Julie Kelly Talks About Punching Back at the Haters

American Greatness contributor Julie Kelly returned to the Seth and Chris Show this week to discuss her hard-hitting short essay, “Punching Back After a Year of Insults.” Listen to the audio and read the transcript.

Seth Leibsohn: Welcome back to The Seth and Chris Show, I’m Seth Leibsohn he is Chris Buskirk. Are we deliberately. . . ? Because if we are, great … Playing country music after last night’s tribute of grace and just Tennessee ethics as opposed to California ethics? Nashville ethics, as opposed to Hollywood ethics? Good. If this is happening stochastically, OK, great, wonderful.

It is delightful to bring back . . . It is a delight, I should say, to welcome back to the show contributor to American Greatness, freelance writer Julie Kelly had a great piece up at American Greatness, just posted last night: “Punching Back After a Year of Insults.” 

Julie, welcome back to the airwaves of Phoenix.

Julie Kelly: Hey guys, how are you?

Leibsohn: We are doing just fine and, just, gosh, I love your fight and I love your spirit. This column is wonderful and I like all the lessons you’ve learned as well. I’m sure you’ve gotten a lot of feedback on this. You found it a surprise I guess to yourself, you write, when you realized you were voting for Donald Trump lo a year ago. And you’ve learned a lot in this past year, haven’t you?

Kelly: I definitely have. That would be an understatement. I mean look, I’ve worked in politics for a long time, my husband is a lobbyist, he’s in Chicago politics. We’ve seen it all, I thought until the reaction to Donald Trump’s election. And I think anybody who’s worked in the political space would be hard pressed to find a comparison to these just hateful and spiteful, outrageous reaction to what happened on Election Day. And like I said, I was called every name in the book by people who I know, are hypocrites on some issues. And so it was really hard to take. So it felt good. It was kind of a little rant—

Leibsohn: I bet it felt good. You’ve been called “stupid” and “racist” and “a white supremacist” and “a Nazi” and “supporting the war on women” and “an Islamophobe” and “a misogynist” and so you put a bunch of rules that I think would be helpful for people who may find themselves, as we say in the law, “similarly situated.” You say you have a great list, I can’t do it all do some of it. “Don’t call me a white supremacist if you live in all-white neighborhood and send your children to all-white, private schools.”

“Don’t call me”—I like this one—“Don’t call me a Nazi if you want to confiscate guns, destroy historical statues, and stop the flow of free speech and ideas in academia.” That may be my favorite one. And then you gave me one that really had me thinking. But say something about this “don’t call me a Nazi” one, if you don’t mind.

Kelly: Well, I mean the point of what I list there is the total lack of introspection that the Left has. And even some independents have on this. They just don’t see their own . . . not just culpability in what’s happening in the political culture right now, but this overreaction about “everybody’s now a Nazi” when they are really the ones who want to enforce the police state. Whether it’s about guns or monuments or—

Leibsohn: Destroying history? Silencing your opponents? These are the classic efforts. We would have thought on the anniversary of these revolutions, the Bolshevik Revolution, we might have learned something about that. I don’t know as a culture we have.

You live in the land of Lincoln, in Illinois, and you wrote one here that gave me a little pause at first. It gave me something to think about. I’m gonna read it back to you. “Don’t call me un-American, if the sight of a Confederate battle flag is more offensive to you than the sight of someone disrespecting the American flag.” And I thought about that, bravo to you. That’s an important thought, it’s a subtle thought,

I’m gonna repeat it and let you say something about it. “Don’t call me un-American if the sight of a Confederate battle flag is more offensive to you than the sight of someone disrespecting the American flag.”

Kelly: Right. I had a couple people … Maybe I miswrote. I guess what I was thinking is seeing the liberals who I know to be so offended about the Confederate flag—and, actually, I also put in there the Nazis’ flag because we think that . . . But at the same time, that they were just then protesting the National Anthem and our flag. And so I just thought it was another example of their hypocrisy and overreach.

Leibsohn: No it really is, and goes to the whole issue of history and relics and things that belong in history and relic-dom, but there is an ongoing serious, serious disrespect to the entire country. We’re going into Veteran’s Day tomorrow and over the weekend at an odd moment. Someone, a dear friend of mine sent me a banner—you may have seen it. I’ll probably want to write something about it tomorrow that I think kind of says it all. And I worry about it, given the time and place we are in the country right now. “Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it, it flies with the last breath of each solider who died protecting it.” And this is what everyone from the NFL to the cultural left has forgotten.

Chris Buskirk: I don’t think they even understand the point, actually.

Kelly: Well they don’t, because they think that our country is so responsible for so many of the world’s evils. They don’t support really capitalism, and so they don’t really respect the military, they don’t respect law enforcement. So it’s hard to have a message like that resonate in that crowd when they just don’t have it in their souls, in their conscience as Americans. And I think that that’s what people find so offensive about it … It’s that these people really lack a moral compass, and it’s vicious to a country that, regardless of your circumstances, you’ve benefited from tremendously.

Leibsohn: Partly, and I’ve been saying this and no one’s really pushed back on me or commented on it, which makes me worry. I may not be right. But part of me wants to give some level of exoneration to the NFL players, to this degree … Julie, I wonder what you think of it … In a way it’s not their fault, because no one ever taught them otherwise. Where were they gonna pick up the notion otherwise? Where were they gonna get an appreciation of America otherwise? We know it didn’t happen in the school system, we know the schools aren’t teaching this. They’re not teaching American history, they’re not teaching civics. In a way, and maybe I’m wrong and maybe I’m just being … Maybe I’m misdirecting my level of disconcert here. But no one taught them any better.

Kelly: Well—

Leibsohn: The owners are a different story, and Goodell’s a different story, but the players? I don’t know that they were taught any better.

Kelly: Well, let me tell you a little personal anecdote. I’ll try to make it quick. I’m right outside Chicago, there’s a high school on the West Side, Orr High School, that just won our state basketball championship. These kids in live in—I mean I wouldn’t even call it a danger zone. I mean they’ve had friends who have been shot and killed right in front of them. A few of them had injuries themselves from gunfire. So to that extent, they do see a different America than what the rest of us have seen.

And so, who’s fault is that, though?

Leibsohn: Yeah, I want to address that if we can Julie. We’re going into a break, do you have one more segment in you before you have to run?

Kelly: Oh, for sure.

Leibsohn: Alright, great. We’ll be right back with Julie Kelly, she is a contributor to American Greatness. You’re gonna want to go and read this piece, “Punching Back After a Year of Insults.” This lady packs a pretty good rhetorical punch. I think you’ll all like it, you can all use it. That’s why we published it. I’m Seth, he’s Chris, she’s Julie, we’ll be right back.

Leibsohn: Welcome back to The Seth and Chris Show, I’m Seth Leibsohn, he’s Chris Buskirk. “Punching Back After a Year of Insults.” That’s the piece by Julie Kelly who is blessedly our guest. Julie, you were making a point on the way right before the break, I wanted to give you a chance to state it in full. I was holding some of these NFL players harmless because no one taught them any differently, where do you affix the blame? And you had a thought or two on that.

Kelly: I did, just our experience here with a high school in the inner city, the West Side of Chicago. These kids are athletes in the worst conditions and their neighborhood is a war zone and they have been raised in a different America. And so I think that it’s fair to acknowledge that to your point.

But who has failed them? OK, it’s not Republicans who have failed them; it’s not the military; it’s not law enforcement. It is the Democrats and the liberals who run the cities that they have been raised in. It’s an educational system, especially in Chicago, the unions have a stranglehold on.

I mean it is unsafe neighborhoods, you would not put your worst enemies in one of these neighborhoods. It’s horrific, the stories that these kids tell are really heartbreaking. And so then, if they excel, and then they’re lucky enough to go into the NBA or NFL, of course they’re living a life of privilege then. But I think that it’s been so ingrained in them by the progressives who have basically run the government system and everything else public-sector that they lived in, that that’s how they view America. Some of them.

And so you’re right, I think the younger ones, I don’t want to say are blameless, but they just have a skewed perception. But look, so do the spoiled brats on college campuses and they’ve been raised—

Leibsohn: Right. It has nothing to do with the level of education you’ve attained, not in this day and age. It has to do with an entirely likely situation where the level of education you obtain might actually have an inverse relationship to that about which you think of this country, if that’s an English sentence.

Chris Buskirk: It’s the old phrase I like to use, “You have to go to college to get that dumb.”

Leibsohn: Yeah, there’s a great philosopher from Oxford who once upon a time said the greatest purpose of education is to know when a man is speaking rot. And now, I think rot has just suffused the system. I was at an event … We’ve probably got to go in a moment … I was at an event where some legal immigrants were taking a civics test, and were just blown away by the fact that most Americans don’t know, much less appreciate, what they had come to learn and come to appreciate. Julie, well done, I just wanted to get your voice on with us today. I just wanted to—

Kelly: Thank you.

Leibsohn: —also give a little more air to this piece.

Kelly: Thank you so much.

Leibsohn: Thanks for writing with us. Thanks for being with us.

Kelly: Thank you guys. Enjoy the Arizona heat.

Chris Buskirk: You got it.

Leibsohn: It’s not so hot here anymore, Julie. Weather’s just fine.

Kelly: Well, it’s just like 40 here. Oh, alright.

Leibsohn: Yeah, well I guess compared to you. Julie Kelly, “Punching Back After a Year of Insults,” taking your calls at 602-508-0960. Chris and I will be right back. Bill will be left back.

Image copyright: ammentorp / 123RF Stock Photo


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