Thursday morning, the Biden administration announced that Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner would be released from Russian detainment, in a one-for-one prisoner swap with former Russian military officer and arms dealer Viktor Bout.
Afterward, the right wing wasted no time inciting outrage about the freeing of an American detained in Russia for 294 days.
Some weren’t even trying to feign logic and were instead outright racist and homophobic:
Prisoner swaps do not lend themselves well to “ideal” scenarios. But there are basic facts here that these outrage-drivers simply have no interest in. They act as if Biden unhesitatingly made the deal and has not been trying to rescue other American detainees, like former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan. But according to a senior U.S. official, Whelan is being treated as an espionage case. The Russian government gave the U.S. a choice over who to free: “one [Griner] or none.”
Meanwhile, Paul Whelan’s family is sharing much more grace than the right-wingers fomenting outrage over their loved one, acknowledging both the good news of Griner’s release and still the urgency to free Whelan:
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, said they both are committed to working to help free those left behind in Russian detention, including Whelan:
But right-wingers have no interest in nuance or the facts undergirding such a difficult situation.
In the meantime, Griner’s restored freedom warrants rejoicing. And an urge to support all who are imprisoned—especially those on inane charges like less than a gram of cannabis oil—ought to be maintained. As Dave Zirin wrote, “There is no politics more basic than solidarity with the imprisoned.”