The safeguard is essential, Obama continued, “because we don’t always have the right person.”
    Obama as president:
    Obama would not say whether it could be achieved within the first 100 days of his term, citing the challenge of creating a balanced process “that adheres to rule of law, habeas corpus, basic principles of Anglo-American legal system, but doing it in a way that doesn’t result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up.
    Explains a lot. Personal assumptions seem to be your raison d'être.
    Special uses in an obviously special environment seem a bit different that the same thing said in similar settings.
    Skydiver culture largely comes from pilot culture, whose birth control is their personalities.
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Meaning does depend on context, yep.

    Especially: who's talking, and to whom. That's a major aspect of the context, and controls the meaning of almost any English sentence.
  17. mathman Valued Senior Member

    The concept of a sheriff for local authority was developed in England during the 11th and 12th centuries. Sessions would have been more accurate to describe it as English or even Anglo-Norman heritage.
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

    OK. Try getting on a commercial airliner, leaning in the cockpit and telling the crew "HEY ASSHOLE!"

    It's pretty much common sense that you can say things to one group of people that you can't say to another. Even if they share a lot of characteristics (like they are all pilots or instructors.) You can call that a double standard if you like; I'd just call it common sense.
    Well, no. (see example above.)
    Q: What's the difference between a jet fighter aircraft and its pilot?
    A: After shutdown, the aircraft stops whining.
  19. Vociferous Registered Senior Member

    Thanks guys! Great survey of who will acknowledge facts and not try to poison the well, regardless of source.
    You'll understand if I don't engage with some people as much. Seems pointless.

    I've always believed that it is much more important WHAT was said than WHO said it. All ideas on their own merits.
  20. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, the fact is Jeff Sessions is a bigoted tool and a Trump sycophant.
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Note how when it's time to put up some manner of substantial argument, it's also time for our neighbor to ... uh .. ¿run away?↑

    It's a noise factory. A weird squeaky wheel thing conservatives have long done; just keep making noise and then point to their own noise as evidence that there is public concern. If we check the last twenty-five years of right-wing supremacist activism and advocacy, we see it over, and over, and over again. Even before that, though, it's been going on so long that courts don't buy in, i.e., bizarre anti-abortion laws, which is why conservatives want the courts. Just like FOX News justifying itself by pointing to a delusion of liberal media conspiracy: A bunch of conservatives complained, and those are the only voices that count, so therefore it is true: Listen to the noise! People are clamoring for our agenda!

    He doesn't know what he's on about. He doesn't need to, insofar as the point is to simply log racist tropes for the record. Normalization is the goal.
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    To his credit, he did try to resign twice; he had to be pulled out of his car before he drove away the first time. (To his detriment, he didn't have the spine to follow through either time.)
  23. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

    Where I grew up in Northern Minnesota, it was Finn jokes.
    There was a time when Finns weren't even "Scandinavian" enough, and some tried to argue that they were actually Asian, and thus shouldn't be allowed to into the country under the laws of the time. My own paternal grandfather even shortened and altered the spelling of his surname in order to make it more "anglo-american" in order to not "burden" his children with a Finnish surname.

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