“We need to stop spending our money on military and police and start spending it on education.”
“He wants to eliminate the whole military and all police! It’s exactly what he said!”
There’s a phrase missing from your strawman here that would actually make your “charitable” reading accurate: “so much.” We need to stop spending so much of our money on military and police and start spending it on education.
We keep hearing all this about charitable readings and giving people the benefit of the doubt when the people in question have given no indication that they deserve it. Regardless of whether or not she meant the actual words that she said, her claim about the “worst thing that can happen” to a gay person in the US is insultingly, dismissively false. There is literally no reason for her to so blatantly distort the actual situation for gay people in the US to make her point, because the death penalty as actual policy is worse whether American gays are being denied cake or being denied employment. The same is true for her comments about women’s rights. Why dismiss these issues if your point isn’t to say that we need to switch our focus to the real problems? Which, again, is what she actually said.
It’s the same bullshit Patricia Arquette was peddling a few months back, it’s the same bullshit intersectional feminists and civil rights activists have been talking about for ever. Some outside observer sees that a civil rights movement has made some high-visibility victories and declares that the war is over, so now we can focus on the issues that really matter (to me).
Maybe it’s uncharitable to read the words as they were actually said. I suggest that Ali’s comments about the “worst thing that can happen” to gays are far less charitable. At least our reading has a basis in reality.
Funny how charity and benefit of the doubt never go both ways. Ali apparently wasn’t writing her speech thinking “gays in the US still spend a lot of time lobbying and campaigning for rights reforms. Maybe they dohave worse things to worry about than Christian bakers.” No, it was all “they must not know about how bad it is in Iran. I need to tell them how silly this cake nonsense is by comparison, and then they’ll totally see it my way.”