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Daily News editorial

Editor’s note: Today’s editorial originally appeared in The Los Angeles Times. Editorial content from other publications and authors is provided to give readers a sampling of regional and national opinion and does not necessarily reflect positions endorsed by the Editorial Board of The Daily News.

Our society is sharply polarized for a bunch of reasons, but one that sticks out in my mind is the prevailing sense of righteousness. You see it all the time in online debates — the other side isn’t just mistaken, it’s deficient, or venal, or immoral, or even evil.

Exhibit A is the new policy announced this week by Ravelry, which appears to be the top site for craftsy people who like to make things with yarn. On Sunday, Ravelry said it was banning all content (projects, patterns and comments) that supported President Donald Trump and his administration. The statement included this remarkable bit of pretzel logic: “We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.”

Ravelry’s founders (who have been publicly mum since Sunday) tried to distinguish in their announcement between Trump supporters and Trump support.

The statement that supporting Trump is undeniably supporting white supremacy is absurdly reductive. It’s akin to claiming that support for the Obama administration was undeniably support for illegal immigration, or that support for the George W. Bush administration was undeniably support for making prescription drugs more affordable for senior citizens.

Trump’s signature issue may well be the real and metaphorical border wall — his battle to stop people from crossing the southern border legally in search of asylum, or illegally in search of a better life here. Critics certainly see Trump’s xenophobia as a manifestation of white supremacy. To his allies on that issue, however, it’s not about race, it’s about an influx of people who will be a drag on the economy, public schools and the healthcare system.

Those supposedly dire consequences are debatable; even some Republicans with a traditional view of trade and economics see immigration as a net boon, not a burden. But those same Republicans would rather have the country led by an anti-migrant conservative who will cut tax rates and regulations than a migrant-friendly Democrat eager to bury the country in taxes and red tape.

With two parties exerting a stranglehold on elected offices, We the People don’t have the luxury of supporting leaders who share every one of our core beliefs. We all have to hold our noses to some degree. The president who embraced trickle-down economics and gave them two conservative Supreme Court justices is also the guy detaining migrant children in deplorable conditions, trying to speed global warming and threatening the economy with a trade war.

That’s not to say every president is equally flawed (ahem, Richard Nixon) or that some Trump supporters aren’t white supremacists — some clearly are. But again, one brush does not paint them all.

Few people would have complained had the founders of Ravelry banned all partisan flexing. But instead, they decided to bar content that was offensive to them, implicitly endorsing content that’s offensive just to other people.

It’s their site, they can do as they wish. But ham-handed moves like this only encourage those who want Congress to require online platforms to be neutral in order to be shielded from liability for their users’ posts. That would be a big step backward for the internet.

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