‘Shithole’-gate and Toxic Double Standards

In the wake of President Trump’s “shithole” comment (which may have been misreported), CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked a predictably leading question of Republican “strategist” Ana Navarro on his show Thursday night: “[I]s there any other way to interpret this comment other than being just racist?”

Navarro was happy to oblige. After taking a few potshots at Trump’s alleged “pattern” of bigotry, she unloaded: “We have a racist, a shameless racist, who has hijacked the Republican Party, who has hijacked the Oval Office, and this country needs to stand up against this and tell him that we will not let him divide us by color, by race, by ethnicity, by class . . .”

Don’t hold back, Navarro. Mexico’s former president, Vicente Fox Quesada, sure didn’t!

Navarro likely hasn’t given much thought to the implications of what she said, let alone examined her premises. But if she’s so outraged and offended by Trump’s alleged divisiveness, she might want to have a look around CNN’s studios or the greater Beltway area. Division is rampant, and its source isn’t the man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or the Right more generally.

Does not the modern Democratic Party—the vehicle by which the seditious spirit of progressivism infects the American polity—traffic daily in such talk? Where is the Republican “strategist’s” outrage about that? NeverTrump? Bueller?

Is not division “by color, by race, by ethnicity, by class” the modus operandi of today’s progressives?

Is not the Left’s entire reason for being to draw attention to, inflame, and amplify such divisions for the purposes of stoking intra-national feuds (which—trust them!—will lead to “equality”)?

Can you even listen to a speech by a prominent Democratic Party official or presidential wannabe, or read anything by leftist activists that doesn’t shamelessly and vapidly emote in the language of identity politics, of identity-obsessed bean counting, of epistemic siloing wholly cut off from Truth?

  • The Democrats: “Let’s elect [insert your preferred flavor of woman here so long as she’s a woman, never mind if she’s qualified].”
  • Were there any gay characters in the latest Hollywood blockbuster? Sure, but that isn’t good enough. Why? Because there were no trans characters, of course.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: “[Romney’s] gonna put y’all back in chains.”
  • Universities across the country and their ridiculous (and very expensive) quests for diversity for diversity’s sake—anything but intellectual diversity.

And on and on ad nauseam.

When the Left spews such despicable, divisive language, hardly anyone seems to care. Certainly “strategist” Navarro doesn’t. But as soon as a deplorable right-winger makes a simple and obviously true observation—its crass wording notwithstanding—the political class and smart set lose their marbles. Why?

It’s because we’ve been duped. We’ve come to implicitly accept that leftist racism and bigotry is “enlightened” and, further, that even when offensive, it’s directed to the greater good of a “post-racial” society, so it’s inappropriate to criticize it.

But when the Right decides that it’s finally had enough of being held to different standards that serve only to its political and cultural disadvantage, only then the linguistic cudgels that the Left has happily wielded for years are finally denounced. Why? Because the Right is appropriating them to even the odds, and it’s working. Third Reich redux!

The reflexive horror at any “icky” sentiment from the Right while similar filth from the Left elicits only haughty derision, moral gaslighting, and knowing looks (“What rubes!”) shows how deeply the rot of cultural Marxist Antonio Gramsci and the German Frankfurt school runs, how deeply it has penetrated the social fabric of America and damaged our ability to relate to and understand phenomena like bigotry and foundational concepts like citizenship.

The current state of affairs is utter nonsense. Bigotry—whether it be Antifa’s terrorizing UC Berkeley’s campus to stop a talk by Milo Yiannopoulos or white supremacists’ rallying at Charlottesville—is always to be condemned. But what many people have now come to realize is precisely how foolish it is to disarm unilaterally in the face of the Left’s steady, rules-of-the-game-be-damned advance. They offer no quarter. No mercy. No understanding.

With or without Trump, anyone on the Right is a priori a racist, regardless of what we do or say, or how we act. Of course, we condemn white supremacist neo-Nazis! But is similar pressure from media complexes and societal forces brought to bear to compel the Left to condemn Antifa? Even when Democratic National Committee deputy chairman Keith Ellison tweets out an approving picture of Antifa’s field guide which advocates the use of violence? It is outrageous beyond words that only members of the GOP could be found raising concerns.

Worse, many feel it isn’t even necessary. Why? Well, because Antifa and the new deputy chairman of the DNC (?!) don’t “represent” the Left, but a few misfits with tiki torches and button-down collars represent the entire GOP, supposedly. Because “social justice” isn’t real bigotry because … reasons, but anyone to the right of them clearly is a bigot because … reasons. Because the Left’s nastiness is just the price we must pay for a better world—one in which it makes sense to punish a white girl for her “racist” “microaggression” (offering to help her sick dorm mate) but it’s never appropriate to question whether a person of color who takes offense at the smallest slights is justified in feeling offended.

Thus, the fierce counterattack that started on November 8, 2016, and hasn’t halted, explained. Trump, for all his faults, has awakened a sense of the stakes for certain of us on the Right. We now realize that to win this war of ideas—this struggle for the very soul of America—we will have to grind the Left down and fight them to a draw. Because it’s only after we have forced a stalemate that we will be able to sue for peace and set the terms of a liveable truce, a truce within which ideological poison, no matter its pedigree, dare not be uttered.

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About Deion A. Kathawa

Deion A. Kathawa is an attorney who hails from America’s heartland. He holds a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He is a 2021 alumnus of the Claremont Institute’s John Marshall Fellowship. Subscribe to his “Sed Kontra” newsletter.