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Commentary

Auchter's Art: Defending the bad guy on your team

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John Auchter
/
Michigan Radio

When I was in college, I played broomball. Broomball is basically ice hockey but instead of skates, sticks, and a puck you use tennis shoes, brooms, and a semi-deflated volleyball. It was a way for Michigan Tech students without winter sports skills to play a winter sport. Because there is a lot of winter in Houghton.

Each section (or "house") of the dormitory had a team. So other than my roommate (who was a friend from high school), my teammates were randomly selected by the universe. This was fine except for one guy — he was one of our better players and nice enough to everybody on our team, but he would go out of his way to hurt players on other teams.

During games I would, of course, support and defend him when the other team got angry. That's what teammates do. And outside of games when somebody from another team would see me on campus and say, "Hey, what's the deal with that guy?" I'd make excuses. "Well, he's good player, he's just a little intense." But after awhile, that wore thin. The truth was, he was not a good person. Probably a sadist. I still feel bad that I defended him.

So here we find ourselves with Betsy DeVos, randomly selected by the universe to be on our state of Michigan team. You saw her performance earlier this week on 60 Minutes. You saw her performance at her confirmation hearings. You've seen her performance as Secretary of Education. I cannot explain or excuse any of that.

Being a "member of our team" by geography or even "on our side" politically makes some sense, but it really should be a secondary consideration. At some point a lack of competence has to be the more important consideration. At some point the indefensible must actually, you know, not be defended.

John Auchter is a freelance editorial cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

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